Biology

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Category archives for Biology

This weekend, with spring in the air, ScienceBloggers left their computers and stepped into the wild outdoors. However, as evidenced by the blog entries they scurried to post shortly thereafter, these are not individuals who take a lazy day off from science. From photographing an unidentified turtle to an alluringly blue pansy, these scientists are…

All scientific laboratories are not created equal, a fact evident in the differences in regulations and expectations between large research centers and smaller-scale labs. As Mike the Mad Biologist explains, large genomics labs in particular are subject to productivity standards, such as the swift publicization of genomic sequence data, that smaller labs are not forced…

A paper published May 19 in PLoS ONE has the blogosphere in a frenzy over a 47 million-year-old primate fossil unearthed in Germany that might be the ancestor of all modern day humans, monkeys and apes. Scientists discovered the fossil—they’re calling it Ida—in 1983, but only recently has it been restored. Ida was once a…

Following through with President Obama’s executive order issued March 9, Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Involving Human Stem Cells (link to PDF), the NIH has released a draft of guidelines revising the NIH’s position on how it may fund “responsible, scientifically worthy human stem cell research, including human embryonic stem cell research.” The funding…

As apex organisms in the scope of Earth’s multi-tiered web of life, most of us go about our day-to-day activities oblivious to the fact that bacteria are literally everywhere. Microorganisms can thrive in the most surprising locales—places totally inhospitable to human life. Recently, scientists from Harvard documented a flourishing bacterial ecosystem buried under 400 meters…

A new paper published in Genome Research provides the most comprehensive scan to date of the genetic signatures of natural selection resulting from the last 10-40,000 years of human evolution, with some intriguing results. The results show strikingly different patterns of selection in distantly related human populations, suggesting that different human groups have adapted to…

The Buzz: Myths About Darwin

There are several misconceptions circulating about Charles Darwin and his revolutionary ideas and theories in the field of evolution. That’s why, in honor of Darwin’s birthday last month, ScienceBlogger John Wilkins from Evolving Thoughts took it upon himself to clear things up. In his eight-part series, “Myths about Darwin,” Wilkins addresses and debunks claims such…

Among the non-coding DNA that composes a large percentage of the genomes of humans and other eukaryotic organisms, pseudogenes are genes that were once active but were rendered defunct by mutations at some point in evolutionary history. But some pseudogenes may regain their functionality. A study published in PLoS Genetics last week revealed that a…

In this week’s episode of Science Saturday, John Horgan chats with philosopher Denis Dutton about his book, “The Art Instinct,” which argues that our artistic values are due, in significant part, to biological adaptations dating back to the Pleistocene. Next, John and Denis discuss sex and creativity, why there is no art of smell, and…

The Buzz: Was Darwin “Wrong?”

ScienceBloggers are up in arms about the cover article of New Scientist which boldly proclaims “Darwin was Wrong.” The article, authored by Graham Lawton, explains that occurrences such as horizontal gene transfer and hybridization transform the shape of Darwin’s famous tree into something more like a thicket with criss-crossing branches. But some argue that new…