Showing posts with label genetics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label genetics. Show all posts

5 May 2017

First Americans?

Scientists used new DNA screening tech to study caves in Belgium, Croatia, France, Russia, and Spain. What they found wasn't a big surprise. What's exciting about the news is that we now have another tool for unraveling our family history.

We've been pretty sure that nobody lived in North America until about two dozen millennia back. That may change, if scientists who say they found 130,000-year-old tools in San Diego County, California. Quite a few other scientists are dubious, understandably.

I took a longer look at what we've been learning about Homo naledi. They're folks who don't look like humanity's current model. We found their remains in a cave they probably used as a crypt.

Since you may be reading my stuff for the first time, I'll review why I think truth is important. All truth, not just the bits I grew up knowing about. Also why I take the Bible seriously, but not 'creation science.'...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

31 Mar 2017

DNA and Cancer

Apparently quiet a few sorts of cancer 'just happen,' no matter how much fiber we eat, how much we don't smoke, and how far we run each day.

Or exercise, in my case. Thanks in part to now-replaced defective hips, my running days never really happened.

That doesn't mean that we're all gonna die from random cancer. I think it means we should think about paying more attention to testing before symptoms appear....

After talking about oddly-under-reported 'cancer' news, I kept going; mostly about mutations, and why being healthy is okay...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Jan 2017

Urban Evolution and Big Brains

Life, and evolution, has been happening for quite a while. Cities are new, but the same processes happen there; with slightly different results. We're learning how urban environments affect critters, and are piecing together more of humanity's story....

...I see no problem with believing that God is creating a universe that's following knowable physical laws. That's just as well, since it's what we're told to believe....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

24 Nov 2016

Olive Threat, Ginkgo Genome

Something's killing Europe's olive trees: a bacterium that's probably spread by insects. Scientists don't know how to stop the disease, not yet.

Other scientists analyzed the Ginkgo genome. What they found helps explain the tree's remarkable endurance.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

21 Oct 2016

Sweet Potatoes, Genes, and Long Life

One woman decided to take a road trip after learning she had a terminal illness. Another switched careers. Both choices make sense, given the circumstances.

This year's World Food Prize goes to a team who developed a new sweet potato, scientists found a virus with spider genes, and there's a lively difference of opinion regarding human life span.

We've learned a lot since my youth, and there's a great deal left to learn.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

7 Oct 2016

Bioethics and a Three-Parent Baby

A Jordanian couple have a baby boy: who does not have a lethal genetic disorder, thanks to DNA transplanted from a third person. Four of his siblings did not survive the procedure.

I'll be talking about the decisions involved in that procedure, research involving "tiny brains" grown from human cells, genetically modified humans grown as research subjects, and water bears....

...After discussing recent genetics news, I'll share why I take human experimentation and medical ethics personally, and what I see coming in the near future....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

23 Sep 2016

The Minden Monster, What Killed Lucy

The 'Minden Monster,' a whacking great carnivore that lived about a hundred million years before T. Rex, is in the news again. Studying it will help scientists work out details of megalosaur development.

I'm fascinated by that sort of thing. Your experience may vary.

Other scientists think they know what killed Lucy, our name for a famous Australopithecus afarensis skeleton. It looks like Australopithecus afarensis was a little more at home in trees than we are.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

26 Aug 2016

Brogdar, Öetzi, and Piltdown Man

Archeologists found a big stone structure buried under a 43-century-old garbage dump in the Orkney Islands.

Öetzi, Europe’s frozen mummy, got his wardrobe from many different critters: why, we don’t know.

Piltdown Man’s in the news again, too. Looks like Dawson was the only culprit.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

5 Aug 2016

Bulldogs, Transgenics, and a Robot

English Bulldogs aren’t what they used to be: which is a problem for folks who want the breed to survive. A team of scientists says that the British mascot’s bloodline is more than a bit too pure.

Other scientists developed MouSensor, mutant mice with open slots for plug and play genetic code.

Finally, a tiny robot with rat muscles that swims like a fish.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Jul 2016

Early Agriculture, New Tech

'Genetics news' caught my eye this week.

DNA from barley that's been sitting in a cave for six millennia is helping scientists learn about agriculture's origins.

A fits-in-your-hand Biomolecule Sequencer is at the International Space Station. If it works, folks up there won't have to send samples down for analysis.

Finally, the world's first farmers were an unexpectedly diverse lot....

...Science? In a "religion" blog??...

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

1 Apr 2016

Synthetic Life, DNA Profiles

Syn 3.0, developed by the Ventner Institute, has fewer genes than any 'wild' bacteria. The 'artificial' microcritter is another important step in understanding how life works.

On the other side of the Atlantic, folks in the United Kingdom will be deciding what to do about a bureaucratic SNAFU and their national DNA database....

...I've seen attitudes toward science and technology shift from silly optimism to equally-silly pessimism.

I am reasonably certainly that mutant safflowers won't destroy civilization. On the other hand, ethics matter as much now as they ever did....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

22 Jan 2016

DNA, Headless Skeletons of York

We've been learning quite a bit about humanity's family history recently: thanks partly to our increasingly-detailed knowledge of DNA and the human genome.

I'll be taking a look at what scientists are learning about Roman Britain, Anglo-Saxons, and headless skeletons....

...I'll also indulge in an uncharacteristically-terse (for me) explanation of what science is doing in a 'religious' blog....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

27 Nov 2015

Mutant Medflies, GMO Mosquitoes

First, the good news: releasing genetically-modified medflies and mosquitoes may mean fewer crop failures; and fewer deaths from malaria.

Now, the not-so-good news: I'm pretty sure some folks won't think it's good news....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

20 Nov 2015

Europe’s Complex Heritage

I stopped using the term "Caucasian" several years ago. I've discussed the "Anglo-Teutonic" race, Neanderthals, and getting a grip, before. (September 25, 2015; October 31, 2014)

Turns out, folks from the Caucasus moved into Europe at least once — along with many other folks....

We're still learning about humanity's family history. It's a lot more complicated than we thought....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

16 Oct 2015

Pig Organs, Ancient Immigrants

We're years away from safe pig-to-human organ transplants: but scientists using CRISPR gene editing tech are working toward that goal.

Other scientists are discovering a chapter of humanity's family history: Eurasian immigrants returning to Africa, when the Shang dynasty and Egyptian Empire collapsed.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

25 Sep 2015

Kidneys, Experiments, and Ethics

Kidney failure isn't always fatal these days. Hemodialysis or peritoneal dialysis can keep someone alive until a transplant donor shows up. Kidney problems kill about a million folks each year.

It's not the leading cause of death for my 7,250,000,000-plus neighbors, but that's still a lot of deaths.

Scientists in Japan grew working kidneys in rats and pigs. We're years away from grow-your-own kidneys for patients: but I think that's coming.

Meanwhile, a scientist in England wants permission to collect people for genetic experiments. The Francis Crick Institute, Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority, and BBC News describe the proposal more discretely.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

15 May 2015

Fire Ant Engineering and Bungee Nerves

The last I heard, Rubenstein's robot swarm was pretty good at forming different shapes: but not much else. (August 22, 2014)

What we're learning about how fire ants build their nests may change that. Scientists discovered that the pests use different excavating techniques, depending on what sort of soil they're in.

Other scientists found stretchy nerves in rorqual whales. The nerves are made from the same stuff found in other animals — what makes them stretchy is how the nerve fibers fold up....

...Looking up rorqual whales and baleen encouraged a (very brief) tangent on evolution. I figure I'd better review why I don't argue with the Almighty about this world's development: and don't fear a robot revolution....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Mar 2015

Mutant Cows, Mass Migrations, and a Brain Gene

Bovine tuberculosis may not be a big problem, if Ministry of Agriculture in Northwest A&F University, Yangling, research pays off.

Meanwhile, we may be learning who made Europe look and sound the way it does today: and scientists at the Max Plank Institute discovered how a uniquely-human gene helps our brains grow....

I've seen attitudes toward science and technology shift, quite a bit. I grew up when quite a few folks still thought human ingenuity would solve all our problems: or at least make "the future" a magical place to live....

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

13 Feb 2015

DNA, Babies, Life, and Death

DNA evidence in a court case isn't new: but deer DNA in a poaching trial is.

Less than two decades after a cloned sheep's birth, British Members of Parliament okayed human cloning: using DNA from three people.

Scientists who think this is a good idea may be right: at least for some versions of the new tech.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

6 Feb 2015

Baby Chickens, Numbers: and Studying an Old Skull

Chicks and humans associate small numbers with the left side and large ones with the right. A scientists says this may mean that our 'number line' is a very old piece of neural hardware.

Other scientists are studying part of a skull that's from one of the earliest of today's sort of human to leave Africa.

More at A Catholic Citizen in America.

Inside Out is One of Pixar's Best

Typically, when I sit down to watch a Pixar movie with my toddler (or in the past, by myself or with my husband...), I know it's ...