Life Science

“Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing had happened.” -Winston Churchill There was a piece that ran over this weekend in the Wall Street Journal, claiming that the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life is actually evidence pointing towards the existence of God.…

Let’s slap ENCODE around some more

Since we still have someone arguing poorly for the virtues of the ENCODE project, I thought it might be worthwhile to go straight to the source and and cite an ENCODE project paper, Defining functional DNA elements in the human genome. It is a bizarre thing that actually makes the case for rejecting the idea…

Vaccines are good things

Maki Naro has put together a must-read primer on the basics of vaccination, in cartoon form, of course. Send it to all of your denialist friends and family!

Sometimes when you go digging through the databases, you find unexpected things. When I was researching the previous posts on insulin structure and insulin evolution, I found something curious indeed.                     I wanted to find out how many different organisms made insulin, so I used a database…

On pinene and inhibiting enzymes. People of a certain age may remember a series of really funny commercials featuring Euell Gibbons and his famous question about whether you’ve ever eaten a pine tree.  “Some parts are edible” said Euell. Perhaps some parts are, but other pine tree products aren’t so nourishing.  Crystallography365, aka @Crystal_in_city  had a couple of…

Scientists have now determined the complete mitochondrial genome sequence of Aoluguya reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). I wonder if the sequence will hold any more clues as to why Rudolph’s nose is so red and bright. Although according to this prior blog entry perhaps it was the other 8 reindeer who were different… Source: Ju Y, Liu H, Rong M,…

In my last post, I wrote about insulin and interesting features of the insulin structure.  Some of the things I learned were really surprising.  For example, I was surprised to learn how similar pig and human insulin are.  I hadn’t considered this before, but this made me wonder about the human insulin we used to give…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Seems seasonal