Tuesday, June 29, 2010


And 3rd generation sequencing (includes helpful illustrations of new techniques)

function for pseudogenes

Nature article (also on this week's Nature podcast) on how pseudogenes protect coding genes from microRNAs

Human Genome at 10

Nature special issue marking the anniversary:
"a collection of commentaries and features explores the lessons learned from the first post-genome decade."

Gorilla spit

New paper on obtaining saliva from wild gorillas.
Thanks Gary!


A few interesting recent snippets on supertasters: npr blub and an interview with Linda Bartoshuk in Science

Swabbing Students

Here is a nice little summary on the current debate about students doing 'personal genomics projects' at Berkeley and Stanford. Food for thought for developing ANTH 394...

Monday, June 28, 2010

From genotype to phenotype via epigenetics

The new issue of Heredity is dedicated to the topic:
What do epigenetics and epigenomics tell us?
The intro article is a nice little review.

genetics (ESR1) and D2:D4

Hey, this study on D2D4 in zebra finches might be really interesting:

A polymorphism in the oestrogen receptor gene explains covariance between digit ratio and mating behaviour

structural coloration of butterfly wings

More exciting work (this time on butterflies) from the Prum group...

inbreeding results in poor sperm

...in flour beetles (and also in Gazelles - some other paper this month in Biol Reprod)

malaria shows same pattern out of Africa

The pattern of genetic diversity in malaria (2 genes) matches human migration out of Africa, contracting the suggestion that the 1st human malaria infections coincided with the origins of agriculture. Science tidbit on Current Biology paper here.

FAQs about Human Genome Diversity

I'll have to add this nice TIG review on human genome diversity to the Mol Anth reading list...

"one gene or two"

Here is an interesting Research Highlight on the relationship between gene copy number and protein production, and how this varies among genes -- sometimes there is a clear dosage effect, sometimes not... interesting to look at in terms of history of whole genome duplication (WGD), which has happened twice in vertebrate evolution....

Human skin pigmentation as an adaptation to UV radiation

Here is a recent review article (I think submitted as part of a symposium collection) in PNAS by Jablonski & Chaplin on tanning and UV radiation

"missing heritability" of height

This is a nice little news snippet summarizing the search for common (via GWAS) vs rare variants underlying phenotypic variation, such as height.

comfort food makes you dumb

I like these Nature Journal Clubs, and here is one from Nicky Clayton on recent studies that indicate: "consuming an excessively high-calorie diet can result in marked decreases in cognitive abilities, especially in spatial memory"

Friday, June 25, 2010

"For love and money"

Interesting article in Nature on academic career satisfaction and salaries, with comparisons between men and women across regions. An especially interesting graph demonstrating why all women should read "Women Don't Ask" before negotiating a new job offer...

Human uniqueness and, ehem, "tool use"

Just what makes us such an exceptional ape?
According to Jesse Bering at Scientific America:

(thanks for the tip, Karthik)

"Big Man"

How chimp-like was afarensis? New fossil (pub in PNAS, don't have link on hand), old debate... Here is the Ann Gibbons' science news tidbit complete with Lovejoy vs Jungers quotes.

Sanger Center 10k genomes project

The Sanger center is now doing a (UK) 10,000 genomes projects -- about half of these will be exomes of people with "extreme phenotypes" (obesity, autism, heart disease...). The other half will be full genomes (so should include indels, copy variation) of family pairs/twins in on-going longitudinal studies.

some useful basics on epigenetics

Ah, I'm such a fan of U of Utah's Learn.Genetics site. Their tidbits on epigenetics are especially useful. I'm thinking we should do a special-topic lab meeting on epigenetics...

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Genome at 10

Nicholas Wade (NYTimes) takes a look at the decade following the human genome announcement and how the map has yielded "few new cures"

Friday, June 11, 2010

more on oxytocin and (selective) altruism

New paper in Science suggests that oxytocin promotes altruism within groups, but aggression toward out-group competitors -- a "tend and defend" response. Includes a commentary by Greg Miller.