DailyDirt: Some Quicklinks On Biological Discoveries

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

A long time ago, we used to publish more "bite-sized" technology bits, but somewhere along the way, we started writing up posts with hundreds of words in them. For those of you who miss the good ol' days (and prefer quick links), here are some randomly interesting biological discoveries (without too much commentary from us):
  • Harvard researchers create mice with a controllable telomerase gene and demonstrate partial reverse aging in those mice. (Roy Batty might want to read up on this.)
  • New Zealand is home to a lot of weird animals -- including the tuatara, a reptile which has a genetic code unlike any other vertebrate on Earth.
  • Pterosaurs probably couldn't fly in stormy weather, according to wind tunnel experiments.
  • The first and only species of squidworm lives in a pineapple under the sea. in the deep waters of the Celebes Sea.
  • A single-celled organism (the size of a grape!), Gromia sphaerica, leaves tracks in the sand as it rolls around the bottom of the ocean.
  • Feel free to add your own commentary with commentful comments.


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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:46pm

      We have a tuatara at the St. Louis zoo. Pretty cool. Is it a continual line or a "genetic well" that re-emerges??

      How did you leave off this story about the gay ibis being a result of mercury poisoning (the metal, not Freddy). I'm sure this will be a hit with Faux News and similar ilk.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 6:48pm

      but..

      but why the obfuscation of links?

       

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        Michael Ho (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 10:16am

        Re: but..

        Not trying to annoying anyone with the bitly links, and the links should re-direct in a friendly way... we just want an idea of how popular these new quicklinks are with folks. I suppose we could also include the "real" link for those of you who hate URL shorteners....

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 9:56pm

      Can something that never dies evolve?

       

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        Pontifex (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 12:02am

        Re:

        No, because individuals do not evolve; that is left up to populations. However, a population of immortals would likely experience less selective pressure than a population of mortals.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 3:34am

          Re: Re:

          That may be true to cells but does a multicellular immortal thing evolve?

          People develop immune deficiencies as they get old which is a form of evolution that is why I'm asking, could they evolve into something else given an really large amount of time?

           

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            Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 11:42am

            Re: Re: Re:

            "People develop immune deficiencies as they get old which is a form of evolution"

            The immune deficiencies happen because the cells begin undergoing Cellular Senescence. Basically the cells slow down and stop working. The thought or theory is that as the telomeres become shorter the cells begin shutting down to avoid becoming cancerous. The telomeres act as a sort of buffer on the ends of each chromosome shortening with each cell division. Each human telomere is the genetic sequence TTAGGG repeated around 5000 times at conception.

            On a humorous note, copyright lawyers and Slime moulds share the same telomere sequence.

            See also

            Hayflicks genetic limit
            Cellular Senescence
            Telomere
            Telomerase

            Hope that helps

            David

             

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          Duncan MacLeod...of the clan MacLeod, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 3:56am

          The immortals I know are all sterile and therefore can not further modify their genetic code.

          There can be only one!

           

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          Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 7:45am

          Re: Re:

          "However, a population of immortals would likely experience less selective pressure than a population of mortals."

          Actually it would depend on if the live in seclusion or not. If everything around them was evolving and they were not, over a long time period ... well you get the picture.

          You also have the mixed populace scenario. Where one part of the population is immortal, the other not. This is the one humanity is going to see happen in the next 50 years. Its going cause all sorts of problems. What is interesting is that over population is not going to be one of the problems caused by immortality. There is almost no difference between exponential growth minus some "n" ("n" being deaths), like we have now, and straight up exponential growth. So either way we have an over population issue just a difference of about 5 years between critical effects are felt.

          Thinking about it for a few minutes, through the eyes of an immortal, and taking the long view. My guess is that some immortal or group of immortals is going to sterilize a sizable chuck of the population and just wait for them to die off. Or maybe just kill all the non immortals off if they become to much of a bother.

          And people worry about copyright ... ROFLMAO

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 6:28am

        Re:

        Cancer. As long as there is nutrition, cancer cells are immortal.

         

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      Hephaestus (profile), Dec 2nd, 2010 @ 1:24pm

      Michael Ho - Dude ... WTF?

      "The first and only species of squidworm "lives in a pineapple under the sea." in the deep waters of the Celebes Sea."

      Songebob Squarepants ... funny, but wtf :)

       

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