Scientists have traditionally sought the evolutionary origins of human speech in primate vocalizations, such as monkey coos or chimpanzee hoots. But unlike these primate calls, human speech is produced using rapid, controlled movements of the tongue, lips and jaw. Speech is also learned, while primate vocalizations are mostly innately structured. New research published in Current Biology by W. Tecumseh Fitch, Head of the Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna, supports the idea that human speech evolved less from vocalizations than from communicative facial gestures. Researchers at Princeton and the University of Vienna used x-ray movies to investigate lip-smacking gestures in macaque monkeys. Monkey lip smacks provide new insights into the evolution of human speech
Next-generation epigenetic cancer pill shown to be safe in phase I trial Scientists have shown that a brand new type of cancer pill that exploits the emerging field of epigenetics is safe for human use, according to a Phase I trial reported May 1 in Clinical Cancer Research. Instead of targeting faults in the DNA code, the drug -- discovered in a collaboration between The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR) and Chroma Therapeutics -- targets cancer-causing errors in the way the body reads the DNA code. This second and equally important set of instructions takes the form of a series of chemical switches that determine whether genes are turned on or off, and ultimately what the cell will look like and how it will function. Epigenetics influence nature in many ways including the ability of a caterpillar to morph into a butterfly, even though its DNA does not change. Alterations in epigenetic control can also lead to cancer. Lead author Dr Udai Banerji from the ICR and The Royal Marsden says: "This is a new angle of attack against cancer.
News in Science Friday, 27 April 2012 AFP Primordial life After two decades of examining a microscopic algae-eater that lives in a lake in Norway, scientists have declared it to be one of the world's oldest living organisms and human's remotest relative. The elusive, single-cell creature evolved about a billion years ago and did not fit in any of the known categories of living organisms - it was not an animal, plant, parasite, fungus or alga, they say. Oldest human ancestor found in lake sludge › News in Science (ABC Science)
Move over DNA: Six new molecules can carry genes - life - 19 April 2012 - New Scientist
Fighting Fire With Fire: Vampire Bacteria Has Potential as Living Antibiotic Listen to the UVA Today Radio Show report on this story by Fariss Samarrai: October 31, 2011 — A vampire-like bacteria that leeches onto specific other bacteria – including certain human pathogens – has the potential to serve as a living antibiotic for a range of infectious diseases, a new study indicates. The bacterium, Micavibrio aeruginosavorus, was discovered to inhabit wastewater nearly 30 years ago, but has not been extensively studied because it is difficult to culture and investigate using traditional microbiology techniques. However, biologists in the University of Virginia's College of Arts & Sciences, Martin Wu and graduate student Zhang Wang, have decoded its genome and are learning "how it makes its living," Wu said. The bacterium "makes its living" by seeking out prey – certain other bacteria – and then attaching itself to its victim's cell wall and essentially sucking out nutrients.
L.A. Cicero Christina Smolke Imagine if your doctor could look for cancer in your body just by checking for green glowing cells, alerting her to the presence of the disease. Imagine further that she could convince any cancerous cells in your body to commit suicide, while leaving your healthy cells unaffected. In Friday's issue of Science, a Stanford researcher reported engineered biological "devices" that could one day offer these kinds of diagnostic and treatment options. researchers engineered molecule changes itself to detect and attack diseased cells
100 - The Mapping of Humanitys Family Tree
NOAA Scientists Confirm BP Oil Spill Harms Dolphins and Deep-Sea Corals | Environment | English - StumbleUpon S cientists Find Sick Dolphins and Deep-Water Corals in Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Zone Two groups of scientists say they have identified signs of poor health in dolphins and in deep-sea corals due to exposure to polluted water in the northern Gulf of Mexico where the Deepwater Horizon oil spill occurred nearly two years ago. The deadly April 2010 disaster is the worst off-shore oil spill in U.S. history. A team of biologists assessing the health of a resident pod of dolphins in the Gulf’s Barataria Bay say their preliminary findings indicate the marine mammals are suffering from low body weight, anemia, low blood sugar, and symptoms of liver and lung disease. Also, nearly half of the 32 dolphins they tested in mid-2011 have abnormally low levels of certain hormones that help with stress response, metabolism and immune function.
Exploiting the smell of genetically modified fear - StumbleUpon
Sign in to read: Sleeper cells: How to fight bacteria that play dead - 28 March 2012 - New Scientist - StumbleUpon Editorial: "Antibiotics are wonder drugs no more" TAKE a lawnmower to a field of grass and, with the blades on the right setting, you can raze it to the ground. It might look brutal, but all you are removing is the leaves. The roots remain. After the mower is gone, the plants start to grow again and within a few days, the field is back. It now looks as if bacteria have a similar trick up their sleeve.
Bacteria found in fluid used to carry transplant organs | The Sun |News|Politics - StumbleUpon
Bacteria use chat to play the prisoners dilemma game in deciding their fate When faced with life-or-death situations, bacteria -- and maybe even human cells -- use an extremely sophisticated version of "game theory" to consider their options and decide upon the best course of action, scientists reported in San Diego March 27. In a presentation at the 243rd National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), they said microbes "play" a version of the classic "Prisoner's Dilemma" game. José Onuchic, Ph.D., who headed the research team, said these and other new insights into the "chat" sessions that bacteria use to communicate among themselves -- information about cell stress, the colony density (quorum-sensing peptides) and the stress status and inclinations of neighboring cells (peptide pheromones) -- could have far-reaching medical applications. "Using this form of cell-to-cell communication, colonies of billions or trillions of bacteria can literally reach a consensus on actions that impact people," Onuchic explained.
The major difference between plant and animal cells is the photosynthetic process, which converts light energy into chemical energy. When light isn't available, energy is generated by breaking down carbohydrates and sugars, just as it is in animal and some bacterial cells. Two cellular organelles are responsible for these two processes: the chloroplasts for photosynthesis and the mitochondria for sugar breakdown. logy Magazine
NORMAN, Okla. — Since humanity missed the big moment the first time around, biologists trying to understand the origins of complex life have coaxed single-celled microbes to evolve into multicellular forms capable of reproduction. Common lab yeast normally live as single cells that bud off single-celled offspring. But challenging generations of yeast with conditions that make solo life tough led to spiky multicelled yeast forms within about two months, said Will Ratcliff of the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Multicellular Life Arises In A Test Tube - Science News
When a hobby-store owner in Cincinnati sliced off his fingertip in 2005 while showing a customer why the motor on his model plane was dangerous, he went to the emergency room without the missing tip. He couldn't find it anywhere. The doctor bandaged the wound and recommended a skin graft to cover the top of his right-middle stub for cosmetic purposes, since nothing could be done to rebuild the finger. Discovery Health &Can humans regrow fingers?&
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Institute for Systems Biology: Home - StumbleUpon
A novel approach in the study of the development of mammalian embryos was reported on February 14 in the journal Nature Communications. The research, from the laboratory of Professor Magdalena Zernicka-Goetz of the University of Cambridge, enables scientists to view critical aspects of embryonic development which was previously unobservable. For several decades it has been possible to culture embryos from a single cell, the fertilised egg, to the blastocyst, a ball of some 64 cells all derived from the first by repeated rounds of cell division. In practical terms this has allowed the development of the in vitro fertilisation techniques that are used world-wide to assist fertility. It has also enabled scientists to learn much about these early stages of development during which cells take the very first decisions about their future. Critical stage of embryonic development now observable
Do-it-yourself: Cathal Garvey, 26, poses in the biology laboratory he created in his mother’s spare bedroom. In a spare bedroom of his family’s house in County Cork, Ireland, Cathal Garvey is repeating the feats that led to the dawn of the biotechnology age. He’s growing bacteria. He’s adding DNA. Doing Biotech in My Bedroom - Technology Review - StumbleUpon