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Headline: Hopelessly peripatetic. Thoughts and actions ranging from post-Pasteurian microbiology, indiscriminate writing and post-digital media, various forms of performances thespian and corporate, the Long Now and a post-electronic age, and transforming natural philosophy in the 21st century.
This link recently saved by cschick on December 12, 2011
"Horizontal gene transfer — the exchange of genetic material between different species or lineages — is an important factor in bacterial evolution. A study of human microbiome data comprising more than 2,000 full bacterial genomes shows that this environment is a hotbed of horizontal gene transfer: pairs of bacteria isolated from the human body are 25-fold more likely to share transferred DNA than pairs from other environments. Thus microbial ecology — rather than phylogeny or geography — is the most important driver of the patterns of horizontal gene exchange. Further analysis revealed 42 unique antibiotic-resistance genes that had been transferred between human and agricultural isolates, and 43 transfers across national borders."
This paper sets me spinning due to it being about microbes, microbes on humans, human microbial ecology, and horizontal gene transfer. The other thing that is intriguing about this paper is the mention of unique antibiotic-resistance genes.
This link recently saved by cschick on November 23, 2011
"In their constant battles with competitors and the host immune system, (opportunistic) microbial pathogens have developed sophisticated cell–cell communication systems termed quorum sensing (QS) that allow exchange of critical information. In return, competing microbes, as well as the host immune system, have developed means to intercept and decode these messages. The information obtained by this molecular espionage is used for their benefit, either to win the war (microbe against microbe), or to prepare for an upcoming battle (microbe against immune system)."
Not surprising, but quite fascinating.
This link recently saved by cschick on September 22, 2011
"More and more marketers are looking to tap into data to determine a value on a person. Tools like Klout, PeerIndex, and Avenue Empire are developing their businesses around your influence. We think there is a crucial data set they all are missing. We will take a look at how genotyping can tell more about predisposition to being influential, and how this data may hold the key to the future of marketing, advertising, and lowering the cost of health care in the the near future."
This link recently saved by cschick on September 06, 2011
"In Jonathan Swift's "Gulliver's Travels," Gulliver encounters a small group of immortals, the struldbrugs. "Those excellent struldbrugs," exclaims Gulliver, "who, being born exempt from that universal calamity of human nature, have their minds free and disengaged, without the weight and depression of spirits caused by the continual apprehensions of death!"
But the fate of these immortals wasn't so simple, as Swift goes on to report. They were still subject to aging and disease, so that by 80, they were "opinionative, peevish, covetous, morose, vain, talkative," as well as "incapable of friendship, and dead to all natural affection, which never descended below their grandchildren." At 90, they lost their teeth and hair and couldn't carry on conversations."
Long life versus living long. Thinking of the ring wraiths. :-P
This link recently saved by cschick on August 14, 2011
"The past months have seen a swathe of discoveries, from details about when Neanderthals and humans interbred, to the important disease-fighting genes that humans now have as a result of those trysts."
Really nice article on the state of ancient DNA genomics. Really interesting and makes me imagine what the world was like with other Homo species around. And then I wonder why we are the remaining species standing.
This link recently saved by cschick on April 18, 2011
"The story of humanity's prehistoric expansion across the planet is recorded in our genes. And, apparently, the story of the spread of language is hidden in the sounds of our words. That's the finding of a new study, which concludes that both people and languages spread out from an African homeland by a similar process—and that language may have been the cultural innovation that fueled our ancestors' momentous migrations."
Interesting technique and interesting findings.
This link recently saved by cschick on March 21, 2011
"Ultimately, Smith would like to identify a bacterium or set of bacteria that protects children from kwashiorkor, and add it to the emergency rations handed out to starving children, or give it to them beforehand. "Maybe we can do earlier interventions — before they suffer," she says."
Another interesting finding teasing out the importance of gut bacteria in human health. An interesting outcome would be creating a probiotic to prevent or recover from malnutrition.
This link recently saved by cschick on February 28, 2011
This link recently saved by cschick on January 11, 2011
This link recently saved by cschick on November 29, 2010