human

Gene creation (revisited)

New genes from non-coding sequence: the role of de novo protein-coding genes in eukaryotic evolutionary innovation Abstract: The origin of novel protein-coding genes de novo was once considered so improbable as to be impossible. In less than a decade, and especially in the last five years, this view has been overturned by extensive evidence from diverse eukaryotic lineages. There is now evidence that this mechanism has contributed a significant number of genes to genomes of organisms as diverse as Saccharomyces,…

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RNA-mediated development (2)

For contrast to everything currently known about RNA-mediated development, see the comments of my antagonists to the following discussions. April 15, 2015 Quantum Criticality in life’s proteins (Update) May 20, 2015 John Glenn: Evolution should be taught in schools June 2, 2015 Comparison of bonobo anatomy to humans offers evolutionary clues June 2, 2015 How Microprocessor precisely initiates miRNA production June 4, 2015 Decaying RNA molecules tell a story June 4, 2015 DNA breakage underlies both learning, age-related damage June…

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RNA-mediated species specificity

Species-Specific Scientists uncover striking differences between mouse and human gene expression across a variety of tissues. By Jyoti Madhusoodanan | November 17, 2014 Excerpt: “…results published today (November 17) in PNAS reveal widespread differences between human and mouse gene expression, both in protein-coding and noncoding genes, suggesting that understanding these disparities could help explain fundamental differences in the two species’ physiology.” My comment:  See also: Physiology is rocking the foundations of evolutionary biology  Conclusion: “Perhaps the elegant mathematics and the…

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2014 and 2004 Nobel Prize in Medicine

2014 Nobel Prize in Medicine is Awarded for Discovery of Brain’s ‘Inner GPS’ Excerpt: “… gray lines show the path followed by a rat as it moves around a box looking for pieces of food.” 2014 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for finding brain’s ‘you are here’ cells Excerpt: John Stein, professor of physiology at Oxford University, said: “This is great news and well deserved. I remember how great was the scoffing in the early 1970s when John first…

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Did our adapted mind evolve? (Revisited)

Did our adapted mind evolve? In my extended comments on this topic I concluded with “Experience-dependent changes in DNA methylation can exert profound effects on neuronal function and behaviour. A single learning event can induce a variety of DNA modifications within the neuronal genome, some of which may be common to all individuals experiencing the event, whereas others may occur in a subset of individuals.” The experience-dependent changes are due to RNA-directed DNA methylation (i.e., RNA-mediated events, not evolutionary events).…

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Watching and waiting for more retractions

Brain Genetics Paper Retracted A study that identified genes linked to communication between different areas of the brain has been retracted by its authors because of statistical flaws. By Anna Azvolinsky | September 4, 2014 Excerpt: “This retraction raises the issue of how many papers may have falsely reported gene associations because of the constantly evolving changes in gene assemblies and boundaries. That’s really alarming to me.” My comment: I am alarmed by those who report anything in terms of…

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Drunks and Monkeys: Pseudoscientific nonsense

Drunks and Monkeys Understanding our primate ancestors’ relationship with alcohol can inform its use by modern humans. By Robert Dudley | June 1, 2014 Excerpt: “…if the right kinds of bacteria are also present, fermentation will stabilize certain foodstuffs (think cheese, yogurt, sauerkraut, and kimchi, for example).” My comment:  Epigenetic changes induced by ethanol in astrocytes link histone acetylation, DNA methylation, and non-coding microRNAs in the developing and adult brain from frugivory to the nutrient-dependent de novo creation of olfactory receptor genes in bats. The…

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Ecologically linked adapted ants and brains

Ants Swarm Like Brains Think A neuroscientist studies ant colonies to understand feedback in the brain. By Carrie Arnold April 24, 2014 Excerpt: “The behavior of each individual in the group is set by the rate at which it meets other ants and a set of basic rules. Its behavior alters that of its neighbors, which in turn affects the original ant, in a classic example of feedback. The result is astonishing, complex behavior.” My comment: The molecular mechanisms of…

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