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Cells Perform Sporting Interactions

The components of living cells perform such acrobatic moving interactions, one would think they are having fun.  Here’s the news from the Wide World of Cellular Sports. Speedway:  A news release from Penn Medicine talks about how motor proteins step on the gas and the brakes in their motions around the cell.  The announcer from […]

Cell Quality Control Runs a Tight Ship

Without the surveillance and rapid response of quality control, cells would collapse and die.  Here are some recently-published examples of nanoheroes in action. Plant checkpoints:  Picture a child watching the wonder of a seedling breaking through the soil into the light for the first time.  Within hours, the ghostly-white stem turns green, and a day […]

Cell Membrane Has Ticket-Operated Turnstiles

Cells are like castles surrounded by walls.  A wall without gates, however, would prevent commerce and trap the inhabitants inside.  The cell has ingenious gates that control the flow of goods and services through its outer membrane under tight surveillance and quality control.  This controlled flow, as opposed to passive diffusion or osmosis, is termed […]

The Evolution of Electrical Engineering:  An Imaginary Tale

Nerves carry electrical impulses.  Ipso facto, they are subject to laws of physics concerning conductance, capacitance, and resistance.  Getting a signal from one end of an animal to the other in time can be a matter of life and death.  In order to maintain optimum levels of electrical conductivity to meet their lifestyle requirements, animals […]

Are Cellular Motors Related by Evolution?

Just because two things go round and round, does that make them related by common ancestry?  A Japanese team thinks so.  A bacterial flagellum rotates (06/04/2002).  So does ATP synthase, though it is about 10 times smaller (04/30/2004).  Publishing in PNAS,1 these researchers looked for a relationship, and noted that these two motors bear some […]

This Bacterium Moves Like a Tank

Mark McBride (U of Wisconsin) has been trying for a decade to figure out how a gliding bacterium glides.  His conclusion: the microbe has tire treads like a conveyor belt that make it roll over a variety of surfaces, like an all-terrain vehicle.     According to a U of Wisconsin press release, the Department […]

In Science and Politics, Expect the Unexpected

Two findings reported this month illustrate how science changes.  Paradigms and policies can have their scientific underpinnings yanked out from under them, causing both consternation and opportunities for new ways of thinking. Bring back the acid rain:  Pick your poison: acid rain or global warming.  Acid rain was the bogeyman of the 1980s, leading to […]

Cell Zippers, Linemen and Editors Put on a Show

The golden age of cell biology continues.  Scientists keep unlocking the secrets of cellular machinery with newer and better techniques.  With the curtain rising on a show we could not previously imagine, played out on a stage so small it took centuries of scientific work to even see it, biochemists are discovering amazing tricks that […]

Incredible Stasis in Evolution: What Does It Mean?

Quite often in phylogenetic research, evolutionists find examples of extreme conservation of genes or traits.  How they explain the lack of change is almost as interesting as the phenomenon itself.  Here are two recent examples. Your cousin the shark:  Surprise: you have more in common with horn sharks than bony fishes do.  Craig Venter’s international […]

Animal Plan IT

Imitating animal technology is one of the hottest areas in science.  The engineering and information technology (IT) observable in living things continues to astonish scientists and makes engineers want to imitate nature’s designs.  Biomimetics is leading to productive, useful discoveries helping solve human problems and leading to a better life for all.  Here are some […]

Mutations Accelerate Each Other’s Damage

As reported in our 10/14/2004 entry, mutations do not work in isolation; even the good kind usually conspire against the host.  This fact has been largely ignored by neo-Darwinists.  Some researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, writing in Nature,1 tested the interaction of mutations (epistasis) on proteins.  They found, in short, that harmful […]

The Nature of Cellular Tech

For molecule-size entities working in the dark, cellular machines seem pretty clever.  Here are some tricks they perform day and night to keep life functioning, described this month in Nature and PNAS.  Cell biology is sounding more and more like a mixture of Popular Mechanics and Wired. Energy balancing act:  Cells have to use oxygen […]

Genetic Study Points to Three Ancestral Families of Humans

In a paper just published in Nature,1 scientists mapped the DNA of 270 people from four people groups: European, African, Chinese, and Japanese.  The scientists were looking for sections of DNA that are either missing or duplicated.  Many sections of our DNA appear over and over again.  The number of extra copies varies between individuals […]

Take Your Flu Pill: Vitamin D

Vitamin D may be a multi-purpose germ fighter.  An article by Janet Roloff in Science News1 gathered evidence from several research labs that strongly suggests this molecule triggers the formation of one of the body’s effective antiviral, antibacterial, antifungal agents: cathelicidin.  In its activated form, vitamin D binds to a short section of DNA called […]

Outsource Our Energy Woes to the Microbes

Do we need to dig for oil forever?  Do we need to fret and fume over energy policy as more consumers compete for decreasing resources?  What if there were a virtually inexhaustible supply right under our noses?  That’s what the American Society for Microbiology asked in a press release reproduced by EurekAlert.  “The answer to […]
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