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Thursday 26th July saw the launch of SciLogs.com , a new English language science blog network. 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 .
Twins aren't clones.
"One of the most commonly created forms of synthetic DNA is XNA,"
Mark Gasson had caught a bad bug. 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.
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.
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.
Evolution :: Features :: November 23, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Microorganisms trying to eat one another may have led to the symbiotic merger of their genes—and also started the process of aging By Lynn Margulis
Discover the cosmos!
Evolution :: News :: October 19, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Experiments with worms show that altering an enzyme can not only lengthen their life spans, but that the longevity effect can be carried across several generations By Sarah Fecht Research on nemotode worms is helping to illuminate ways to lengthen their lifetimes.
Evolution :: 60-Second Science :: November 2, 2011 :: :: Email :: Print Most animal vocal cords are triangular, but the uniquely stretchable square cords of the big cats let them produce their amazingly loud roars. Rose Eveleth reports For many potential entrée animals this [sound of lion roar] is one of the scariest sounds around.
Image: Gunnar Newquist. 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. Scroll down to watch a movie of a root growing or look at a photo of bugs eating bugs » View the Tiniest Creatures Slide Show
Let’s rewind time back about 3.5 billion years.
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.
I’ve mentioned magnetic bacteria a couple of times now, so I got quite excited when Lucas Brouwers alerted me to a recent paper in Science (ref below) that explored a whole new group of magnetic bacteria.
Zoology & Animal behaviour