Genetics

Category archives for Genetics

A Fortunate Universe: Life in a Finely Tuned Cosmos This is a concept that has always fascinated me, ever since reading some stuff about the Periodic Table of Elements. Check it out: Over the last forty years, scientists have uncovered evidence that if the Universe had been forged with even slightly different properties, life as…

Genetics and Food Security

There is a food crisis sneaking up on us right now. A lot of them, actually. A lot of little one, some big ones. There are always places in the world where food has become scarce for at time, and people starve or move. You’ve heard of the “”Syrian refugee crisis,” and the often extreme…

Temperature and sex determination

Some interesting new research. The paper is, unfortunately, behind a paywall but they made a video, so it is worth posting. Here’s the press release for the paper: Scientists know that temperature determines sex in certain reptiles—alligators, lizards, turtles, and possibly dinosaurs. In many turtles, warm temperatures during incubation create females. Cold temperatures, males. But…

It turns out that coffee is special

But you knew that already. The Coffea canephora Genome has been sequenced. This is probably more important than the Human Genome project because humans are completely useless first thing in the morning, but coffee is very important first thing in the morning. Some important plant evolution involves wholesale duplication of large parts of the genome.…

Imagine that there is a trait observed among people that seems to occur more frequently in some families and not others. One might suspect that the trait is inherited genetically. Imagine researchers looking for the genetic underpinning of this trait and at first, not finding it. What might you conclude? It could be reasonable to…

Let’s say you want to do a market-related study in which you gain entry to one thousand homes representing sets of people defined by the usual variables of income, ethnicity, urban-suburban lifestyle etc. The first thing you do is to ask a few people, real nice like, if you can go through their stuff and…

I might be exaggerating slightly about the ready availability of the materials… Regenesis: How Synthetic Biology Will Reinvent Nature and Ourselves by George Church and Ed Regis looks like a futurist tome on what could happen when technology finally catches up with human imagination and everything changes. Except it isn’t. Most futurists are people with…

Demonstration of the Double Helix

This is a proof of concept blog post. Please give it a try and let me know if it works for you! Double Helix from the Wolfram Demonstrations Project by Sándor Kabai

Bedbugs (Insects of the Cimicidae family, commonly Cimex lectularius) are annoying, might carry diseases (though this is unclear, so probably nothing importat1, and are apparently becoming more common in the US. Interestingly, there has been very little study done of their genetics. A new study just out in PLoS ONE looks at the bedbug genome…

Human infants require more care than they should, if we form our expectations based on closely related species (apes, and more generally, Old World simian primates). It has been said that humans are born three months early. This is not accurate. It was thought that our body size predicted a 12 month gestation, and some…