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Wednesday
Aug102011

Science Highlights:

Short Social Commentary on Science by Brooke N:



I am currently writing my first first-author article (AS WE SPEAK), and I just want everyone to know that in biology it takes 10% of your time running experiments and collecting data, 10% putting your data into a reasonable format that not only you and the most talented Sanskrit decoder can read, and 80% of your time spinning your data into a magical dragon story with a clear start and finish and relevance. EIGHTY PERCENT. No one told me this, or I would have held all of my gloating in when I thought I had enough data for a paper (right, self-portrait of me writing at my lab bench).



Are other scientific fields similar to this? Or any field at all?



Back to real science...



Uncovering the origins of the Modern Human genome:



With recent technology allowing for scientists to essentially decode any genome they would like overnight (or in an hour if you’re into bacterial genetics) and the availability of these genomes over online databases, genomics has been moving at the speed of light (x’s infinity).



Anyone who was interested could log-on to these databases and start comparing genomes – what do roaches and mice have in common? What do methicillin-resistant Staphylcoccus aureus (MRSA) and the recent emerging enterohaemorrhagic E. coli have in common? The easiest way to answer these questions are to line up the genomes and by brute force compare these genomes, gene by gene.



Last years publication of the Neanderthal genome and of the extinct human population from Siberia (Denisova) has opened the doors for discovering the commonalities between the modern human and our (relatively speaking) recent ancestors.




Neanderthals, named after the Neander valley in Germany where the first fossils were found, roamed Europe and parts of Asia from 400,000 years ago until about 50,000 years ago when Neanderthal characteristics had disappeared in Asia, and 30,000 years ago in Europe (see map). Their genetic lineage split from modern humans nearly 500,000 years ago, but by comparing genome content (lining up the genomes, gene-to-gene and even nucleotide-to-nucleotide) they found humans (outside of Africa) contain 4% of Neanderthal DNA within their genome.



They hypothesize that this might have come about from humans migrating out of Africa and mating with Neanderthals (most likely in the Middle East). They’re so sure about this interbreeding, they have reported the dates of “hooking-up” occurred from 65,000-90,000 years ago. Researchers report, we should thank Neanderthals for important disease-fighting genes and, my personal favorite, a “’hybrid-vigour’ that helped [us] colonize the world”.



Though most of this genetic work was discovered at the Max-Plank Institute and Harvard University, these genomes are publically available & with copious amount of time, energy & Neanderthal ‘hybrid-vigour’, any Joe Schmoe can start studying the ancestral background of our genetic traits.





Nature reports these findings were presented at the Society for Molecular Biology and Evolution meeting in Kyoto, Japan held on July 26-30, etc.

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    Science Highlights: - Blog - Smaller Questions,당신이 여기에서 정보를 볼 수있는 관련 문서를 참조 할 경우,이 문서는, 그러나 정확하게 작성되었습니다 :Hollister,
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    In this age and time, world has developed exponentially. In multinational companies, they only hire educated people as they do not want the name of their companied ruined by some amateur or poorly know ledged person.
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Reader Comments (1)

1. Astronomy is definitely like that. You should hear people talk about how long their data have been sitting around, waiting to be publishable like publishable is a line at the DMV.

2. Since most sciences have become so data-intensive, they have the problem of an embarrassment of riches--so much information that analysis truly benefits from outside citizens' help, since scientists are such a small portion of the population. I think that it's awesome that genomics is going in that direction. Other programs--like SETI@home, Stardust@home, and GalaxyZoo--hit the same idea.

August 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Scoles

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