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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category

Sep 1, 2020

By Losing Genes, Life Often Evolved More Complexity

Posted by in category: evolution

Recent major surveys show that reductions in genomic complexity — including the loss of key genes — have successfully shaped the evolution of life throughout history.

Aug 29, 2020

Razer CEO says Covid-19 has accelerated path to the ‘Metaverse’, where content, commerce and networking exist in true virtual world

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, internet

Min-Liang Tan, chief executive of gaming company Razer, said that the Covid-19 pandemic is driving the internet to the next stage of its evolution – something called the ‘Metaverse’ where cyberspace becomes more of an interactive 3D space with commerce and networking alongside content, much like the worlds in popular games such as Fortnite and Roblox.


The metaverse concept was brought to life by the 2018 sci-fi movie Ready Player One, directed by Steven Spielberg.

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Aug 28, 2020

Hubble Maps Giant Halo Around Andromeda Galaxy

Posted by in categories: cosmology, evolution

In a landmark study, scientists using NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope have mapped the immense envelope of gas, called a halo, surrounding the Andromeda galaxy, our nearest large galactic neighbor. Scientists were surprised to find that this tenuous, nearly invisible halo of diffuse plasma extends 1.3 million light-years from the galaxy—about halfway to our Milky Way—and as far as 2 million light-years in some directions. This means that Andromeda’s halo is already bumping into the halo of our own galaxy.

They also found that the halo has a layered structure, with two main nested and distinct shells of gas. This is the most comprehensive study of a halo surrounding a galaxy.

“Understanding the huge halos of gas surrounding galaxies is immensely important,” explained co-investigator Samantha Berek of Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. “This reservoir of gas contains fuel for future star formation within the galaxy, as well as outflows from events such as supernovae. It’s full of clues regarding the past and future evolution of the galaxy, and we’re finally able to study it in great detail in our closest galactic neighbor.”

Aug 21, 2020

The Cybernetic Theory of Mind: The Five Foundational Axioms

Posted by in category: evolution

New opinions are always suspected, and usually opposed, without any other reason but because they are not already common.” –John Locke.

This introductory article summarizes the tenets of the Cybernetic Theory of Mind (CTM) with the five foundational axioms. All of these starting assumptions for the new ontological framework are discussed in my recent book The Syntellect Hypothesis: Five Paradigms of the Mind’s Evolution. Here I try to keep this summary short and simple for the reader, maximally leaning towards a more literary, “bookish” style rather than the overly scholarly one. Also, The Cybernetic Theory of Mind is a working title for my upcoming book to be published sometime next year for the general audience. It may be followed by academic papers to clarify some thorny issues that I intend to publish on my own or in collaboration.

The CTM model, a proposed version of the theory of everything, I’m currently working on, is an integral multi-disciplinary ontological model that allows to draw a wide variety of predictions and deductions from the intersections of two or more foundational axioms therein. The CTM model also allows integration of further epistemic elements under its broad ontological umbrella as they come to be known. In this summary, the formulation of each foundational axiom is followed by five exemplary deductions per axiom.

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Aug 17, 2020

Integrating genetic and non-genetic determinants of cancer evolution by single-cell multi-omics

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

Both genetic and non-genetic factors underlie the intratumoural heterogeneity that fuels cancer evolution. This Review discusses the application of single-cell multi-omics technologies to the study of cancer evolution, which capture and integrate the different layers of heritable information and reveal their complex interplay.

Aug 17, 2020

NOOGENESIS: Computational Biology | Video

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

We now know that all extant living creatures derive from a single common ancestor, called the ‘Last Universal Common Ancestor’ (LUCA). It’s hard to think of a more unifying view of life. All living things are linked to a single-celled creature, the deepest root to the complex-branching tree of life. If we could play the movie of life backward, we would find this microscopic primogenitor at the starting point of biological evolution, the sole actor in what would become a very dramatic story, lasting some 3.5 billion years leading to us.

Aug 11, 2020

The Secret to a Long, Healthy Life Is in the Genes of the Oldest Humans Alive

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, life extension, neuroscience

The answer is in their genes—especially those that encode for basic life functions, such as metabolism. Thanks to the lowly C. elegans worm, we’ve uncovered genes and molecular pathways, such as insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1) signaling that extends healthy longevity in yeast, flies, and mice (and maybe us). Too nerdy? Those pathways also inspired massive scientific and popular interest in metformin, hormones, intermittent fasting, and even the ketogenic diet. To restate: worms have inspired the search for our own fountain of youth.

Still, that’s just one success story. How relevant, exactly, are those genes for humans? We’re rather a freak of nature. Our aging process extends for years, during which we experience a slew of age-related disorders. Diabetes. Heart disease. Dementia. Surprisingly, many of these don’t ever occur in worms and other animals. Something is obviously amiss.

In this month’s Nature Metabolism, a global team of scientists argued that it’s high time we turn from worm to human. The key to human longevity, they say, lies in the genes of centenarians. These individuals not only live over 100 years, they also rarely suffer from common age-related diseases. That is, they’re healthy up to their last minute. If evolution was a scientist, then centenarians, and the rest of us, are two experimental groups in action.

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Aug 5, 2020

Mediator atoms help graphene self-heal

Posted by in categories: evolution, particle physics

Graphene and other carbon materials are known to change their structure and even self-heal defects, but the processes involved in these atomic rearrangements often have high energy barriers and so shouldn’t occur under normal conditions. An international team of researchers in Korea, the UK, Japan, the US and France has now cleared up the mystery by showing that fast-moving carbon atoms catalyse many of the restructuring processes.

Graphene – a carbon sheet just one atomic layer thick – is an ideal system for studying defects because of its simple two-dimensional single-element structure. Until now, researchers typically explained the structural evolution of graphene defects via a mechanism known as a Stone-Thrower-Wales type bond rotation. This mechanism involves a change in the connectivity of atoms within the lattice, but it has a relatively large activation energy, making it “forbidden” without some form of assistance.

Using some of the best transmission electron microscopes available, researchers led by Alex Robertson of Oxford University and Kazu Suenaga of AIST Tsukuba found that so-called “mediator atoms” – carbon atoms that do not fit properly into the graphene lattice – act as catalysts to help bonds break and form. “The importance of these rapid, unseen ‘helpers’ has been previously underestimated because they move so fast and have been next-to-impossible to observe,” says co-team leader Christopher Ewels, a nanoscientist at the University of Nantes.

Aug 4, 2020

Neanderthal DNA contributes to genetic diversity, bringing more understanding to human evolution

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, genetics, internet

The advent of DNA sequencing has given scientists a clearer insight into the interconnectedness of evolution and the web-like path that different organisms take, splitting apart and coming back together. Tony Capra, associate professor of biological sciences, has come to new conclusions about the influence of Neanderthal DNA on some genetic traits of modern humans.

The article “Neanderthal introgression reintroduced functional ancestral alleles lost in Eurasian populations” was published in the journal Nature Ecology & Evolution on July 27.

The ancestors of all modern humans lived across the African continent, until approximately 100,000 years ago when a subset of humans decided to venture further afield. Neanderthals, an extinct relative of modern humans, had been longtime residents of Europe and central and south Asia; their ancestors had already migrated there 700,000 years previously. The humans who moved into central Asia and the Middle East encountered and reproduced with Neanderthals. Neanderthal DNA is present in some modern humans, and now research shows that can sometimes be a good thing.

Aug 3, 2020

Humans Might Be So Sickly Because We Evolved to Avoid a Single Devastating Disease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, evolution

Hundreds of thousands of years ago, our ancestors evolved a simple trick that could have helped thwart a major infectious disease. It probably saved our skins, but the change was far from a perfect solution.

New research has uncovered evidence that mutations arising between 600,000 and 2 million years ago were part of a complex of adaptations that may have inadvertently made us prone to inflammatory diseases and even other pathogens.

An international team of researchers compared around a thousand human genomes with a few from our extinct cousins, the Neanderthals and Denisovans, to fill in missing details on the evolution of a family of chemicals that coat the human body’s cells.

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