Parts of genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins

Biology News - 2 hours 46 min ago

Researchers in Biomedical Informatics at IMIM (Hospital del Mar Medical Research Institute) and at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have recently published a study in eLife showing that RNA called non-coding (IncRNA) plays an important role in the evolution of new proteins, some of which could have important cell functions yet to be discovered.

Categories: Biology News, General

Iberian pig genome remains unchanged after 5 centuries

Biology News - 2 hours 46 min ago

A team of Spanish researchers have obtained the first partial genome sequence of an ancient pig. Extracted from a sixteenth century pig found at the site of the Montsoriu Castle in Girona, the data obtained indicates that this ancient pig is closely related to today's Iberian pig. Researchers also discard the hypothesis that Asian pigs were crossed with modern Iberian pigs.

Categories: Biology News, General

Counting fish teeth reveals regulatory DNA changes behind rapid evolution, adaptation

Biology News - 2 hours 46 min ago

These are adult marine (top) and freshwater (bottom) threespine sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) stained with a red dye that labels calcified bone. Sticklebacks, the roaches of the fish world, are the ideal animal in which to study the genes that control body shape. They've moved from the ocean into tens of thousands of freshwater streams and lakes around the world, each time changing their skeleton to adapt to the new environment.

Categories: Biology News, General

Gut bacteria, artificial sweeteners and glucose intolerance

Biology News - 2 hours 46 min ago

This image depicts gut microbiota. Artificial sweeteners, promoted as aids to weight loss and diabetes prevention, could actually hasten the development of glucose intolerance and metabolic disease; and they do it in a surprising way: by changing the composition and function of the gut microbiota – the substantial population of bacteria residing in our intestines. These findings, the results of experiments in mice and humans, were published today in Nature. Among other things, says Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute's Immunology Department, who led this research together with Prof. Eran Segal of Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department, the widespread use of artificial sweeteners in drinks and food may be contributing to the obesity and diabetes epidemic that is sweeping much of the world.

Categories: Biology News, General

Ebola economic impacts to hit $359 million in 2014

Nature Newsblog - 8 hours 39 min ago

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is not only devastating the lives of thousands of people in Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone, but it is devastating the economies in those countries as well.

The outbreak is expected to halve economic growth this year in Guinea and Liberia, and reduce growth by 30% in Sierra Leone, according to a 17 September report from the World. Bank. It estimates total economic damages from the three countries will total US$359 million in 2014. If the world does not respond quickly with money and resources to halt Ebola’s spread, this impact could grow eight-fold next year, warns the report — the first quantitative estimate of the outbreak’s economic impact.

The United Nations’ 16 September Ebola response plan estimates that the cost of immediate response to the crisis will be close to $1 billion, double the $495 million called for by the World Health Organization on 28 August. This estimate will only continue to increase if other countries do not contribute to the response soon, World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a phone conference with reporters.

In the long term, the World Bank imagines two scenarios for Ebola’s economic impact: a “low Ebola” scenario in which the outbreak is rapidly contained within the three affected countries, and a “high Ebola” scenario in which it goes unchecked until well into 2015. Under the latter scenario, the economies of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone would suffer significantly; Liberia could lose as much as 12% of its gross domestic product in 2015, the analysis says, thus reducing the country’s growth rate from 6.8% to -4.9%.

Agriculture and mining are the sectors worst hit, along with manufacturing and construction.

“There are two kinds of contagion,” Kim said. “One is related to the virus itself and the other is related to the spread of fear about the virus.” Healthcare costs and illness from the virus itself contribute little to the economic impact, the report found. Rather, 80-90% of the economic effects are due to the “fear factor” that shuts down transportation systems, including ports and airports, and keeps people away from their jobs.

The exact number of Ebola cases, for which estimates are constantly changing, is not relevant to the economic model that the World Bank developed, Kim said. “What really matters is how quickly we scale up the response so that we can address the entire number of cases. If we get an effective response on the ground in the next few months, we can blunt the vast majority, 80-90%, of the economic impact,” he added. If this does not happen and the epidemic spreads to other countries such as Nigeria, Ghana, and Senegal, Kim cautioned, the ultimate economic hit from this outbreak could reach “many billions”.

Kim also announced a new effort to develop a “universal protocol” for Ebola treatment. Paul Farmer, a physician and global-health expert at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts; Anthony Fauci, director of the US National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease in Bethesda, Maryland; and several non-governmental organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières will work on the protocol for the World Health Organization to adopt to ensure that healthcare workers will all be trained to treat Ebola in the same way.

Such protocols have been critical in improving how diseases such as tuberculosis are managed, Kim said. For Ebola, measures that are likely to be part of the protocol include simple steps such as isolation of patients and hydration, which can greatly improve survival.

Categories: General, News

Parts of genome without a known function may play a key role in the birth of new proteins

Science Daily: New Species - 9 hours 28 min ago
RNA called non-coding plays an important role in the evolution of new proteins, some of which could have important cell functions yet to be discovered, a study shows. The study analysed experiments carried out on six different species and identified almost 2,500 IncRNAs that were not in known databases.
Categories: General, Science Daily

Prime numbers, black carbon and nanomaterials win 2014 MacArthur ‘genius grants’

Nature Newsblog - 11 hours 19 min ago

Yitang Zhang, a mathematician who recently emerged from obscurity when he partly solved a long-standing puzzle in number theory, is one of the 2014 fellows of the John D. & Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation.

The awards, commonly known as ‘genius grants’, were announced on 17 September. Each comes with a no-strings-attached US$625,000 stipend paid out over five years.

Zhang, a mathematician at the University of New Hampshire in Durham, was honored for his work on prime numbers, whole numbers that are divisible only by 1 or themselves. In April 2013 he published a partial solution to a 2,300-year-old question: how many ‘twin primes’ — or pairs of prime numbers separated by two, such as 41 and 43 — exist.

The twin-prime conjecture, often attributed to the Greek mathematician Euclid of Alexandria, posits that there is an infinite number of such pairs. But mathematicians have not been able to prove that the conjecture is true.

Zhang’s work has narrowed the problem, however. In his 2013 proof, Zhang showed that there are infinitely many prime pairs that are less than 70 million units apart.

Other science and maths-related winners of this year’s fellowships are listed below.

Danielle Bassett, a physicist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, studies the organizational principles at work in the brain, and how connections within the organ change over time and under stress. Her research, which draws on network science, has revealed that people with more ‘flexible’ brains — those that can easily make new connections — are better at learning new information.

Tami Bond, an environmental engineer at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, studies the effects of sooty ‘black carbon’ on climate and human health. Bond, who led the most comprehensive study to date of black carbon’s environmental effects, has found that the pollutant is second only to carbon dioxide in terms of its warming impact.

Jennifer Eberhardt, a social psychologist at Stanford University in California, studies the effects of racial bias on the criminal-justice system in the United States. Her analyses have shown, for example, that black defendants with stereotypical ‘black’ features are more likely to receive the death penalty in cases where victims are white.

Craig Gentry, a computer scientist at the IBM Thomas J. Watson Research Center in Yorktown Heights, New York, has shown that encrypted data can be manipulated without being decrypted, and that programs themselves can be encrypted and still function.

Mark Hersam, a materials scientist at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, is developing nanomaterials for a range of uses, such as solar cells and batteries, information technology and biotechnology.

Pamela Long, an historian of science based in Washington DC, has examined intersections between the arts and sciences and issues of authorship and intellectual property. She is now at work on a book tracing the development of engineering in 16th-century Rome.

Jacob Lurie, a mathematician at Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studies derived algebraic geometry. “With an entire generation of young theorists currently being trained on Lurie’s new foundations, his greatest impact is yet to come,” the MacArthur Foundation said in its award announcement. In June, Lurie was named a winner of the inaugural $3-million Breakthrough Prize in Mathematics.


Categories: General, News

New book list, September 10, 2014

Ernst Mayr Library Blog - Thu, 2014-09-11 09:12

Advances in freshwater decapod systematics and biology.
By Darren C.J. Yeo, Neil Cumberlidge, and Sebastian Klaus (editors). Boston: Brill, 2014. HOLLIS# 014151454
QL444.M33 A33 2014

De amfibieën en reptielen van Nederland.
Onder redactie van Raymond C.M. Creemers, Jeroen J.C.W. van Delft; met bijdragen van Jan W. Arntzen … [et al.]. Leiden: Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum Naturalis, 2009. HOLLIS# 012758935
QL643.A44 2009 [with CD-ROM]

Biodiversity of the Four Corners area: technical reviews. Volumes 1-2.
AWF Four Corners TBNRM Project. Harare: Zambezi Society; Bulawayo, Zimbabwe: Biodiversity Foundation for Africa, [2004]. HOLLIS# 010238555
QH195.C37 B56 2004

Codon evolution: mechanisms and models.
Edited by Gina M. Cannarozzi, Adrian Schneider. Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. HOLLIS# 013227861
QH390.C63 2012

Conservation assessment of butterflies of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland: red list and atlas.
Edited by S. Mecenero … [et al.]. Johannesburg: Saftronics (Pty) Ltd. and the Animal Demography Unit, 2013. HOLLIS# 014032748
QL557.S6 C66 2013

Conservation biology: foundations, concepts, applications.
By Fred Van Dyke; illustrators and permissions assistants, Michael J. Bigelow, Lauren Anderson; editorial assistant, Jo Ebihara. 2nd ed. [United States]: Springer, c2008. HOLLIS# 014152294
QH75.V37 2008 [on reserve—ask at the circulation desk]

Contributions to the history of herpetology. Volume 1, revised and expanded: Issued to commemorate the I World Congress of Herpetology, Canterbury.
Edited by Kraig Adler. Oxford, Ohio: S.S.A.R., 1989- . HOLLIS# 001838687
Herp. QL640.C6 1989 v. 1 rev.

A democracy of facts: natural history in the early republic.
By Andrew J. Lewis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, c2011. HOLLIS# 012750976
QH21.U6 L48 2011

Ecoregions: the ecosystem geography of the oceans and continents.
By Robert G. Bailey. 2nd edition. Berlin: Springer, 2014. HOLLIS# 014119438
QH541.15.E248 B24 2014

Essentials of ecology.
By Michael Begon, Robert W. Howarth, Colin R. Townsend. 4th edition. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley, 2014. HOLLIS# 014012567
QH541.B44 2014

The evolution of phylogenetic systematics.
Edited by Andrew Hamilton. Berkeley: University of California Press, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014151342
QH83.E96 2014eb [e-book]

Experimental evolution and the nature of biodiversity.
By Rees Kassen (Department of Biology, University of Ottawa). Greenwood Village, Colorado: Roberts and Company, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014151345
QH541.15.B56 K37 2014

The extracellular matrix: an overview.
Robert P. Mecham, editor. Berlin; New York: Springer Verlag, c2011. HOLLIS# 014153703
QP88.23.E952 2011

A feathered river across the sky: the passenger pigeon’s flight to extinction.
By Joel Greenberg. First U.S. edition. New York: Bloomsbury, 2014. HOLLIS# 013907148
QL696.C6 G74 2014

Fresh-water birds of Ireland.
Text by Jim Wilson; images by Mark Carmody. Wilton, Cork: Collins Press, 2011. HOLLIS# 014151398
QL690.I7 W55 2011

From taxonomy to phylogenetics: life and work of Willi Hennig.
By Michael Schmitt. Leiden; Boston: Brill, [2013]. HOLLIS# 014151347
QH31.H3585 S36 2013eb [e-book]

The Galapagos: a natural history.
By Henry Nicholls. New York: Basic Books, a member of the Perseus Books Group, [2014]. HOLLIS# 014151349
QH198.G3 N53 2014eb [e-book]

Greifvögel in Deutschland: Bestand, Situation, Schutz.
Hrsg. von Achim Kostrzewa und Gero Speer; unter Mitarb. von E. Bezzel … [et al.]. 2., vollst. neu bearb. und erw. Aufl. Wiebelsheim: Aula, 2001. HOLLIS# 007922357
QL696.F3 G735 2001

Guldholmen Mai 2013: ornitologiske registreringer med hovedvekt på trekkende sjøfugl.
By Bjørn R. Eriksen. Halden: G. Hardeng, 2013. HOLLIS# 014137257
QL690.S8 E74 2013

How to write and publish a scientific paper.
By Robert A. Day and Barbara Gastel. 7th ed. Santa Barbara, Calif.: Greenwood, c2011. HOLLIS# 014151371
Ref. T11.D33 2011

Inland aquaculture in Western Australia: establishing an aquaculture operation: overview and licensing.
Published by Department of Fisheries. Perth, WA: Department of Fisheries, February 2013. HOLLIS# 014151895
SH317.I54 2013

Insect virology.
Edited by Sassan Asgari and Karyn N. Johnson. Norfolk, UK: Caister Academic, c2010. HOLLIS# 014151395
QR327.I572 2010

Mass production of beneficial organisms: invertebrates and entomopathogens.
Edited by Juan A. Morales-Ramos, M. Guadalupe Rojas, David I. Shapiro-Ilan. London: Elsevier Science, 2014. HOLLIS# 014151364
SF517.M27 2014eb [e-book]

A method for determining a fee for access to the aquatic environment for aquaculture and pearling purposes: Water Lease Fees Working Group report to the Hon Minister Norman Moore, MLC Minister for Fisheries, July 2011.
Department of Fisheries. Perth, WA: Department of Fisheries, February 2013. HOLLIS# 014151889
SH375.M37 2013

Peru: Ere-Campuya-Algodón.
Nigel Pitman [and ten others], editores/editors. Chicago: The Field Museum, [2013]. HOLLIS# 014122166
QH128.P47 2013

Recreational fishing in Western Australia: fish identification guide.

Perth, Western Australia: Department of Fisheries, February 2013. HOLLIS# 014151824
SH317.R43 2013

Review of report on the “Status of nearshore finfish stocks in south-western Western Australia: Australian herring and tailor”.
Prepared by Keith Jones, Sillago Research Pty Ltd for the Department of Fisheries, Western Australia. Perth, Western Australia: Department of Fisheries, 2013. HOLLIS# 014151921
SH317.J65 2013

Review of the Western Australian Rock Lobster stock assessment: report to Western Australian, Department of fisheries.
By André E. Punt. Perth, W.A.: Department of Fisheries, 2011. HOLLIS# 014151908
SH380.2.A8 P85 2011

Die Säugetiere Deutschlands: Beobachten und Bestimmen.
[By] Eckhard Grimmberger. 1. Auflage. Wiebelsheim: Quelle & Meyer Verlag, 2014. HOLLIS# 014137371
QL728.G3 G75 2014

Tapeworms, lice, and prions: a compendium of unpleasant infections.
By David I. Grove. First edition. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. HOLLIS# 014151365
RA639.G76 2014eb [e-book]

The trilobite book: a visual journey.
By Riccardo Levi-Setti. Chicago; London: University of Chicago Press, 2014. HOLLIS# 014151367
QE821.L455 2014eb [e-book]

Wild again: the struggle to save the black-footed ferret.
By David Jachowski. Berkeley: University of California Press, [2014]. HOLLIS# 013995887
QL737.C25 J32 2014eb [e-book]

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