1. Mice Inherit Specific Memories, Because Epigenetics? →

    Two weeks ago I wrote about some tantalizing research coming out of the Society for Neuroscience meeting in San Diego. Brian Dias, a postdoctoral fellow in Kerry Ressler’s lab at Emory University, had reported that mice inherit specific smell memories from their fathers — even when the offspring have never experienced that smell before, and even when they’ve never met their father. What’s more, their children are born with the same specific memory. - Virginia Hughes in National Geographic

  2. Bruno Latour: The Relativist
    Latour discusses the difference between knowledge and truth; different kinds of truth: religion; relativism, etc.; the limits of science; corruption of truth production; the category mistake of rationalism.

  3. Nice organisms finish first: Why cooperators always win in the long run →

    "Leading physicists last year turned game theory on its head by giving selfish players a sure bet to beat cooperative players. Now two evolutionary biologists at Michigan State University offer new evidence that the selfish will die out in the long run."

  4. Moore’s Law and the Origin of Life →

    As life has evolved, its complexity has increased exponentially, just like Moore’s law. Now geneticists have extrapolated this trend backwards and found that by this measure, life is older than the Earth itself.

  5. An opportunistic pathogen isolated from the gut of an obese human causes obesity in germfree mice →

    Lipopolysaccharide endotoxin is the only known bacterial product which, when subcutaneously infused into mice in its purified form, can induce obesity and insulin resistance via an inflammation-mediated pathway. Here we show that one endotoxin-producing bacterium isolated from a morbidly obese human’s gut induced obesity and insulin resistance in germfree mice.

    Na Fei and Liping Zhao, The ISME Journal: Multidisciplinary Journal of Microbial Ecology

  6. All About Phage Therapy →

    The human microbiome is not merely an infestation we tolerate. It plays many different roles in our bodies. Microbes synthesize vitamins for us, regulate how much energy we get from our food, fight off invading pathogens, nurture our immune system, and potentially even influence our behavior. It may be possible to manipulate the microbiome through the phages that have coevolved with it for millions of years.

    - Carl Zimmer, writing for The Chicago Blog

    (The wikipedia article on phage therapy serves as useful background information for this story.)

  7. Adult neurogenesis occurs in 2 primary locations: the olfactory bulb and the central part of the hippocampus, called the dentate gyrus (shown here). This widefield multi-photon fluorescence image of a rat hippocampus was stained to reveal the distribution of glia (cyan), neurofilaments (green) and cell nuclei (yellow). The image was produced as part of an ongoing brain mapping project for the Whole Brain Catalog.
by Thomas Deerinck, NCMIR, UCSD
(via afracturedreality, robdelaney)

    Adult neurogenesis occurs in 2 primary locations: the olfactory bulb and the central part of the hippocampus, called the dentate gyrus (shown here). This widefield multi-photon fluorescence image of a rat hippocampus was stained to reveal the distribution of glia (cyan), neurofilaments (green) and cell nuclei (yellow). The image was produced as part of an ongoing brain mapping project for the Whole Brain Catalog.

    by Thomas Deerinck, NCMIR, UCSD

    (via afracturedreality, robdelaney)

    (Source: cell.com)

  8. Buddhist monk's brain produces highest reported level of gamma waves →

    Tibetan monk and molecular geneticist Matthieu Ricard is the happiest man in the world according to researchers at the University of Wisconsin. The 66-year-old’s brain produces a level of gamma waves - those linked to consciousness, attention, learning and memory - never before reported in neuroscience.

  9. These rare photos capture the Flight Deck (cockpit) of the Space Shuttle Endeavour, fully powered for one of the final times. Just a few weeks later, at 9:58am EDT on May 11, Endeavour was powered down for the final time in history. It was the last of the three space shuttles to have power.

    - LaunchPhotography.com

  10. The Genome Institute, where I work, helped produce new research recently published in the latest Nature (the NYTimes also published a story). I had the opportunity to work with our Medical Genomics group in producing Figure 1 of the paper, which uses a heatmap type layout to clearly show correlations between tumor samples and mutated genes.
Figure 1. Tumour samples are grouped by mRNA subtype: luminal A (n = 225), luminal B (n = 126), HER2E (n = 57) and basal-like (n = 93). The left panel shows non-silent somatic mutation patterns and frequencies for significantly mutated genes. The middle panel shows clinical features: dark grey, positive or T2–4; white, negative or T1; light grey, N/A or equivocal. N, node status; T, tumour size. The right panel shows significantly mutated genes with frequent copy number amplifications (red) or deletions (blue). The far-right panel shows non-silent mutation rate per tumour (mutations per megabase, adjusted for coverage). The average mutation rate for each expression subtype is indicated. Hypermutated: mutation rates >3 s.d. above the mean (>4.688, indicated by grey line).
Note: This is a slightly different version than the one in Nature; their editors must sometimes modify figures to fit in spaces for which they might not have been designed. In the case of Figure 1, much of the text was enlarged and repositioned in the published version. The original is shown above (click to view or download a high-res version).

    The Genome Institute, where I work, helped produce new research recently published in the latest Nature (the NYTimes also published a story). I had the opportunity to work with our Medical Genomics group in producing Figure 1 of the paper, which uses a heatmap type layout to clearly show correlations between tumor samples and mutated genes.

    Figure 1. Tumour samples are grouped by mRNA subtype: luminal A (n = 225), luminal B (n = 126), HER2E (n = 57) and basal-like (n = 93). The left panel shows non-silent somatic mutation patterns and frequencies for significantly mutated genes. The middle panel shows clinical features: dark grey, positive or T2–4; white, negative or T1; light grey, N/A or equivocal. N, node status; T, tumour size. The right panel shows significantly mutated genes with frequent copy number amplifications (red) or deletions (blue). The far-right panel shows non-silent mutation rate per tumour (mutations per megabase, adjusted for coverage). The average mutation rate for each expression subtype is indicated. Hypermutated: mutation rates >3 s.d. above the mean (>4.688, indicated by grey line).

    Note: This is a slightly different version than the one in Nature; their editors must sometimes modify figures to fit in spaces for which they might not have been designed. In the case of Figure 1, much of the text was enlarged and repositioned in the published version. The original is shown above (click to view or download a high-res version).