Monthly Archives: November 2017

Living in an RNA world


The central dogma postulates that genes are first copied into messenger RNAs, which are then decoded into proteins with the help of transfer RNAs and ribosomal RNAs. It has long been known that there is more to the world of RNA than just these three classes, but the development of high-throughput RNA sequencing has revealed… Read more »


Video Blog: Vesicular transport demonstrates a potential disease mechanism in Parkinson’s disease


New research published in Acta Neuropathologica Communications identifies a potential disease mechanism in the initiation and development of Parkinson’s disease. It is known that the aggregation of the protein α-synuclein is the primary cause of this widespread disease. However, it remains unclear how a naturally occurring protein, normally restricted to red blood cells, can enter… Read more »

Biology Health

Unicellular to multicellular: What can the green alga Volvox tell us about the evolution of multicellularity and cellular differentiation?

Blog_Fig1_Volvox carteri

Despite being 2mm in diameter and only having 2 cell types, green alga Volvox have fascinated biologists for over 300 years and are a model organism for developmental, physiological and evolutionary research. Published today in BMC Biology new research analyzes the whole transcriptome of Volvox carteri by RNA sequencing. Here, lead author of the study, Armin Hallmann, explains how this impacts our understanding of evolution from unicellular to multicellular organisms.


Philosophy of life sciences is ‘constructive subversiveness’


World Philosophy Day was introduced in 2002 by UNESCO, among other things, to raise public awareness of the importance of philosophy in the choices arising from the effects of globalization or entry into modernity. We asked Prof. Hub Zwart and Prof. Ruth Chadwick, Editors-in-Chief of Life Sciences, Society and Policy, why philosophy matters for life sciences and the challenges raised by new sciences and technologies.


Livestock emissions higher than estimated


We have known for some time animal agriculture plays an outsized role in our planet’s natural carbon cycle. Until recently, however, we didn’t fully appreciate the scope of that influence. Based on new research published in Carbon Balance and Management, and the revelation that previous estimates were based on old data, we now have a much better understanding of the role livestock plays in annual carbon fluctuations across the planet.


CRISPR-Cas9 and the future of gene editing and genetic counseling

Parents holding baby

CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology is opening a world of possibilities for the treatment and prevention of human disease and genetic abnormalities. It’s also opening a can of ethical worms regarding what the limitations should be—particularly with respect to altering human embryos. This blog looks at the benefits and complications of CRISPR-Cas9 through the eyes of a genetic counselor.

Biology Medicine

How does blue light affect animals?

morning light in singapore

In an age where we’re surrounded by screens, you’ll have probably come across the disruptive effects that blue light can have on our sleep patterns, you may even have a blue light filter on your phone or laptop. But how exactly does blue light affect us? Two research articles published today in BMC Biology examine the behavior of zebrafish in order to explore this phenomenon.