In a paper over at BMC Biology, the authors give us some evidence that parasitic worms may have been a factor in human evolution. In fact they go so far as to call it a “major selective factor in humans.” More than 2 billion individuals worldwide suffer from helminth infections. The highest parasite burdens occur… [Read More]
Tom and I have gone all fancy and started working with a producer for our math/comedy program “Math for Primates”. We enlisted the help of Keith Schreiner of Auditory Sculpture. The format is more fun, there are musical interludes etc. Check out the new episode here. In This Episode: All about Combinatorics – the Mathematicians… [Read More]
Great news from the NYtimes: A federal judge on Monday struck down patents on two genes linked to breast and ovarian cancer. The decision, if upheld, could throw into doubt the patents covering thousands of human genes and reshape the law of intellectual property This is fantastic for research. The very idea of putting a… [Read More]
Micheal White sets the record straight about what the platypus genome is and what it isn’t. Is the platypus part bird, part reptile part mammal, an amalgam of very different groups of animals? Is it a primitive mammal that resembles the early ancestors of all mammals? Can we figure out just what this creature is… [Read More]
Whenever one discusses the underlying genetic influences on human behavior, one is opening themselves up to being labelled a determinist. Part of the reason for that is a total missunderstanding of what the word “gene” actually means (not to mention the lack of understanding of the difference between a genotype and a phenotype). But, it… [Read More]
Want a good Paleoanthropology site, but don’t know where to look? Never fear, Afarensis has recomended two: The first is called The Sunghir Archaeological Site. It is divided into the following sections: Anthropological findings (provides a basic overview of the skeletons), Morphology, Paleopathology, Trace element analysis of the bones, Molecular analysis of the DNA, What… [Read More]
The central dogma of Molecular Genetics is that information flow is unidirectional: DNA to RNA to PROTEIN. That is, DNA holds the blueprints, RNA is the messenger, and Proteins are the constructed functional units of life. This dogma seems to hold for most of the species on the planet. From bacteria to humans to insects,… [Read More]
Scientists have injected Tasmanian Tiger (extinct) DNA into a mouse embryo to see what happens. It’s alive!