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Archives for November, 2006

Are There Three Domains of Life?

Like a lot of evolutionary biologists not studying the root of the tree of life, I assumed the three domain hypothesis was fairly well supported by the research community. This model posits that the tree of life can be broken up into three taxa at its most basal level: eukaryotes, bacteria, and archaea. It’s the…

An Awesome Paleo-Microbiology Project

Most of the DNA sequenced from the Neanderthal genome projects came from the microbes that decomposed the dead fella’. This poses a problem for the human geneticists who are only interested in the Neanderthal DNA. But you could probably do some interesting things with the non-Neanderthal DNA. John Hawks says: I suppose if you were…

A Blog Carnival Devoted to the Microscopic

After a month-long hiatus, a new edition of Animalicules is available at Baumhaus (I think the name means tree house). Animalicules has posts from around the blogosphere about microscopic living things. Check it out.

Your Review of Grant Review Sucks

. . . and so does the current grant review system. And manuscript review sucks, too. And your argument is based on flawed data. A couple of months ago I posted on an article in Cell that drew parallels between the NIH grant review process and the TV show American Idol. As someone new to…

The DNA Sequencing Wars

Yesterday, I mentioned that one of the greatest technological developments that contributed to the evolution of population genetics was the automation of DNA sequencing. I was unaware, however, that the automated DNA sequencing method that most people use was patented by a group from Caltech (including Leroy Hood) in 1998. The actual invention was conceived…

Good Nerdy Pickup Lines

The editors are asking us for the best pickup lines for scientists and science-savvy folks. How’s about this: Hey baby, that’s a nice cleavage furrow, how about we introgress? I promise, no incomplete penetrance.

More Sexy Caveman News

Razib and John Hawks have been all over the Neanderthal introgression story, but they hinted that there was more. And they thought that more would come from Svante Paabo. And it has, in the form of one million base pairs of Neanderthal DNA sequence published in this week’s issue of Nature (here is Nature‘s Neanderthal…

The Dumb Polack Jokes Write Themselves

Nature has published a correspondence from Maciej Giertych, a Polish biologist, defending his view that evolutionary biology is bullshit. He’s actually striking back at Nature for this news item on creationism in Poland. Long story short, the League of Polish Families (LPR), a group led by Roman Giertych (Maciej Giertych’s son), has been pushing for…

Dan Hartl just finished a two day whirlwind speaking tour at my university (three talks in under 24 hours). He discussed detecting weak selection in protein coding sequences, identifying the underlying genetic causes of phenotypic variation in yeast, and the genetics of malaria parasites. I won’t get into the details of these talks, but I…

As I’ve pointed out before, the big division in biology is currently between computational groups and wet labs. Michael White agrees with me. Here’s his take on the current state of computational work in cell biology: The result is that you get different groups coming up with all sorts of new analyses of the same…