High Resolution Structure of Zika solved!

This semester, the Zika virus has been making news, with fears of microcephaly and Guillain-Barre autoimmune disorders.  My students and I were curious about what is known about the biology of this virus, and it was the focus of our scientific literacy assignment this term for both my Cell Biology and Evolution classes. It’s therefore…

Are we in the middle of a 6th Mass Extinction?

At the very end of the semester, we are talking about extinctions and mass extinctions.  This video from Business Insider and Dr. Lisa Randall talks briefly about the potential for a human-caused 6th mass extinction. http://www.businessinsider.com/earth-sixth-mass-extinction-dinosaur-meteor-volcano-lisa-randall-2015-11#ooid=5jdWFteDrJ5J0ZQaZr9tUiHsMSmERa-O

Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes | The Scientist Magazine®

Bacterial DNA in Human Genomes | The Scientist Magazine®.   Image credit: Pseudomonas, one of the bacteria groups that have transferred genes to humans. CDC, JANICE HANEY CARR   One of the concepts we talk about late in the term is horizontal gene transfer.  Basically, this is the acquisition of DNA or genes from organisms…

Rare Breed of Killer Whale May Be New Species

Rare Breed of Killer Whale May Be New Species. In class, we get lots of definitions for a species, including: the phenetic species concept the phylogenetic species concept the evolutionary species definition the biological species definition In my class and most of biology, we tend to stick with the biological species concept, which requires that individuals…

Mating Fossils

For years, I said nobody ever caught two fossils going at it (copulating, having sex, whatever). I was wrong. Aside from a pair of fossilized, mating turtles, we now also have: Amber-ized mating mites! One of the neat things about these mites: the female appears to be sexually dominant!