Whos Playing Your Gene Piano?
May 12, 2011
Is your genetic code a library or a musical instrument? Scientists have long considered it to be like the former, a genetic code. Now, however, a new metaphor is emerging: a piano. Discoveries in epigenetics (beyond-the-gene), processes that determine which genes are played or silenced, are tending toward the new interpretation. In Medical […]
Brain Synapse Machinery Is Finely Tuned
December 23, 2010
The New York Times published a brief article on brain facts that is astonishing, when you think about all that goes on in thinking. Nicholas Wade reported on a new inventory of the proteins involved in the synapses, the key junctions between neurons. The research team, led by Seth Grant of the Sanger Institute near […]
Plenty of Time for Evolution?
December 14, 2010
A mathematician and a biologist have calculated that there’s “plenty of time for evolution.” Why? Evolution has a spy: natural selection. Darwin’s spy vastly decreases the amount of time that “doubters” have argued it would take to create a complex organism like a butterfly. Will their argument fly? The short paper by Herbert […]
Intelligent Design Found in DNA
September 17, 2009
Readers of this headline may say it is not news to say that intelligent design has been found in DNA. Others may be ready for a fight on that issue. But in this case, the design has been verified beyond any shadow of doubt. The designers are not who you may be suspecting. They are […]
Junk-DNA Stock Tumbles
May 18, 2009
Those investing credibility in the concept of “junk DNA” suffered more losses this week. Repeated hits to the paradigm that portions of non-coding DNA are useless leftovers of evolution make a recovery unlikely. In Science,1 researchers from Princeton and Indiana University reported a function for transposons and the genes that act on them, […]
Bodys Junk Is Useful Stuff
November 7, 2008
What’s the difference between junk and stuff? The jokester replies that stuff is the junk you throw away, and junk is the stuff you keep. When it comes to stuff in your body that scientists have called junk, you had better keep all of it, because your life may depend on it. Junk DNA: The […]
Deep Life Is Right at Home in Total Darkness
October 10, 2008
It seems every year scientists find organisms thriving in environments thought too inhospitable for life. A new word was coined for these organisms: extremophiles – lovers of the extreme. Two recent discoveries push the envelope of extreme environments almost to the deep limit. Pressurized fish: The bottoms of the deep ocean trenches of the Pacific […]
Zatta Fact? Scientific Facts Evolve
January 14, 2008
Every once in awhile it is good to be reminded that “scientific facts” are in a constant state of revision. Here are some recent examples of scientists with surprised looks on their faces: Cholesterol for health: Surprise, says EurekAlert: cholesterol may actually pose health benefits. “… don’t push aside bacon and eggs just yet,” it […]
Bear Tooth DNA Yields New Date Record: 400,000 Years
July 22, 2006
According to a story posted on Yahoo News, Swedish scientists found intact DNA in a bear tooth claimed to be 400,000 years old. The team leader remarked, “It is usually hard to find DNA that is older than 100,000 years, and work on fossilized DNA mostly focuses on material that is a few tens of […]
Non-Coding DNA: Whatcha Calling Junk?
March 24, 2006
The focus on genes continues to blur, as more geneticists look outside the box. Some 98% of DNA in the nucleus of human cells does not code for genes. Long dismissed as genetic junk, much of it may turn out to be the hands on the controls. A press release from Johns Hopkins […]
Cells High-Fidelity Proofreading and Editing Explained
July 26, 2005
—It’s unusual to have a story win both Amazing and Dumb awards simultaneously, but the reason will become clear.–ed.) Luisa Cochella and Rachel Green (Johns Hopkins) have published a primer on “Fidelity in Protein Synthesis” in Current Biology.1 This is a good article for cell biology enthusiasts to read, to learn more about the methods […]
How Identical Are Identical Twins?
July 12, 2005
Identical twins look identical, and the assumption is that their genes are, too. Not necessarily, found a team of European scientists publishing in PNAS.1 Their studies of genes from identical twins found that even when indistinguishable at birth, divergence over time in the expression of genes became evidence due to epigenetic (above-gene) factors: MZ [monozygotic] […]
Is Evo-Devo the Source of Endless Forms Most Beautiful?
June 29, 2005
Even staunch Darwinist Jerry A. Coyne (U of Chicago) thought this evolutionary book went overboard: Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo-Devo by Sean B. Carroll (Norton, 2005), which he reviewed in Nature last week.1 (The title comes from a phrase at the end of Darwin’s Origin of Species.) It’s a first-rate introduction […]
Another Darwinian Assumption Overturned: Results Too Radical
June 7, 2005
Evolutionists are stunned at a study in comparative genomics performed by University of Chicago researchers that overturns a common belief about natural selection. EurekAlert summarizes the finding: “The new data show that if more mutations show up at a gene, that gene tends to accept a higher percentage of those mutations.” This means that mutations […]
Is a Darwinian Tree Visible in the Genes?
April 30, 2005
Current Biology1 has an article on the status of searching for Darwin’s “tree of life” via comparative genomics. The expected simple picture has become complex and difficult to decipher: The traditional view of animal evolution is one of gradually increasing complexity. The earliest-branching flatworms lack the body cavity known as a coelom, which is a […]