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Posts Tagged "RNA"

Brainwaves

Why Life Does Not Really Exist

native bee

I have been fascinated with living things since childhood. Growing up in northern California, I spent a lot of time playing outdoors among plants and animals. Some of my friends and I would sneak up on bees as they pollinated flowers and trap them in Ziploc bags so we could get a close look at [...]

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Expeditions

You wanted to know: who are these scientists? Introducing: Marco Coolen

Marco in action.

There are two really cool things about this research cruise: time and scale. The researchers are going from satellite images taken from far above the Earth, all the way down to the lipids and proteins found within individual Ehux cells, bridging a huge range of scales. They’re also using today’s observations to tell them about [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Maybe Mars Seeded Earth’s Life, Maybe It Didn’t

mars clip

This week a major geochemistry conference heard an argument for life on Earth having originated on Mars, but does this hold up to scrutiny? The idea that a young Mars, some four billion years ago, was a far more hospitable and temperate place is not particularly controversial – although it is certainly not understood in [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Your Grandmother Was A Molecule

70s_atrna

Well, perhaps your great-to-the-hundred-millionth-grandmother was. Understanding the origins of life and the mechanics of the earliest beginnings of life is as important for the quest to unravel the Earth’s biological history as it is for the quest to seek out other life in the universe. We’re pretty confident that single-celled organisms – bacteria and archaea [...]

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MIND Guest Blog

Prions May Develop Drug Resistance: The Implications for Mad Cow, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s

The brain of a patient with Creutzfeldt-Jakob shows signs of neurodegeneration and the presence of  large clumps of prion protein (purple). Courtesy of Lary Walker.

Clumps of proteins twisted into aberrant shapes cause the prion diseases that have perplexed biologists for decades. The surprises just keep coming with a new report that the simple clusters of proteins responsible for Mad Cow and other prions diseases may, without help from DNA or RNA, be capable of changing form to escape the [...]

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Not bad science

How might female butterflies gain an advantage? How about having the ability to taste through their feet

heliconius

No man is an island. Similarly, no non-human animal can function alone in the world without interacting with other organisms, be they other animals, plants or bacteria. However, the degree to which animals interact with each other varies, and so the evolutionary pressures upon them from that interaction will vary. To explain, let’s think about [...]

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Observations

Green Glow Shows RNA Editing in Real Time

glowing green genes show RNA activation in vivo

It’s a long way from gene to protein. The dogmatic scenario is: DNA gets transcribed into RNA, which gets translated into protein. But in real life, and in real living things, the workings aren’t quite that simple. One example: individual units of RNA sometimes need to be converted, in what’s called RNA editing, into related [...]

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Observations

What does HIV sound like? [Audio]

sounds of hiv dna music album

There is no question that HIV is an ugly virus in terms of human health. Each year, it infects some 2.7 million additional people and leads to some two million deaths from AIDS. But a new album manages to locate some sonic beauty deep in its genome. Sounds of HIV (Azica Records) by composer Alexandra [...]

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Observations

Expectations for stem cells undergo some reprogramming at annual research meeting

reprogramming adult stem cells better

NEW YORK—Despite a cloud of regulatory uncertainty hanging over the U.S. stem cell research field, many young scientists spoke excitedly about their research Wednesday afternoon at the New York Stem Cell Foundation’s annual Translational Stem Cell Research Conference here at The Rockefeller University. Some of the most recent big-news breakthroughs have come in the realm [...]

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Octopus Chronicles

Octopuses Reveal First RNA Editing in Response to Environment

common octopus

Without genetic change we’d be nowhere—well perhaps just unicellular blobs kicking around in ponds. Alterations in DNA, such as point mutations, duplications, rearrangements and insertions from microbial neighbors, have helped humans and our deep-time ancestors climb out of the swamps and, in our case at least, start swimming in backyard pools. But these basic tools [...]

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The Countdown

5 Signs of Life on Mars – The Countdown, Episode 37

top_image

Could Mars support life? In this episode of The Countdown, we run through five intriguing lines of evidence that the red planet was not always as desolate as it appears, and may even be habitable today. More to explore: New Signs of Water on Mars Ramp Up Search for Life (Scientific American) A River Runs [...]

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