Mutant E Coli

June 26, 2008

The experiment has been a while since it came out, but it is so fascinating and exciting that I have to post about it. It is basically about an experiment done by Richard Lenski with bacterias that could only eat glucose, and after 20 years, around 40,000 generations, they could eat ascorbate. That is amazing! It is a big leap. According to the paper, three mutations had to occur. After this one mutation around generation 20,000, they found out it made it easier for the bacterias to mutate into ascorbate eating ones. They did it by freezing bacterias every some generations and reviving them to repeat it.

More details in: http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/06/historical_contingency_in_the.php

And if you want to look at the abstracts and summary by the author himself: https://myxo.css.msu.edu/ecoli/


Brain Storm

June 26, 2008

There is a really good lecture on finding out about the brain and cool stuff about it in this video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/184

The neurologist Vilayanur Ramachandran explains how scientists can find out more about the brain by looking inside of brains that is not normal or injured. In it, he examines three oddities: People who can’t recognize faces or recognize faces but thinks the person is a stranger, phantom limbs (people can feel their limbs even though it is cut off), and synesthesia (the mixing of senses, like certain numbers make people see certain colors). In it, he explains why he thinks those things happens and gives you insight of the inner workings of the brain, and how he finds about it. I especially like the part of synesthesia, sounds like a cool thing to have :) . Oh, and anyone reading this should check out other TED lectures, K?


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