Biology

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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". 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

This follows the blanket pardon issued in 2010 for the following words: palette - a range of color characteristics, or the board on which artists mix paints, OR the valve under an organ pipe connected to the keyboards pallette - a rounded plate in the armpit of a suit of armor, OR the flat paddle used on a baccarat table to gather cards. Pulp Science Fiction Under German Totalitarianism.

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 SciLogs.com, a new English language science blog network.

The origin of breathing: how bacteria learnt to use oxygen

SciLogs.com, 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 nature.com’s Soapbox Science blog, Scitable’s Student Voices blog and bloggers from SciLogs.com, SciLogs.de, 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. You can also follow and contribute to the conversations on social media by using the #BeginScights hashtag. 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. but which one is the real one? 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. "Overall, this leads to high cost and a high failure rate for potential therapies - there is still only a single licenced [nucleic acid-based] drug on the market (Macugen). " 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

How do these patterns arise? 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.”

Diversity by 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 DNA: The Molecule that Defines You Animation Credit & Copyright: Drew Berry, WEHI, HHMI, DNALC. 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. Lions and Tigers Bear Vocal Cords for Roars: Scientific American Podcast. For many potential entrée animals this [sound of lion roar] is one of the scariest sounds around. Scientists long thought the lion’s distinctive roar was due to thick layers of fat inside the vocal cords. But new research suggests that it's not the fat that makes the roar, it's the shape of the vocal cords themselves. 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. We’re bringing you an additional selection here of worthy stills and videos that we’re sure will fascinate and amaze. Evolution: The Rise of Complexity. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Infinity Imagined. Logy Magazine. 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. 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. 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.