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Cell biology

Researchers: Animals age at the same rate despite big variations in lifespan and size

At ScienceDaily: Researchers from the Wellcome Sanger Institute found that despite huge variation in lifespan and size, different animal species end their natural life with similar numbers of genetic changes. Read More ›

More depths to the bacterial flagellum: Mysterious protein FliL now better understood

Researcher: "We've made incremental progress in understanding this fascinating machine," says Liu. "We hope to continue to work on this for decades to solve how the flagella of different bacteria uniquely evolved. We've just touched the tip of the iceberg of understanding this beautiful structure." Read More ›

What about the idea that cells were once much simpler? But how much simpler?

Introducing the third vid in the Long Story Short series (on cell membranes) Rob Stadler comments: First, scientists have been working for decades to simplify existing life, trying to arrive at a minimal viable life form by jettisoning anything that is not essential from the simplest extant cells. The success of Craig Venter’s group is well known. Building on their efforts to produce synthetic life (“Synthia” or “Mycoplasma labritorium”) in 2010,1,2 in 2016 they introduced the current record holder for the simplest autonomously reproducing cell (JVCI Syn3.0).3 With a genome of only 473 genes and 520,000 base pairs of DNA, JVCI Syn3.0 can reproduce autonomously, but it certainly isn’t robust. Keeping it alive requires a coddling environment — essentially a Read More ›

Our cells even have tentacles

So the little blobs aren’t nearly as helpless, let alone simple, as they have sometimes been made out to be. It’s quite the little world in there. Unfortunately, some of the cells that probably get a lot of use out of their filapodia are cancer cells. But maybe, the researchers suggest, that fact points to new treatment methods. Read More ›

Origin of life: But how do cells come to have “borders” at all?

Inanimate objects don’t have “borders” because they need not defend themselves against anything. Boulders don’t care if they end up as sand. Having a membrane at all suggests that something is different about life that can’t be explained by the various “It all just happened” scenarios we often hear about how life got started. How did life forms decide they wanted to protect themselves? Read More ›

Charming bacteria set off virus bombs in their neighbors

Researchers aren't yet sure if it happens outside the lab. If it is the case, then it is another example of a life form having strategy that raises the question, “Could it really have randomly evolved with no underlying intelligence in nature?” Lot of those questions piling up. Read More ›

Casey Luskin comments on the New Yorker article, Journey to the Center of Our Cells

It’s a sort of shift in perspective. The very fact that no one is rushing in with a reductionist explanation points to the significance of the shift. Researchers are pausing to observe and reflect for once. Read More ›

Common sensor in bacteria and humans highlights reason for doubt re Darwinian tales

At this point, claims that Darwinism can “accommodate” HGT should be seen for what they are special pleading in the face of challenging new findings in evolution. Read More ›

Largest bacterium ever discovered is as big as a peanut

Tim Standish: If prokaryotes have the capacity to develop very complex cells, why didn’t they do what eukaryotes did and turn into multicellular organisms, assuming there is some sort of fitness advantage to doing so? Why would being multicellular increase fitness in eukaryotes and not bacteria or archaea? Read More ›

Researcher: Viruses are “smart” but the human immune system is smarter

"Viruses are very smart, that's what I love to say," Muller says. "They have lots of strategies to stick around, and they don't do a lot of damage for a very long time, because that's one way to hide from the immune system. It’s becoming harder for researchers to claim that there is no intelligence in nature. That’s probably why so many of them are embracing panpsychism. They want a way to include intelligence in nature without an intelligence outside nature. It won’t work but at least it makes more sense in relation to the evidence. Read More ›