School may be out for summer, but the science doesn’t stop!
- At nearly 700,000 years old, the draft genome cobbled together from DNA from a horse fossil from Canada’s Yukon Territory is by far the oldest genome to be reconstructed yet. And it tells us a lot about horse evolution.
- In the future, astronauts might turn to the past — like, the medieval past — to stay healthy. Recommendations from a study of personalized, genome-based space medicine suggest that astronauts prone to high iron levels in the blood might benefit from bloodletting. Leeches…in…space!!!!
- Speaking of leeches, if you want be grossed out, read this article on Croatian cave leeches.
- You’ve all heard of Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells (if you haven’t, look up Rebecca Skloot and her book). Her’s is not the only story of controversy in tissue donation and research. Check out this Nature piece on WI-38 cells, a widely used fetal cell line from the 1960s with a similarly murky ethical story.
- Baseball players do not throw like chimps. This is important, because it tells us something about our physical evolution as a species.
- More on chimps: The NIH announced this week that it will start to cut back on chimp research now that there are viable alternatives available (e.g., better computer modeling).
- Remember a couple of months back about the baby presumably born with and cured of HIV? The method doctors used to treat the child will be tested in an clinical trial.
- The 1908 Tunguska explosion was definitely caused by a meteorite slamming into Siberia. It was also the largest such impact in recorded history, possibly equivalent to a five megaton blast.
- Salmonella has a sweet tooth. It gets a hold of your gut by using a sugar your healthy gut bacteria usually eats up.
- There may also be a link between gut bacteria, obesity, and liver cancer, according to a new mouse study.
- Don’t you just love geting a flu shot every year? What if there were a vaccine you could get just every few years, one that protected against a whole bunch of flu virus strains at once?
- How do plants know how quickly or slowly to dip into their reserves of starches at night? They do math.
- The energy-producing mitochondria in our cells were once — in evolutionary time — free-living bacteria. Studies of a bacteria that lives its life embedded in the cells of a tiny insect are helping understand that tipping point when a bacterium stops being a bacterium and becomes an organelle.