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Blog Archive for the ‘Genetics’ Category

The Expanding Frontiers of Computing

by Alex Mensing on January 5th, 02012

Advances in computing technology have led to increasingly powerful devices – a cell phone can now do what early desktop computers did not even approximate. But these developments have largely been in the form of devices, objects made of silicon and plastic. Stanford bioengineering professor Drew Endy imagines, in a New York Times article, another frontier. . .   Read More

A Thousand Years of Taxonomy to Go?

by Alex Mensing on October 27th, 02011

About ten years ago The Long Now Foundation initiated an effort to document every living organism on the planet within 25 years. The project was called All Species and while it did not make it through the dot com burst, it was continued by initiatives such as the Encyclopedia of Life and the Census of. . .   Read More

Carl Zimmer, “Viral Time”

by Stewart Brand on June 9th, 02011

What’s time to a virus?
A Summary by Stewart Brand

“Everything about viruses is extreme,” Zimmer began. The number of viruses on Earth is estimated to be 1 followed by 31 zeroes. Small as they are, if you stacked them all up, the stack would reach 100 million light years. They are the planet. . .   Read More

Tim Flannery, “Here on Earth”

by Stewart Brand on May 4th, 02011

Wallace beats Darwin
A Summary by Stewart Brand

The great insight of natural selection was published simultaneously by Charles Darwin and Alfred Russell Wallace in 1858, Flannery pointed out, but their interpretations of the insight then diverged.

Darwin’s harsh view of “survival of the fittest” led too easily to social Darwinism, eugenics societies, neo. . .   Read More

10,000 genome library proposed

by Austin Brown on November 10th, 02009

The Genome 10k Project is currently just getting started, but if 65 scientists get their way, the University of California Santa Cruz could eventually house an extensive database of vertebrate genetic evolution.  The plan is to build an archive of the entire genomes of 10,000 vertebrates.  A library of this sort would assist in. . .   Read More

Ronald and Adamchak, “Organically Grown and Genetically Engineered: The Food of the Future”

by Stewart Brand on July 29th, 02009

Engineered organic

Organic farming teacher Raoul began the joint presentation with a checklist for truly sustainable agriculture in a global context. It must:

Provide abundant safe and nutritious food…. Reduce environmentally harmful inputs…. Reduce energy use and greenhouse gases…. Foster soil fertility…. Enhance crop genetic diversity…. Maintain the economic viability of farming communities…. Protect biodiversity. . .   Read More

The resilience of life

by Kirk Citron on June 17th, 02009

The Long News: stories that might still matter fifty, or a hundred, or ten thousand years from now.

Life can survive at the bottom of the oceans; inside volcanic vents; in radioactive wastelands. So even if humans don’t make it through the coming centuries, it’s a good bet that in some form or. . .   Read More

FOXP2 human language gene changes mouse squeaks

by Laura Welcher on May 29th, 02009

What happens when you substitute the human FOXP2 gene for that of a mouse?  According to researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, not much, except this interesting result — it changes their vocalizations.

While the FOXP2 gene is important in the development of many different tissues, in humans it affects the development of. . .   Read More

10,000 Years of Beef

by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander on April 23rd, 02009

 The Washington Post is carrying an interesting story on the recently completed cow genome: “Cow’s DNA Sequence Reveals Mankind’s Influence Over Last 10,000 Years.” Most interesting is what was learned by looking closely at such a domesticated beast.  The scientists were able to clearly see where selective breeding has radically changed the. . .   Read More

Static Data Storage

by Heather Ryan on January 15th, 02009

Birds, long-term information storage, and poop. Two of my favorite things, and one of my not-so-favorite things are all brought together in this Genetic Archaeology piece about the valuable information retrieved from the feces of giant, extinct birds. According to the article, palaeontology researchers have been able to analyze “plant seeds, leaf. . .   Read More