17th Jul 2014

Committee meeting today! I’ll take this special occasion to share some of my secret presentation tips:

  1. Dolman style shirts. Not only are they stylish, but they make it less obvious that you are sweating profusely.
  2. Be an excellent cook. No one will pay attention to what you are saying when they could instead be eating something delicious. Oreo cookie balls are so easy, you really have no excuse.
  3. Practice talking to yourself in your office/bedroom instead of the coffee shop. Nobody wants to hear you have conversation about genetic diversity with yourself.
  4. The frozen snowball theory.

Good luck!

14th Jul 2014

The 1% of scientific publishing

It would be interesting to see this broken down by subdiscipline.

30th Jun 2014
danidoroi:

The shocking truth about electric fish: Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs
Writing June 27, 2014 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by Michael Sussman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harold Zakon of the University of Texas at Austin and Manoj Samanta of the Systemix Institute in Redmond, Washington identifies the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.
The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish and that evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.
"These fish have converted a muscle to an electric organ," explains Sussman, a professor of biochemistry and director of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, who first undertook the exploration of the electric organ almost a decade ago. The study published in Science provides evidence to support the idea that the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ, needed for defense, predation, navigation and communication.
"What is amazing is that the electric organ arose independently six times in the course of evolutionary history," says Lindsay Traeger, a UW-Madison graduate student in genetics and a co-lead author of the new report along with Jason Gallant, an assistant professor of zoology at Michigan State University.
Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.
More&Source

danidoroi:

The shocking truth about electric fish: Genomic basis for the convergent evolution of electric organs

Writing June 27, 2014 in the journal Science, a team of researchers led by Michael Sussman of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Harold Zakon of the University of Texas at Austin and Manoj Samanta of the Systemix Institute in Redmond, Washington identifies the regulatory molecules involved in the genetic and developmental pathways that electric fish have used to convert a simple muscle into an organ capable of generating a potent electrical field.

The work establishes the genetic basis for the electric organ, an anatomical feature found only in fish and that evolved independently half a dozen times in environments ranging from the flooded forests of the Amazon to murky marine environments.

"These fish have converted a muscle to an electric organ," explains Sussman, a professor of biochemistry and director of the UW-Madison Biotechnology Center, who first undertook the exploration of the electric organ almost a decade ago. The study published in Science provides evidence to support the idea that the six electric fish lineages, all of which evolved independently, used essentially the same genes and developmental and cellular pathways to make an electric organ, needed for defense, predation, navigation and communication.

"What is amazing is that the electric organ arose independently six times in the course of evolutionary history," says Lindsay Traeger, a UW-Madison graduate student in genetics and a co-lead author of the new report along with Jason Gallant, an assistant professor of zoology at Michigan State University.

Adds Gallant: “The surprising result of our study is that electric fish seem to use the same ‘genetic toolbox’ to build their electric organ,” despite the fact that they evolved independently.

More&Source

16th Jun 2014
carlsagan:

ah yes, kinesin propagating towards the plus end of a microtubule
i give this fresh cool meme a 10/10

Cellular processes are more boss than we can even imagine.

carlsagan:

ah yes, kinesin propagating towards the plus end of a microtubule

i give this fresh cool meme a 10/10

Cellular processes are more boss than we can even imagine.

(Source: snarkyfancat)

12th Jun 2014
These are not your urban lawn flamingos! This pair dancing in the low tide in Mumbai’s busy harbor are Lesser Flamingos, considered near-threatened species due to declining populations in Africa and India. Yet, over the past decade, some 10-25 thousand of them have been turning up in Mumbai’s Thane Creek to spend the winter right in the middle of a megacity of over 20 million people. I photographed this pair just a year ago at Sewri Port, an industrial dockyard area known more for repairing boats than harboring such wildlife, which now teems in the creek’s recovering mangroves. 
more here
photo: Madhusudan Katti

These are not your urban lawn flamingos! This pair dancing in the low tide in Mumbai’s busy harbor are Lesser Flamingos, considered near-threatened species due to declining populations in Africa and India. Yet, over the past decade, some 10-25 thousand of them have been turning up in Mumbai’s Thane Creek to spend the winter right in the middle of a megacity of over 20 million people. I photographed this pair just a year ago at Sewri Port, an industrial dockyard area known more for repairing boats than harboring such wildlife, which now teems in the creek’s recovering mangroves. 

more here

photo: Madhusudan Katti

10th Jun 2014

Gene editing tool can write HIV out of the picture

If you could do the same thing to prevent massive yield losses in corn, would you?

16th May 2014

jtotheizzoe:

archiemcphee:

Deep Sea Fauna… with Googly Eyes is an awesome site right here on Tumblr that posts photos of amazing deep sea creatures that have been hilariously enhanced with googly eyes. Learn about the myriad mysterious creature of the deep while laughing at their goofy peepers. (Don’t worry, they live way, way far down in the ocean depths. They’ll never know.)

These images are just a small sampling. Head over to deepseafauna for many more.

And what about you? Do you have an urge to googly eye-ify something? Click here to stock up.

It’s Wonderfully Weird Water Friday on Geyser of Awesome!

Scientists have been known to drink a lot.

We take everything and nothing too seriously..

8th May 2014
Synthetic biology: Cultural divide

Although its roots extend back to the early twentieth century, synthetic biology started sprouting as an organized field just over a decade ago. In 2003, only 3 peer-reviewed articles listed in Elsevier’s Scopus database used the term synthetic biology; in 2013, more than 800 did. Last year, the field also marked one of its biggest developments. Capitalizing on a discovery by biochemical engineer Jay Keasling of the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris-based pharmaceutical firm Sanofi began large-scale production of a partially synthetic form of the malaria drug artemisinin, which is normally derived from plants (see Nature 494, 160–161; 2013). And more big advances are in the pipeline: at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, for example, researchers are creating synthetic fungal enzymes that can convert sugars from broken-down plant biomass into fuels and other industrially useful chemicals.

To patent or not to patent?
more here or here

Synthetic biology: Cultural divide

Although its roots extend back to the early twentieth century, synthetic biology started sprouting as an organized field just over a decade ago. In 2003, only 3 peer-reviewed articles listed in Elsevier’s Scopus database used the term synthetic biology; in 2013, more than 800 did. Last year, the field also marked one of its biggest developments. Capitalizing on a discovery by biochemical engineer Jay Keasling of the University of California, Berkeley, the Paris-based pharmaceutical firm Sanofi began large-scale production of a partially synthetic form of the malaria drug artemisinin, which is normally derived from plants (see Nature 494160161; 2013). And more big advances are in the pipeline: at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Washington, for example, researchers are creating synthetic fungal enzymes that can convert sugars from broken-down plant biomass into fuels and other industrially useful chemicals.

To patent or not to patent?

more here or here

6th May 2014

Corvids — which include magpies, crows, and ravens — are so clever that some scientists consider their intelligence to be on par with canids, such as wolves, coyotes, and dogs.

3rd May 2014

The butterfly (Dryas iulia) and the bee (Centris sp.) were most likely seeking scarce minerals and an extra boost of protein. On a beautiful December day in 2013, they found the precious nutrients in the tears of a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), relaxing on the banks of the Río Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica.
A boat carrying students, photographers, and aquatic ecologist Carlos de la Rosa was passing slowly and quietly by, and caught the moment on film. They watched and photographed in barely suppressed excitement for a quarter of an hour while the caiman basked placidly and the insects fluttered about the corners of its eyes.
De la Rosa reported the encounter in a peer-reviewed letter in the May 2014 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

read more here

The butterfly (Dryas iulia) and the bee (Centris sp.) were most likely seeking scarce minerals and an extra boost of protein. On a beautiful December day in 2013, they found the precious nutrients in the tears of a spectacled caiman (Caiman crocodilus), relaxing on the banks of the Río Puerto Viejo in northeastern Costa Rica.

A boat carrying students, photographers, and aquatic ecologist Carlos de la Rosa was passing slowly and quietly by, and caught the moment on film. They watched and photographed in barely suppressed excitement for a quarter of an hour while the caiman basked placidly and the insects fluttered about the corners of its eyes.

De la Rosa reported the encounter in a peer-reviewed letter in the May 2014 issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

read more here

2nd May 2014

montereybayaquarium:

Mystery of the deep! Yesterday we added a deep-sea vampire squid to our Tentacles special exhibition—the first time this species has ever been displayed.

Learn more on our blog

29th Apr 2014

Fire-Setting Ranchers Have Burning Desire To Save Tallgrass Prairie

I work here, no big deal.

25th Apr 2014
Leaf Mimicry in a Climbing Plant Protects against Herbivory
Gianoli & Carrasco-Urra, Current Biology 2014

Move over, Sherlock Holmes. There is a new master of disguise—and it’s a plant. Camouflage and mimicry are usually reserved for the animal realm. The hawk moth caterpillar scares away predators by resembling a snake. Myrmarachne jumping spiders imitate ants as they creep up on unsuspecting insects—fangs ready. Fewer examples of mimicry—or crypsis—are known for plants. But as in some mistletoe species in Australia, all of these imposters copy only one other species. That’s not the case with the woody vine Boquila trifoliolata, which transforms its leaves to copy a variety of host trees. Native to Chile and Argentina, B. trifoliolata is the first plant shown to imitate several hosts. It is a rare quality—known as a mimetic polymorphism—that was previously observed only in butterflies, according to this study, published today in Current Biology. When the vine climbs onto a tree’s branches, its versatile leaves (inset) can change their size, shape, color, orientation, and even the vein patterns to match the surrounding foliage (middle panel; the red arrow points to the vine, while the blue arrow indicates the host plant). If the vine crosses over to a second tree, it changes, even if the new host leaves are 10 times bigger with a contrasting shape (right panel). The deceit serves as a defense against plant-eating herbivores like weevils and leaf beetles, according the researchers. They compared the charlatan leaves hanging on branches with the leaves on vines still crawling on the forest floor in search of a tree or scaling leafless trunks. Herbivory was 33% and 100% worse for the vines on the ground and on tree trunks, respectively. It is unclear how B. trifoliolata vines discern the identity of individual trees and shape-shift accordingly. The vines could read cues hidden in odors, or chemicals secreted by trees or microbes may transport gene-activating signals between the fraud and the host, the researchers say.

ScienceShots
here

Leaf Mimicry in a Climbing Plant Protects against Herbivory

Gianoli & Carrasco-Urra, Current Biology 2014

Move over, Sherlock Holmes. There is a new master of disguise—and it’s a plant. Camouflage and mimicry are usually reserved for the animal realm. The hawk moth caterpillar scares away predators by resembling a snake. Myrmarachne jumping spiders imitate ants as they creep up on unsuspecting insects—fangs ready. Fewer examples of mimicry—or crypsis—are known for plants. But as in some mistletoe species in Australia, all of these imposters copy only one other species. That’s not the case with the woody vine Boquila trifoliolata, which transforms its leaves to copy a variety of host trees. Native to Chile and Argentina, B. trifoliolata is the first plant shown to imitate several hosts. It is a rare quality—known as a mimetic polymorphism—that was previously observed only in butterflies, according to this study, published today in Current Biology. When the vine climbs onto a tree’s branches, its versatile leaves (inset) can change their size, shape, color, orientation, and even the vein patterns to match the surrounding foliage (middle panel; the red arrow points to the vine, while the blue arrow indicates the host plant). If the vine crosses over to a second tree, it changes, even if the new host leaves are 10 times bigger with a contrasting shape (right panel). The deceit serves as a defense against plant-eating herbivores like weevils and leaf beetles, according the researchers. They compared the charlatan leaves hanging on branches with the leaves on vines still crawling on the forest floor in search of a tree or scaling leafless trunks. Herbivory was 33% and 100% worse for the vines on the ground and on tree trunks, respectively. It is unclear how B. trifoliolata vines discern the identity of individual trees and shape-shift accordingly. The vines could read cues hidden in odors, or chemicals secreted by trees or microbes may transport gene-activating signals between the fraud and the host, the researchers say.

ScienceShots

here

23rd Apr 2014

Blinded by scientific gobbledygook - How fake research journals are scamming the science community

"I have just written the world’s worst science research paper: More than incompetent, it’s a mess of plagiarism and meaningless garble.

Now science publishers around the world are clamouring to publish it They will distribute it globally and pretend it is real research, for a fee.

It’s untrue? And parts are plagiarized? They’re fine with that.

Welcome to the world of science scams, a fast-growing business that sucks money out of research, undermines genuine scientific knowledge, and provides fake credentials for the desperate.”
This article also points out the problems with scientific writing these days. What good is making yourself sound smart with excessive jargon when no one understands you or can make anything practical of your research?