Zombie genetics

22 04 2009

Last month there was an interesting genetics story about the discovery of the zombie gene (or “Jesus gene”*).

IRGM, which may or may not be involved in Crohn’s disease, appears to have reactivated in humans after becoming degraded in our ancestors around 25 million years ago.

It is really interesting – perhaps mostly because we can now actually show that this is the case, and guesstimate an era like 25MYA as the original inactivation.

I don’t think its quite as surprising as its being made out to be. It makes plenty of sense given what we know about how genetics evolve. It’s not too inconceivable that if genes can become inactive through random mutation, that so to can inactive genes become re-activated through a similar process.

Just because a gene is inactivated doesn’t exactly mean it’s going to go straight to gobbleygook. By not actually contributing anymore, that gene has effectively removed itself from any selective pressure – including negative. It won’t be selected to become more inactivated. There is no benefit for an organism to scramble the signal any further.

Actually this discovery might show that their is some benefit in not deliberately scrambling genes that aren’t currently expressed. But is that a benefit that selection can act upon?


*everyone knows Jesus isn’t real though, right, kids?


Zombie facials

22 04 2009

see more Celeb Look-A-Likes

This is a bit disturbing, as at least in the movies, the T-Virus started out as a “skin rejuvinator” to bring dead skin cells back to life.

Well, at least Avon isn’t an illuminati-run trans-national that dabbles in highly experimental bioweaponry on the side … or are they!??

Have links at thee

22 01 2009

L I N k23 S

Created with Spell with Flickr by kastner

What does the internet hold for us this week:

Six cases of shameless advertising (well ones that got caught). Four of which are consumer medications (alternative therapies) making claims that just aren’t backed up by any evidence.

Phsyicists are trying to steal the Cute Microbes trick, by developing plush particles. No! Physics is not cute and furry. It’s dangerous and explosivey. No one was ever hurt by cute and fuzzy biology – its organic and natural. Stop the persecutions!!!11! (via Bench Press)

Mmmm… Yellow Cakes

Who is Dr. Phwoooar? Seriously, can someone get a hold of this tract?

Placebo television. Works just like real television without really being television at all. Maybe?

On real television, guy from Top Gear is making a kids science show. Actually sounds good.

Cyprus is turning into a dessert. No sorry, a desert. Actually, that’s not good.

Disturbing image of the week.

Robotic heads, Abe Lincoln, gun-toting monkeys and of course, zombies

25 11 2008

via iO9

I was going to post about some more interesting news…

Then I watched this…

… my post title barely touches what is awesome in this awesome steampunk pilot of awesomeness

I’m going to sleep now because nothing will ever be as awesome as the last 20 minutes. Nothing.

Pygmy monkeys return from the dead

25 11 2008

Below the fold: Read the rest of this entry »

What lurks beneath

6 11 2008

Deep Sea News (which remember is now at Discovery Blogs) has finished its countdown of the top 27 deep sea beasties.

They chose the Vampire Squid as #1. I think its kind of boring. All it has is a cool name. Ooooh Senor El Diablo Chupacabre of the Deep you have me quaking with your stylish overtones and stereotypical horror theme tune. NOT!

I definitely think more of #2 Zombie Deap Sea Bone Worms!!!

Rest of the list is linked to below. The rest of my top 5 in bold (Zombie worms are my number 1).

Read the rest of this entry »

Post-halloween zombie roundup

4 11 2008

Okay, it’s not really a roundup… but blame PZ for just adding to random zombie madness.

The rest of links come from i09 which has had some great zombie links up recently: