A Blog Around The Clock

My picks from ScienceDaily

Biological Basis For The Eight-hour Workday?:

The circadian clock coordinates physiological and behavioral processes on a 24-hour rhythm, allowing animals to anticipate changes in their environment and prepare accordingly. Scientists already know that some genes are controlled by the clock and are turned on only one time during each 24-hour cycle.

Now, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and the Salk Institute for Biological Studies found that some genes are switched on once every 12 or 8 hours, indicating that shorter cycles of the circadian rhythm are also biologically encoded. Using a novel time-sampling approach in which the investigators looked at gene activity in the mouse liver every hour for 48 hours, they also found 10-fold more genes controlled by the 24-hour clock than previously reported.

‘Super Reefs’ Fend Off Climate Change, Study Says:

The Wildlife Conservation Society announced today a study showing that some coral reefs off East Africa are unusually resilient to climate change due to improved fisheries management and a combination of geophysical factors. WCS announced the results of the study at the International Coral Reef Initiative (ICRI), which is meeting this week in Phuket, Thailand.

Swine Flu: Public Health Emergency Declared, Investigation Continues:

As new human cases of swine influenza A (H1N1) virus infection are identified in the United States and internationally, health officials around the world are continuing their investigation and response effort surrounding the outbreak of swine flu.

Single-molecule Nano-vehicles Synthesized: ‘Fantastic Voyage’ Not So Far-Fetched:

Imagine producing vehicles so small they would be about the size of a molecule and powered by engines that run on sugar. To top it off, a penny would buy a million of them.

Wimps Hear Dangerous Noises Differently:

Scrawnier people are more likely to perceive an approaching sound as closer than it actually is. This connection between physical fitness and the brain’s auditory system may have evolved to help the weak get out of the way of approaching danger.

Lithium And The Brain: New Light On Bipolar Treatment Drugs:

Lithium has been established for more than 50 years as one of the most effective treatments for bipolar mood disorder. However, scientists have never been entirely sure exactly how it operates in the human brain.

Evolution Of Human Sex Roles More Complex Than Described By Universal Theory:

A new study challenges long-standing expectations that men are promiscuous and women tend to be more particular when it comes to choosing a mate. The research suggests that human mating strategies are not likely to conform to a single universal pattern and provides important insights that may impact future investigations of human mating behaviors.

New Blow Against Dinosaur-killing Asteroid Theory, Geologists Find:

The enduringly popular theory that the Chicxulub crater holds the clue to the demise of the dinosaurs, along with some 65 percent of all species 65 million years ago, is challenged in a paper to be published in the Journal of the Geological Society on April 27, 2009.

Live-in Domestics: Mites As Maids In Tropical Rainforest Sweat Bee Nests:

Mites not only inhabit the dust bunnies under the bed, they also occupy the nests of tropical sweat bees where they keep fungi in check. Bees and their young are healthier when mites live-in, report researchers from the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama and the University of Texas at Austin.

Lice Can Be Nice To Us: Louse Infestation Calibrates Immune System Regulation:

Parasite infestations might have a good side. Wild mice from a Nottinghamshire forest have given experts at The University of Nottingham clues as to the importance of some parasites, such as lice, for the conditioning of a “natural” immune system.

DNA Of Uncultured Organisms Sequenced Using Novel Single-cell Approach:

Scientists from the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Joint Genome Institute (JGI) and the Bigelow Laboratory for Ocean Sciences have assembled high quality, contamination-free draft genomes of uncultured biodegrading microorganisms using a novel single cell genome sequencing approach.


  1. #1 llewelly
    April 28, 2009

    The first article is an excellent example of how ignorant, sensationalist, misleading headlines can make an article unnecessarily confusing.
    8-hour cycles in gene expression do not necessarily indicate ‘Biological Basis For The Eight-hour Workday’ .

  2. #2 Coturnix
    April 28, 2009

    Correct – I have read the paper, know the authors well, and that is not what their work suggests.

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