Here’s a new paper form Nature Communications describing a discovery of a new geometric shape that is apparently found only in curved epithelial cells. I find it intriguing that this shape is entirely new, not found elsewhere in nature, but now coined “scutoids” by the authors, and is proposed as making “possible the minimization of […]
Dr E. Selensky occasionally requests that UD posts an article on his behalf. What follows is his latest: ______________ Arguably, the RNA world model is excessively complex: it operates too complex structures and involves too complex interactions. The origin of life, some researchers believe, must have been simpler.In an attempt to close the gap between […]
From ScienceDaily: Life on Earth originated in an intimate partnership between the nucleic acids (genetic instructions for all organisms) and small proteins called peptides, according to two new articles from biochemists and biologists. Their ‘peptide-RNA’ hypothesis contradicts the widely-held ‘RNA-world’ hypothesis, which states that life originated from nucleic acids and only later evolved to include […]
From U Chicago’s James Shapiro at Pub Med: Biological action in Read-Write genome evolution. Many of the most important evolutionary variations that generated phenotypic adaptations and originated novel taxa resulted from complex cellular activities affecting genome content and expression. These activities included (i) the symbiogenetic cell merger that produced the mitochondrion-bearing ancestor of all extant […]
Friends note, from Biology & Philosophy (Springer): Biological regulation is what allows an organism to handle the effects of a perturbation, modulating its own constitutive dynamics in response to particular changes in internal and external conditions. With the central focus of analysis on the case of minimal living systems, we argue that regulation consists in […]
From Veronique Greenwood at Quanta: In a monumental set of experiments, spread out over nearly two decades, biologists removed genes two at a time to uncover the secret workings of the cell. And what did they find?: In all, they found 550,000 pairs that, when removed, result in sickness or death. This network of genetic […]
Former Templeton Fellow John Fellow asserts: Why Teleology Isn’t Dead Conway Morris argues that in the grand scheme, evolution will not be reduced to chance: constraints built into life at the most fundamental level guarantee that life is going to follow the same evolutionary pathways to achieve limbs, respiration, vision, balance, an immune system, indeed […]
From Eurekalert: Behind the apparent randomness of a basketball game, a process of self-organisation is actually taking place amid the teams. The interactions between team mates and opponents are constantly influencing each other while the game itself allows for creative behaviours to emerge. This phenomenon, detected by Spanish researchers after analysing over 6,000 NBA games, […]
Entirely at random, or so the theory runs… From ScienceDaily: While study has long been conducted on vertebrates with sight-sensory systems involving a lens, retina and nervous system, new research reported by the University of Cincinnati and supported by the National Science Foundation is the first to examine how the complex eye system of an […]
Yesterday I watched a re-run of a Star Trek: The Next Generation episode. There. I said it. I love Star Trek. Notwithstanding the many absurd evolution-based plotlines. In this specific episode, Data referred to a particular characteristic of a newly-developing lifeform as an “emergent property.” I’ve looked into the “emergence” ideas in the past, and […]
(it’s designed to) These are some thoughts prompted by the recent article Arrival of the Fittest: Robustness and flexibility are basic design principles. We design modules so that they are robust against minor damage, bad inputs and changes in other parts of the code. This aids ‘evolvability’ of the whole by untangling the knots so […]
A thermodynamically closed system that is far from equilibrium can increase the amount of physical design provided it is either front loaded or has an intelligent agent (like a human) within it. A simple example: A human on a large nuclear powered space ship can write software and compose music or many other designs. The […]
The big question in origin of life is really “Can we wring information from matter — shake the bit out of the it?” Or is it the other way around, as the great physicists would have it: The bit creates the it. But can that happen without an existing intelligence?
It sounds like Louis is trying to conjure the rabbits from the hat with math around variation rather than with selection. It doesn’t work, of course, but it’s a change from the usual.
I need a picture of a small, hot-blooded mammal taunting an irritable dinosaur. An animation would be even better: the dinosaur would have a tic which makes him roar ‘IDiot’ constantly. Maybe make that several small mammals, becoming dozens and then hundreds. Singing something witty to the hamster dance. Or maybe not that last bit. […]