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biology

The Rothamsted GM wheat trial

I recently signed the Sense about Science petition in favour of their GM wheat trials. I have just received the following email which suggests that the Take the Flour Back pressure group are afraid to discuss the issues around this… Continue reading →

The life cycle of the enigmatic Trichoplax

Way back in 2008 I wrote a brief blog article about the sequencing of the genome of a rather poorly unusual organism, Trichoplax adhaerens (What the heck is a Placozoan, anyway?).  The interest there was that the genome had a… Continue reading →

List of Sites of Special Scientific Interest Released

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph (Last refuges of England’s rarest species revealed), Natural England has released a list of the most sensitive SSSIs, often the refuge of some of the most endangered species in the UK. It’s… Continue reading →

Should we eliminate mosquitoes? (Kill them. Kill them all?)

There’s been some discussion in the columns of Nature recently concerning the possibility of eradication of mosquitoes. In an article entitled A World Without Mosquitoes, Janet Fang (1) presents a variety of opinions whether large-scale mosquito eradication is practical and… Continue reading →

Neotrombicula autumnalis, aka the berry bug or harvest mite

Here in the UK, there are few haematophagous arthropods which trouble me. While mosquitoes provide a minor irritation, the Scottish midge Culicoides impunctatus is massively annoying, principally because of the sheer number that typically assail one. For me the bite… Continue reading →

Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent

Looks as though the practise of patenting genes may be at an end (at least in the USA) Judge Invalidates Human Gene Patent – NYTimes.com.  It’s always seemed odd to me that patents of natural objects suc as genes were… Continue reading →

Removing a botfly larva

Three months after returning from Belize, Vanessa of NatureBreak.org felt and heard the activity of a botfly larva in her scalp (I can recall reading an article in BBC Nature magazine about a cameraman who suffered this – he reckoned… Continue reading →

A curious deep sea fish

 This cute little fish is Macropinna microstoma. The green objects under the transparent carapace are its eyes: the dark blobs above its mouth are olfactory organs. [video:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RM9o4VnfHJU 480×295]

Darwin 200: Re-Reading "On the Origin of Species"

The journal Current Biology invited a number of prominent biologists from a number of disciplines to re-read Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, and to write commentaries – they can be found at (Re)Reading The Origin. Charles Darwin’s 1859 book On… Continue reading →

Neanderthal genome

After a bit of teasing in the blogosphere that the draft sequence of the Neanderthal genome would be released in time for Charles Darwin’s birthday this week, I was eagerly looking for a paper.  Instead what I find are three… Continue reading →

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