VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Make Your Face Sparkle With Diatoms

Human engineers may join forces with cellular architects to produce the next generation of paints, cosmetics and holograms, reported Science Daily.  Scientists are finding ways to harness the rapid growth of diatoms.  Manufacturing consumer products with these properties currently requires energy-intensive, high-temperature, high-pressure industrial processes that create tiny artificial reflectors.  But farming diatom shells, which […]

Darwin Saves Junk, Makes Treasure Out of It

The Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week award goes to a press release from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, which began by personifying Evolution1 as a tinkerer in its own junkyard:   Evolution has mastered the art of turning trash to treasure – though, for scientists, witnessing the transformation can require a bit of patience.  […]

Bacteria and Plants Know Network Tech

An article on Science Daily says, “plants have their own chat systems that they can use to warn each other.”  Many herbal plants such as strawberry, clover, reed and ground elder naturally form networks.  Individual plants remain connected with each other for a certain period of time by means of runners.  These connections enable the […]

Molecular Machines Under the Nanoscope

Seeing machines just billionths of a meter long seems impossible, but cell biologists are now routinely looking into the cellular black box.  Using indirect but powerful methods, they can actually begin to visualize the gears and wheels and cogs of the protein machines that make life possible.  Some of our favorite cell gadgets were examined […]

Don’t Just Sit There; Evolve

Have you ever wondered why your body doesn’t evolve?  After all, it is kind of like a population of trillions of organisms.  Why shouldn’t it follow the rules of natural selection?  Philip Ball asked this question in News@Nature recently.  “Evolution is usually thought of as something that happens to whole organisms,” he teased.  “But there’s […]

Stem-Cell Advocates Try to Shield Ethical Concerns

Would an embryonic stem cell by another name cease being human?  Several recent articles on embryonic stem cells are going beyond just touting the potential cures from the controversial research, which involves creating and destroying a human embryo.  Some are blurring the line between embryonic and adult stem cells (cf. 12/02/2006) and attempting to avoid […]

Upsets: Assumptions About Genes, Atmospheres Challenged

It’s not fun when a whole superstructure of scientific theories and models is found to rest on a shaky foundation.  That’s just what may be happening in two very different fields: genetics and planetary science: Lateral pass to the opposing team:  Building evolutionary trees by comparing genomes was supposed to be simple.  Sure, geneticists knew […]

Thermodynamics: The Real Theory of Everything

Need a theory of everything?  Try thermodynamics.  Mark Haw reviewed a new book by Peter Atkins on the subject in Nature,1 Four Laws that Drive the Universe (Oxford, 2007).  He had high praise for the achievements of the “19th century grandees” Joule, Maxwell and Kelvin: Thermodynamics ought to be the cornerstone of any scientist’s understanding […]

Genetics “Central Dogma” Is Dead

“The gene is dead… long live the gene,” announced subtitles to an article in Science News this week.1  Geneticists have come to a striking conclusion over the last few years: genes are not the most important things in DNA, if they even exist as a concept.     The “central dogma” of genetics, since Watson […]

Do Genes Reveal the Cambrian Explosion?

A Croatian geneticist believes he can find the Cambrian Explosion in the genes.  Science Daily told about Tomislav Domazet-Loso from the Rudjer Boskovic Institute in Zagreb, whose team employed a “novel methodological approach in evolutionary studies” they called “genomic phylostratigraphy.”  Looking for a “genetic trigger” for the Cambrian explosion, they hoped their method can “shed […]

Mystery of the Ultraconserved Elements, Cont.

ejerano et al reported ultraconserved elements in the human genome (05/27/2004).  These were non-coding regions that, for some unknown reason, showed no evolution between mouse and human – a time span over tens of millions of years.  Since many of these ultraconserved regions are also found in bird genomes, they added that some genetic regions […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week: Shark Chefs and Finger Food

A press release from University of Florida wins this week’s prize for trying to make dogmatism funny (or at least appealing to snackers): When the first four-legged animals sprouted fingers and toes, they took an ancient genetic recipe and simply extended the cooking time, say University of Florida scientists writing in Wednesday’s issue of the […]

DNA Repair Is Highly Coordinated

The remarkable ability of cells to repair DNA damage has been the subject of several recent articles.  As a long, physical molecule subject to perturbing forces, DNA is subject to breakage on occasion.  If repair mechanisms were not in place, the genetic information would quickly become hopelessly scrambled and life would break down.  Studies are […]

Immune System Appeared Early

“Social amebas” or slime molds have gotten praise recently as inventors of the immune system.  These amebas can band together in a “slug” that can move as a unit and generate stalks and spores.  Science Daily reported on research at Baylor College of Medicine that found “sentinel cells” in a colony of amebas that patrol […]

Can Life Survive for Millions of Years?

How long can cells and tissues last?  Two different yet related stories should raise questions about the dates claimed, because the observations are astonishing. Trees of the living dead:  Cypress trees in Hungary supposedly buried for eight million years look pristine.  The wood is unfossilized and uncoalified, said the report on Breitbart.com.  All that remained […]
All Posts by Date