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Flightlessness Evolved Four Times

An article on Science Daily claims that the famous flightless birds – African ostriches, Australian cassowaries and emus, New Zealand kiwis and South American rheas – are unrelated.  There was no flightless common ancestor.  They lost their ability to fly independently, scientists say, because of “parallel evolution.”     This would also mean that emus […]

How Not to Prove Positive Selection

Erase all that evidence for positive natural selection in the genes you’ve read about.  It’s all misleading confusion based on “certain poorly conceived statistical methods,” argues Austin L. Hughes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of South Carolina.  Writing a commentary in PNAS,1 he accused, “Thousands of papers are published every year claiming evidence of […]

Cellular Machines Work Like Cameras, Winches and Turboprops

The discovery that cells are filled with molecular motors is one of the major achievements of late 20th-century molecular biology.  Biochemists routinely use the word “motor” when describing cellular processes, because, in fact, machines made of protein actually do use energy to perform work.  Now we have a new hybrid science – biophysics – that […]

How Chromosomes Pack Without Exploding

When preparing to divide, a cell has to copy all its DNA accurately and pack it into chromosomes.  A professor at U Chicago told Science Daily this is “like compacting your entire wardrobe into a shoebox.”  The cell has another difficulty in this compaction process, though: DNA, being negatively charged, resists packing.     Eukaryotes […]

Flatlife Has More Genes Than It Needs

The genome of a placozoan (“flat animal”) shows more complexity than one would expect for a simple life form.  According to evolutionists, it shows that even a barely-differentiated animal presumably ancestral to complex animals had the genetic toolkit of its more-advanced descendents.     Trichoplax adhaerens is a slimy-looking thing that sticks to aquarium walls.  […]

Membrane Switches Keep Your Brain Humming

Tunnels with rotating gates and rocker switches – this sounds like mechanical engineering.  It’s the machinery that helps power your brain, reported scientists from UCLA and the Pasteur Institute.     Their paper in Science described the structure of just one of many kinds of membrane channels.1  Cell membranes are lined with elaborate one-way gates.  […]

Admissions of Ignorance in Evolutionary Theory

For a scientific idea some have proclaimed as a fact no longer in need of proof, and as well-established as gravity, Darwin’s theory of evolution still reveals surprising weaknesses when its defenders speak about the details.  Detecting these weaknesses requires tuning out the media hype, and tuning into scientific papers and pro-evolution journals where evolutionary […]

Adult Stem Cells Race Ahead; Embryonics Falter

Major advances are being made with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS), stem cells reconstituted from adult tissues, while interest in embryonic stem cells (ES) seems to be drying up.     Both Nature and Science reported advances in iPS technology last week.  Nature reported that the number of factors needed to reconstitute pluripotent stem cells […]

Tree of Life in the Genes? Not Yet

Now that we have hundreds of animal genomes in the bank (the GenBank), is Darwin’s tree of life becoming visible?  If the image is present, it is extremely weak, said Michael J. Sanderson of the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Arizona.  Writing for Science,1 he showed that only a small fraction […]

Mangrove as Metaphor

The mangrove – that shoreline tree with the salt-tolerant roots that grows into dense thickets – is the fulcrum of two unrelated news stories.  It never met a force it couldn’t handle.  It also provides metaphors for evolution and creation.     PhysOrg reported that the mangrove is a key to saving lives.  “The replanting […]

Cellular Trucks Use Moving Highways

Imagine how cool it would be to get in your car and have the road do the driving.  The highway would stretch or shrink, moving this way or that, till you saw your destination and hopped off.  That appears to be what the cargo-bearing motors do in the cells in your body.  A new paper […]

The Cro-Magnon Were Europeans

There’s no genetic difference between Cro-Magnon Man and modern Europeans, a genetic study reported by Science Daily.  Researchers took extra care to avoid contamination of bones found in southern Italy, they said.  They claimed Cro-Magnon people were able to maintain genealogical continuity for 28,000 years, remaining distinct from Neanderthals, whom they said lived in Europe […]

Is Artificial DNA Intelligently Designed?

Japanese chemists have made a new kind of DNA, reported Science Daily.  It resembles natural DNA, but is composed of bases that are shorter, modified forms of the ones cells use.  “The finding could lead to improvements in gene therapy, futuristic nano-sized computers, and other high-tech advances,” the article says. An evolutionist should extend his […]

It’s Networks All the Way Down

New ways of seeing biology are finding life is full of networks.  At both ends of the complexity scale – from humans to bacteria – complex interactions are the rule.  Two teams studying different phenomena had the same reaction – astonishment. Bottom-up complexity:  Who would have thought one of the simplest life forms has a […]

Amazing Cell Tricks: Contour Map Navigation

Watch a cell divide, and if things go well, it always divides in the middle.  How does a cell figure out where its middle is?  It follows its contour map.  PhysOrg titled its entry, “Dividing cells find their middle by following a protein ‘contour map’.”     Cell division, or cytokinesis, is a precisely-controlled operation […]
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