Friday, September 13, 2013

Weekend Rebel Science Excursion - 23

Newly discovered life form
Friday is TGIF day and time to look at some fairly recent science reports and information.

There are seven theories for life's beginning (Seven Theories For Life's Beginning ).

Some scientists think that Earth life came from Mars (Earth Life From Mars).

Where ever life came from or originated, it is not fully understood yet, but is fully interesting.

Take the case of baby bees that were mixed into new hives resulting in killer bee babies being put into hives of non-killer bees, and vice-versa:
When he got the cards, says Robinson, “the results were stunning.” For the bees that had been kidnapped, life in a new home had indeed altered the activity of “whole sectors” of genes. When their gene expression data was viewed on the cards alongside the data for groups of bees raised among their own kin, a mere glance showed the dramatic change. Hundreds of genes had flipped colors. The move between hives didn’t just make the bees act differently. It made their genes work differently, and on a broad scale.

What’s more, the cards for the adopted bees of both species came to ever more resemble, as they moved through life, the cards of the bees they moved in with. With every passing day their genes acted more like those of their new hive mates (and less like those of their genetic siblings back home). Many of the genes that switched on or off are known to affect behavior; several are associated with aggression. The bees also acted differently. Their dispositions changed to match that of their hive mates. It seemed the genome, without changing its code, could transform an animal into something very like a different subspecies.

These bees didn’t just act like different bees. They’d pretty much become different bees. To Robinson, this spoke of a genome far more fluid—far more socially fluid—than previously conceived.
(Bee Genes - Epigenetics). This may add support to the hypothesis of a "cultural amygdala" that can change and adapt when the culture is changed (The Cultural Amygdala).

Another interesting genetic dynamic is the training of some microbes to do specialized work through genetic manipulation (Trained Microbes).

The graphic at the top of today's post shows a recently discovered life form which looks like an NSA listening antenna (New life form).

An interesting grid for communication between and among flora was discovered (Communication Grid for Flora).

Happy research and have a good weekend!

The next post in this series is here, the previous post in this series is here.

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