18% to 35% of people are "sun sneezers" who have genetically inherited the photic sneeze reflex. The photic sneeze reflex (also known as photoptarmosis) is a condition of uncontrollable sneezing in response to numerous stimuli, such as looking at bright lights or periocular (surrounding the eyeball) injection. Unfortunately, its exact mechanism of action and evolutionary purpose is not well understood. [ ... ]
This bird, known as the elephant bird, went extinct sometime in the 17th century as a result of human activity. Although flightless, the birds were widespread, inhabiting the northern to the southern tip of Madagascar.
Not only are they three times the size of an ostrich, they are also known for their massive egg. These fossils are so rare that one is currently being auctioned and is expecting to go for an upwards cost of $40 000..
The emerging field of synthetic biology is affirming itself at the forefront of modern science, possibly offering practical, effective solutions to many of the worlds most pressing problems. Described most simply as the ‘design and construction of new biological entities…’ synthetic biology, at first, seems to be a natural progression from twentieth century genetic engineering . However, synthetic biology sets itself a slightly different ethos, the central ‘from the bottom up’ dogma of the field means that organisms are designed, programmed, built, not just slightly altered or adjusted.
Origin & Scope
Although synthetic biology has only recently entered the scientific limelight, it was first mentioned back in 1912 by French biologist Stephan [ ... ]
This snow tunnel near the Mutnovsky Volcano in Russia is almost a kilometre long. These tunnels form under the snow fields in deep ravines at the end of the summer thaw. Meltwater flows through glaciers towards lower elevations, finding an outlet at the terminus of the glacier and carving the ice on the way. The Mutnovsky Volcano is found in the southern part of the Kamchatka Peninsula.
Scientists claim they have discovered a species of monkey previously unknown to science in the Democratic Republic of Congo -- only the second new species of monkey to be discovered in 28 years. The monkey has been named Cercopithecus lomamiensis, known locally as the Lesula.
This is Urechis unicinctus, a species of marine spoon worm. It is also know as the fat innkeeper worm or (I bet you'll never guess why) the penis fish. They live in burrows of sand and mud and are commonly eaten raw with salt and sesame oil in Korea and parts of Japan.
In recent posts I have discussed the potential medical and anthropological impacts (mainly benefits admittedly) of genetic modification and research in epigenetic phenomena. Whilst trawling through various journals and publications I constantly bumped into that term ‘pharmacogenomics’ . Then, it occurred to me that a discussion of that daunting subject just needed to be my next venture; it seems that pharmacogenomics is not as well publicized as similar areas of genetic research, yet equally interesting and controversial.
Pharmacogenomics was an idea born out of the aftermath of the human genome project, when it became obvious that sequencing a human genome was very much a feasible idea . Many people thought that by unlocking the information [ ... ]
The wolf spider is the only species of spider that carries its offspring this way -- live, hatched and wriggling on her back! After a gestation of 9 to 27 days (dependent on temperature) during which the eggs are carried around in a silk globe attached to the mothers stomach, the offspring hatch and climb on to her back. They stay there until they're ready to hunt alone.
Down syndrome is caused by a triple copy of chromosome 21, which leads to a number of cognitive and physical delays. Now researchers from the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla, California, have found a protein that restores the some of the cognitive and behavioral disorders found in the disease.
Mice who were deficient in the SNX27 protein exhibited similar characteristics to mice with Down syndrome—namely, they had fewer glutamate receptors, which are important for learning and memory, the team reported in Nature Medicine on Sunday (March 24). The researchers also showed that in mice with Down syndrome, the protein is blocked by a molecule encoded on chromosome 21, and produced in excess in Down syndrome mice as a re [ ... ]
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