Archive for October, 2010

Oct 31 2010

The Game of Life

Fifty years ago, if a group of scientists were asked to define the key to life, the great majority would point to metabolism; how we obtain energy from food. However, adding all the required molecular components and stirring it up will not produce an organism. A more modern view of molecular biology is concerned with organization in time and space. How doe the molecules of life arrange themselves throughout the cell’s compartments, how do they move around, and communicate so as to synchronize their actions? We can ask this question because we can now inspect the working cell at a molecular level and take snapshots of its molecules doing their business.

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Oct 26 2010

Despised Theories (1): Lamarkism

Jean-Baptiste Pierre Antoine de Monet, Chevalier de Lamarck (1744 – 1829) was a French naturalist and an early proponent of the idea that evolution occurred and proceeded in accordance with natural laws. Lamarck is however remembered today mainly in connection with a discredited theory of heredity, the inheritance of acquired traits (“Lamarckism”) He was also one of the first to use the term “biology” in its modern sense.

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Oct 23 2010

Islands of Humanity

The Basques are culturally and geno-graphically unique, thought to be a mesolithic remnant settling in the northern area of Spain before the LCM (Last Glacial Maximum).

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Oct 20 2010

Have a heuristic. Take two, they’re small.

I ‘m getting to the point where I am seriously thinking of commencing my next software project. It will based upon much of my recent exploits in generative sciences, complexity theory, network medicine and systems biology. What makes it interesting is that the informatics will probably proceed from two independent starting points, one dichotomous and […]

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Oct 13 2010

Gene Copy Numbers, Autism and Seaweed

M ost people can get their heads wrapped around the idea that genetic variation can occur by virtue of the presence (or lack) of a particular gene. And no doubt some of you understand the basis of the simple mutations that can influence gene function, such as point deletions (which would make you blood group […]

3 responses so far

Oct 11 2010

Biofilms and New Music

Many bacteria are capable of altering their genetic expression based upon an assessment of their environmental conditions and a novel approach to controlling bacterial infection may involve interfering with the ability of one bacteria to communicate with another. Interestingly, their modus operandi also makes good New Age music.

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Oct 07 2010

The Epigenetics of Lifespan

The beneficial effects of caloric restriction (or therapies that mimic caloric restriction) appear to exert transgenerational effects -at least in rotifers. A new study appears to implicate the enzyme catalase with the longevity benefits of caloric restriction.

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Oct 06 2010

Archeogenetics II: Early blood groupings

It would be tidy if all people who were blood group O lived in one part of the world, and all blood group A in another. But this does not happen. The various blood groups are found pretty much all over the world. However they are not found in the same frequency everywhere. It was this difference in the frequency of the different blood groups that gave the early blood group detectives their first insights into human individuality.

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Oct 05 2010

Archeogenetics I: Bottlenecks and Superhighways

A fugue is a musical composition in which one or two themes are repeated or imitated by successively entering voices and developed in a continuous interweaving of the voice parts. It is a much used device in classical music, where often one section of the orchestra will start a melodic line, to which other sections […]

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Oct 03 2010

Fingerprint White Lines and Gluten

Although almost everyone knows that fingerprint ridge patterns remain constant and unchanging throughout life (which is why they are so useful to law enforcement) even professionals involved in dermatoglyphics research are often unaware of the changeable nature of the actual height of the ridges themselves. There are a series of surprising correlations between changes to the height of the ridge pattern and links to gluten intolerance found in diseases such as celiac.

8 responses so far

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