Blog

Archive for the ‘biological’ category: Page 4

May 13, 2019

How Cyanobacteria Could Help Save the Planet

Posted by in category: biological

It’s very easy to forget that complex life on Earth almost missed the boat entirely. As the Sun’s luminosity gradually increases, the oceans will boil away, and the planet will no longer be in the habitable zone for life as we know it. Okay, we likely have a billion years before this happens—by which point our species will probably have destroyed itself or moved away from Earth—but Earth itself is 4.5 billion years old or so, and eukaryotic life only started to diversify 800 million or so years ago, at the end of the “boring billion.”

In other words, life seems to have arisen around four billion years ago, shortly after Earth formed, but then a few billion years passed before anything complex evolved. Another few hundred million years of bacteria, algae, and microbes sliding around in the anoxic sludge of the boring billion, and intelligent life might never have evolved at all.

Unraveling the geologic mysteries of the boring billion, and why it ended when it did, is a complex scientific question. Different parts of the earth system, including plate tectonics, the atmosphere, and the biosphere of simple lichens and cyanobacteria interacted to eventually produce the conditions for life to diversify, flourish, and grow more complex. But it is generally accepted that simple cyanobacteria (single-celled organisms that can produce oxygen through photosynthesis) were key players in providing Earth’s atmosphere and oceans with oxygen, which then allowed complex life to flourish.

Continue reading “How Cyanobacteria Could Help Save the Planet” »

May 9, 2019

This Bird Went Extinct and Then Evolved Into Existence Again

Posted by in categories: education, evolution

The Aldabra white-throated rail, a flightless bird that lives on its namesake atoll in the Indian Ocean, doesn’t look like anything special at first glance. But the small bird has big bragging rights, because it has effectively evolved into existence twice after first going extinct some 136,000 years ago.

According to a study published Wednesday in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, the rail is an example of a rarely observed phenomenon called iterative evolution, in which the same ancestral lineage produces parallel offshoot species at different points in time. This means that near-identical species can pop up multiple times in different eras and locations, even if past iterations have gone extinct.

Fossils of the flightless bird were found both before and after Albadra was submerged by an “inundation event” that occurred around 136,000 years ago, said study authors Julian Hume, an avian paleontologist at Natural History Museum in London, and David Martill, a paleobiologist at the University of Portsmouth.

Continue reading “This Bird Went Extinct and Then Evolved Into Existence Again” »

May 8, 2019

Evolution of Polymerase Chain Reaction

Posted by in category: evolution

Circa 2011 Talks about he lightcycler.


Carl T. Wittwer, M.D., Ph.D.

Seminal technology continues to be a work in progress.

Continue reading “Evolution of Polymerase Chain Reaction” »

May 7, 2019

New discovery could alleviate salty soil symptoms in food crops

Posted by in categories: biological, food

New research published in Nature Scientific Reports (opens in new window) has found that a hormone produced by plants under stress can be applied to crops to alleviate the damage caused by salty soils. The team of researchers from Western Sydney University and the University of Queensland identified a naturally-occurring chemical in plants that reduces the symptoms of salt stress in plants when applied to soil, enabling the test plants to increase their growth by up to 32 times compared with untreated plants.

Salinity is a huge issue across the world, affecting more than 220 million hectares of the world’s irrigated farming and food-producing land. Salinity occurs when salty irrigation water is repeatedly applied to crops, leading to progressively increasing levels of salt in the soil which reduces , increases susceptibility to drought and damages soil microbiology. Scientists have long tried to find ways to breed salt-tolerance or develop methods that remove salt, and this new research is promising in its potential ability to reduce the damage in that results from salt.

“We identified a compound called ACC that occurs naturally in plants when they become stressed by drought, heat or salty conditions,” said Dr. Hongwei Liu, Postdoctoral Fellow in Soil Biology and Genomics at the Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment at Western Sydney University.

Continue reading “New discovery could alleviate salty soil symptoms in food crops” »

May 7, 2019

Scientists pinpoint potential new target for regulating inflammation

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

Scientists from Trinity College Dublin have discovered a potential new target for regulating inflammation, which drives a range of diseases including diabetes, cancer and Alzheimer’s. The potential target is an ancient immune protein—SARM—that has been conserved throughout evolution and thus is very similar in humans, other mammals, flies and worms.

The scientists, from Trinity’s School of Biochemistry and Immunology based at the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute (TBSI), discovered a previously unknown but important role that SARM plays in the . Their work has been published today in the prestigious journal Immunity.

Read more

May 7, 2019

What happened before the Big Bang?

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution, physics

In trying to answer such questions, scientists bump up against the limits of the laws of physics. Existing theories can account for the evolution of the universe from its earliest moments — from a fraction of a second after the Big Bang — but the question of what came before has been among the most vexing in all of science.


“It’s my life’s work to try to answer that question,” University of Toronto physicist Renée Hložek says.

This image represents the evolution of the universe, starting with the Big Bang. The red arrow marks the flow of time.

Continue reading “What happened before the Big Bang?” »

May 6, 2019

99-million-year-old, unknown millipede found trapped in Burmese amber

Posted by in category: evolution

Scientist now have to reevaluate what they know – or thought they knew – about the evolution of millipedes due to a tiny, 8.2-mm member of the order Callipodida who got its many feet stuck in some tree resin, which turned up in Myanmar, 99 million years later, as a golden lump of amber.

Read more

May 4, 2019

Brain-Inspired Computing Could Lead to Better Neuroscience Models

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, neuroscience

Building a Silicon Brain Computer chips based on biological neurons may help simulate larger and more-complex brain models.

Read more

May 4, 2019

109 – Bruce Damer on The Origins and Future of Life

Posted by in categories: biological, computing, space travel

Bruce Damer is a living legend and international man of mystery – specifically, the mystery of our cosmos, to which he’s devoted his life to exploring: the origins of life, simulating artificial life in computers, deriving amazing new plans for asteroid mining, and cultivating his ability to receive scientific inspiration from “endotripping” (in which he stimulates his brain’s own release of psychoactive compounds known to increase functional connectivity between brain regions). He’s about to work with Google to adapt his origins of life research to simulated models of the increasingly exciting hot springs origin hypothesis he’s been working on with Dave Deamer of UC Santa Cruz for the last several years. And he’s been traveling around the world experimenting with thermal pools, getting extremely close to actually creating new living systems in situ as evidence of their model. Not to mention his talks with numerous national and private space agencies to take the S.H.E.P.H.E.R.D. asteroid mining scheme into space to kickstart the division and reproduction of our biosphere among/between the stars…

Read more

May 2, 2019

Chemical modifiers tag-team to regulate essential mechanism of life

Posted by in category: biological

Scientists at the Gladstone Institutes have made a key observation about one of the most fundamental biological processes: gene transcription.

Read more

Page 4 of 8812345678Last