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biology

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 →

In the Journals – Chemical evidence of multicellular life 635 million years ago

A paper in the current issue of Nature [Love et al (2009) Nature 457; 718-722] suggests that multicellular life existed about 100 million years before the explosion of bilaterian animals in the Cambrian. The evidence comes from analysis of rocks… Continue reading →

Fossil foetal (proto-)whale

Quite a few of the bloggers at ScienceBlogs have been writing about an exciting new fossil find: a newly discovered fossil ancestor of whales.  The exciting thing here is that the fossil contains the remains of foetal whales.  Here’s the… Continue reading →

In the Journals – Human expansion across the Pacific mapped by language and bacteria

Just as I finish reading (or rather, re-reading) chapters concerning the fate of Easter Island (Rapanui) and of Henderson and Pitcairn Islands in Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Survive by Jared Diamond, the 23rd January issue of Science… Continue reading →

The resurrected Pyrenean ibex – anyone spot the problem?

According to the Daily Telegraph, a team of scientists (we’re always "teams") have cloned an extinct Spanish mountain goat from DNA contained in frozen skin samples from the last known specimen, aand using domestic goat eggs. The article, Extinct ibex is… Continue reading →

Darwin 200 – Popular science writing

There’s been a bit of a rumpus echoing through the blogosphere following a series of pop sci articles about Darwin and his legacy (see for example this review of recent stories).  Generally, and presumably to attract readers, many make some… Continue reading →

Border Guards vs Drosophila, part 3

The latest in the ongoing saga of our fly shipment from the USA is that our packet of flies finally made it to the lab.  They’ve been in transit for exactly three weeks*, and of course kept in in known… Continue reading →

Darwin 200 – iconography of evolution

There’s been a profusion of articles in the popular press as he big Darwin anniversary swings into top gear.  Many of these make over-stated cases that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection has been "shaken up", or "over-thrown" (see… Continue reading →

US embryonic stem cell therapy gets go ahead

Now that President Obama’s in the White House, he’s rolling out changes – closing Guantanamo Bay, permitting Federal funding for agencies that publicise abortion, and now enabling Federal funding for stem cell research. Perhaps related to the thaw in stem… Continue reading →

Wonderful Life

The WordPress blog I described the other day has been fully launched – Wonderful Life – and is hosted here rather than at WordPress.com.  I wanted to be able to do some css tweaking, and that proved a bit easier… Continue reading →

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