microbes to man

Epigenetic pharmacology and RNA-mediated transciptional landscapes

Last year, Vosshall’s group eliminated ideas about the involvement of beneficial mutations in the nutrient-dependent cell type differentiation of mosquitoes. orco mutant mosquitoes lose strong preference for humans and are not repelled by volatile DEET. This year her group showed that nutrient-dependent amino acid substitutions clearly are involved in cell type differentiation. Evolution of mosquito preference for humans linked to an odorant receptor RNA-mediated events have since been linked to sexual dimorphism in mosquitoes. Examination of the genetic basis for sexual…

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Are mutations beneficial?

Researchers develop non-invasive method to detect tumor-causing mutations in saliva Excerpt: “…a multiplexible electrochemical sensor uses electrode chips to enable vesicular entities in saliva called exosomes to rapidly release molecular constituents (DNA, RNA and proteins) while simultaneously detecting any mutations in tumor-causing DNA sequences. The total detection time is less than 10 minutes and required a small saliva sample.” My comment: This news about multiplexing attests to the complexity of systems biology, which links amino acid substitutions to mutated DNA…

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Ecological adaptations reported as evolution in insects and mammals

Evolution of mosquito preference for humans linked to an odorant receptor Excerpt: “Our results also provide insight into the molecular basis of behavioural evolution.” See their diagram in Extended Data Figure 3: Amino acid differences of major Or4 protein alleles. Excerpt: Dots represent amino acid differences with respect to the genome reference, not an inferred ancestor. Reported as: Study suggests how mosquitoes evolved an attraction to human scent Excerpt: The switch from preferring animals to humans involves a variety of…

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There’s a model for that!

Neuroscientists reveal mechanism crucial to molding male brains Excerpt 1) “…sex differences in brain function are established during the later stages of foetal development and around birth, but the actual cellular mechanisms underlying these important actions remained unknown.” My comment: In our 1996 Hormones and Behavior review we provided details about how these cellular mechanisms link sex differences in brain function, which are established during the later stages of fetal development, to the sex differences that are established perinatally. We…

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Biologists puzzled by evolved RNAs and decaying DNA

Horizontal Transfer of Entire Genomes via Mitochondrial Fusion in the Angiosperm Amborella (December, 2013) Excerpt) “The ancestral angiosperm-wide genome duplication apparent in the Amborella genome not only serves as a genetic marker for the origin of extant angiosperms, but it may also have set in motion a series of events as numerous genes evolved novel functions, eventually leading to modern flowering plants.” See also: The Amborella Genome and the Evolution of Flowering Plants Excerpt) “Evolution of Small RNAs More than…

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Nothing new under the sun, except pseudoscientific nonsense

On the Importance of Being a Methodological Naturalist Posted on November 5, 2014 by David Sloan Wilson Excerpt: “…consider the flying spaghetti monster, a deity invented to poke fun at religion. It is ridiculous, but is there any way to prove that it doesn’t exist?” Conclusion: “If religious believers abandon methodological naturalism, then they are forced to deny not only the laws of physics and the facts biological evolution, but the histories of their own religions.” My comments: DS Wilson is…

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Intelligent viruses and cancers?

The Very Intelligent Ebola Virus Takes Front and Center Excerpt 1) “Ebola doesn’t enter the nucleus. It uses the cell’s machinery of ribosomes and transfer RNA to make proteins from the viral messengerRNA.” Excerpt 2) “Normally, mechanisms inside the nucleus have complex relations with messenger RNA and the alternative RNA editing process (see RNA alternative editing post). Specific protein complexes help splice the messengerRNA before it is sent from the nucleus to the ribosomes in the cytoplasm to make proteins.”…

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We need pattern recognition, not a prologue

Prolegomenon “a preliminary discussion…; a prologue.” “… we need a mapping from genotype to phenotype, from phenotype to what is selected, and from what is selected to the new genotype (Lewontin, 1961). — cited in Prolegomenon to patterns in evolution Excerpt:  “…we cannot derive what selection, acting at the level of the whole organism in its world, will “select” among the possible but unprestatable…” My comment: Organisms naturally select the nutrients that enable thermodynamic cycles of protein biosynthesis and degradation,…

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Pharmacogenomics

“The gene, cell, tissue, organ, organ-system pathway is a neuroscientifically established link between sensory input and behavior. Marts and Resnick (2007) stress the importance of this pathway in the context of a systems biology approach to pharmacogenomics.” (Kohl, 2012) “Naftolin (1981) stressed its importance to the understanding of sex differences. This pathway is sensitive to conditioning. Sensory input from an organism’s environment activates and reactivates the pathway and causes changes in hormone secretion that condition hormone-driven behavior.” (Kohl, 2012) See…

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Are evolutionary theorists 'nob ends'?

Interview – Prof Brian Cox and Robin Ince Robin Ince “Am I wrong to sometimes be scared of science idiots?” Brian Cox  “…my favoured response would be: ‘you bunch of utter nob ends’.  See also:  “The problem with today’s world is that everyone believes they have the right to express their opinion AND have others listen to it. The correct statement of individual rights is that everyone has the right to an opinion, but crucially, that opinion can be roundly…

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