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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 […]

Venter’s Synthetic Plagiarism Deflated by NY Times

How significant was Craig Venter’s achievement of a so-called synthetic genome?  Somewhat significant, but it pales in significance to creating life from scratch.  It was only like “peering over a fortress that is the mighty cell,” wrote Natalie Angier for the New York Times Monday, May 31.     The article was accompanied with a […]

Venter Group Plagiarizes Genetic Code

Is plagiarism a form of intelligent design?  We think of intelligent design in terms of God and creation, but in generic terms, I.D. only refers to purposeful, designed action by an agent – any agent, large or small, good or evil.  A planned murder, for instance, can be an evil form of intelligent design.  A […]

Humans and Neanderthals Are One

If Neanderthals bred with modern humans, they are one and the same species.  That must be the case according to the most widely-accepted definition of a species: those who can breed and produce fertile offspring.  The news media are abuzz with Science magazine’s cover story this week, “The Neanderthal Genome.”1  Most anthropologists are now accepting […]

Breakthrough: Second Genetic Code Revealed

It’s sometimes difficult to assess the impact of a scientific paper when it is first published, but one that came out on the cover of Nature today has potential to equal the discovery of the genetic code.  The leading science journal reported the discovery of a second genetic code – the “code within the code” […]

Darwin’s Linux: Did Evolution Produce a Computer?

How is a cell like a computer?  Some Yale scientists asked that question, and embarked on a project to compare the genome of a lowly bacterium to a computer’s operating system.1.  Their work was published in PNAS.2  As with most analogies, some things were found to be similar, and some different – but in the […]

Scientist Sees Evolutionary Sense in Coordinated Complexity

An article on PhysOrg tells “A vertebrate story,” and a story it is: the more complex a phenomenon becomes, the more it makes evolutionary sense.     Portuguese scientists were studying the interaction of Hox genes with the development of the ribs in vertebrates.  You can imagine the control that these genes must have when […]

Clock Gene Same in Humans and Birds

Science Daily, this “not only sheds light on how our internal annual body clocks function but also shows a key link between birds and mammals that has been conserved over 300 million years.”     Mammals, including humans, have a hormone released by the pituitary gland that controls melatonin levels – known to affect the […]

New Theory on Evolution of Bat Flight

How did bats evolve the ability to fly?  Evolution helped them out by providing them with higher energy.  After all, “Flight is among the most energy-consuming activities” in the animal kingdom, said a team of Chinese and Canadian scientists reporting in PNAS,1 so it’s obvious that evolution must have provided the genes to get the […]

Genetic Subcode Discovered

Computer programmers know all about subroutines.  One master program can easily call other programs, which can return results back to the master program.  That’s very 1960s.  Today’s modular software responds dynamically from disparate sources and responds to feedback from embedded triggers.  They can call routines written in other codes or languages.  We’re beginning to find […]

Smelling Evolution in Bird Genes

The zebra finch genome has been sequenced; it revealed some surprises.  In the chicken, only 70 of the 500 genes encoding smell receptors produce active proteins.  In the zebra finch, 200 do.  What does this mean?  According to a press release from Weizmann Wonder Wander at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, it means Darwin […]

Human Genome “Infinitely More Complex” Than Expected

Ten years after the Human Genome Project was completed, now we know: biology is “orders of magnitude” more complicated than scientists expected.  So wrote Erika Check Hayden in Nature News March 31 and in the April 1 issue of Nature.1     An air of daunting complexity haunts the article.  The Human Genome Project was […]

“Synthetic Evolution” – Is it Really Intelligent Design?

Some Cambridge scientists engineered a four-character genetic code and made some proteins with it.  They guided the process at every step, but claim that they “evolved” this code.  Is that a fair use of language?  This strange admixture of concepts is found in today’s issue of Nature.1  The confusion began right in the title: “Encoding […]

Robotic Pothole Crew Keeps Your Genetic Highways in Good Repair

What a thought – a repair crew of molecular machines roaming the strands of your DNA, fixing errors 24 x 7.  It happens.  New techniques are showing the machines jumping from strand to strand like fleas, stopping at suspicious points, and fixing errors, reported Science Daily.  Dr. Bennett Van Houten (U of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute) […]

Fruit Flies: From Darwin to Design

The fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster is an icon of evolution.  Since the 1930s these poor little bugs have been mutated endlessly and watched for signs of Darwinian change.  So far, though, only useless mutants, unable to survive in the wild, have been produced.  Recently, scientists seem more enamored with their design.  Two recent articles had […]
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