Tag Archives: evolution

Sci-Fi Movie Review: Prometheus

[Prometheus. Released June 2012. Directed by Ridley Scott, Writers John Spaihts and Damon Lindelof. DVD/Blu-Ray released. As usual, this “post-viewing review” contains many spoilers.] The opening scene of Prometheus, which demands interpretation right out of the reel, is of a humanoid alien imbibing some kind of nanotechnology that transforms him (it?, there seem to be […]
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Part of what makes us human may be what’s missing

Here’s one of those scientific questions that contains a highly suggestive fact: Why is it that the tiny water flea (Daphnia pulex) has a record 31,000 genes and the human – the infinitely more complex human – has only 23,000 genes? Here’s another similar question: How is it that the human species is so different […]
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Climate change consensus: An open letter from 255 Scientists

Sometimes…often…many of the scientific rebuttals to climate change deniers amount to pep-talking the base (an Americanism for rallying those who are already loyal to the cause). Well, sometimes the base needs a good pep-talk. Like now, when the voices of global warming denialism are being orchestrated into a general anti-science chorus. That’s what 255 members […]
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Evolution treats transcription factors differently than DNA

People with reddish hair have genes for that, but what gets the job done – that is, growing reddish hair – isn’t the DNA or gene, it’s the transcription of the genes by molecules of protein, mainly RNA polymerase transcribing into messenger RNA (mRNA), which takes the designs coded in DNA and guides the production […]
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Can culture change the genome?

Almost from the beginning of our knowledge of genetics, it’s been asked, “Can the way we (humans) live change our genetics?” These days this is much the same as asking if culture can change the genome. It’s actually a relatively old question. The question got its biggest boost from one who is now a boogeyman […]
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Update: Males not at the end of genetic line

Yesterday’s SciTechStory post on the topic of the male Y-chromosome was one of many in the blogosphere. That´s hardly unexpected–sex, males, chimps–some built-in interest there. One post in particular at The Atavism is well worth a read-through. The post is at The why of the Y-Chromosomes amazing evolutionary rate. Here’s a sample: It’s evident that, […]
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Also tracking: Science and tech disappointments

Turning the year to a new decade is bound to produce a wide variety of retrospectives. Lists are always popular. I came across an interesting list the other day at the Scientific American site: 10 Science Letdowns of the New Millennium by Katherine Harmon. The original is presented as a slide show. Why, I’m not […]
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Prions: Not alive but they can evolve

Prions are mostly protein. Although protein is a fundamental component of living cell material, prions are not alive. The behave something like viruses, without DNA or RNA yet able to reproduce by forcing living cells to do the reproduction for them. Prions were hypothesized in the 1960’s (Alper and Griffith) but not discovered until 1982 […]
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Evolution seen through 10K vertebrate genomes

Some are calling it a ‘genome zoo.’ Others say it will be the world’s greatest menagerie of vertebrate genomes. Yes, you could say that about the launch of the Genome 10K Community of Scientists (G10KCOS), but this massive project – in its way at least as ambitious as the famed Human Genome Project – is […]
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Iterating toward artificial life

There’s more than one way to make a stew – but a primordial stew, the original mix of (whatever) materials from which life arose? This was a stew millions, if not hundreds of millions of years in the making. How can we recreate that evolutionary process within the ephemeral lifespan of a science laboratory? Then […]
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