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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 […]

A Cell Technology Show

The basic units of life continue to astound scientists with their tricks.  Here are a few recent samples: Valuable junk:  The complementary or “antisense” strands of certain RNAs that latch onto messenger RNAs are not just junk anymore.  Science Daily reported that these genetic oddities, “previously thought to have no function, may in fact protect […]

Urchin Genome Hyped by Media as Human Cousin

The publication of a new genome for a plant or animal is becoming routine.  For some reason, the news media instantly jumped on claims that the genome of the sea urchin, published in Science, means that evolution is all but figured out, and that we should each feel a special place in our hearts for […]

Junk Is the Essence of Mankind

Christians may proclaim “God don’t make no junk” but evolutionists boast of our junky heritage.  Erika Check wrote in Nature this week,1 “It’s the junk that makes us human.”  She was referring to non-coding DNA, long considered “junk DNA.”  There is growing awareness that these sections of unclear function are involved in the regulation of […]

Bacterial Flagellum Multitasking and Assembly Described

Since the bacterial flagellum has become a de facto icon of the intelligent design movement, it’s instructive to see what new discoveries come to light on the molecular machine par excellence.  Two papers appeared recently. Ferry Boats:  A Cambridge team publishing in PNAS1 studied how the parts get to the assembly site.  The studied one […]

Bees Make Beeline to the Headlines

The science journals and media were abuzz with honeybee stories this week.  We counted 18 press releases and half a dozen research papers related to aspects of honeybees, including the publication of the honeybee genome.  Many research labs seem to have gotten into the act of figuring out what makes bees tick.  The major stories […]

Precambrian Cell Division Imaged

Embryos frozen in stone in the act of cell division were reported in Science.1  According to a press release from Virginia Tech, there are millions of fossilized embryos in the Doushantuo formation in south China, estimated to be 551 million years old, but “later stages of these animals are rare.”  The EurekAlert version of this […]

Science Potpourri

Interesting articles from recent issues of Science have piled up in the queue.  These might have made separate entries in CEH if time and space were unlimited. Deep Impact:  The team of the Deep Impact mission to a comet published spectral results in the July 13 issue.  “Emission signatures due to amorphous and crystalline silicates, […]

Nature Potpourri

Articles of interest from Nature have been piling up in the CEH queues.  Perhaps a brief mention is better than nothing, before they fall into archive oblivion. Carbon 14:  In the Sept 14 issue, there was a give & take between critics of a carbon-14-dated study and the author.  The critics pointed out, “We appreciate […]

Punc Eq Happens

A controversial study in Science found evidence for punctuated equilibria.1  A long-standing debate in evolutionary biology concerns whether species diverge gradually through time or by punctuational episodes at the time of speciation.  We found that approximately 22% of substitutional changes at the DNA level can be attributed to punctuational evolution, and the remainder accumulates from […]

Biological Nanomachines Inspire Nanotechnology

Nano, nano; we’re hearing that morkish prefix a lot these days.  It means 10-9 of something: most often, of meters (see powers of ten).  A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.  This gets down into the range of protein molecules and small cellular components.  A DNA molecule, for instance, is about 20 nanometers across; […]

More Reasons Why DNA Is Perfect for Coding

Scientists at Vanderbilt University may have been trying to explain chemical evolution, but hit on another reason DNA is the ideal molecule for carrying genetic information (see also Science Daily).  They tweaked the sugar molecule on the DNA backbone and got an unwieldy, haphazard, writhing ribbon of a molecule, unsuitable for bonding genetic code or […]

Paper View:  Evolutionists Augur Genes for Tales of Eyes, Hearts, Brains

The Sept. 29 issue of Science includes a special section on evolutionary genetics, beginning with an overview by Barbara R. Jasny, Elizabeth Pennisi and John Travis entitled “Genomic Tales.”1  Our organs tell stories.  A pathologist, for example, can look at a lung and recognize a lifetime of toiling in a mine.  Our genes tell stories, […]

Genetic Toolkit Manages Dangerous Tools with Safety Switch and Lockbox

Laymen appreciate scientists who can express complex concepts in everyday terms.  Here’s a good example from the Wistar Institute: Around the home, regularly used tools are generally kept close at hand: a can opener in a kitchen drawer, a broom in the hall closet.  Less frequently used tools are more likely to be stored in […]
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