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Category Archives: Biology

Sleep biology discovery could lead to new insomnia treatments that … – UCLA Newsroom

Posted: August 13, 2017 at 11:43 am

UCLA scientists report the first evidence that a gene outside the brain controls the ability to rebound from sleep deprivation a surprising discovery that could eventually lead to greatly improved treatments for insomnia and other sleep disorders that do not involve getting a drug into the brain. The scientists report that increasing the level of Bmal1 a critical master gene that regulates sleep patterns in skeletal muscle makes mice resistant to sleep deprivation. When we first saw the importance of the muscle, we were surprised, said senior author Ketema Paul, UCLA associate professor of integrative biology and physiology. At first we didnt believe it, so we repeated the experiment several times. We finally realized this is not a mistake; this is real. The research,published in the journal eLife, is the first evidence that a biological clock in the muscle can communicate with the brain, and is potentially good news for people who lose sleep because of factors including a crying newborn or a job that does not allow for normal sleep cycles, such as active military service. Chronic sleep deprivation increases the risk for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, infectious diseases and other illnesses, said Paul, a neurobiologist and member of … Continue reading

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Google worker says women don’t advance in tech because of biology – CBS News

Posted: August 7, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Last Updated Aug 7, 2017 7:51 PM EDT LONDON -- Silicon Valley faces another tempest over the status of women in the work place, this time at Google (GOOG). The search giant's new head of diversity has rejected an internal commentary from an employee who suggested women don't get ahead in tech jobs because of biological differences. Danielle Brown, who was named a vice president at the search giant only a few weeks ago, said Google is "unequivocal in our belief that diversity and inclusion are critical to our success," according to a copy of her response obtained by technology news website Gizmodo. The employee memo, titled "Google's Ideological Echo Chamber," begins by saying that only honest discussion will address a lack of equity. But it also asserts that women "prefer jobs in social and artistic areas" while more men "may like coding because it requires systemizing," fueling a smoldering debate about sexism in Silicon Valley. "I'm simply stating that the distribution of preferences and abilities of men and women differ in part due to biological causes and that these differences may explain why we don't see equal representation of women in tech and leadership," the memo stated, according to … Continue reading

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Researchers describe protein previously unknown in biology – Phys.Org

Posted: at 8:45 pm

Ball-and-stick model of part of activated pig aconitase centered on (4Fe4S) cluster bound to cysteine-385, -448, -451, after PDB 7ACN. Credit: wikimedia commons University of Georgia researchers have discovered a new way that iron is stored in microorganisms, a finding that provides new insights into the fundamental nature of how biological systems work. The research was recently published in the journal Nature Communications. Iron, a metal that is required by all living organisms, is usually stored with oxygen inside a cell in a complex within a large protein known as ferritin. Researchers have now discovered a new type of protein, known as IssA, that stores iron with sulfur, instead of oxygen, in the form of an iron-sulrfur polymer known as thioferrate. "This iron-sulfur polymer has been made previously in a test-tube but this is the first time thioferrate has been identified in a biological system," said Michael W. Adams, lead author and Distinguished Research Professor in the department of biochemistry and molecular biology. "In addition, this single type of protein, IssA, self-assembles into extremely large complexes or nanoparticles that can be more than 20-times the size of ferritin. The IssA nanoparticles are so large that they are visible inside whole … Continue reading

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Can Buddhist Practices Help Us Overcome The Biological Pull Of Dissatisfaction? – NPR

Posted: at 8:45 pm

"There's a kind of a bridge between cognitive therapy and Buddhist practice in evolutionary psychology," says author Robert Wright. Veronica Grech/Getty Images hide caption "There's a kind of a bridge between cognitive therapy and Buddhist practice in evolutionary psychology," says author Robert Wright. Are human beings hard-wired to be perpetually dissatisfied? Author Robert Wright, who teaches about the interface of evolutionary biology and religion, thinks so. Wright points out that evolution rewards people for seeking out pleasure rather than pain, which helps ensure that human beings are frequently unsatisfied: "We are condemned to always want things to be a little different, always want a little more," he says. "We're not designed by natural selection to be happy." But all is not lost. In his new book, Why Buddhism is True, Wright makes the case that some Buddhist practices can help humans overcome the biological pull towards dissatisfaction. "I think of mindfulness meditation as almost a rebellion against natural selection," he says. "Natural selection is the process that created us. It gave us our values. It sets our agenda, and Buddhism says, 'We don't have to play this game.' " On how natural selection is at odds with the Buddhist notion … Continue reading

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The biology of color – Science Magazine

Posted: at 8:45 pm

Innes C. Cuthill School of Biological Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol BS8 1TQ, UK. William L. Allen Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK. Kevin Arbuckle Department of Biosciences, Swansea University, Swansea SA2 8PP, UK. Barbara Caspers Department of Animal Behaviour, University of Bielefeld, Post Office Box 100131, 33501 Bielefeld, Germany. George Chaplin Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. Mark E. Hauber Department of Psychology, Hunter College and Graduate Center of City University of New York, New York, NY 10065, USA. Department of Animal Biology, University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana, IL 61801, USA. Geoffrey E. Hill Department of Biological Sciences, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA. Nina G. Jablonski Department of Anthropology, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA. Chris D. Jiggins Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 3DT, UK. Almut Kelber Department of Biology, Lund University, 22362 Lund, Sweden. Johanna Mappes Centre of Excellence in Biological Interactions Research, University of Jyvskyl, Jyvskyl 40014, Finland. Justin Marshall Queensland Brain Institute, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia. Richard Merrill Department of Evolutionary Biology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt, Mnchen, Germany. Daniel Osorio School of Life Sciences, University of Sussex, Brighton BN1 9QG, UK. Richard Prum … Continue reading

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Thermo Fisher Scientific Advances Cryo-EM Leadership to Drive Structural Biology Discoveries – Markets Insider

Posted: at 8:44 pm

ST. LOUIS, Aug. 7, 2017 /PRNewswire/ --Microscopy & Microanalysis 2017 -- Thermo Fisher Scientific, the world leader in serving science, has extended its leadership in cryo-electron microscopy (cryo-EM) with the introduction of two new instruments: the Thermo Scientific Krios G3i and the Thermo Scientific Glacios cryo-transmission electron microscopes (cryo-TEMs). The new instruments, which can be used independently or together in a single particle analysis (SPA) workflow, make structural analysis of proteins, protein complexes and other biomolecular structures faster, easier and more accessible than ever before. "Our Krios has become the leader in cryo-EM for structural biologists seeking to gain new insights into protein structure and function that will lead, ultimately, to a better understanding of the causes of disease and the development of new drugs and vaccines," said Peter Fruhstorfer, vice president and general manager, life sciences, Thermo Fisher Scientific. "Today, we are setting new standards again. Our Krios G3i establishes new benchmarks for performance and productivity in cutting-edge structural biology research, while the revolutionary Glacios provides an entry path that opens up cryo-EM to a wider range of laboratories." Thermo Scientific Krios G3i Faster and Easier to Use The new Krios G3i expands the industry-leading cryo-EM platform to deliver … Continue reading

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Cell Atlases Reveal Biology’s Frontiers – Quanta Magazine

Posted: July 12, 2017 at 7:52 pm

Nir Hacohen, an immunologist and geneticist at the Broad Institute of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard University, knew that biology had a problem. He wanted to understand the human immune responses role in cancer and other diseases. But to do that, he first had to address a more fundamental issue: The definition of the immune cell types themselves seemed insufficient, incomplete and outdated. For over a century, distinctions between types of cells relied on how they appeared under a microscope: their shapes, sizes, locations and their uptake of staining dyes. Recent decades, however, witnessed a shift to molecular methods that use fluorescently labeled antibodies to target protein markers on the cells surface. Although this approach allowed researchers to isolate more cell types, it was not enough, according to Hacohen. Until 2009, biologists could analyze cells only in bulk, averaging signals from multitudes of them to get a picture of what was going on in a tissue. When sequencing RNA from individual cells finally became possible, the initial analyses were what Hacohen called biased and shallow because the few markers used to classify the cells were too insensitive to nuances of differences among them. Does this really capture the … Continue reading

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CRISPR adds storing movies to its feats of molecular biology – Science News Magazine (blog)

Posted: at 7:52 pm

Short film is alive and well. Using the current trendy gene-editing system CRISPR, a team from Harvard University has encoded images and a short movie into the DNA of living bacteria. The work is part of a larger effort to use DNA to store data from audio recordings and poetry to entire books on synthetic biology. Last year, Seth Shipman and his colleagues at Harvard threw CRISPR into the mix when they used the editing system to record molecular data in the DNA of Escherichia coli. Now, the team is upping its game with images of a human hand and a short movie, a GIF of a galloping horse from iconic turn-of-the-century photographer Eadweard Muybridges Human and Animal Locomotion. In the code, the nucleotide bases that form DNA correspond to black-and-white pixel values. The video was encoded frame by frame. Once the team synthesized the DNA, they used CRISPR and two associated Cas proteins (Cas 1 and 2) to slip the data into the genetic blueprint of E. coli colonies. After growing the bacteria for several generations, the scientists retrieved the code for the images and film frames and were able to reconstruct the clips. About 90 percent of the … Continue reading

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Era of ‘Biological Annihilation’ Is Underway, Scientists Warn – New York Times

Posted: at 7:52 pm

They found that about 30 percent of all land vertebrates mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians are experiencing declines and local population losses. In most parts of the world, mammal populations are losing 70 percent of their members because of habitat loss. In particular, they cite cheetahs, which have declined to around 7,000 members; Borneo and Sumatran orangutans, of which fewer than 5,000 remain; populations of African lions, which have declined by 43 percent since 1993; pangolins, which have been decimated; and giraffes, whose four species now number under 100,000 members. The study defines populations as the number of individuals in a given species in a 10,000-square-kilometer unit of habitat, known as a quadrat. Jonathan Losos, a biology professor at Harvard, said that he was not aware of other papers that have used this method, but that it was a reasonable first pass at estimating the extent of species decline and population loss. Dr. Losos also noted that giving precise estimates of wildlife populations was difficult, in part because scientists do not always agree on what defines a population, which makes the question inherently subjective. Despite those issues, Dr. Losos said, I think its a very important and troubling paper that … Continue reading

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Biology test no longer required for high school diploma | The Seattle … – The Seattle Times

Posted: at 1:41 am

High school seniors will no longer need to pass a biology test in order to graduate under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. OLYMPIA (AP) High school seniors will no longer need to pass a biology test in order to graduate under legislation signed by Gov. Jay Inslee. The Daily News reports that that seniors in the class of 2017 who had failed a biology exam but met other diploma requirements would graduate automatically. The class of 2017 had been the first class required to pass a biology exam. About 3,300 high school seniors failed it. The new legislation signed by Inslee Friday is intended to give students more flexibility in meeting graduation requirements. The Legislature unanimously approved House Bill 2224 on June 30. The new law delays until 2021 the requirement that students pass a statewide biology test in order to graduate. The legislation moves the states standardized English and math assessments from the 11th grade to the 10th grade. It allows school districts to come up with alternative ways for students to demonstrate proficiency. Continued here: Biology test no longer required for high school diploma | The Seattle ... - The Seattle Times … Continue reading

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