Sunday, November 30, 2014
"we use analytical and computational approaches to show that a standard population genetics treatment can easily crack what the scientific community has granted as an unsolvable adaptive problem without learning. The Baldwin effect is once again in need of convincing theoretical foundations." Full article @ arXiv
Monday, November 24, 2014
Climbing up the walls like a gecko
"The Tokay gecko scurries across ceilings with the help of tiny hair on its feet, which generate weak intermolecular forces that add up to a secure foothold. Scientists have recreated dry gecko-like adhesion using silicones, plastics, carbon nanotubes, and other materials, but they've run into a scaling problem: The stickiness drops rapidly with increasing surface area. Hawkes et al. offer a solution: an adhesive consisting of 24 tiles that distribute loads evenly among themselves, offering the same adhesive strength for sizes from a square millimeter to the area of a human hand. The adhesive works even if one tile fails to stick. Wearing hand-sized adhesives, a 70-kilogram human can climb a vertical glass wall, the team showed." Editor comments @ Science, original article @ J. R. Soc. Interface.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
"a new computer modeling study suggests the human immune system has a better memory than scientists had thought for strains of the flu it’s encountered in the past. In the future, the researchers say, it might be possible to exploit this to design better vaccines." Full article @ WIRED. Full paper @ Science.
Friday, November 21, 2014
The Interactome Network
"A massive screen yields the most comprehensive map of binary human protein interactions to date." Full news article @ The Scientist Magazine and full article @ Cell.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
"[Emergence] refers to collective phenomena or behaviors in complex adaptive systems that are not present in their individual parts. Examples of emergent behavior are everywhere around us, from birds flocking, fireflies synchronizing, ants colonizing, fish schooling, individuals self-organizing into neighborhoods in cities – all with no leaders or central control – to the Big Bang, the formation of galaxies and stars and planets, the evolution of life on earth from its origins until now, the folding of proteins, the assembly of cells, the crystallization of atoms in a liquid, the superconductivity of electrons in some metals, the changing global climate, or the development of consciousness in an infant." Full article @ Frontiers — Medium
Friday, November 14, 2014
"DNA-based memory devices are not optimal for recording analog information, such as the magnitude of inputs over time. Farzadfard and Lu converted genomic DNA into a “tape recorder” within living bacterial populations (see the Perspective by Ausländer and Fussenegger). Specific DNAs were used to introduce precise mutations into genomic DNA. The stored information could be read out via reporter genes, functional assays, and DNA sequencing. This approach allowed the memorization of multiple inputs at the population level. The record could also be erased when required." See commentary @ Science and Full article.
Friday, November 07, 2014
Searching for new branches on the tree of life
"Ever since Woese's seminal work nearly 40 years ago (1), life has been divided into three domains: Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota. But could there be life that does not fit into any of these domains? Novel techniques for exploring microbes that cannot readily be grown in the laboratory offer hope that scientists can discover such life, if it exists"Searching for new branches on the tree of life