Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
"A four-year clinical trial involving 1,200 women found those taking the vitamin had about a 60-per-cent reduction in cancer incidence, compared with those who didn't take it, a drop so large -- twice the impact on cancer attributed to smoking -- it almost looks like a typographical error."
The women were apparently given 1,100 IU of vitamin D3 per day over the four years.
These claims are exciting but given their grandeur must also be greeted with skepticism. I am therefore anxious to examine the data myself. Unfortunately the article failed to mention when, or in which peer-reviewed (I assume) journal these results will be published. However the article did cite one of the authors as Robert Heaney, MD, of Creighton University, who "has worked for over 45 years in the study of osteoporosis and calcium physiology, and has published more than 300 original papers, chapters, monographs, and reviews in scientific and educational fields".
Check back for updates here on the bayblab as more information becomes available.
Also, see the slashdot post for interesting discussion, including why vitamin D has nothing to do with the evolution of human skin colour.
Update: A representative from the Creighton University Medical Center has informed me that the principal author of the study is in fact Joan Lappe, PhD in Nursing and Associate Professor and Creighton.
Update 2: I have also been informed that the article will appear in the June edition of The Journal of Clinical Nutrition. However, upon my request (wherein I identified myself as a member of the cancer research community), the authors informed me that no further information will be made available until the study is published. Which leaves me scratching my head as to how the Globe and Mail got a hold of the results and chose to jump on the story when the results haven't even yet been made available to members of the scientific community for discussion and scrutiny. Interestingly, no other media outlet accessible to Google news has reported on the study to date.
Update 3: Interesting paper that Jim Wint pointed out is in fact real and recently appeared in Cell - see "Central Role of p53 in the Suntan Response and Pathologic Hyperpigmentation". Good to see even tanning bed proprietors are up on the scientific literature. I love it! (Haven't read the paper yet though, so can't say at this point whether I think it supports his claims.)
Update 4: I just bought 120, 000 IU of vitamin D3 at Shopper's Drug Mart for $6.99. Figured it couldn't hurt. Based on my previous experience with supplements, I'll take it faithfully for a couple of days then forget the whole thing.
When you think about it, some of these features are quite unique, and they are all linked to a relatively small deletion affecting 20 or so genes on chromosome 7. The fact that gene dosing could be responsible to these striking changes in musical abilities, speech and social behaviour, things that are so characteristically human, is an incredible window into how genes dictate cognition. Additionally, while the syndrome was initially included in the autism spectrum disorder, the hypersocial aspect and the "islands" of cognitive strength are in stark contrast to what is observed in autism. Maybe we could we learn about social behaviour, empathy, and how the brain makes us social animals by comparing both diseases.
And so I started examining the genes which were hemizigous as a result of the disease. While a few genes are thought to contribute to the cognitive aspects of the disease, two really stand out: LIMK1 and ELN. They are part of the minimally deleted region that can give rise to the syndrome (since the size of the deletion varies from patient to patient). Elastin (eln) is a structural protein and its deficiency is linked to the cardio-vascular problems and to the facial features of the disease. LIMK1 is a kinase that is expressed in the brain and which regulates actin threadmilling (via cofilin) to allow synaptic plasticity and remodelling.
So I thought, maybe LIMK1 can tell us what is the neural substrate for cognitive processes that are affected by the disease such as social behaviour, musical abilities, visuo-spatial cognition etc... Using the Allen brain project data, which we've spoke about on the blog in the past, I looked at where the gene is expressed in the brain. To my surprise it wasn't expressed in the cortex or the limbic system, the structures which are thought to regulate higher cognition and behaviour. Instead it was very limited to the brainstem (see my figure above). Yet all the studies done so far have focused on the hippocampus, the amygdala and the cortex, because that is where everyone expected the defects occurred. People with lesions in those areas have memory problems, social behaviour problems, so it was only natural to assume, that it was the neural substrate of the disease. After reading quite a bit about brain areas and behaviour I came across a few very rare papers dealing with the brainstem in cognition and behaviour. The authors suggested that maybe higher brain function is dependent on integration of incoming sensory signals (or outgoing motor signals) from the brainstem. If the brainstem doesn't do its job at pre-processing that information, the higher brain structures don't know how to deal with the signals, and how to relay it to the specialized areas like say the Broca area for speech for example. This in turn may explain why Williams patients have difficulties with motor skills, visuo-spatial integration. And so is behaviour also dependent on the brainstem? While I don't have the resources to prove it, I certainly think it's a possibility. After-all many primitive animals that have complex behaviour have a mostly brain-stem centric brain and underdeveloped cortex. The brain stem is responsible for the basic stuff like breathing, eating, vomiting so why not also of basic behaviour like anxiety...
Which leads me to my final point, if you restore the synaptic plasticity in the brainstem, can the brain adapt and the symptoms associated with Williams syndrome disappear? A recent paper in science (Guy et al, 2007) demonstrated that restoration of MeCP2 expression post-nataly in mouse models of Rett syndrome, can correct the neurological defects. This suggests that mental retardation syndromes which are not neuro-degenerative can be corrected and reversed. So I am very optimistic that one day, there will be therapies available to these people, or maybe even, that we might harness that knowledge to enhance our own brains. Have you ever wanted to have a musical brain?
Friday, April 27, 2007
If you watched Grey's Anatomy last night you've probably seen the penis fish. You're also probably a girl. What they left out of the explanation, is that the Vandellia cirrhosa is in fact just as happy to swim up a vagina, or in fact any opening/orifice. It is a type of parasitic catfish that usually lodges itself in the gills of other fish and feeds on their blood. There is no reported case in pubmed, other than it is a gift to urology (?), but natives living on the amazon fear it (understandably so). However, reports of the fish swimming in the urine stream into the penis outside of the water are an urban legend. But if you are submerged , then beware. I'm scared of channel catfish myself...
Thursday, April 26, 2007
- the average age of sex education is 13.2
- Asian students receive education last, with Vietnam trailing at 16
- Nordic European countries are the earliest, with Germany leading at 11.3
- The average age to lose virginity is 17.3
- The same trend is observed with the loss of virginity, with India at 19.8 and Iceland at 15.6
At first glance there is a strong correlation (R^2=0.7) with sex ed and loss of virginity. But I would argue that it is not causal, because if you look into the details all countries wait 4.20 years between theory and practise with a very small standard deviation of 0.59 . This to me suggests that countries are pretty good at introducing the subject well in advance, and do so according to the local cultures rather than a universal standard age...
Awesome! Lots more cool details and pics in Walter R. Tschinkel's original paper.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Monday, April 23, 2007
- habitat loss
- climate change (drought)
- pathogens carried by mites
- electromagnetic radiation from cellphones or power lines (2006 study shows that such radiation can affect bee behaviour and ability to return to the hive [pdf])
"The show was interested in this scenario: Terrorists release a biological agent in a hotel air conditioning system, making people sick in a matter of minutes and killing roughly 2,000 people within a few hours. They concocted a genetically engineered "Cordella virus" to do it, and wanted government officials to be able to wave an electronic device that could instantly detect the virus in the air. They consulted CDC officials, who said there are no such devices. The CDC also suggested that health officials might try to deal with such a situation by isolating the ill from the well, perhaps reducing the contagion's impact, said Dr. Mitchell Cohen, director of CDC's Coordinating Center for Infectious Diseases. The writers took the tip, and the final death toll fell to under 800. "We saved 1,200 virtual people," said Cohen, who consulted with the "24" writers and did an on-camera interview for the DVD boxed set of the series. "
"Camp Princess 2: Unicorns? Get Real!The book is set to go on sale tomorrow, so I'd better finish off Camp Princess 1 before my preorder arrives.
When rumors of wild unicorns come to Camp Princess, there's a frenzy of excitement as the royal maidens prepare for the Unicorn Round-Up. But Princess Gundersnap has more important things to worry about. Her war-inclined mother has taken her beloved pony, Menschmik, into battle, and Gundersnap fears for his life. Besides, Gundersnap is much too practical to believe in unicorns.
Or is she? Both the magical tapestry in the tower and her favorite local witch, Berwynna, seem to be trying to tell Gundersnap something. Could the Unicorn Round-Up be more than just a bunch of royal hooey?"
Friday, April 20, 2007
Prius owners in Georgia are discovering that their cars aren't road worthy, at least by letter of the law. Part of the emissions test used collects exhaust samples from an idling vehicle, since the combustion engine in a hybrid shuts off when idling, the Prius registers an aborted test and fails. Owners still have to pay the $25 testing fee. This strikes me as another case of the law (or in this case the test) failing to keep up with new, green tech.
The sting for hybrid car adopters doesn't end there. As mentioned at the recent recording of Bayblab Podcast Episode 8 (in press), governments are offering financial incentives to 'go green' in the form of tax rebates. Prospective buyers shouldn't get too excited about that just yet. The credit is on the taxes paid, so trade-ins and leases can expect to see far less than the advertised rebate amount. It's a similar scenario in the US where a non-refundable tax credit is offered, meaning that if your tax liability is less than the advertised rebate after applying all other credits, that's all you get (discussion forum).
Finally, it should be noted that not all hybrid vehicles are created equal. There are a number of hybrid technologies out there. Some, like Toyota's Hybrid Synergy Drive, are full hybrid drivetrains can run on just the combustion engine, just the batteries or both. Other cars advertised as hybrid may be so-called 'mild hybrids', which can't drive in a full electric mode but rather just shut off the engine when stopping or coasting resulting in a 10-20% improvement in fuel efficiency. These are otherwise essentially conventional vehicles, but still bear the hybrid mark.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne and Bruce Banner are just a few famous comic book scientists, but what about the science behind the heroes? The Ontario Science Centre recently put together a Superhero Science Exhibit, which has since ended its run a the Toronto museum, but is currently on tour (no word on whether it's coming to Ottawa any time soon). There are plenty of books out there determined to analyze the plausibility of comic book physics, and this light BBC piece on the science of superheroes. For the real scoop on what gives all heroes their powers, check out this guy's theory. But if you're more interested in what your favourite hero believes than what he can do, or are just curious whether he or she is more likely a creationist check out this comprehensive list of superhero religious beliefs, some with very detailed evidence. Holy Batman, batman!
I listened to the newest installment of the bayblab podcast and in addition to finding out that I care deeply about gilson pipettors, I went on about an old article in Nature. It is in the 'futures' section that is probably not around anymore. It's an inspiring read of sci-fi about biopunk and thought that it was relevant to the podcast discussion. (Picture was ganked from that article.)
Also here is a link to the kids home DNA kit that was mentioned on the podcast. (WIRED mag)
Posted by Rob at 9:16 AM
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
- "Four reasons why academic research is broken", a great little article by Jason over at Unsought Input. He raises some great points regarding the current sad state of access to scientific information and how its hurts society. I think the article's right on the money. I especially like the thing about citations - the way journals cite literature is just like so 1940s.
- On a more optimistic note, the Gates Foundation, now backed by the fortunes of the world's richest two men (Bill Gates and Warren Buffet) is changing the landscape of drug development with its mission of prioritizing humanitarian project funding. Even the big pharmas are starting to shake in their boots and will probably have to fall into line and also start developing AIDS drugs and vaccines for underprivileged majority who need them. Serves them right for being so damn greedy in the first place. One cool project that the Gates Foundation is helping to make happen is Jay Keasling's engineering of bacteria to synthesize cheap anti-malarials. Throwing $43 million at project such as this one, which will eventually make a curative dose of Artemisinin available for a quarter, you can see why big pharmas are sleeping with one eye open.
- Finally, just to prove that the bayblab is way ahead of mainstream science: a new study describing a method to distinguish organic from non-organic produce based on measurements of nitrogen isotope content.
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
CDKN2A which inactivates both RB and P53 is aparently the most common chromosomal deletion in cancer. It is therefore of interest to use this as a diagnostic marker. But how do you detect a rare mutated DNA in a very large pool of normal DNA? Well you multiplex your PCR! These guys who just published in PLOS ONE have a new multiplex method "Primer Approximation Multiplex PCR (PAMP), for enriching breakpoint sequences followed by genomic tiling array hybridization to locate the breakpoints" . When they say multiplex they don't joke... It's has no less than 7 primer pairs!
Neutrophil Extracellular Traps (NETs) were brought to my attention by a Neighbour Of the Bay (NOB) today. They are essentially extracellular strands of DNA and proteases produced by neutrophils and function to trap foreign bacteria. They were discovered way back in 2004 and they definitely remind me of Spiderman.
Posted by Rob at 3:56 PM
Monday, April 16, 2007
I just did some quick poking about pubmed about the hygiene hypothesis. The hypothesis is that the increase in some diseases especially atopic diseases in some countries is a direct result of high quality hygiene. The diseases are type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, Crohn's disease and allergic diseases (atopic diseases such as asthma). All have increased incidence in countries with high quality sanitation and an overactive immune system plays a role. The idea is that a developing immune system that is not exposed to enough innocuous antigens does not have sufficiently repressed TH1 and TH2 reactions to allergens and self-antigen. It sounds quite reasonable, however, it seems as though it is far from established. I found this decent review of the evidence for the hygiene hypothesis. Correlations such as the early use of antibiotics and incidence of asthma have to make you wonder if there is something to this hypothesis.
Posted by Rob at 10:16 PM
- A Danish study published September 2006 examined cancer incidence in 14,000 of that countries veterans who had been deployed in the Balkans as part of the UN force. Contrary to previous speculations, no increased incidence of leukemia or testicular cancer was found amongst veterans in comparison to the overall Danish population.
- A similar study of 9000 Swedish Balkan veterans showed no increased incidence of leukemias or testicular cancer.
- A UK study comparing cancer incidences of 50,000 British veterans of the 1991 gulf-war to 50,000 control servicemen who had not been deployed showed no increased risk.
- United Nations Environment Programme scientists have measured soil samples from known sites of artillery impact in Kosovo. Although radioactivity was increased slightly above background, counts were well within safe bounds and one expert declared the soil emitted so little radiation that it would be safe to eat.
Sunday, April 15, 2007
In any case this is good news for the icelanders who will now get these tests for free as payment. Keep an eye on those vikings you never know when they might take over the world again. THIS IS ICELANNNNDDD!!!
Friday, April 13, 2007
A cool summary of a research article in PLoS Biology discusses the finding that a single point nucleotide difference in a bacterial symbiont of an aphid leads to a differential reproductive fitness in hot or cold climates. I think that I'm going to get all my bacterial symbionts sequences and make sure that they aren't responsible for my bad reaction to the tartar sauce I had with lunch.
Posted by Rob at 1:54 PM
Thursday, April 12, 2007
Unfortunately there are no details yet on what the technology is, but it seems based on magnetism (forum), which according to the inventor (wikipedia), is being tested by over 500 scientists. Somehow I find that hard to believe. Check out this interview (video) with the man...
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
- Throw lots of soft money into funding research chairs, grants, conferences, lectures, consultancies, etc. for cash-strapped scientists at public institutions to investigate your product. Remember, "industry-funded research is 4 to 8 times more likely than independently funded research to result in findings favorable to the sponsor".
- See what they produce and reward those who put out positive results with continued funding, while cutting support when you get results that don't help you sell products. It's survival of the fittest - but don't worry, the theory of evolution is public domain and can be freely exploited without necessitating royalty payments to the descendants of Charles Darwin.
- After a few cycles of this "directed evolution of truth" the data should more or less be saying what you want. Polish things off by having your scientific pawns publish drastically over-hyped and over-stated interpretations of their data in a peer-reviewed journal, the higher the impact factor the better. Boisterously announce the publication of these findings with an even more over-hyped press release to major media outlets. Don't forget to to reward your peons with an all-expenses paid trip or at least a nice dinner party. Or maybe a chocolate bar.
Anyway, now it's chocolate-funded research, and things are just getting so ridiculous it's funny. This great article by blogger Mark Klempner describes how the Mars bar company is manipulating academia to demonstrate the supposed benefits of the "flavanols" in their products, while of course ignoring the massive negative effects of the sugars and fats they contain. I mean come on, we're talking about JUNK FOOD here. I would be embarrassed to be associated with a would-be serious academic institution such as the University of California at Davis, who support a Mars bar endowed chair in nutrition and have allowed their researchers to recieve at total of $10 million in research funding from the chocolate bar maker. Maybe they should be calling themselves something like "Department of Junk Food and Obesity Promotion, University of Mars Bar at Davis" instead. These guys even have a paper in PNAS that is commonly cited on chocolate industry propaganda websites. On these sites you can find quotes from people at the center of this conflict of interest, like Harold Schmitz, Mars Chief Scientific Officer and UC Davis visiting professor in nutrition: "Traditional cocoa processing often destroys the flavanols, but Mars technology helps to retain these naturally occurring nutrients from cocoa. This new research emphasizes the importance of understanding the potential public health applications of emerging cocoa science, which is a challenge we take very seriously at Mars." Priceless.
The saddest part is that it's usually not obvious, when you read a paper like this, see a poster or hear a talk, that the research has been funded for corporate gain. Instead you're just left wondering why you've wasted your time listening to a bunch of meaningless, over-stated, irrelevent and massaged data disguised to look like science.
Great piece though, and I think he's bang on. The Brave New World reference is interesting although disconcerting. (Naturally, Klempner manages to tie global waming into his article as well).
"Whenever I get a package of plain M&Ms, I make it my duty to continue the strength and robustness of the candy as a species. To this end, I hold M&M duels. Taking two candies between my thumb and forefinger, I apply pressure, squeezing them together until one of them cracks and splinters. That is the"loser," and I eat the inferior one immediately. The winner gets to go another round.
I have found that, in general, the brown and red M&Ms are tougher, and the newer blue ones are genetically inferior...
Occasionally I will get a mutation, a candy that is misshapen...
When I reach the end of the pack, I am left with one M&M, the strongest of the herd. Since it would make no sense to eat this one as well, I pack it neatly in an envelope and send it to:
M&M Mars, A Division of Mars, Inc.
along with a 3x5 card reading, "Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."
This week they wrote back to thank me, and sent me a coupon for a free 1/2 pound bag of plain M&Ms.
I consider this "grant money." I have set aside the weekend for a grand tournament. From a field of hundreds, we will discover the True Champion. There can be only one."
Monday, April 09, 2007
- Engineering the brain is just cool, and this has to be the ultimate example. Groups from Stanford and The Max-Planck have collaborated to create transgenic mice whose neurons can be exquisitely controlled with photons of light. Neurons were engineered to express two types of photoreceptors from algae, one responsive to blue light which creates an action potential, and another responsive to red light which inhibits activity. This highly-specific tool (we're talking lasers) for probing neuronal circuitry will likely replace the far cruder electrode stimulator and undoubtedly open the way to vast new territories of research in neurobiology. Read the original Nature paper here, as well as another concurrently-published PLoS One paper describing a similar system in cultured neurons.
- As a biologist I'm always jealous of physicists, what with the Feynmanian mathematical certainty and Einsteinian grandeur that they wield in their quest to explain the universe. We biologists are are less self-confident bunch, tempered (and tortured) by lives predominated by experimental failures within the lab. Will biology ever join chemistry and physics as a so-called "capital-S Science", with a set of its own all-powerful, generalized and quantitative Laws? (Not to be confused with The Ten Commandments...) MIT biological historian Evelyn Fox Keller argues that biology may never see its Moses descend from the mountain. Instead, she suggests in this Nature essay, that biology is special, and the exceptions more important than the rule. Enquist and Stark, in this response, are more optimistic about the prospects for a quantitative Biology with all-encompassing Laws. Maybe there's hope for biology after all, and there will come a day when we can make predictions that even a VC investor would take to the bank.
Sunday, April 08, 2007
I've heard that fish are able to swim in tight schools in part due to their lateral line. Basically this anatomical feature can sense small vibrations and therefore can aid in schooling. While sight aids in schooling, apparently a blind fish is capable of schooling with only its lateral line intact.
Starlings do some pretty crazy things, and often it looks like schooling. How do they do this without an analogous feature like a lateral line? I have no idea. Check out these crazy starlings mobbing a tree (video) in schooling form.
If you are going to only check out one link in this post it's this one of starlings. (video) Turn up the tunes or something and watch the whole thing. awesome. [I think I've seen this posted somewhere else before. Hope it wasn't bayblab.] The excuse for schooling in fish as described in the first link, namely predator evasion, simply does not apply to the nuttiness of these crazy formations.
Posted by Rob at 11:19 PM
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Friday, April 06, 2007
One of the coolest things I did in grade school was the spagetti bridge building contest. I was thinking about it recently and so googled it and was shocked to find that it isn't as widespread as I had assumed. I was under the impression it was a national competition. Personally I think that the bay needs a good science contest to determine who is the biggest bayb in the lab.
Found this website that has a great overview of cancer, without being too oversimplistic. Pretty interesting for any bayblab reader who doesn't study or know much about cancer, since cancer is bayblabs #1 tag. It has a nice interface and lots of animations and video. Funded by NIH.
Thursday, April 05, 2007
I overheard that some bay members were off to eat some vegetables for dinner this evening, and I found this interesting article on cancer rates and diet. Check out some of the correlations between meat intake and occurrence of different type of cancer in various countries. I think more attention to this type of data could be very important as finding preventative therapies. Note that most of the data is over ten years old.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
- Left-handed men are worth more to society than right-handers, as evidenced by the fact that their salaries are 26% higher.
- Left-handers get their own special scissors, because they are better at arts and crafts.
- The QWERTY keyboard was designed specifically for lefties, with all the important letters on the left, becuase left-handers are the only ones who have thoughts worth typing.
- Bike helmet straps designed for right-handers, because lefties more co-ordinated and don't need to wear helmets.
- The leaders of the most successful empires of human history were left-handed - most of the British Royal family, Alexender the Great, Charlemagne, Julius Caesar and Napoleon were lefties. This obviously contributed to their success and TOTAL WORLD DOMINATION. For example Napoleon taught all his soldiers to be kick-ass left-handed swordsmen and based his military strategy around this special ability...the rest is history.
- George Bush Sr. (the smart one) is left handed. George Bush Jr. (the illiterate one who invaded Iraq) is not.
- In music, Jimi Hendrix was left-handed and the greatest guitar player to ever live.
- The most intelligent two humans ever born were left-handed. Albert Einstein and Leonardo DaVinci.
Fortunately, enlightened lefties like Joan of Arc, Leonardo da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, Jack the Ripper, Benjamin Franklin, Fidel Castro, Gandhi, Buzz Aldrin, Ted Koppel, Bart Simpson, Ross Perot, Tom Cruise (in Mission Impossible), Rocky Balboa (especially in part III), Rambo (the original) and Bob Dylan refused to cave to oppression and fought to overthrow the church's dominance of society, establish human rights and develop more just societies. As a result, human evolution has been freed from the reign of the right-handed conspiracy, and the frequency of lefties has been on the rise for the past sixty years (see fig below). Obviously, left-handedness is superior and that is why life evolves to be left-handed, not just at the molecular level, but the important ones too (although there is an outside chance that it may be caused by global warming).
Digg this story NOW.
Other reasons that may have contributed for that preference, is that left-handed AA may be required for catalytic production of other left-handed organic molecules (sugar, lipids). Although this is kind of a chicken and egg thing. More surprisingly, some bacteria actually use right handed amino-acids: "From the ratios of right- to left-handed amino acids in seawater, McCarthy and his colleagues conclude that a substantial fraction of the dissolved organic matter comes from bacteria. This challenges the traditional view that algae produce most of the ocean's soluble biological material. Bada notes that bacteria coat themselves with right-handed amino acids because the unusual structures provide a tough exterior that resists other organisms. This is what helps bacteria evade digestive enzymes in human stomachs, he says."
Interestingly, a new hypothesis suggests that while reactions may produce equal amounts of L and D, the L AA dissolve better in water..."Donna Blackmond at Imperial College London and colleagues dissolved a mixture of solid
So should we expect life on Mars to also be left-handed if it exists?
Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I would love to hear something from someone who knows more about this than me but where does the garbage go then? Assuming conversation of matter, if there are no emissions into the atmosphere and this system gets rid of the mass that used to be garbage where does it go? Don't get me wrong I have high hopes for tech to solve some environmental problems, I just hope that city council has an independent review of this whole idea.
- The eukaryotic single-subunit mitochondrial RNA polymerase was ganked from bacterial viruses (bacteriophage T3/T7), and has no relation to those encoded by bacteria themselves.
- Even weirder, the phage-like mtRNA polymerase is encoded in the nuclear genome of eukaryotes. Interstingly, an isoform of mtRNA polymerase lacking a mitochondrial localization signal performs transcription of nuclear-encoded genes in the nucleus (RNA pol IV).
- The amino-terminal domain of yeast mtRNA polymerase has diverged from its phage ancestry, and has evolved to mediate coupling between mitochondrial transcription and translation. In fact, mutations in the ATD lead to deficiencies in mitochondrially-encoded OXPHOS enzymes and thereby decrease lifespan in yeast.
- What? Mitochondrial translation? What's up with that? Nobody really knows...
Also, check out this wicked album of artistic renditions of cells by Gary Carlson which I ganked the above photo from. Nice job Gary!
Obviously this would be great for blind people too. And I can only speculate about the pleasures of added tactile senses when combined with regular vision. You can read more about this sort of stuff on the author's blog...Also check out this guy who wants to hack your memory!!!
Posted by Rob at 9:26 AM