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Love in Mendel’s Garden

It’s February… the end of winter is in sight and with Valentine’s day approaching, romance is in the air in Mendel’s Garden.

In case you don’t know it, Mendel’s Garden is a delicious box of brain candy – a phenylethylamine-packed, monthly collection of blog articles on gene expression, development and evolutionary genetics. This month we have the pleasure of hosting it at Bitesize Bio.

Now, lets take a stroll and see what this love-filled edition of Mendel’s Garden has to offer.

Cath Ennis is in love. With transposable elements, and monkeys. But this time those lucky transposable elements getting all of the attention, as she waxes lyrical about the “awesomeness” of their evolutionary innovation at the Nature Network.

Cath is clearly head over heels, but Charles Daney at Science and Reason is looking at something longer term. Twenty years on, he explores the ever deepening relationship between the transcription factor myc and cancer.

And Karen Vieira at GNIF Brain Blogger is talking about a rabid attraction where, with the accuracy of Cupid’s bow, a protein taken from the Rabies virus has been used to deliver an siRNA drug into the brain of mice.

Love is blind, but not according to GrrlScientist. She reports on some seriously steamy research showing that when blind (cave) fish get down to some hydridization in the lab, their offspring their regain both eyes and sight.

GrrlScientist is really into the processes of creation this month, as she brings us another article, this time on a literature review by Trevor Price that reveals the process and nature of speciation in birds.

In the pursuit of love, long life and happiness, disruption of insulin or insulin-like growth factor-1 (IGF-1) signaling is known help with the long life part, but Chris Patil at Ouroboros wonders how this this can be when, paradoxically, high levels of IGF-I appear to protect the body against age-related disease.

We all know that the best way to spend Valentine’s day is doing something you love, with someone you love. If you are still looking for a date, look no further than here at Bitesize Bio where Dan can introduce you to some top class models. See his series of posts on model organisms in biomedical research.

If you have a date then here are some suggestions on what you could get up to.

If the quickest route to your heart is via your stomach, then Mendel’s Garden has something special for you this month – a three course meal whipped up by three renowned chefs:

  • A starter of genetically enhanced, calcium fortified super-carrot soup from Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science. Genetically enhanced the carrots may be, but they are non-GM. The strain is made by good old selective breeding.
  • For the main course, a medley of vitamin A-enriched golden maize and wheat from Jeremy Cherfas at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog. Great for preventing eye disease and, unlike it’s IP-restricted cousin, golden wheat – it’s open source technology.
  • And to finish, a GM sugar beet pie from NJ Jaeger at IssueTalk. A favorite amongst politicians, but like all GM foods, this dish is not recommended by Chef Jaeger.

Or, if you like a bit of excitement, how about a day at the races? GrrlScientist discusses a paper exploring whether champion race horses are born or made.

If retail therapy is your love, you could splash out at the upcoming Great “Gene” Sale. Soon you may be able to treat yourself to some new genes to cure your male pattern baldness or change your mousey brown hair to blonde. But beware – according to the Brain Blogger, it’ll probably be just cleverly marketed junk.

If there’s no-one in your life, maybe you’d just prefer to snuggle down with a good book. You can choose from Archaezoo’s horror story, Yersinia pestis, ancient DNA and the Black Death, Greg Laden’s rags-to-riches tale about the elevation of non-coding RNAs to prominence in our understanding of cellular function or a new and revised edition of the NAS book, Science, Evolution, and Creationism, which is now available as a free download, as recommended by GrrlScientist.

I hope you enjoyed this edition of Mendel’s Garden, there is certainly a lot of great reading in there. Thanks for reading, and we hope to see you back at Bitesize Bio again soon.

Click here to submit your blog article to the next edition of mendel’s garden

Photos: Henn?? G, ?Chocolatito?, StarLisa, Floater Ya-Ya, freehand sketching {vera}

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