Thursday, June 28, 2007

Monday, June 25, 2007

Fast breeding Microbes provide window on natural selection

NY Times link

In the corner of a laboratory at Michigan State University, one of the longest-running experiments in evolution is quietly unfolding. A dozen flasks of sugary broth swirl on a gently rocking table. Each is home to hundreds of millions of Escherichia coli, the common gut microbe. These 12 lines of bacteria have been reproducing since 1989, when the biologist Richard E. Lenski bred them from a single E. coli. “I originally thought it might go a couple thousand generations, but it’s kept going and stayed interesting,” Dr. Lenski said. He is up to 40,000 generations now, and counting.

One such study is of Myxococcus xanthus, (photo) which lash their tails together and hunt in a pack. If they starve, they form a ball, above.

In that time, the bacteria have changed significantly. For one thing, they are bigger — twice as big on average as their common ancestor. They are also far better at reproducing in these flasks, dividing 70 percent faster than their ancestor. These changes have emerged through spontaneous mutations and natural selection, and Dr. Lenski and his colleagues have been able to watch them unfold.

When Dr. Lenski began his experiment 18 years ago, only a few scientists believed they could observe evolution so closely. Today evolutionary experiments on microbes are under way in many laboratories. And thanks to the falling price of genome-sequencing technology, scientists can now zero in on the precise genetic changes that unfold during evolution, a power previous generations of researchers only dreamed of.

Humans spread globally, evolved locally

Humans Have Spread Globally, and Evolved Locally

Published: June 26, 2007

Historians often assume that they need pay no attention to human evolution because the process ground to a halt in the distant past. That assumption is looking less and less secure in light of new findings based on decoding human DNA.
Skip to next paragraph

Genetic Differentiation in Modern HumansGraphic
Genetic Differentiation in Modern Humans

People have continued to evolve since leaving the ancestral homeland in northeastern Africa some 50,000 years ago, both through the random process known as genetic drift and through natural selection. The genome bears many fingerprints in places where natural selection has recently remolded the human clay, researchers have found, as people in the various continents adapted to new diseases, climates, diets and, perhaps, behavioral demands.

A striking feature of many of these changes is that they are local. The genes under selective pressure found in one continent-based population or race are mostly different from those that occur in the others. These genes so far make up a small fraction of all human genes.

A notable instance of recent natural selection is the emergence of lactose tolerance — the ability to digest lactose in adulthood — among the cattle-herding people of northern Europe some 5,000 years ago. Lactase, the enzyme that digests the principal sugar of milk, is usually switched off after weaning. But because of the great nutritional benefit for cattle herders of being able to digest lactose in adulthood, a genetic change that keeps the lactase gene switched on spread through the population.

Lactose tolerance is not confined to Europeans. Last year, Sarah Tishkoff of the University of Maryland and colleagues tested 43 ethnic groups in East Africa and found three separate mutations, all different from the European one, that keep the lactase gene switched on in adulthood. One of the mutations, found in peoples of Kenya and Tanzania, may have arisen as recently as 3,000 years ago. (more...)

Tropical penguins 40ma 2m tall

Giant South American tropical penguins 40 million years ago used long pointed beaks as spear-fishing tools.;_ylt=AmTjCVrUsDLBTrk3C3G.TJkE1vAI

Malayo-Polynesians brought chicken, banana, rats to America

Evidence that ancient sea faring Austronesians (Malayo-Polynesians) brought bananas & chickens to South America and Polynesian rats to North America, and that the Chumash natives of California may have derived sewn plank canoes from Hawaiians voyagers/traders. So far, no genetic evidence of mixing. Other articles of interest can be found at the Human Migrations yahoo group.

Coconuts and People Yahoo group discussion (chicken, sweet potato, bottle gourd):

Update Aug. 08: Further DNA testing appears to show that the fowl remains in South America were not unique to Polynesia, but were common throughout Eurasia.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Nor Calif - M'sia Biotech

The QB3-Malaysia Postgraduate and Postdoctoral Training Program

About the Program


The term neglected diseases refers to all human diseases in which there is little or no commercial interest. Western pharmaceutical and diagnostic companies believe that they cannot recover an income from those diseases commensurate with the development costs. In practice, neglected diseases predominantly affect the populations in the developing world. We foresee that diseases neglected by the west can become commercially viable targets for emerging economies like Malaysia, if they can deploy a less expensive but technically sophisticated work force to do development at a cost that moves many diseases out of the neglected category.

With this vision in mind, the Malaysian Biotechnology Corporation has entered into a partnership with the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences (QB3) to start an exciting new training program to train outstanding Malaysian researchers who will both help developing nations and create biotechnology jobs for Malaysians.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

sea shell bead necklaces 100,000 years ago

80,000-year- old Beads Shed Light on Early Culture
(PNAS, Paleoanthropology)

Even the very first modern humans may have spruced them-
selves up with beaded bling.

Twelve shell beads discovered in a cave in eastern Morocco
have been dated at more than 80,000 years old, making them
one of the earliest examples of human culture. The beads
are colored with red ochre and show signs of being strung

Similar beads have been found in other parts of Africa and
the Middle East, suggesting the first Homo sapiens literally
carried their penchant for baubles with them as they
populated the world.

"If you draw a triangle covering the three furthest known
locations of Homo sapiens between 75,000รข€"120,000 years
ago, that triangle stretches from South Africa to Morocco
to Israel," said study co-author Chris Stringer of London's
Natural History Museum.

"Shell beads are now known at all three points of that
triangle," Stringer added. "So such behavior had probably
spread right across the early human range by this time,
and would have been carried by modern humans as they
dispersed from Africa in the last 100,000 years."

The findings are detailed in a recent issue of the
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Oxford
University's Institute of Archaeology and Morocco's
National Institute for Archaeological Sciences led the

The beads found in Morocco aren't the oldest in
existence. That title belongs to two tiny shells
discovered in Israel in the 1930s and dated at 100,000
years old. The shells are pierced with holes and were
probably also hung as pendants or necklaces,
archaeologists say.

Combined, the finds hint at the extent of the culture and
symbolism being practiced by the earliest modern humans. Art
and decoration like the beads are considered good indicators
of how human behavior evolved from Africa to other parts of
the globe.

"A major question in evolutionary studies today is 'how early
did humans begin to think and behave in ways we would see
as fundamentally modern?'," said co-author Nick Barton of
Oxford University. "The appearance of ornaments such as
these may be linked to a growing sense of self-awareness
and identity among humans."

Some researchers have suggested that humans didn't become
culturally modern until they reached Europe about 35,000
years ago. But Europe, which doesn't show evidence of
similar jewelry or customs until much later, actually
lagged behind in cultural development, Stringer said.

"This research shows that a long lasting and widespread
bead-working tradition associated with early modern humans
extended through Africa to the Middle East well before
comparable evidence appears in Europe," Stringer said in
a 2006 prepared statement, commenting on the just-
released, very ancient dates for the Israeli beads.

"Modern human anatomy and behavior have deep roots in
Africa and were widespread by 75,000 years ago, even
though they may not have appeared in Europe for another
35,000 years," he said.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

31 nerve pairs

See bottom of blog for pic of spinal column. Diagram, text by Rybo. See correlation to "spherical" harmony and icosa/cuboctahedral forms in nature.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Caribbean frogs rafted from So Am 30ma

Inland frogs with high species diversity on Carribbean islands had started from a female frog which rafted from South America 30 million years ago.

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Islamarina aquarborealis de embryologi humanite

The message summary:
DATE: Wed, 06 Jun 2007 07:30:20 -0000
SUBJECT: the tiny truth

Text on Human Embryonic Development: the stages of man's
embryonic development are stated: "man extracted from
clay.. as a drop.. in a place of settled attachment,
then into an alaqah (resembling a leech/suspended thingy/
blood clot), then into a mudghad (chewed cud-like material)
(Quran, 23:12-14) [paraphrased]
"Jesus the prophet of Islam" talk by Mr. Green via Yusof Shamsi blog

Hydro prac., CPR, chr~is~lam review: Islam & Christianity, Huhu

Muhammed: Environmental Advocate (per Ayn: Peak Oil presentation)
"If you are planting a tree,
and sense that the universe is ending,
finish planting the tree"

Islamic and Christian fundies share info on Darwin

Islamic interfaith dialog, ummi

Islamicity: "To the world, you may be one person, but to one person, you may be the world"

"Extreme Medicine" IMAM UK/Eire SC (disasters, tsunami)
I'm considering to co-establish ARC American Red Crescent along with existing ARC American Red Cross here in Eureka. It's actually here in the same building on other end. One block further is an abandoned hotel with swimming pool, that could easily be converted into a small campus, also another fancy hotel next is also not open. Some kind of pre-med, in association with Humboldt State Univ. and some Univ. program in M'sia/S'pore/I'sia/Brunei? Need funding though. Too bad the fundies (of both kinds) prefer to argue & battle than to fund projects for future caretaking of Earth and it's citizens via tactical, technical & strategic education.

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Super long distance swimming

Martin Strel: A slovenian, he swam down the Yang tse, Mississippi and Amazon Rivers.

Swimming the Great Lakes with Jim Dreyer

Man swims the North Pole

My swim around the world 07/07/07, NEPO 777:

UPDATE: NEPO 777 mission completed. I swam 3 stroke styles a total of 100m at Crescent Beach in Crescent City. The 100 m length was not linear, but rather curvilinear, in an arc around the oceanic hydrosphere of Planet Earth. This was a trial event in preparation for a circumpolar route around the entire planet, following the coasts when possible, with a dive partner, abundant funding and proper equipment.

NEPO 777: Neptune, Mediterranean legendary hero of the sea. Poseiden, Mediterranean legendary hero of the sea. Capt. Nemo (Principal character in Jules Verne's 20,000 leagues under the sea). 07/07/07: Anniversary of my father's birthday.

Shark attack: 1 in 11 million chance

Divers are at lower risk than surfers or surface swimmers or waders.

But still susceptible:

Monday, June 4, 2007

Sunshine & Coconuts

Quote of the Day - Dustin Hoffman - "The two basic items necessary to sustain life are sunshine and coconuts"

I'll add seashores and shellfish also.

Frog that screams like a cat!

WEIRD! I thought frogs just croak. I know they have vocal chord and vocal airsac.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Nitric oxide, oxygen, blood during freediving

Nitric Oxide and vasodilation (humming? antibiotic effect?)

Dive Song brief

Nitric Oxide and blood banks