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Archive for the ‘evolution’ category: Page 6

May 28, 2021

Episode 52 — The Unexpected Origins of Life’s Genetic Code

Posted by in categories: evolution, genetics, physics

Great new episode with guest Ben K.D. Pearce on how and why our own genetic code was able to form in Earth’s warm little ponds as early as 4.5 billion years ago. Please have a listen.


Guest Ben K.D. Pearce, a Ph.D student in astrophysics and astrobiology at McMaster University in Toronto, and an expert on the origins of life’s building blocks here on Earth. We discuss the idea that all the genetic components from which life emerged were incredibly readily available biogenically very early in Earth’s evolution. As early as 4.5 billion years ago. Pearce is part of a group making great strides in learning how this all may have happened in Earth’s very ancient warm little ponds.

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May 26, 2021

Bioengineers Develop Algorithm to Compare Cells Across Species – With Striking Results

Posted by in categories: bioengineering, biological, evolution, information science

Researchers created an algorithm to identify similar cell types from species – including fish, mice, flatworms and sponges – that have diverged for hundreds of millions of years, which could help fill in gaps in our understanding of evolution.

Cells are the building blocks of life, present in every living organism. But how similar do you think your cells are to a mouse? A fish? A worm?

Comparing cell types in different species across the tree of life can help biologists understand how cell types arose and how they have adapted to the functional needs of different life forms. This has been of increasing interest to evolutionary biologists in recent years because new technology now allows sequencing and identifying all cells throughout whole organisms. “There’s essentially a wave in the scientific community to classify all types of cells in a wide variety of different organisms,” explained Bo Wang, an assistant professor of bioengineering at Stanford University.

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May 23, 2021

The Mental Universe Hypothesis: Reconnecting to Your Cosmic Self

Posted by in categories: alien life, chemistry, evolution, mathematics, particle physics, quantum physics

From a purely scientific frame of reference, many quantum phenomena like non-local correlations between distant entities and wave-particle duality, the wave function collapse and consistent histories, quantum entanglement and teleportation, the uncertainty principle and overall observer-dependence of reality pin down our conscious mind being intrinsic to reality. And this is the one thing the current physicalist paradigm fails to account for. Critical-mass anomalies will ultimately lead to the full paradigm shift in physics. It’s just a matter of time.

With consciousness as primary, everything remains the same and everything changes. Mathematics, physics, chemistry, biology are unchanged. What changes is our interpretation as to what they are describing. They are not describing the unfolding of an objective physical world, but transdimensional evolution of one’s conscious mind. There’s nothing “physical” about our physical reality except that we perceive it that way. By playing the “Game of Life” we evolved to survive not to see quantum mechanical reality. At our classical level of experiential reality we perceive ourselves as physical, at the quantum level we are a probabilistic wave function, which is pure information.

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May 22, 2021

Molecular Biologists Travel Back in Time – Over 3 Billion Years

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, evolution, information science

A research group working at Uppsala University has succeeded in studying ‘translation factors’ – important components of a cell’s protein synthesis machinery – that are several billion years old. By studying these ancient ‘resurrected’ factors, the researchers were able to establish that they had much broader specificities than their present-day, more specialized counterparts.

In order to survive and grow, all cells contain an in-house protein synthesis factory. This consists of ribosomes and associated translation factors that work together to ensure that the complex protein production process runs smoothly. While almost all components of the modern translational machinery are well known, until now scientists did not know how the process evolved.

The new study, published in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution, took the research group led by Professor Suparna Sanyal of the Department of Cell and Molecular Biology on an epic journey back into the past. A previously published study used a special algorithm to predict DNA sequences of ancestors of an important translation factor called elongation factor thermo-unstable, or EF-Tu, going back billions of years. The Uppsala research group used these DNA sequences to resurrect the ancient bacterial EF-Tu proteins and then to study their properties.

May 22, 2021

Study reveals new details on what happened in the first microsecond of Big Bang

Posted by in categories: alien life, evolution, particle physics

Researchers from University of Copenhagen have investigated what happened to a specific kind of plasma—the first matter ever to be present—during the first microsecond of Big Bang. Their findings provide a piece of the puzzle to the evolution of the universe, as we know it today.

About 14 billion years ago, our changed from being a lot hotter and denser to expanding radically—a process that scientists have named the Big Bang.

And even though we know that this fast expansion created particles, atoms, stars, galaxies and life as we know it today, the details of how it all happened are still unknown.

May 21, 2021

Scientists use genetic engineering to increase worm’s lifespan

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

To answer this question, an internal team of scientists, consisting of researchers affiliated with the Buck Institute for Research on Ageing, and researchers from Nanjing University decided to modify both the Insulin and the rapamycin pathways of a group of C.elegans worms, expecting to see a cumulative result of a 130% increase in lifespan. However, instead of seeing a cumulative effect in lifespan, the worms lived five times longer than they normally would.

“The synergistic extension is really wild. The effect isn’t one plus one equals two, it’s one plus one equals five. Our findings demonstrate that nothing in nature exists in a vacuum; in order to develop the most effective anti-aging treatments we have to look at longevity networks rather than individual pathways.” – Jarad Rollins of Nanjing University.

What could this mean for human regenerative medicine? Humans are not worms, however on a cellular level they do possess very similar biology. Both the insulin pathway and the rapamycin pathway are what is known as ‘conserved’ between humans and C.elegans, meaning that these pathways have been maintained in both organisms. In the distant past, both humans and C.elegans had a common ancestor, in exactly the same way as humans and Chimpanzees have a common ancestor. Evolution has changed our bodies significantly over the millions of years that humans and C.elegans have diverged from one another, but a lot of our fundamental biological functions remain largely unchanged.

May 19, 2021

The mysterious microbes that gave rise to complex life

Posted by in categories: biological, evolution

Archaea are more than just oddball lifeforms that thrive in unusual places — they turn out to be quite widespread. Moreover, they might hold the key to understanding how complex life evolved on Earth. Many scientists suspect that an ancient archaeon gave rise to the group of organisms known as eukaryotes, which include amoebae, mushrooms, plants and people — although it’s also possible that both eukaryotes and archaea arose from some more distant common ancestor.


As scientists learn more about enigmatic archaea, they’re finding clues about the evolution of the complex cells that make up people, plants and more.

May 19, 2021

Kate Adamala (U of M) 1: Synthetic Cells: Building Life to Understand It

Posted by in categories: alien life, engineering, evolution, genetics

www.iBiology.org.

Dr. Kate Adamala describes what synthetic cells are and how they can teach us the fundamental principles of life.

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May 16, 2021

New clues to ancient life from billion-year-old lake fossils

Posted by in category: evolution

We think of earthly life as evolving from the sea. But newly discovered microscopic “ball” fossils — found in ancient lake sediments in Scotland — suggest that evolution from single-celled to multicellular organisms might have occurred in lakes.

May 16, 2021

Comparative analysis reveals distinctive epigenetic features of the human cerebellum

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

Humans are distinguished from other species by several aspects of cognition. While much comparative evolutionary neuroscience has focused on the neocortex, increasing recognition of the cerebellum’s role in cognition and motor processing has inspired considerable new research. Comparative molecular studies, however, generally continue to focus on the neocortex. We sought to characterize potential genetic regulatory traits distinguishing the human cerebellum by undertaking genome-wide epigenetic profiling of the lateral cerebellum, and compared this to the prefrontal cortex of humans, chimpanzees, and rhesus macaque monkeys. We found that humans showed greater differential CpG methylation–an epigenetic modification of DNA that can reflect past or present gene expression–in the cerebellum than the prefrontal cortex, highlighting the importance of this structure in human brain evolution. Humans also specifically show methylation differences at genes involved in neurodevelopment, neuroinflammation, synaptic plasticity, and lipid metabolism. These differences are relevant for understanding processes specific to humans, such as extensive plasticity, as well as pronounced and prevalent neurodegenerative conditions associated with aging.

Citation: Guevara EE, Hopkins WD, Hof PR, Ely JJ, Bradley BJ, Sherwood CC (2021) Comparative analysis reveals distinctive epigenetic features of the human cerebellum. PLoS Genet 17: e1009506. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.

Editor: Takashi Gojobori, National Institute of Genetics, JAPAN.

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