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Is there a crisis in biology? Or are we just facing facts?

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Who, exactly, said the world would be simple?

The world seemed simpler in the 1970s, when molecular biology brought us concepts such as “gene A leads to protein B, which leads to function C.” Thinking this way, scientists uncovered amazing mechanistic insights and, sometimes, designed effective drugs-the cancer drug Gleevec is the poster child of that reductionist approach. Wouldn’t it be nice if drug discovery always went this way?”

Those first drugs, however, were low-hanging fruit. Biology is much more complicated than simple schematics. Biological processes do not work in linear ways independently of one another but in tightly interconnected networks. In each branch of these networks, layers of regulatory controls constantly change the nature and abundance of the molecular players. We know little about the inner workings of human cells.”

When dealing with humans, we are also dealing with intentions, with mind.

You only think that guy is the sum total of his cells. Wrong.

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18 Replies to “Is there a crisis in biology? Or are we just facing facts?

  1. 1
    Dionisio says:

    Who, exactly, said the world would be simple?

    Is this link correct? it doesn’t work for me:

    http://www.scientificamerican......f-biology/

  2. 2
    Barb says:

    The link doesn’t work for me, either.

  3. 3
    Dionisio says:

    Thank you, Barb.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    Perhaps this is why?

    Access
    To read this article in full you will need to log in or gain access through a site license (see right).nature.com > Journal home > Table of Contents
    Forum
    Scientific American 310, 13 (2014) Published online: 15 April 2014 | doi:10.1038/scientificamerican0514-13
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    Eureka Once, Eureka TwiceVeronique Kiermer
    AbstractBiology is making it harder for scientists to reproduce one another’s experiments

    To read this article in full you will need to log in or gain access through a site license (see right).

  5. 5
  6. 6
    Dionisio says:

    The original link “would be simple?” seems fixed now. Thanks!
    Interesting article indeed.

  7. 7
    Dionisio says:

    Biology is much more complicated than simple schematics. Biological processes do not work in linear ways independently of one another but in tightly interconnected networks. In each branch of these networks, layers of regulatory controls constantly change the nature and abundance of the molecular players. We know little about the inner workings of human cells.

    Well, what can one say? Perhaps the author of this report is an ignorant creationist IDiot who just doesn’t understand evolution? 😉

  8. 8
    Acartia_bogart says:

    What evolutionist ever claimed that biology was simple. Every cell, every organ, every individual, is a product of a combination of genetics and environment. Whether or not a turtle is male or female depends on the temperature at which they are incubated. All clownfish are born male; only the largest in a group will become female. In both these circumstances, every individual has the potential to be either sex but it is environment that plays the deciding role.

    Natural selection is not limited to simple changes. The only difference between micro and macro-evolution (distinctions only made by creationists, by the way) is magnitude. The limitations to natural selection are sources of genetic variation and time, neither of which are in short supply.

  9. 9
    Barb says:

    Acartia_bogart:

    What evolutionist ever claimed that biology was simple.

    I seem to recall one speaking about a simple warm pond, somewhere in the distant past.

  10. 10
    OldArmy94 says:

    Acartia_bogart said, “he only difference between micro and macro-evolution (distinctions only made by creationists, by the way) is magnitude. The limitations to natural selection are sources of genetic variation and time, neither of which are in short supply.”

    Actually, both of those are in VERY short supply. I won’t try to go into detail here, but it has been adequately explained that there isn’t possibly close to enough time for natural selection to do its thing (from goo to you). In addition, your assertion that only creationists say that there is any difference between micro and macro evolution is also false. It has been referenced in the literature by proponents of Darwinian evolution. Further, when all the evidence we have shows JUST micro evolutionary changes (antibiotic resistance, loss of function, moth colorations, beak shapes and sizes that revert back to their original after selection pressures are removed, etc.)

  11. 11
    OldArmy94 says:

    (sorry, cut off my post above)

    then, why is it unreasonable to conclude that ONLY micro-evolution is a scientific fact?

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    incompletely understood… but getting there…

    Cell Rep. 2014 Jan 30;6(2):400-14. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2013.12.026. Epub 2014 Jan 9.

    Mitotic spindle asymmetry: a Wnt/PCP-regulated mechanism generating asymmetrical division in cortical precursors.

    Delaunay D1, Cortay V1, Patti D1, Knoblauch K1, Dehay C2.

    Abstract

    The regulation of asymmetric cell division (ACD) during corticogenesis is incompletely understood. We document that spindle-size asymmetry (SSA) between the two poles occurs during corticogenesis and parallels ACD. SSA appears at metaphase and is maintained throughout division, and we show it is necessary for proper neurogenesis. Imaging of spindle behavior and division outcome reveals that neurons preferentially arise from the larger-spindle pole. Mechanistically, SSA magnitude is controlled by Wnt7a and Vangl2, both members of the Wnt/planar cell polarity (PCP)-signaling pathway, and relayed to the cell cortex by P-ERM proteins. In vivo, Vangl2 and P-ERM downregulation promotes early cell-cycle exit and prevents the proper generation of late-born neurons. Thus, SSA is a core component of ACD that is conserved in invertebrates and vertebrates and plays a key role in the tight spatiotemporal control of self-renewal and differentiation during mammalian corticogenesis.

    Copyright © 2014 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved

  13. 13
    Dionisio says:

    Dionisio @ 12

    incompletely understood how it currently works,…

    But how long before it is completely understood how it actually appeared on the scene?

  14. 14
    Dionisio says:

    Rab11 Endosomes Contribute to Mitotic Spindle Organization and Orientation

    Heidi Hehnly, Stephen Doxsey

    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2014.01.014

    Highlights

    Endosomes are not rendered inactive during mitosis as previously envisioned
    •Endosomes are MT-nucleating, MT-anchoring, and spindle pole material carriers
    •Rab11 regulates mitotic progression and spindle symmetry
    •Rab11 activity regulates astral microtubule organization

    Summary

    During interphase, Rab11-GTPase-containing endosomes recycle endocytic cargo. However, little is known about Rab11 endosomes in mitosis. Here, we show that Rab11 localizes to the mitotic spindle and regulates dynein-dependent endosome localization at poles. We found that mitotic recycling endosomes bind ?-TuRC components and associate with tubulin in vitro. Rab11 depletion or dominant-negative Rab11 expression disrupts astral microtubules, delays mitosis, and redistributes spindle pole proteins. Reciprocally, constitutively active Rab11 increases astral microtubules, restores ?-tubulin spindle pole localization, and generates robust spindles. This suggests a role for Rab11 activity in spindle pole maturation during mitosis. Rab11 depletion causes misorientation of the mitotic spindle and the plane of cell division. These findings suggest a molecular mechanism for the organization of astral microtubules and the mitotic spindle through Rab11-dependent control of spindle pole assembly and function. We propose that Rab11 and its associated endosomes cocontribute to these processes through retrograde transport to poles by dynein.

    “Endosomes are not rendered inactive during mitosis as previously envisioned”

    Why was it previously envisioned that endosomes are rendered inactive during mitosis? What factual evidences led them to such a believe?

    little is known about Rab11 endosomes in mitosis

    Keep researching… that’s what science is all about!

    These findings suggest a molecular mechanism for the organization of astral microtubules and the mitotic spindle through Rab11-dependent control of spindle pole assembly and function

    Oh really? duh!

  15. 15
    Dionisio says:

    Spindlegate: The Biological Consequences of Disrupting Traffic

    Megan M. Gnazzo, Ahna R. Skop

    email
    DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.devcel.2014.02.014

    The function of membrane trafficking during mitosis has become the focus of increasing interest. In this issue of Developmental Cell, Hehnly and Doxsey (2014) provide new insight into the role that endosomes play during spindle…

    The function of membrane trafficking during mitosis has become the focus of increasing interest.

    Many things in biology are becoming the focus of increasing interest. These are exciting days to watch the scientific discoveries made by serious researchers in biology. We look forward, with much anticipation, to reading newer reports from research labs, shedding more light on the wonderful biological systems.

  16. 16
    Dionisio says:

    While trying to learn the mechanisms behind the cell fate determination, differentiation and migration; the intrinsic asymmetric cell division popped up. Behind it appeared the spindle apparatus mechanisms. What will it be next? This is an unending revelation of the ultimate reality 🙂

    By the way, the available information is disseminated around, at times very difficult to gather. Lots of searching, reading, discarding, saving. To non-biologists the challenge is greater, because we need to learn the terminology. But the whole process, though it seems like the ‘long and winding road’, is enjoyable

  17. 17
    Dionisio says:

    While trying to learn the mechanisms behind the cell fate determination, differentiation and migration; the intrinsic asymmetric cell division popped up. Behind it appeared the spindle apparatus mechanisms. What will it be next? This is an unending revelation of the ultimate reality 🙂

    By the way, the available information is disseminated around, at times very difficult to gather. Lots of searching, reading, discarding, saving. To non-biologists the challenge is greater, because we need to learn the terminology. But the whole process, though it seems like the ‘long and winding road’, is enjoyable

  18. 18
    Dionisio says:

    Is there a crisis in biology? Or are we just facing facts?

    No, there is no crisis in biology, we are just facing facts, which seem to conflict with old-fashioned presuppositions. As serious dedicated research scientists advance in their discoveries, which produce a data avalanche that helps science to answer many outstanding questions, new deeper questions arise, hence more research is required. There are more wonders awaiting beyond every new discovery. This goes on and on, like the unending revelation of the ultimate reality. Let’s enjoy it! 🙂

    Just watching this short video clip brings up a number of questions to our minds: what triggers this or that? What determines the timing for this or that to occur? And so on…
    Mitosis ballet choreography

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