UK scientists have successfully created an embryo from the DNA of one man and two women, combining three genetic strands into one. Finally, my science fair project of breeding a Sparkling Dance Beast from the DNA of myself, Tiffany AND Debbie Gibson can take flight!
Embryos containing DNA from a man and two women have been created by scientists at Newcastle University.
They say their research, published in the journal Nature, has the potential to help mothers with rare genetic disorders have healthy children.
The aim is to prevent damaged DNA in mitochondria - the “batteries” which power the cell - from being passed on by the mother.
IVF clinics are not currently permitted to carry out the procedure.
Dear Dangerous Minds, Last week my photo (taken with my camera, by a friend of mine) of me with Stephen Hawking was put up on the internet on a photobomb website without my consent or knowledge and since it has really done the rounds..! I have great respect for the Professor who is a fellow at my college in Cambridge, and having been asked by faculty members at the University to remove this photo, I ask that you delete it from your website ASAP? The original sites have kindly understood that I do not consent to the publication of my photograph on their websites and have since removed it. I would be extremely grateful if you could too! Yours sincerely, James
The Last Supper with scientists: Galileo Galilei, Marie Curie, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Isaac Newton, Louis Pasteur, Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, Thomas Edison, Aristotle, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Richard Dawkins and Charles Darwin.
“All of a sudden, everything familiar started evaporating.” Building A Green Economy, Paul Krugman’s Sunday magazine article in the NYT was hardly that day’s only 60’s-inspired story.
Hallucinogens Have Doctors Tuning In Again describes how, once again, scientists are looking to psilocybin and other psychedelics as a possible cure for cancer-related depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder and drug and alcohol addiction.
This week’s gathering in San Jose, California, promises to be the largest conference on psychedelic science held in the U.S. in forty years and will include Roland Griffiths, a professor of behavioral biology at Johns Hopkins. While psychedelics may indeed bring comfort to people seeking to repair some mind-body schism, Griffiths belongs to the new breed of researchers grappling with their spirit-expanding potential:
In one of Dr. Griffiths’s first studies, involving 36 people with no serious physical or emotional problems, he and colleagues found that psilocybin could induce what the experimental subjects described as a profound spiritual experience with lasting positive effects for most of them. None had had any previous experience with hallucinogens, and none were even sure what drug was being administered. The findings were repeated in another follow-up survey, taken 14 months after the experiment. At that point most of the psilocybin subjects once again expressed more satisfaction with their lives and rated the experience as one of the five most meaningful events of their lives.
The masked birch caterpillar, as shown in this video, apparently defends its territory by scraping its anus loudly across a leaf. It has anal-scraping duels with other caterpillars. Hm… sounds like every office I’ve ever worked in, art gallery opening I’ve attended, and comments thread in any given blog post on the Internet. The video is oddly mesmerizing.
The masked birch caterpillar creates its own home by weaving leaves together with silk. Once built, it vigorously defends its territory but, like many animals, it prefers to intimidate its rivals before resorting to blows. To display its strength and claim its territory, it drums and scrapes its jaws against the leaf. It also drags its anus across the surface to create a complex scratching noise. This “anal scraping” message seems utterly bizarre, but its origins lie in a far more familiar activity – walking.
Warding a rival off with your anus might seem unseemly to us, but caterpillars that do this turn out to be rather civilised species. The scraping is based on the same walking movements that their ancestors used to chase after rivals. The other parts of their signalling repertoire – drumming and scraping jaws – are ritualised versions of fighting moves like biting, butting and hitting. While their earlier cousins might resort to such fisticuffs, the anal-scrapers conduct their rivalries with all the restraint of Victorian gentlemen.
These signals and their evolution have been decoded by Jaclyn Scott from Carleton University. They a great examples of how ritualised animal communiqués evolve from much simpler actions that have little if anything to do with communication – walking, breathing, hunting and the like. Crickets, for example, sing by rubbing their wings together, which may originally have been done to release pheromones or to prep the wings for flight. The whistling of wind through the feathers of crested pigeons has turned into an alarm. The competitive knee-clicks of eland antelopes are made by tendons that slide as a natural part of their gait.
Thanks to Matt Musick at Motherboard.tv for sending me this great video of people hanging out watching the last Space Shuttle launches.
By now it’s a somewhat common event, one that for most Americans is signaled by nothing more than a brief clip on the news. But a shuttle launch is still one of mankind’s most complex and massive undertakings, a carefully-primed $1.3 billion explosion that turns years of planning and construction into a spectacle that lasts only a few minutes.
But to some, it’s the spectacle of a lifetime. People come from across the country and the world to see it. They travel from Michigan or Alaska or England or Italy and line up along a worn river bank in Florida, waiting for hours, maybe days, to see a group of people embark on another journey, this one powered by rockets that do zero to 17,000 mph in 8.5 minutes. To the fans, the astronauts strapped into the Space Transportation System, as their ride is called, aren’t just “rocket jockeys.” They’re like rock stars.
A gigantic space storm (the biggest in three years) slammed Earth yesterday. Good lord, no wonder everything was so wonked.
The most powerful geomagnetic storm since December 2006 struck the Earth on Monday, a day earlier than expected.
On 3 April, the SOHO spacecraft spotted a cloud of charged particles called a coronal mass ejection (CME) shooting from the sun at 500 kilometres per second. This velocity suggested the front would reach Earth in roughly three days.
“It hit earlier and harder than forecast,” says Doug Biesecker of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.
Fortunately, the storm was not intense enough to interfere strongly with power grids or satellite navigation, but it did trigger dazzling auroras in places like Iceland.