Biology, Genetics, News

Sparks Literally Fly When the Egg Meets Sperm, Spectacular Images Show

A combined imaging approach was used to identify and characterise zinc-enriched packages in a mouse egg. Image courtesy from Northwestern University.

They say that when two people fall in love, you can see sparks flying. Well, that may or may not be true, but researchers from the US have shown that when sperm meets and egg – sparks definitely fly. Fertilization Fireworks These are the first images captured at the exact moment when a mammal’s egg is fertilized, showing that in response,…

Biology, Genetics, News

All birds lost their teeth 116 million years ago

Edentulism and the presence of a horny beak are hallmark features of modern birds. Image: Wikimedia Commons

A mind blowing international project performed a mass genome sequence to build the entire avian tree and reveal how birds evolved, particularly after the fall of the dinosaurs some 65 million years. A fallen dinosaur kingdom was replaced by a bird republic, as the direct descendants of the dinosaurs began to fill all the now vacant ecological niches and expanded…

Genetics, News

Would you clone your dog for $100,000?

Los Angeles businessman Peter Onruang cloned his dog, Wolfie.

We’ve come a long way since the first mammal, a sheep named Dolly, was cloned. Now, a lab in South Korea will clone your dog for around $100,000; so far, they’ve cloned 400 pets since 2006. Cloning is still tabu in many parts of the world, but it’s a process which is no longer reserved for the future – it’s happening…

Archaeology, Genetics, News

Viking Colonization Was a Family Affair

Viking colonization was a family affair. Image credits.

Vikings are often depicted as brutes – raiding, pillaging, killing the men and raping the women. But according to a new study, coloniozing may have actually been a family affair. Maternal DNA from ancient Norsemen suggests that more often than not, women also traveled alongside the men. Vikings were excellent seafarers – this was the key to the development of their…

Genetics, News, Nutrition

Mediterranean diet keeps you genetically young

Telomeres cap the end of our chromosomes. Image via BBC.

The Mediterranean diet has long been known to provide a myriad of health benefits, reducing the risk of heart disease and cancer among others; but until now, no study has shown that it also protects telomeres, one of the biomarkers of aging. As the name gives it away, the Mediterranean diet follows the nutritional patterns of inhabitants from the Mediterranean area…

Genetics, News, Science

Leicest remains belong to King Richard III – case closed after 529 years

The portrait which appears to most closely match the genetically-determined hair and eye colour is the Arched-Frame Portrait in the Society of Antiquaries.

The remains of King Richard III have been confirmed with pin-point accuracy by the latest round of sequencing; exclusive details on how the late tyrant king might have looked like are also now available. A few years back, a most surprising find was made under a car park in Leicester: none other than King Richard III’s remains! The latest genetic…

Genetics, Health & Medicine, News

Genome duality: chromosome sets sequenced separately reveal magic ratio

Image: louisdietvorst.wordpress.com

Genetic diversity is essential to our survival, but its exactly the huge variance in genetic information that makes all so sought for personalised treatment so difficult. And you don’t need to look at an entire population or even two different people to experience the power of diversity. It’s enough to look inside your own, personal genome since you carry two…

Genetics, Health & Medicine, News

German Scientists create lab-grown spinal cords

Lateral view of a stage 15 chick embryo showing the distribution of Sonic Hedgehog protein (purple). Abigail Tucker/ MRC Centre for Developmental Neurobiology/ Wellcome Images.

For the first time, researchers in Germany have been able to create spinal cords in a Petri dish. To be more precise, they didn’t grow complete spinal cords, but neuroepithelial cysts, which are ellipsoid like and were about 60 μm in diameter. These cells express factors that are associated with spinal cord tissue and are in many ways similar to it. Regenerative…

Genetics, News

Study that looked at 409 pairs of Gay Brothers confirms Chromosome X link to Homosexuality

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A massive independent genetic survey sought to replicate the findings of a 20 year old controversial study which identified a stretch on the X chromosome as being linked with homosexuality. The latest findings, which took into account the genetic makeup of a staggering 409 pairs of gay siblings, confirm the initial reports and further boost the idea that homosexuality is also influenced by…

Feature Post, Genetics, Psychology

In the face of Adversity and War, Bonds among Soldiers are as Strong as Kinship

Libyan fighters chants slogans as they take control of Moammar Gadhafi loyalists' villages in the desert some 750 km south of Tripoli, at Gohta, north of the southern city of Sahba on Sunday. Credit: Francois Mori / AP

It’s no surprise for anyone to find that soldiers fighting together on the front-line are tied together by a special relationship. They have to be. Soldiers need to know they can wholeheartedly depend on each other, put faith in the other’s ability. It’s not just about survival. It’s about comfort; knowing there’s someone close to you that can perfectly relate…