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Fantastically Wrong: What Darwin Really Screwed Up About Evolution. Oh cheer up, old pal.

Fantastically Wrong: What Darwin Really Screwed Up About Evolution

You had one of the greatest ideas ever. So what if you got a bit of it wrong? Plus, you’ve got that sweet beard. Not all of us can have such sweet beards. It’s hard to overstate just how brilliant and huge an idea Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection was and continues to be. More Fantastically Wrong Science But contrary to popular belief today, scientists were kicking around the idea of evolution before Darwin—even Charles’ grandpa, Erasmus, alluded to it in verse, like a true OG. There was a bit of a problem with all of this natural selection stuff, though: Darwin didn’t know how it, uh, worked.

Why are there gay, lesbian, and bisexual people? We know now that homosexuality is connected to genetics — and there's probably more than one gene involved.

Why are there gay, lesbian, and bisexual people?

But why would that trait have been selected for strongly enough to make it present in 5-to-15 percent of the population? At The Conversation, geneticist Jenny Graves presents an interesting theory that I'd never heard before. Homosexuality is evolutionarily adaptive, according to this idea, because the same genes that give you women who love women and men who love men also give you men who love women and women who love men. In fact, Graves suggests, it's better to think of these genes as "male loving" and "female loving" rather than "gay" or "lesbian" or "straight". They may be common because these variant genes, in a female, predispose her to mate earlier and more often, and to have more children. This all puts an interesting twist on the whole "gay gene" conversation.

Image: Some Rights Reserved by Quinn Dombrowski. Scientists snap a picture of DNA’s double helix for the very first time. As chairman of the Grammar Nazi Party, I would like to issue a blanket pardon to anyone who screws up discreet and discrete.

Scientists snap a picture of DNA’s double helix for the very first time

Pulp Science Fiction Under German Totalitarianism. Strange, yesterday came across old German pulp magazines as I was researching the whole Eurospy genre.

Pulp Science Fiction Under German Totalitarianism

Rolf Torring, Kommissar X, Henry Cotton (of which they created a terrible, terrible reboot film) but most of all Perry Rhodan. I think PR is among the most popular ongoing SF pulp fiction in the world, there are still many, many readers. Pulp Science Fiction Under German Totalitarianism. The 10 Books You Absolutely Must Read to Understand the History of Earth. The 10 Books You Absolutely Must Read to Understand the History of Earth. The origin of breathing: how bacteria learnt to use oxygen. Thursday 26th July saw the launch of, a new English language science blog network., the brand-new home for Nature Network bloggers, forms part of the SciLogs international collection of blogs which already exist in German, Spanish and Dutch. To celebrate this addition to the NPG science blogging family, some of the NPG blogs are publishing posts focusing on “Beginnings”. Participating in this cross-network blogging festival is’s Soapbox Science blog, Scitable’s Student Voices blog and bloggers from,, Scitable and Scientific American’s Blog Network. Join us as we explore the diverse interpretations of beginnings – from scientific examples such as stem cells to first time experiences such as publishing your first paper.

The first cloned animals were cloned over a century ago. Clone really just means copy.

The first cloned animals were cloned over a century ago

When an organism has identical genes to the original. A twin is a copy(ergo clone) of the other twin. Though in this case telling which is the original is a bit hard if not impossible. This post is written in a font made of DNA. Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About DNA. "One of the most commonly created forms of synthetic DNA is XNA," I need to make a correction here: I've read the Pinheiro paper.

Ten Things You Probably Didn't Know About DNA

XNA is not one particular molecule, it's a collection of different types where "X" is "fill in the blank for a replacement for deoxyribose. " Also, don't oversell it: they're making aptamers, not introducing it into organisms and watching it evolve free of human tinkering. XNA is synthetic DNA that's stronger than the real thing. But scientists have been synthesizing XNA molecules for well over a decade.

XNA is synthetic DNA that's stronger than the real thing

Your link appears not to be a link, but certainly PNAs (peptide nucleic acids - not really nucleic acids, but still ...) and GNAs (glycol nucleic acids) have been documented since the early '90s, so, yes, considerably more than a decade. Could Human and Computer Viruses Merge, Leaving Both Realms Vulnerable? Mark Gasson had caught a bad bug.

Could Human and Computer Viruses Merge, Leaving Both Realms Vulnerable?

Though he was not in pain, he was keenly aware of the infection raging in his left hand, knowing he could put others at risk by simply coming too close. But his virus wasn’t a risk for humans.

Human body

Alan Turing's 60-Year-Old Prediction About Patterns in Nature Proven True. Image by Flickr user quinn.anya Nature, for all of its free-wheeling weeds and lightning strikes, is also full of biological regularity: the rows of an alligator’s teeth, the stripes on a zebrafish, the spacing of a chicken’s feathers.

Alan Turing's 60-Year-Old Prediction About Patterns in Nature Proven True

The Oldest Living Trees in the World. Great project.

The Oldest Living Trees in the World

Reminds me of the Douglas Adams book "Last Chance to See", about travelling all over the word to get a glimpse of various extremely endangered species, about which he wrote movingly and as wittily as he always wrote. You remind us with this article that your photographs and journey may also be many people's "last chance to see" some of these Oldest Living Things, because although they seem a permanent fixture of the world, they're still ephemeral, and we humans don't know whether the last day of even their natural lifespan might be tomorrow. I hope you're considering eventually publishing your gorgeous photographs, with information and commentary, as a book. Diversity by Design. The recent Nature paper from Jef Boeke’s group, “Synthetic chromosome arms function in yeast and generate phenotypic diversity by design,” begins with an appropriately futuristic sentence: “The first phase of any genome engineering project is design.”

While there have been efforts to redesign viral genomes and chemically synthesize bacterial genomes, whole genomes of living cells are not yet something that can readily be designed from scratch. This new paper (excellently reviewed by Lab Rat a while back) approaches the design of genomes in a fascinating way; instead of trying to decide in advance what a good engineered/engineerable genome looks like or simply copying an existing genome, they designed the sequence of one arm of a yeast chromosome (about 90,000 base pairs) with built-in genetic flexibility, enabling future experiments and future evolution.

Did Sex Emerge from Cannibalism? Sex, Death and Kefir, by Lynn Margulis (1938–2011) Editor's note: This essay, by renowned evolutionary biologist Lynn Margulis, was published in the August 1994 issue of Scientific American with the title, "Sex, Death and Kefir. " Margulis died on Tuesday in her home, according to a statement released by the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, where she was a Distinguished University Professor of Geosciences. She is best known for her work on how symbiosis led to the evolution of organelles, which were once independent organisms (she describes her theory in her August 1971 Scientific American article "Symbiosis and Evolution" (pdf), which you can read if your library has an institutional subscription).

She was also a major contributor to the Gaia theory, which posits that Earth is a self-regulating complex system, and was once married to astronomer Carl Sagan. Sex, Death and Kefir. 2012 August 21 - DNA: The Molecule that Defines You. Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer. 2012 August 21. Molecular Visualizations of DNA - Original High Quality Version. Longevity Shown for First Time to Be Inherited via a Non-DNA Mechanism. In October 2009 Stanford University geneticist Anne Brunet was sitting in her office when graduate student Eric Greer came to her with a slightly heretical question.

Brunet's lab had recently learned that they could lengthen a worm's lifetime by manipulating levels of an enzyme called SET2. "What if extending a worm's lifetime using SET2 can affect the life span of its descendants, even if the descendants have normal amounts of the enzyme? " he asked. The question was unorthodox, Brunet says, "because it touches upon the Lamarckian idea that you can inherit acquired traits, which biologists have believed false for years. " The biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck theorized in 1809 that the traits exhibited by an organism during its lifetime were augmented in its offspring; a giraffe that regularly stretched its neck to eat would father calves whose necks were longer. Brunet and Greer went ahead with the experiment. Lions and Tigers Bear Vocal Cords for Roars: Scientific American Podcast.

Stunning Images Under the Microscope Capture the Lives of the Tiniest Creatures [Slide Show] The Olympus BioScapes International Imaging Competition provides a selection of photographs that flame off our pages each December in riotous color. A good portion of the magazine would have to be given over to the contest to give every photo its due. Evolution: The Rise of Complexity. Let’s rewind time back about 3.5 billion years. Our beloved planet looks nothing like the lush home we know today – it is a turbulent place, still undergoing the process of formation. Land is a fluid concept, consisting of molten lava flows being created and destroyed by massive volcanoes.

The air is thick with toxic gasses like methane and ammonia which spew from the eruptions. Over time, water vapor collects, creating our first weather events, though on this early Earth there is no such thing as a light drizzle. Boiling hot acid rain pours down on the barren land for millions of years, slowly forming bubbling oceans and seas. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined.

Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Logy Magazine. When a bacterial cell divides into two daughter cells and those two cells divide into four more daughters, then 8, then 16 and so on, the result, biologists have long assumed, is an eternally youthful population of bacteria. Bacteria, in other words, don’t age—at least not in the same way all other organisms do. But a study conducted by evolutionary biologists at the University of California, San Diego questions that longstanding paradigm. In a paper published in the November 8 issue of the journal Current Biology, they conclude that not only do bacteria age, but that their ability to age allows bacteria to improve the evolutionary fitness of their population by diversifying their reproductive investment between older and more youthful daughters.

An advance copy of the study appears in the journal’s early online edition. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Logy Magazine. BOLD Systems. New Magnetic Bacteria! Infinity Imagined. Gold Leaf Painting. Microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste. EAST LANSING, Mich. — Researchers at Michigan State University have unraveled the mystery of how microbes generate electricity while cleaning up nuclear waste and other toxic metals. Details of the process, which can be improved and patented, are published in the current issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lennart Nilsson Photography. Pictures of the day: 1 December 2011. Evolution World Tour: Galápagos Islands, Ecuador. Before DNA, before RNA: Life in the hodge-podge world - life - 08 January 2012. How I became we, which became I again. Mammals Made By Viruses. If not for a virus, none of us would ever be born. DNA Barcoding Goes Mainstream. 8 Things You Won't Believe Plants Do When No One's Looking. VI. EVOLUTION GOING ON. Alan Turing's Patterns in Nature, and Beyond. Mini Motion: Award-Winning Microscope Videos. Meet the ancestor of all living things on Earth. Can a venus flytrap digest human flesh? Timeline: The evolution of life - life - 14 July 2009. Behold, the future's bioluminescent billboards.

Biological clock began ticking 2.5 billion years ago - life - 16 May 2012. Drew Berry: Animations of unseeable biology. Meet the molecule responsible for giving Earth all of its oxygen. Blonde hair evolved independently in Pacific islands - life - 03 May 2012. Watch this team of scientists make a lion roar. Oh, and did I mention the lion is dead? A plausible end-of-the-world scenario you've probably never thought of. Why Albino Animals Aren't Always White (And Non-Albino Animals Are) Why we evolved two nostrils (hint: it's all about domination)

For the first time in 75 years, an entire genus of mammal is on the brink of extinction. Whoa, a Petri Dish That Has a Pulse. A Microbe Metropolis. Nature Under Glass: Gallery of Victorian Microscope Slides. Life began with a planetary mega-organism - life - 25 November 2011. How does reproductive cloning work? Is it possible to reanimate the dead? Can dead people be brought back to life? Anti-Gravity Machine for Levitating Fruit Flies. Climate Change & Animal Body Size. Life on Earth began in . . . Greenland!? Ancient Plants Resurrected from Siberian Permafrost. Scientists confirm Alan Turing's 60-year-old theory for why tigers have stripes. Zoology & Animal behaviour.