How A Virus Hid In Our Genome For Six Million Years. Carl Zimmer writes for Phenomena [more inside]
"Isn't it amazing?" says Ajit Varki, a biologist at the University of California, San Diego. "Almost a hundred years after the Nobel Prize was awarded for this discovery, we still don't know exactly what they're for."Popular science writer Carl Zimmer investigates: Why do we have blood types? [more inside]
The Norovirus: A Study in Puked Perfection, "Each norovirus carries just nine protein-coding genes (you have about 20,000). Even with that skimpy genetic toolkit, noroviruses can break the locks on our cells, slip in, and hack our own DNA to make new noroviruses. The details of this invasion are sketchy, alas, because scientists haven’t figured out a good way to rear noroviruses in human cells in their labs. It’s not even clear exactly which type of cell they invade once they reach the gut. Regardless of the type, they clearly know how to exploit their hosts. Noroviruses come roaring out of the infected cells in vast numbers. And then they come roaring out of the body. Within a day of infection, noroviruses have rewired our digestive system so that stuff comes flying out from both ends." [more inside]
King of the Cosmos (A Profile of Neil deGrasse Tyson) by Carl Zimmer. (Via) [more inside]
Science, Skin & Ink A slideshow of science tattoos from Carl Zimmer's new book Science Ink at the New York Times. See more at Zimmer's tattoo emporium. Carl Zimmer’s tattoo emporium previously.
Now: The Rest of the Genome. "Only 1 percent of the genome is made up of classic genes. Scientists are exploring the other 99 percent and uncovering new secrets and new questions."
Festooning The Tree Of Life. Carl Zimmer describes new research on lateral gene transfer which makes the Tree of Life look more like a Gordian Knot.
What Is A Species? "To this day, scientists struggle with that question. A better definition can influence which animals make the endangered list."
Carl Zimmer's Science Tattoo Emporium - "Underneath their sober lab coats and flannel shirts, scientists hide images of their scientific passions. Here they are revealed to all." From the science journalist and writer responsible for The Loom and numerous other published works.
How Do You Get Crabs From A Gorilla? One of many little evolutionary cases Carl Zimmer tackles in The Parasite Files.
Whose life would you save? Carl Zimmer takes a look at the work of philospher-neuroscientist Joshua Greene in the emerging field of the neuroscience of ethics and morality (Leon Kass, take note.) [Via Dynamist Blog.]