Scientists have created synthetic DNA with four extra "letters": A couple billion years ago, four molecules danced into the elegant double-helix structure of DNA, which provides the codes for life on our planet. But were these four players really fundamental to the appearance of life — or could others have also given rise to our genetic code? … Continue reading Synthetic DNA and the necessity of biological mechanisms
I don't usually read old science books. After a decade or so, I find that their content tends to have too much dated material. But 'The Selfish Gene' keeps coming up in conversations, not just because its author, Richard Dawkins, is the world's most famous atheist, but also because of its core message, that genes are … Continue reading ‘The Selfish Gene’: Classic science worth checking out
The intermixing of modern humans and Neanderthals is back in the news: BBC News - DNA yields secrets of human pioneer. DNA analysis of a 45,000-year-old human has helped scientists pinpoint when our ancestors interbred with Neanderthals. The genome sequence from a thigh bone found in Siberia shows the first episode of mixing occurred between 50,000 … Continue reading Maybe we’ve found Neanderthals, and they are us.
There's a video on the evidence for evolution going around, but turns out the artist that made that video has made a number of them, including this one on the scientific understanding of a gene. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MQdXjRPHmQ via Videos / What Exactly is a Gene? - Stated Clearly. What's interesting about this, is that the definition of … Continue reading Video on what exactly a gene is
Some of the ways that mothers can teach offspring is pretty primal: Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows -- ScienceDaily. Babies can learn what to fear in the first days of life just by smelling the odor of their distressed mothers, new research suggests. And not … Continue reading Learning the smell of fear: Mothers teach babies their own fears via odor, animal study shows.
This a cool video on what we are and where we came from. We are, each of us, a temporary intersection of matter and energy that is part of the overall whole of the universe, patterns of elementary particles that have, at least for a while, achieved self awareness. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PKMQzkIiB0Y via Are You Alone? In The … Continue reading Are you alone? (In the universe)
It looks like ancient humans got around. It's pretty well known now that most of us have Neanderthal DNA, but apparently a lot us also have Denisovan DNA: Extinct human cousin gave Tibetans advantage at high elevation -- ScienceDaily. Tibetans were able to adapt to high altitudes thanks to a gene picked up when their ancestors … Continue reading Extinct human cousin gave Tibetans advantage at high elevation
The extinction and competition hypotheses for the demise of the Neanderthals, notably suggested by interdisciplinary scientist and author Jared Diamond, hinge on the idea that humans were more advanced than Neanderthals. Commonly claimed are the following: that humans had more communicative abilities, were more efficient hunters, had superior weaponry, ate a broader diet, and had … Continue reading When It Comes to Neanderthals, Humans May Be the Borg
Many Americans are optimistic about the future of space travel, but they don’t necessarily want to pay for it. It’s been that way for some time, actually. A Harris survey taken in 1970 – less than a year after the first moon landing – showed that a majority (56%) thought the landing was not worth the money spent. … Continue reading Americans keen on space exploration, less so on paying for it | Pew Research Center
Technical objections to the idea that Neandertals interbred with the ancestors of Eurasians have been overcome, thanks to a new genome analysis method. The technique can more confidently detect the genetic signatures of interbreeding than previous approaches and will be useful for evolutionary studies of other ancient or rare DNA samples. via Humans and … Continue reading Humans and Neandertals interbred, new method confirms — ScienceDaily