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Archive for the ‘biological’ category

Jul 14, 2015

The ‘Indispensable Soma’ theory of ageing

Posted by in categories: aging, evolution, health, life extension, science, transhumanism

OK. In scientific terms, it is only a ‘hypothesis’ — the reverse of the ‘Disposable Soma’ theory of ageing. Here how it goes.

For the past several decades, the Disposable Soma theory of ageing has been enjoying good publicity and a lively interest from both academics and the public alike. It stands up to scientific scrutiny, makes conceptual sense and fits well within an evolutionary framework of ageing. The theory basically suggests that, due to energy resource constraints, there is a trade-off between somatic cell and germ cell repair. As a result, germ cells are being repaired effectively and so the survival of the species is assured, at a cost of individual somatic (bodily) ageing and death. To put it very simply, we are disposable, we age and die because all the effective repair mechanisms have been diverted to our germ cell DNA in order to guarantee the survival of our species.

The theory accounts for many repair pathways and mechanisms converging upon the germ cell, and also for many of those mechanisms being driven away from somatic cell repair just to ensure germ cell survival. In the past two or three years however, it is increasingly being realised that this process is not unidirectional (from soma to germ), but it is bi-directional: under certain circumstances, somatic cells may initiate damage that affects germ cells, and also that germ cells may initiate repairs that benefit somatic cells!

I can’t even begin to describe how important this bi-directionality is. Taking this in a wider and more speculative sense, it is, in fact, the basis for the cure of ageing. The discovery that germ cells can (or are forced to) relinquish their repair priorities, and that resources can then be re-allocated for somatic repairs instead, means that we may be able to avoid age-related damage (because this would be repaired with greater fidelity) and, at the same time, avoid overpopulation (as our now damaged genetic material would be unsuitable for reproduction).

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Jul 6, 2015

Evolutionary Biologist Suggests Aliens Look Like Us

Posted by in categories: alien life, astronomy, cosmology, evolution, first contact, space

According to the reputable Australian astro-enthusiast journal, SkyNews, a leading biologist says that it is surprising we have not already discovered extra-terrestrials that look like us — given the growing number of Earth-like planets now discovered by astronomers.

Planet_moon
Simon Conway Morris, an evolutionary biologist suggests that aliens resembling humans must have evolved on other planets. He bases the claim on evidence that different species will independently develop similar features which means that life similar to that on Earth would also develop on equivalent planets.

The theory, known as convergence, says evolution is a predictable process which follows a rigid set of rules. Read the full story at Skynews

__________
Philip Raymond is Co-Chair of The Cryptocurrency Standards
Association [crypsa.org] and chief editor at AWildDuck.com

Jun 25, 2015

OS Fermentation Salon Series — By EcoArtTech

Posted by in categories: biological, chemistry, food, health

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“OS FERMENTATION events have included installations, workshops, prints, and tastings. The installation includes digital prints created by custom electronics and software that allow microbes to take their own “selfies” and add image manipulation effects to their images based on the shifting pH levels, oxygen, and color values of the fermentation process.”

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Jun 9, 2015

World’s first biolimb … By Akshat Rathi | Quartz

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA, education, ethics, futurism, genetics, hacking, hardware, health

The idea is simple. First, they take an arm from a dead rat and put it through a process of decellularization using detergents. This leaves behind a white scaffold. The scaffold is key because no artificial reconstructions come close to replicating the intricacies of a natural one.

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Jun 7, 2015

CRISPR, the disruptor — Heidi Ledford | Nature

Posted by in categories: biological, DNA, environmental

“Researchers are considering how CRISPR could or should be deployed on organisms in the wild. Much of the attention has focused on a method called gene drive, which can quickly sweep an edited gene through a population. The work is at an early stage, but such a technique could be used to wipe out disease-carrying mosquitoes or ticks, eliminate invasive plants or eradicate herbicide resistance in pigweed, which plagues some US farmers.” Read more

May 26, 2015

Howard Hughes Medical Institute Selects 2015 Investigators

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, computing, DNA, education, genetics, life extension, neuroscience, science, scientific freedom

“The Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) announced today that 26 of the nation’s top biomedical researchers will become HHMI investigators and will receive the flexible support necessary to move their research in creative new directions. The initiative represents an investment in basic biomedical research of $153 million over the next five years.”

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May 23, 2015

Experimental Architect Explores Biology’s Role in Urban Design — By Henry Grabar for Next City

Posted by in categories: architecture, biological, complex systems, futurism, habitats, health, science

ARTICLE: “My own contribution has been to take the avant-garde ideas of architecture into a laboratory space.”

Bütschli Dynamic Droplet System in Summer/Fall 2013 issue of Artificial Life

May 21, 2015

The International Flag of Planet Earth

Posted by in categories: alien life, astronomy, cosmology, evolution, futurism, geopolitics, gravity, sustainability, time travel, treaties

“A flag, in short, for all of earth.”

May 11, 2015

Read This Before You Freak Out Over Gene-Edited Superbabies — Nick Stockton | WIRED

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, DNA

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“The point being, science needs room to figure out exactly what this technology is capable of doing. Right now, researchers have a ton of potential on their hands, but not a lot of agreement about how far that potential reaches.” Read more

May 8, 2015

Chinese scientists genetically modify human embryos

Posted by in categories: biological, biotech/medical, genetics

David Cyranosk & Sara Reardon  - Nature.com

In a world first, Chinese scientists have reported editing the genomes of human embryos. The results are published1 in the online journal Protein & Cell and confirm widespread rumours that such experiments had been conducted — rumours that sparked a high-profile debate last month2, 3 about the ethical implications of such work. Read more

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