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Fruit Flies Not Evolving

A long-running experiment trying to get fruit flies to evolve has failed.  A research team forced selection on the flies to explore the limits of natural selection.  Only minor changes were detected after 600 generations.  The research team was disappointed and surprised; there was even less evolution in these sexual organisms than in similar experiments […]

Morphogenesis: Evolution of Form Solved?

The body plans of organisms are hard to account for in linear strands of DNA.  How do you get a backbone, vertebrae, and ribs out of a chain of nucleotides?  Recognizing the mystery of morphogenesis (the origin of form), the director of the Synthetic Life Lab in New York, Stuart Pivar, has published an “Innovative […]

Mere Biochemistry: Cell Division Involves Thousands of Complex, Interacting Parts

In biochemistry, the stem -mere means “part” (as in centromere, telomere) and -some means “body” (as in chromosome, ribosome).  Biochemists are learning that these cell organelles are not -mere bit parts, but -some fit bodies. Telomeres and chromosomes:  PhysOrg reported that the chemical “caps” on the end of chromosomes, called telomeres, have a special code […]

Synonymous Codons: Another Gene Expression Regulation Mechanism

Some words in English have alternate spellings, but sound the same.  If the sound is the same, how would a recording device tell them apart?  Would it make any difference?  It shouldn’t, but now scientists are realizing that genetic codons spelled differently can influence the protein formed – even when the spellings, called “synonymous codons”, […]

Conjuring Up Evolutionary Implications from Current Data

What does observable reality imply about unobservable reality?  Some scientists say, a lot.  But is unobservable reality really real?  Or is it an oxymoron?  A couple of recent articles in the science media show scientists observing things in the present, then saying they have “huge implications” for things no scientist ever observed.     In […]

Specialized Molecules Make Cells Work

Reports continue to show that vital cell processes depend on finely-tuned proteins and RNA molecules.  Most of the papers that discuss these specialized molecules fail to mention how they might have evolved, as shown in three papers in the recent issue of Science. Walker with muscle:  A paper by Kaya and Higuchi from the University […]

Cell Regulation Doesn’t Just Happen

Scientists are finding that it’s not just having the right parts that makes a body go; it’s having those parts controlled by the right regulators.  Recent stories make the case with their headlines: “‘Guardian of the Genome’: Protein Helps Prevent Damaged DNA in Yeast,” announced Science Daily.  “Scientists find gas pedal – and brake – […]

Electricity Forms Your Heart

Did you know your heart is an electrical appliance?  That’s right.  Currents of electrical ions are vital to its function as a contractile organ.  Now, researchers at the University of California have found another thing electricity does for your heart: it guides the developing heart into the proper shape.  This is a key study showing […]

Bacteria Too Complex To Be Primitive Eukaryote Ancestors

In the search for the most primitive life forms on earth, bacteria would certainly make the list.  They are tiny, one-celled, and have small genomes.  Why, then, did Patrick Forterre and Simonetta Gribaldo of the Pasteur Institute say in PNAS,1 “we should definitely stop thinking of bacteria in terms of simple ‘lower’ organisms”?  For the […]

Productive Science Imitates Nature

Examples continue to accumulate that some of the most interesting and fruitful science projects involve copying design principles found in nature.  This “biomimetics” approach not only pleases the consumers who can look forward to greener, cheaper, better products, but leads to deeper understandings of nature’s workings. Gecko adhesives:  PhysOrg published a story on the ongoing […]

Tibetans Evolved Altitude Tolerance in 3,000 Years

Tibetans and other peoples who live at high altitudes possess a remarkable tolerance to the thin atmosphere.  Now, scientists at UC Berkeley have identified some 30 genes related to oxygen regulation that differ in Tibetans from Han Chinese.  Since those tribes are thought to have diverged 3,000 years ago, natural selection for these changes must […]

Fish Feet: Can Evolution Add by Subtraction?

How did fish grow feet?  One would think that feet require adding a lot of new parts: bones, muscles, nerves, blood vessels, and additional supporting tissues.  Each of those would require genetic instructions and changes to embryonic development.  One evolutionist, however, feels that switching genes off paved the way to the invasion of land.  The […]

The RNA Code: Pseudogenes Functional, Help Prevent Cancer

A surprising function has been discovered for a “pseudogene” – an apparently mutated copy of a regular gene that till recently was thought to be genetic junk.  This pseudogene, reported in Nature today,1 not only has a function unrelated to the production of proteins, but a function that could save your life.  It is part […]

Not Lamarck Again

Remember Lamarck?  He was the pre-Darwin evolutionist whose theories we were all taught were overthrown by Darwin’s superior theory of natural selection.  Lamarck’s theory of “inheritance of acquired characteristics” was shown to be demonstrably false by the dramatic experiments of Weismann, right?  It was never really so clear-cut as that, as evolutionary historians know, but […]

Plants Have Memories

June 09, 2010 — Have you ever noticed how plants have an uncanny ability to know, without eyes or brains, when the time has come to bloom?  Even when spring comes early or late in some years, they sense the right time, and out come the flowers.  This is even more remarkable when you consider […]
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