Evolution

Category archives for Evolution

How the Appaloosa got its leopard spots

I have no idea how the leopard got its spots, but scientists have figured out how horses got their leopard spots! Evidence for a Retroviral Insertion in TRPM1 as the Cause of Congenital Stationary Night Blindness and Leopard Complex Spotting in the Horse Get this! Scientists have known for a few years that it is…

Which came first? The chicken or the blue egg?

After I cleared up everyones confusion on why chicken gonads are lopsided, and why we have white chickens, I thought I would tackle another one of lifes great mysteries. Admit it. Youve wondered where the hell blue chicken eggs come from. I ‘get’ brown eggs. I ‘get’ white, kinda. BUT WHERE THE HELL DID BLUE COME…

CSI: Virology

The best mysteries are ones where the reader, if they are following along carefully, can figure out the answer to the problem as the lead characters do. If you read science blogs and love evolution, then you know exactly where this is headed: Molecular evolution in court: analysis of a large hepatitis C virus outbreak…

The News in HIV the past few weeks has been the same message: Get people tested. Get people antiretrovirals. It saves lives. YAY!!! KINDA! FOR NOW! Test and Treat in Los Angeles: A mathematical model of the effects of test-and-treat for the MSM population in LA County. This group of folks looked at a very…

The Thinking Atheist and ERV!

A few weeks ago, The Thinking Atheist was in town– He gave us a sweet preview of the new video hes planning on officially unveiling at the American Atheists convention and  signing copies of his new book “Deconverted“. Beforehand, he set up some camera equipment and did quick impromptu interviews with fellow OK Skeptics Caleb…

I really hate blogging on non-published information, but for the second time in as many weeks, we have had interesting information come out of CROI.  This bit of news isnt as exciting. It pretty much confirms my annoyed Debbie Downer stance on using antiretrovirals in non-infected individuals as a means to prevent HIV infection (thats…

ERMAHGERD! ERVALANCH! ERVs and Placentas

The connection between ERVs and placentas is already well established. Without a shadow of a doubt, the ability of mammals to generate placentas was, in part, accomplished by domesticating an endogenous retroviral env protein.  In humans, we call this protein syncytin, or ERVWE1. This new paper in Nature Genetics takes the ERV-Placenta connection a step…

The story of ‘How we know where HIV-1 came from’ is really cool– A group of researchers went into the jungles of Africa, collected lots of monkey poop, and figured out pretty much the exact colony of chimpanzees that transmitted their SIV into humans, which lead to the HIV epidemic we know today. Those researchers…

Ferrets have a super rare ERV!

Ive always wanted a ferret.  When I was little, because of this (1m59s): Now, because of stuff like this: Ferrets arent just super cool pets, they also have a very rare ‘gift’– While all organisms genomes are littered with pirate DNA and endogenous retroviruses, endogenous lentiviruses have only been found in three creatures: Bunnies, lemurs,…

Paleovirology seems to work the opposite of the way the Creationist want.  The more information we have, the further back the timeline shifts, not vice versa. For example, we used to think HIV-1 started in humans ~1930, but after we found more ‘old’ HIV sequences, the clock got pushed back to 1902-1921. We used to…