You may remember I offhandedly posted a link to a new hard-hitting piece of environmnetal investigative journalism “Food Inc” back ago. You can read a bit more about it at ERV (Her non-judgemental words: “a new movie bitching about GMOs and food production in the US”).
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Tags: environmentalism, erv, farming, food, food inc, gmo, livestock, meat, organic, poultry, propoganda, safefoodinc
Categories : All Natural Goodness, Learn or Die, MediaWatch, Nom Nom, Planeteering, Rabble Rabble, Shameless Cross-promotion, Sick Sad World
I don’t think I have seen a better science fiction film than GATTACA for the pure fact that it gets the science so spot on.
ERV brings up the emergence of Genetic Medicine as a serious consideration, and there is also a feature on DNA-based diets in this month’s Australasian Science.
Hack the Planet. Sequence Everything!* – I whole heartedly agree. The race-based approach of recent past is seriously flawed, even to a dangerous degree. Genetic medicine will require individualised sequenced genomes, which is approaching as a realistic proposition.
Sequencing is largely automated these days, so it is simply a matter of getting investors interested. Early trendsetters are jumping on the sequencing bandwagon (GTG Australia). I think the publlics interest in tailored working diets will probably be the major motivator to look out for.
With genetic screening tests also coming a true reality, and fertility treatments proving more and more popular, will GATTACA become the prophecy. Will we see a future where your children’s children’s future is set by their genetic framework? Can the dystopia be avoided?
*I want a T-shirt
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Tags: australasian science, bioethics, biotech, craig venter, diets, dna, dystopia, erv, ethan hawke, future, gattaca, gtg, hacking, individual, realism, science fiction, sequencing, uma thurman, virginia parslow
Categories : All Natural Goodness, Awexome Cross, Moving Pictures, Science Works Bitches!, Shameless Cross-promotion
Another awesome science question answered by scienceblog’s ERV.
An ERV-ling asks how do viruses get about without some sort of motility structure, like flagella or cilia?
This is an excellent question, especially as someone who grew up in the world before 2008, viruses used to be considered barely above complex chemicals.
In true virus free-loader fashion, the methods of movement usually entail getting some other living thing to do all the hard work for them. Actin rocket packs sound cool though.
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Tags: biochemistry, erv, motility, movement, question, science, scienceblogs, virology, virus
Categories : All Natural Goodness, Learn or Die, Science Works Bitches!, Shameless Cross-promotion, Wee Beasties
That seems to be the end of the MHC-smelling your mates and the recent pill “revelation”.
Already I was disappointed when erv used science (or, well high school statistics) to make a mockery the latest hot news item.
It is a very bad shame that people who are supposed to be competent to report on science don’t understand what error bars are for.
I’d heard of MHC-smell relatedness before back when I was in high school from the BBC and ABC. But by the time I got home from work, erv has gone a destroyed my trust in the whole idea, with real science (this time she actually goes and talks to a scientist*)
Humans do not have well developed vomeronasal organs. Ok, what what? That’s ~nasal as in nose, or, oh, just look at wikipedia. As human-like apes have become more reliant on colour-based vision, our sense of smell has diminished. We just don’t have the capacity for being able to strongly sense smell differences associated with MHC.
So why is research still being done with smell-based MHC detection in humans?
Could there be non-olfactory cues in MHC distinction in humans and human-like apes? Differences in sweat light refraction perhaps?
*yes erv is a scientist in her own right, but just to perfect, she goes and talks to a scientist with appropriate knowledge – it’s a machiavellian scheme alright
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Tags: abc, BBC, erv, evolution, MHC, pill, research, science, sex, statistics, vomeronasal, wikipedia
Categories : Evilution, From the Newsdesk, Kickin' Moron Ass, Reliable Source, Science Works Bitches!, Shameless Cross-promotion
The natural world is an amazing place.
Ever changing and full of new discoveries, some French scientists have just made a migraine for taxonomists, high school teachers and textbook publishers – they’ve decided to tack on extra bits to a cornerstone piece of high school biology – the Tree of Life.
If you have access you can go to the source at Nature.
Not only has the discovery that Viruses get sick pushed them into the “alive” category, it has produced a whole new category of “virophages” that infect them. Although one might protest that virophages are still technically viruses (nucleic acid hijackers), let’s not get too carried away with our gardening.
Aside from the nightmare that this new piece of information will probably take several years before it is accurately represented in high school texts – this is an exciting and amazing discovery.
Sputnik isnt just a cool virus that can ‘infect’ other viruses– its representative of all the cool stuff we dont know. All the cool stuff thats floating about, right under our noses, just waiting for someone to discover … Sputnik represents the fact we have no friggin idea whats out there
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Tags: amazing, australian life scientist, discovery, erv, grrl scientist, nature, new, not exactly rocket science, npg, scienceblogs, sputnik, textbooks, tree of life, virophage, virus
Categories : All Natural Goodness, Evilution, Learn or Die, Science Works Bitches!, Shameless Cross-promotion, Wee Beasties
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The Koala retrovirus (KoRv) is a retrovirus affecting many populations of koalas. It has been implicated as the agent of an AIDS-like immunodeficiency and a range of cancers in the native Australian marsupial. The virus is thought to be presently undergoing a transition between an active infective form and endogenous state within the koala genome.
Koala retrovirus was initially described as a novel endogenous retrovirus found within the koala genome in 2000. Sequence analysis strongly suggested a relationship with Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus (GALV).
New research however has shown that some populations of koalas, particularly an isolated colony on Kangaroo Island do not appear to have the provirus form of the retrovirus. This suggests that the gene sequence is a new acquisition for the koala genome. Studying the spread of the virus amongst Australian koala populations appears to show a trend spreading from the north down to the south of Australia. Northern populations are completely infected, while some southern populations (including Kangaroo Island) are free.
It is thought that further studying KoRv will allow valuable insight into how endogenous retrovirus develop and incorporate themselves into mammalian genomes.
- ^ Koala retroviurus Uniprot taxonomy
- ^ Hanger, Jon J.; Bromham, Lindell D.; McKee, Jeff J.; O’Brien, Tracy M. & Robinson, Wayne F. (May), “The Nucleotide Sequence of Koala (Phascolarctos cinereus) Retrovirus: a Novel Type C Endogenous Virus Related to Gibbon Ape Leukemia Virus”, Journal of Virology 74 (9): 4264–4272, <http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?tool=pubmed&pubmedid=10756041>
- ^ a b Stoye, Jonathan P (21 Nov), “Koala retrovirus: a genome invasion in real time”, Genome Biology 7: 241, doi:10.1186/gb-2006-7-11-24
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Tags: endogenous retrovirus, erv, koala retrovirus, wikipedia, zayzayem
Categories : All Natural Goodness, Evilution, Kangaroo Down, Reliable Source, the internet gives me a right to narcissism, Wee Beasties