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Cambrian Explosion Still Troubling to Evolutionists

Despite Darwinian efforts to muffle it or spread it into a diffuse rumble, the Cambrian explosion (the near-sudden emergence of most animal body plans in the fossil record) was loud and snappy.  A new phylogenetic study by Antonis Rokas (MIT), Dirk Krüger, and Sean B. Carroll (U of Wisconsin), published in Science this week,1 could […]

Gene Deserts Not All Dead

Researchers continue to find evidence for function in the so-called “gene deserts” (stretches of DNA that do not code for genes) but are not yet ready to give up the concept of “junk DNA” entirely.  According to EurekAlert, scientists at Lawrence Livermore found that the highly-conserved sections tend to contain regulatory agents, but they assume […]

Chicken, Silkworm Genomes Published

Now that the chicken genome has made the cover of Nature1 and the silkworm genome has been published in Science2 this week, evolutionists are busily mining the data for clues to evolutionary ancestry of very disparate groups of animals, says EurekAlert (also here and here).  For example, in the paper on the silkworm genome, the […]

Engineers Envy Diatoms’ Glass-Sculpturing Prowess

What is it?  An ornate crown?  A crystal serving dish cover?  A work of art?  The photo on the cover of the July 17 Science News, labeled “silicon jewels,” is a microphotograph of a diatom, a one-celled organism that lives in the sea and builds itself a glass house too small to see with the […]

1400 Genes Essential to Grow a Fish

A team from MIT scanned the genome of the zebrafish and concluded there are about 1400 genes essential for embryonic and early larval development.  They did hands-on mutation experiments with 315 of these and found that mutations usually produced visible defects within 5 days that were invariably lethal.  Estimating that they had experimented on about […]

Can a Cell Improve by Lowering Its Standards?

The title of a paper in PNAS is intriguing: “Artificially ambiguous genetic code confers growth yield advantage.”  An international team claims to have created a beneficial mutation.  They removed the editing ability of a protein involved in translating the genetic code, and got it to survive in a nutrient-starved environment.  They suggest that the resulting […]

Male Imparts More to Embryo than Just DNA

A team of biologists have confirmed that male sperm RNAs are delivered to the oocyte along with the DNA.  Specifically, paternal messenger RNAs are delivered to the egg.  These might influence development and put the male’s imprint on the developing zygote.  Writing in Nature,1 the researchers speculate what the finding means: Why should spermatozoa messenger […]

Homology for Dummies

Current Biology likes to give its readers primers on various concepts.  The topic in the May 4 issue is homology.1  Caleb Webber and Chris P. Ponting explain this important evolutionary term for the rest of us.  The Q&A format also introduces homology’s siblings: analogy, orthology, paralogy, xenology, and synteny.     Some readers may not […]

Future of Computers Lies in Harnessing DNA Circuitry

According to EurekAlert, researchers at University of Minnesota are making progress using DNA molecules for information storage and processing.  A DNA scaffolding that is being studied has the potential to hold information “1,000 times as densely as the best information processing circuitry and 100 times the best data storage circuitry now in the pipeline.” This […]

Elaborate Quality Control Governs the Cell’s Protein-Folding Factory

If it weren’t for quality control in our cells, we’d be dead.  That’s the gist of an amazing Insight article in the Dec. 18 issue of Nature.1  “Aberrant proteins are extremely harmful to cells,” the authors begin.  How harmful?  Here is a short list of diseases that can result from improperly folded proteins or failures […]
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