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Thoughtomics

Thoughtomics

Exploring evolution through genes, computers and history

Yeti Crabs grow bacteria on their hairy claws

Deep beneath the waters of Costa Rica, dozens of crabs are waving their claws in unison, in what seems to be a rhythmic performance. It's almost as if these crabs are locked in a ritual dance.

December 5, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers
Frog-killing fungus is a skin-loving hybrid

Frog-killing fungus is a skin-loving hybrid

These are not the best of times for amphibians. All around the world, populations of frogs, salamanders and newts are declining. At least 489 species (7.8% of all known amphibians) are nearing extinction.

November 23, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers
Globin duplication was the key to a healthy heartbeat

Globin duplication was the key to a healthy heartbeat

Summary: Scientists show that vertebrate-specific globins originated in two rounds of genome duplication. We vertebrates work for our O2. Whether we’re a fish or antelope, we all have gills and lungs to filter oxygen out of air or water.

November 14, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers
MolBio Carnival #16!

MolBio Carnival #16!

Welcome to the sixteenth edition of the MolBio Carnival! Some great blog posts on cellular and molecular biology have been submitted, many of them written by first-time contributors, so I urge you to check them all out.

November 7, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

Shapeless sacks and oblong paper-knives: meet your cousins

The lancelet resembles a lancet, a double-bladed surgical knife. Few people will find delight in the dredge that is hauled from the ocean floor. But for the British biologist Ray Lankester, such hauls represented an unseen world of wonder.

November 1, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

Hooks can be deceiving

Every animal has its own parasites to worry about, but canivorous reptiles and amphibians have to deal with particularly gruesome ones. They can become infected with small, worm-like creatures called pentastomes that live inside their lungs, where they suck blood from ruptured blood vessels.

October 12, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

How to tame duplicated genes

Cell division is like an intricate dance, where chromosomes have to follow a tight choreography. The chromosomes first have to find and pair with their partners, proceed with an exchange of DNA and then part ways again.

September 29, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

Shapeshifting protein makes sour taste sweet

These berries are called 'miracle fruit': after consumption, they make sour taste sweet. Three years ago, a friend and I were eating a slice of lime.

September 26, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

Penguins colonized Africa. Thrice.

The Blackfooted Penguin is the only African penguin. The history of penguins in Africa is a history of false starts. The first penguin pioneers that settled Africa millions of years ago all went extinct.

September 14, 2011 — Lucas Brouwers

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Special Edition: Mysteries of the Mind