Archive for the ‘evolution’ category

Mar 12, 2018

A Protein that Shows the Difference Between Cancer and Non-cancer Cells

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Researchers have identified a protein that is different between healthy and cancerous cells, offering a potential target for therapeutic interventions.


Sorting nexins anchor trafficking machines to membranes by binding phospholipids. The paradigm of the superfamily is sorting nexin 3 (SNX3), which localizes to early endosomes by recognizing phosphatidylinositol 3-phosphate (PI3P) to initiate retromer-mediated segregation of cargoes to the trans-Golgi network (TGN). Here we report the solution structure of full length human SNX3, and show that PI3P recognition is accompanied by bilayer insertion of a proximal loop in its extended Phox homology (PX) domain. Phosphoinositide (PIP) binding is completely blocked by cancer-linked phosphorylation of a conserved serine beside the stereospecific PI3P pocket. This “PIP-stop” releases endosomal SNX3 to the cytosol, and reveals how protein kinases control membrane assemblies. It constitutes a widespread regulatory element found across the PX superfamily and throughout evolution including of fungi and plants.

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Feb 23, 2018

Enzyme Designed Entirely From Scratch Opens a World of Biological Possibility

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Ann Donnelly was utterly confused the first time she examined her protein. On all counts, it behaved like an enzyme—a protein catalyst that speeds up biological reactions in cells. One could argue that enzymes, sculpted by eons of evolution, make life possible.

There was just one problem: her protein wasn’t evolved. It wasn’t even “natural.” It was, in fact, a completely artificial construct made with random sequences of DNA—something that’s never existed in nature before.

Donnelly was looking at the first artificial enzyme. An artificial protein that, by all accounts, should not be able to play nice with the intricate web of biochemical components and reactions that support life.

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Feb 23, 2018

How ‘Cultural Evolution’ Can Give Us the Tools to Build Global-Scale Resilience

Posted by in category: evolution

There’s an unsettling premise at the heart of Joe Brewer’s life’s work.

Brewer is a change strategist dedicated to ensuring a thriving global civilization exists 100 years from now—and he believes this is becoming less likely every year. There’s rising instability in our fragile and rapidly changing biosphere, he says, and society is unlikely to escape harm.

“We are going through a period of planetary change, and there is a collapse dynamic that’s already happening. The global scale social complexity we have today is at risk, and we may lose it,” he told me in a conversation for Singularity Hub.

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Feb 22, 2018

Masters of Our DNA: Designer Bodies Are Not Science Fiction

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution

Entrepreneur Juan Enriquez describes a future in which we will be able to hack evolution and even alter our memories thanks to DNA manipulation.

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Feb 21, 2018

Astronomers Just Found Some of The Most Massive Black Holes Discovered in Our Universe

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution, physics

A study on dozens of galaxies within several billion light years of our own has revealed black holes that far exceed our expectations on just how big these monsters can grow.

The discovery not only helps us better understand the evolution of our Universe’s building blocks, it leaves us with a new intriguing question – just how do black holes like these get to be so incredibly massive?

By now, the collapsed cores of massive stars known as black holes need no introduction. We’ve heard about their cosmic crashes rippling space-time, watched them belch, and expect to capture the closest look yet at their nature very soon.

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Feb 3, 2018

We are already Artificial Intelligence

Posted by in categories: augmented reality, computing, cyborgs, DNA, evolution, existential risks, futurism, hacking, robotics/AI, theory, transhumanism

By Eliott Edge

“It is possible for a computer to become conscious. Basically, we are that. We are data, computation, memory. So we are conscious computers in a sense.”

—Tom Campbell, NASA

If the universe is a computer simulation, virtual reality, or video game, then a few unusual conditions seem to necessarily fall out from that reading. One is what we call consciousness, the mind, is actually something like an artificial intelligence. If the universe is a computer simulation, we are all likely one form of AI or another. In fact, we might come from the same computer that is creating this simulated universe to begin with. If so then it stands to reason that we are virtual characters and virtual minds in a virtual universe.

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Feb 3, 2018

Why I Spent A Week Without My Phone … — By Gigi Falk | Thrive Global

Posted by in categories: computing, evolution, fun

“My phone habits are, I’d like to think, better than most. I seldom take my phone out in company and it’s a rare site to see me scrolling through social media. But when I’m walking to or from work, standing in an elevator, or eating by myself, I’ll often be checking emails, texting friends, or reading articles.”

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Jan 15, 2018

Why Do We Age? The Disposable Soma Theory Answers the Riddle

Posted by in categories: evolution, life extension

Summary: Why Do We Age? Scientists answer the question with the latest evolutionary theory of aging, the disposable soma theory, which supports the longevity benefits of calorie restriction. With commentary by leading geroscientist, Tom Kirkwood. [This article first appeared on the website Author: Brady Hartman. ]

The process of aging, or growing old, presents an apparent contradiction to people who believe in Darwin’s theory of evolution. Aging increases the vulnerability of an organism, which ultimately leads to its death. How could evolution favor a process that gradually increases mortality and decreases the ability to reproduce?

Leading scientists have found an answer to this puzzling contradiction and offer us new theories to explain why we age and die using evolutionary theory – the idea that aging confers an evolutionary advantage.

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Jan 9, 2018

How bacteria turbocharged their motors

Posted by in categories: evolution, habitats, nanotechnology

Using detailed 3D images, researchers have shown how bacteria have evolved molecular motors of different powers to optimize their swimming.

The discovery, by a team from Imperial College London, provides insights into evolution at the molecular scale.

Bacteria use molecular motors just tens of nanometres wide to spin a tail (or ‘flagellum’) that pushes them through their habitat. Like human-made motors, the structure of these nanoscale machines determines their power and the bacteria’s swimming ability.

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Dec 30, 2017

The Quest for Immortality, Rebooted

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension, neuroscience, singularity, transhumanism, virtual reality

Shermer’s journey into the present-day search for human domination over death and society’s ills introduces readers to all forms of what he calls “techno-optimism,” meaning the belief that technological progress means an end to death — or, at the very least, to aging and social decay. There are the cryonicists who want to freeze us, and those who want simply to freeze our brains, with all their neural connections and associated memories (the connectome). The transhumanists want to enhance us so thoroughly — through means both natural and artificial — that we become godlike, “taking control of evolution and transforming the species into something stronger, faster, sexier, healthier and with vastly superior cognitive abilities the likes of which we mere mortals cannot conceive”; the Omega Point theorists think we will all one day be brought back to life in a virtual reality. Believers in “the singularity” contend that it is possible to upload the human brain to a server without losing the essence of what makes you you. And, of course, there are those who try to cure us of aging, so that our bodies and minds will cease to deteriorate and our life spans will increase ad infinitum. Shermer visits each of these and other utopian theories with detail and considered analysis, drawing readers along increasingly unrealistic (or are they?) possibilities for our future evolution. It’s a journey as boggling as it is engrossing.

In “Heavens on Earth,” Michael Shermer explores the lengths to which mankind will go to ensure our souls’ survival beyond existence on this mortal coil.

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