Unfortunately, I haven’t had time to write anything for Inspiring Science this week, so instead I decided to link to a few of my recent posts on Accumulating Glitches instead. I wrote two posts, Tracking the Evolution of a Virus and Antibiotics and Applied Evolution, about evolutionary sories which might affect our day-to-day lives; I introducted them saying: Continue reading
Viruses make their living by breaking into cells and using the machinery and energy in the cell to reproduce. Once inside, some viruses immediately hijack the cell and make copies of themselves which burst out into the world to infect new cells. Other viruses take a staid approach, though. Instead of taking over the cell, they quietly slip a copy of their genes into its DNA. When the cell divides, it copies the newly acquired viral genes along with the rest of its genome. It’s a better deal for the virus, since all of the cell’s descendants will be carrying viral genes which can eventually come out of hiding to commandeer the cell and replicate. A really lucky virus is one that finds itself inside an egg cell. Getting into the DNA of a single cell means getting copied into all of its daughter cells, but getting into the DNA of an egg cell means getting copied into every cell in the organism that grows from the egg…and from there into all of the organism’s offspring. Lucky viruses that succeed in pulling off that trick can still break out and cause trouble, but they can also become integrated into their host’s genome; instead of struggling to reproduce, they can then just kick back and enjoy the ride while we lumber along, making copies of them whenever we make new cells or have children. Continue reading
brain, gender, Genetics, glaciers, Good Men Project, gut bacteria, lego, memory, mental illness, parasite, photography, science, science and society, Science in Society, sexism, stars, stem cell, virus
I was hoping to spend lots of time writing during the winter holidays, but instead I’ve been enjoying the opportunity to spend time with my family. I’ve got a few promising posts in the works for early in the new year, but until then here’s another collection of odds and ends from around the web to keep you going. As always, feel free to add more links in the comments. I hope you’ve all enjoyed the winter/summer solstice and associated holidays.
famous psychology experiments, games, gender, Genetics, math, memory, mind, parasite, photography, rape, science, science and society, Science in Society, sexism, stanford prison experiment, video, videogames, virus, woman scientist
It’s been a while since I last shared a mish-mash of assorted links. Unfortunately I’ve been too busy recently to have the time to trawl aimlessly around the web, so there are fewer fruits from my foraging forays. Anyway, enough mixed metaphors and strained writing; here’s my latest collection of tidbits from the web for you to enjoy. Feel free to add more in the comments if you’d like.
Your body has ten times more bacterial cells than human cells containing 150 times as much genetic material. I’ve written several posts about how our gut bacteria, the microbiome, can influence the development of allergies, obesity and type-2 diabetes. We’ve only recently started studying the microbiome and there’s still a lot to learn; it’s quite an active area of research. For example, just last year scientists discovered that individuals could be divided into three groups based on the composition of their microbiome, but new research has cast doubt on that idea. And yet, like a matryoshka doll, our biology has still another surprise in store for us: wherever bacteria are found, there are viruses which infect them. As we learn more about the microbiome and its implications, some scientists have turned their attention to the the viral microbiome, the viruses that prey on our gut bacteria and shape their community. Continue reading