Repeated evolution in sticklebacks, and adjacent possibles

“Researchers have documented repeated evolution in other organisms, but the sticklebacks are unique because the freshwater transition has occurred so many times. “Sticklebacks have been a phenomenal system for understanding rapid evolution,” says evolutionary biologist Erica Bree Rosenblum of the University of California, Berkeley, who wasn’t involved in the study. “This paper shows that repeated […]

Microbiome sequencing offers hope for diagnostics : Nature News & Comment

“Jonathan Eisen [@phylogenomics], a microbiologist at University of California, Davis, is worried that microbiome research will eventually encounter the same backlash. “Without a doubt we are running into some of the same problems as the Human Genome Project,” he says. “There are many people who have oversold the human microbiome as the cause or cure […]

The Visionary

“Seeking to spur drug development, Stephen Friend has launched a daring series of initiatives to make biomedical research more open and effective.” Interesting fellow. He’s a mover and shaker in the bioinformatics “data must be free” crowd. It’s a very good article. Read it. Read this article…

China’s Sequencing Powerhouse Comes of Age

“With new sequencing centers in Europe and the United States, BGI hopes its growing clout will help deliver the benefits promised by genomics—and revenue to pay off a mounting debt.” Genomics at a scale only China could do. Oh, my. Read this article…

UM Carey Law | Federal Regulation of Probiotics

An Analysis of the Existing Regulatory Framework and Recommendations for Alternative Frameworks A team of researchers at the University of Maryland Baltimore is studying federal regulation of probiotics under a grant from NIH’s Human Microbiome Project (HMP). A portion of HMP funds were set aside to study the Ethical, Legal, and Social Implications (often referred […]

Want Fatter Cows? Bring In a Zebra – ScienceNOW

“”Natural selection has favored that mix,” says Johan du Toit, an ecologist at Utah State University in Logan. Natural selection, maybe, but not people. Convinced that other grass-chomping animals will drive their herds to starvation, ranchers in Kenya and elsewhere tend to keep their cattle separate from wildlife. But a new study suggests that thinking […]

Human Excrement to Blame for Coral Decline – ScienceNOW

“Coral reef ecologists have laid a persistent and troubling puzzle to rest. The elkhorn coral, named for its resemblance to elk antlers and known for providing valuable marine habitat, was once the Caribbean’s most abundant reef builder. But the “redwood of the coral forest” has declined 90% over the past decade, in part due to […]

The Last Moderate – NYTimes.com

“Cooper is the House’s conscience, a lonely voice for civility in this ugly era. He remembers when compromise was not a dirty word and politicians put country ahead of party. And he’s not afraid to talk about it. “We’ve gone from Brigadoon to Lord of the Flies”” Such a great story I had to post. […]

Living to 100 and Beyond – WSJ.com

“In Jonathan Swift’s “Gulliver’s Travels,” Gulliver encounters a small group of immortals, the struldbrugs. “Those excellent struldbrugs,” exclaims Gulliver, “who, being born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehensions of death!” But the fate of these […]

Suicide-Bombing Bacteria Could Fight Infections – ScienceNOW

“The researchers tweaked the genes that allow P. aeruginosa to detect other members of its species and put this synthetic genetic code into E. coli’s genome. They also gave E. coli a gene for making a modified pyocin that is toxic to P. aeruginosa. By linking the pyocin gene to the sensing genes, the researchers […]