Full of arbitrary amusement, random stuff and, in passing, some fortuitous niceties.
For something more disciplined... please try my award winning blog
Craziness doubtless has more followers and servants than Wisdom
Out and Away: Neuroepithelial cells in an embryonic rat spinal cord
The embryo has the demanding task of dedicating and specializing just a sheet of cells to become one of the most complex and mysterious structures in all of biology: the brain. The early brain actually begins as a thin tube called the neural tube. The neural tube produces neurons that migrate outward, eventually becoming the brain and spinal cord. Seen here are early neurons, called neuroepithelial cells, adjacent to the tube.
Image by Dr. Janelle Pakan, University College Cork.
Speaking of rats (OK, we weren’t but now that the subject’s been mentioned), we present the above laser scanning confocal micrograph of an en face section of epithelium of a rat’s tongue, produced by Tom Deerinck at the National Center for Microscopy and Imaging Research at UC San Diego.
The image slightly penetrates the superficial epithelium of the tongue and uses a variety of stains to highlight distinct structures. Most notable is the cross-hatched mesh of striated muscle fibers, whose actin (a contractile protein) glows fluorescently red. Cell DNA is stained blue. Cell membranes are highlighted in green.
Rats, of course, have long had a voice in medical research. They are among science’s most cherished model organisms, employed by researchers everywhere to study everything from autism to spinal cord injuries to the warming effects of eating durian while taking the painkiller paracetamol, otherwise known as acetaminophen, the active ingredient in Tylenol.
Some rat models are the product of targeted genetic engineering, but mostly they are useful for just being appallingly similar to human beings, biologically speaking. Or as in the case of the naked mole rat, utterly unlike us. The naked mole rat is a favorite in cancer research because, oddly enough, it is cancer-resistant. In decades of study, not a single incident of cancer has been detected in a naked mole rat, which makes it a fitting model for finding new ways to fight the disease.
Sensory axons (long, slender nerve fibers) covering the tail of a 3- day-old larval zebrafish. This “Brainbow” image was collected using confocal microscopy. In the Brainbow technique (Nature, 2007), cells randomly choose combinations of red, yellow and cyan fluorescent proteins, so that they each glow a particular color. This provides a way to distinguish neighboring cells of the nervous system and follow their pathways. Seventh Prize, 2009 Olympus BioScapes Digital Imaging Competition
Using text from classic scientific masterpieces
Stephen Gaeta, MD, PhD
Text from the 1628 treatise De Motu Cordis (otherwise known as On the Motion of the Heart and Blood) by William Harvey, in which he first postulates the circulation of blood from the right side of the heart through the lungs into the left heart before perfusing the rest of the body.
Text from Zoonomia, the 1794 masterpiece of Erasmus Darwin (grandfather of Charles), in which he attempted to catalog and explain human anatomy, pathology, and physiology, including the visual system.
Text from Chromosome 1 of the human genome.
Uncovering the genetic ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’
Almost every man alive can trace his origins to one man who lived about 135,000 years ago, new research suggests. And that ancient man likely shared the planet with the mother of all women.
Despite their overlap in time, ancient “Adam” and ancient “Eve” probably didn’t even live near each other, let alone mate.
"Those two people didn’t know each other," said Melissa Wilson Sayres, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, who was not involved in the study.
by Suety Kwan [on Behance]
The final image was published on the cover of the journal Autophagy, tying in to the lead article on the fusion of amphisomes and lysosomes.
AUTOPHAGY [“eating self”] or autophagocytosis [“the process in which cells eat themselves”] is the basic mechanism for recycling of unnecessary or dysfunctional cellular components Autophagy, if regulated, ensures the synthesis, degradation and recycling of cellular components, and helps cells to survive starvation by maintaining energy levels.
[Based on wikipedia]
Can plastic be made from algae?
Algae are an interesting natural resource because they proliferate quickly. They are not impinging on food production. And they need nothing but sunlight and a bit of waste water to grow on. Scientists working for theSPLASH research project, funded by the EU, are now addressing the challenge of making high-quality, affordable plastics from algae. They need to demonstrate that this new type of bioplastic —namely used to produce polyesters and polyolefins— can be of the same quality as traditional plastic. And they need to show whether it can be produced in an economically viable way.
“We need a new species of algae which not only produces the right kind of hydrocarbons and sugars, but also does it fast,” explains says Maria Barbosa, SPLASH’s scientific coordinator and a researcher at Wageningen UR Food & Biobased Research unit, in the Netherlands. She believes that genetic engineering can provide the solution to this problem. “Believe it or not, that’s the easy part,” she adds. But then “we need a way to ‘milk’ the new algae, to take the desired components from the broth without killing it,” she points out. However, this is the challenge that remains to be addressed.