Monthly Archives: October 2008

This Week’s BioBites: Trick or treat!

In honor of Halloween, we hope you enjoy our goody bag of scientific treats, including a couple of pieces of advice for everyone’s favorite costumed holiday!

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What Sarah Palin doesn’t know about fruit flies…


I’d like to start by saying that I have no intentions of getting political here, but there are times when politics and science intersect. And every once in a while, one of them will hit close to home. And this is one of those times. Lucy K. and I had already been planning to write an entry about model organisms at some point, when the following video clip surfaced online, sparking some anger from the scientific community.

Now, I don’t know about the reference to Paris, France, but I can tell you for sure that fruit fly research is a whole lot more important than Sarah Palin seems to realize. Why? Because fruit fly research isn’t about fruit flies. It’s about human disease and development. And though a lot of scientists understand why, it’s important that the public understands too, so that misconceptions like this don’t get propagated.

So want to know more about how scientists can use insignificant seeming organisms like fruit flies to study important questions about neuroscience, disease, genetics and more?

Read on…

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Maybe people really are nicer in the South…

I’m a Yankee but scientists may have proven that people really are nicer in the South, or at least when it’s warm!

This week’s BioBites!

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Still good after 2,000 years



Thinking of throwing out those old seeds that have been sitting in your garage forever? Think again. Researchers were able to grow a tree from a seed that was 2,000 years old!

I want more candy!
You’re lying, right?
My brain hurts!

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This Week’s BioBites: computers can predict your age… and drunkenness!

These days, biology is getting bigger and bigger. Instead of studying one gene, we can sequence whole genomes. Instead of studying specific changes to the composition of a cell, we can study all of them. All these experiments produce a lot of data, which is where computers come into the picture. With computers, you can find new ways to organize and analyze huge amounts of data in ways that the human brain could never handle on its own. As a result, the fields of biology and computer science are becoming more and more intertwined.

This week, among the other tasty BioBites, we bring you a report on software that can predict your age by scanning your face and a (less serious) story about a Google App that prevents you from drunk emailing your friends, your enemies and your ex.

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Wasps, like children, say no to strangers


Scientists have long thought that social awareness and cognition was a trait that was limited to large animals with complex brains. Turns out that it doesn’t require as much brain power as they originally thought – the simple paper wasp is able to recognize and remember other individuals and act on those memories accordingly.

I want more candy!
You’re lying, right?
My brain hurts!

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This Week’s BioBites: Good News at Last!

Well, while Wall Street falls apart, scientists have been busy figuring out everything from why we all want to punish those Wall Street brokers to better ways to detect Down’s syndrome. Hope these help take your mind off the economy!

This week’s BioBites!

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