Scientists have discovered that, by forming or undoing gene loops, cells manipulate the path of the transcription machinery -- which reads out instructions from DNA -- controlling whether it moves along the genetic material in one direction or two.
We have generally believed that animals are not capable of very complex thought, even though many species use tools and engage in other complex behaviors. This study looks at whether New Caledonian crows, that were caught just for this experiment, are capable of attributing actions to a hidden cause, when they see that possible cause come and go.
A radically new method of automating the process of finding and recording information from neurons in the living brain has been developed by MIT and Georgia Tech researchers. A robotic arm guided by a cell-detecting computer algorithm can identify and record from neurons in the living mouse brain with far better accuracy and speed than a human experimenter.
The new automated process eliminates the need for months of training and will provide long-sought information about living cells’ activities. Using this technique, scientists could classify the thousands of different types of cells in the brain, map how they connect to each other, and figure out how diseased cells differ from normal cells.
TED Talks A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script, damaged and broken, the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism.
At first glance this TED Talk appears to be more about ancient history, archaeology and biblical studies that anything modern. Yet as Neil MacGregor, the Director of the British Museum continues his discussion of the Cyrus Cylinder (A clay cylinder covered in Akkadian cuneiform script), it becomes clear that this historical artifact is vital in understanding how modern states conceive of their heritage, cultural legacy and role within the Middle East today (such as Israel, Iraq, Iran and even the U.K.). As such the Cyrus Cylinder is a powerful symbol of religious tolerance and multi-culturalism and plays a role in shaping Middle Eastern cultural and political institutions.
In Jesus's lifetime, the whole population of the Holy Land may have been descended from King David. So how many generations does it take before we are all related to each other, asks evolutionary biologist Dr Yan Wong.
in 3,000 years someone alive today will be the common ancestor of all humanity.A few thousand years after that, 80% of us (those who leave children who in turn leave children, and so on) will be ancestors of all humanity.
1)Will this increase Altruism (as it is considered to be a kin selection behaviour)
2)Is it a case for a kind of Singularity which transcends technology and overcomes man
3)Will self similarity in the system of genealogical humanity create a collective conscious which transcends its own singularity then splits and creates dialogue/symbiosis with something beyond man which creates a new synthesis called say, "uniwelt" or the power to control the universe or much of it
4) Will universal relatedness mean that the human race goes into decay/remission or will
technology, bioengineering etc... transcend this regression
Instead of just basic machines, the city becomes a vast interconnected system designed for turning energy into work. Seen through that lens, cities are really giant heat engines, and that makes them creatures subject to one of the most profound principles in all of physics: the omnipresent Second Law of Thermodynamics.
Ethnomethodology is an ethnographic approach to sociological inquiry introduced by the American sociologist Harold Garfinkel. Ethnomethodology's research interest is the study of the everyday methods that people use for the production of social order (Garfinkel:2002). Ethnomethodology's goal is to document the methods and practices through which society's members make sense of their world (WIKIPEDIA)
Switching roles within the hive is reflected in reversible epigenetic changes.
All honeybees (Apis mellifera) are born equal, but this situation doesn’t last long. Although genetically identical, the bees soon take on the specific roles of queen or worker. These roles are defined not just by behavioural differences, but by physical ones. Underlying them are minor modifications to their DNA: ‘epigenetic’ changes that leave the DNA sequence intact, but that add chemical tags in the form of methyl (CH3) molecules to sections of the DNA. This in turn alters the way a gene is expressed.
Once a bee is a queen or worker, they fulfil that role for life — the change is irreversible. But that is not the case for the subdivisions among the workers. The workers start out as nurses, which look after and feed the queen and larvae, and most then go on to become foragers, which travel out from the hive in search of pollen. Again the two types have very different methylation patterns in their DNA. This time, however, as the latest research show, the DNA modifications are reversible: if a forager reverts to being a nurse, its methylation pattern reverts too.
Led by Andrew Feinberg of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland, and Gro Amdam of Arizona State University in Tempe, the researchers coaxed forager bees back into nursing roles by removing all the nurses from the hive while the foragers were out looking for pollen. When the foragers returned, they noticed the lack of nurses, and about half of them took on nursing roles. Examination of the methylation patterns in DNA from their brain cells showed that these too had switched back to the pattern associated with nurses.
The Khoe and San peoples in southern Africa play an important role for our understanding of the evolutionary history of humans. These peoples are directly descended from the first branching of the genealogical tree of today’s humans. This is shown in a study led by Uppsala University researchers and being presented in the early online version of the journal Science today.
A robust new phylogenetic tree resolves many long-standing issues in primate taxonomy. The genomes of living primates harbor remarkable differences in diversity and provide an intriguing context for interpreting human evolution. The phylogenetic analysis was conducted by international researchers to determine the origin, evolution, patterns of speciation, and unique features in genome divergence among primate lineages.
The authors sequenced 54 gene regions from 186 species spanning the primate radiation. The analysis illustrates the importance of resolving complex, species-rich phylogenies using large-scale comparative genomic approach. Patterns of species and gene sequence evolution and adaptation relate not only to human genome organization and genetic disease sensitivity, but also to global emergence of zoonoses (human pathogens originating from non-human disease reservoirs), to mammalian comparative genomics, to primate taxonomy and to species conservation.
We still have a lot to learn about how animals use magnetic fields.And how does magnetoreception even work? How animals navigate over long distances is still a great mystery, but scientists are on the case.
Evolutionary biologists say the first speakers of what would become the Indo-European languages were probably farmers in what is now Turkey — a conclusion that differs by hundreds of miles and thousands of years from a longstanding linguistic theory.
This research potentially can explain much about the geography of languages and the distribution of cultural groups in Eurasia.
As organisms develop, their internal organs arrange in a consistent asymmetrical pattern -- heart and stomach to the left, liver and appendix to the right. But how does this happen?
Biologists at Tufts University have produced the first evidence that a class of proteins that make up a cell's skeleton -- tubulin proteins -- drives asymmetrical patterning across a broad spectrum of species, including plants, nematode worms, frogs, and human cells, at their earliest stages of development.
Up to now, scientists have identified cilia -- rotating hair-like structures located on the outside of cells -- as having an essential role in determining where internal organs eventually end up. Scientists hypothesized that during later stages of development, cilia direct the flow of embryonic fluid which allows the embryo to distinguish its right side from its left. But it is known that many species develop consistent left-right asymmetry without cilia being present, which suggests that asymmetry can be accomplished in other ways.
The researchers pinpointed tubulin proteins, an important component of the cell's skeleton, or cytoskeleton. Tubulin mutations are known to affect the asymmetry of a plant called Arabidopsis, and previous work suggested the possibility that laterality is ultimately triggered by some component of the cytoskeleton. Further, this mechanism could be widely used throughout the tree of life and could function at the earliest stages of embryonic development. Importantly, mutated tubulins perturbed asymmetry only when they were introduced immediately after fertilization, not when they were injected after the first or second cell division. This suggested that a normal cytoskeleton drives asymmetry at extremely early stages of embryogenesis, many hours earlier than the appearance of cilia.
These three things—a biological hurricane, computational social science, and the rediscovery of experimentation—are going to change the social sciences in the 21st century. With that change will come, in my judgment, a variety of discoveries and opportunities that offer tremendous prospect for improving the human condition. It's one thing to say that the way in which we study our object of inquiry, namely humans, is undergoing profound change, as I think it is. The social sciences are indeed changing. But the next question is: is the object of inquiry also undergoing profound change? It's not just how we study it that's changing, which it is. The question is: is the thing itself, our humanity, also changing?