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Evolution

Blood, sweat and spit

A short follow up to the previous post on latherin. A quick reminder: latherin is a protein that exists in the horse’s sweat and saliva. In the sweat, latherin acts like a detergent, wetting the horse’s coat to allow for better water evaporation and hence better cooling. In the saliva, it helps wet the horse’s […]

Glowing like a horse

Dennis Mitchell: “Margaret, you are all sweaty” Margaret Wade: “Dennis, girls don’t sweat. Horses sweat, boys perspire and girls glow” Dennis Mitchell: “Margaret, you are glowing like a horse”.                               — Dennis the Menace / Hank Ketcham Horses and humans sweat but most other mammals do not. Sweating lowers the body’s surface temperature by evaporating […]

Ribosomal paleontology

In the latter epoch of those  2 billion-odd years between non-life and life on early Earth, our ancestral molecular replicators were quite probably RNA, not DNA. There are many arguments for this RNA world hypothesis: RNA can store information in its sequence, and self -duplicate; it can also catalyze reactions as a ribozyme. So technically, […]

Not dead, overloaded

When the Moon is in the Seventh House, and Jupiter aligns with Mars, a bunch of people gather for their “Bioinformaticians anonymous” group therapy. There they metaphorically gather, commiserating about how bioinformatics is dead (or was it bioinformaticians?), just smells funny or suffers from identity theft, probably because it got drunk at the last ISMB, […]

Searching for Life on Earth

But if you know what life is worth, You will look for yours on Earth — Bob Marley – “Is there life on Earth?” – “Well, duh.” – “I mean, is there another kind of life on Earth?” – “WTF?” – “You know… there could be these bugs that, like, they’re all around us and […]

Blog for Darwin: on Mass Extinctions

Happy Darwin Day! If you are reading this then you probably do not need an introduction to Charles Darwin, the importance of his work, how his theory of evolution by natural selection shaped modern Biology. Or if you do, I bet there are plenty of posts in today’s blogswarm that will address this. There is […]

Enzyme Promiscuity

Gradualism is a cornerstone principle in evolution.  Things happen in small increments;  all the time that changes happen, overall organism fitness cannot be compromised.  So how then do full-featured complex functions appear? One way is by functional re-purposing of an existing organ: …an organ may become rudimentary for its proper purpose, and be used for […]

Blog for Darwin

I just went to Shirley Wu’s blog and found this. Apparently February 12-15, 2009 there will be a Blog for Darwin blogswarm, in honor of his 200th birthday and 150th anniversary of the publication of On the Origin of Species (First time I hear this term, blogswarm; not sure if I like it). I wrote […]