Science Junkie
Parasitic Plant Strangleweed Injects Host With Thousands Of Its Own Expressed Genes
Virginia Tech professor and Fralin Life Institute affiliate Jim Westwood has made a discovery about plant-to-plant communication: enormous amounts of genetic messages in the form of mRNA transcripts are transmitted from the parasitic plant Cuscuta (known more commonly as dodder and strangleweed) to its hosts.
Using Illumina next generation sequencing technologies to sequence the tissues of the host and an attached parasite, the team found that the number of genes that gets passed into the host depends on the identity of the host.  The tomato plant received 347 of the strangleweed’s mRNAs, whereas the Arabidopsis received an astonishing 9514 mRNAs.  When Arabidopsis plant receives this many mRNAs, the total genetic material of tissues in contact with the strangleweed is about 45% from the parasite.
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Parasitic Plant Strangleweed Injects Host With Thousands Of Its Own Expressed Genes

Virginia Tech professor and Fralin Life Institute affiliate Jim Westwood has made a discovery about plant-to-plant communication: enormous amounts of genetic messages in the form of mRNA transcripts are transmitted from the parasitic plant Cuscuta (known more commonly as dodder and strangleweed) to its hosts.

Using Illumina next generation sequencing technologies to sequence the tissues of the host and an attached parasite, the team found that the number of genes that gets passed into the host depends on the identity of the host.  The tomato plant received 347 of the strangleweed’s mRNAs, whereas the Arabidopsis received an astonishing 9514 mRNAs.  When Arabidopsis plant receives this many mRNAs, the total genetic material of tissues in contact with the strangleweed is about 45% from the parasite.

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explainers-nysci:

Thomas explains what he loves about science, the puzzle which is never truly solved. It’s not about finding the solution, but about the journey you take.
Watch Thomas’s video here: http://youtu.be/IL5VRLISTs8
And follow him on tumblr! scienceing

This guy. This is why we SCIENCE, Tumblr. This is why. All the love and support, Thomas, congrats on this wonderful piece!
Zoom Info
sagansense:

explainers-nysci:

Thomas explains what he loves about science, the puzzle which is never truly solved. It’s not about finding the solution, but about the journey you take.
Watch Thomas’s video here: http://youtu.be/IL5VRLISTs8
And follow him on tumblr! scienceing

This guy. This is why we SCIENCE, Tumblr. This is why. All the love and support, Thomas, congrats on this wonderful piece!
Zoom Info
sagansense:

explainers-nysci:

Thomas explains what he loves about science, the puzzle which is never truly solved. It’s not about finding the solution, but about the journey you take.
Watch Thomas’s video here: http://youtu.be/IL5VRLISTs8
And follow him on tumblr! scienceing

This guy. This is why we SCIENCE, Tumblr. This is why. All the love and support, Thomas, congrats on this wonderful piece!
Zoom Info

sagansense:

explainers-nysci:

Thomas explains what he loves about science, the puzzle which is never truly solved. It’s not about finding the solution, but about the journey you take.

Watch Thomas’s video here: http://youtu.be/IL5VRLISTs8

And follow him on tumblr! scienceing

This guy. This is why we SCIENCE, Tumblr. This is why. All the love and support, Thomas, congrats on this wonderful piece!

bbsrc:

Plants that fight cancer
This picture shows Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle) alongside the structure of vinblastine, an alkaloid natural product.
This pretty plant makes hundreds of alkaloid natural products which are a rich resource for a wide range of applications, including the development of pharmaceuticals, insecticides and biomaterials.
Natural products from this plant have already given us some very important cancer-fighting medicines, for instance vinblastine is one of the compounds used in chemo-therapy.
Read more about BBSRC-funded scientists who are studying this plant and developing new industrial applications for the natural products.
Credit: Mr Andrew Davis

bbsrc:

Plants that fight cancer

This picture shows Catharanthus roseus (Madagascar periwinkle) alongside the structure of vinblastine, an alkaloid natural product.

This pretty plant makes hundreds of alkaloid natural products which are a rich resource for a wide range of applications, including the development of pharmaceuticals, insecticides and biomaterials.

Natural products from this plant have already given us some very important cancer-fighting medicines, for instance vinblastine is one of the compounds used in chemo-therapy.

Read more about BBSRC-funded scientists who are studying this plant and developing new industrial applications for the natural products.

Credit: Mr Andrew Davis

BGS releases Minecraft geology map 
The British Geological Survey (BGS) has turned to a novel new method for sharing information on the geology of Great Britain: Minecraft.The data, shared as a resource pack, covers mainland Britain and its smaller surrounding islands, and plonks the user down at the BGS Cardiff office as a starting location. The surface of the island is covered in Ordnance Survey mapping data, but it’s when you start digging that you discover what the BGS has brought to the table: real geology, recreated in Minecraft block types. […]"This work is an outstanding opportunity to get people using Minecraft, especially youngsters, to understand the geology beneath their feet and what it can be used for," claimed Professor John Ludden, executive director of the BGS.
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2D model  -  3D model

BGS releases Minecraft geology map

The British Geological Survey (BGS) has turned to a novel new method for sharing information on the geology of Great Britain: Minecraft.

The data, shared as a resource pack, covers mainland Britain and its smaller surrounding islands, and plonks the user down at the BGS Cardiff office as a starting location. The surface of the island is covered in Ordnance Survey mapping data, but it’s when you start digging that you discover what the BGS has brought to the table: real geology, recreated in Minecraft block types. […]

"This work is an outstanding opportunity to get people using Minecraft, especially youngsters, to understand the geology beneath their feet and what it can be used for," claimed Professor John Ludden, executive director of the BGS.

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2D model  -  3D model

Do Antidepressants Work?
Antidepressants have been hailed as miracle drug rock stars and vilified as brain-changing happy pills.  All promotion aside—good or bad—are they effective?  The Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen digs though the data.
According to the Mayo Clinic, about 13% of Americans—more than 1 in 10—take an antidepressant. Of women between the ages of 50 and 64, nearly 1 in 4 take an antidepressant.  Second only to antibiotics, antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication.  To clarify, when I say antidepressant, I mean the most common of many classes of antidepressants—the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, like Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, or Zoloft.  They’re safer and cause fewer side effects than other, older types of antidepressants.So, do they work? Or do they not work?  The answer to both questions seems to be yes. I know that’s a frustrating answer.  So let’s look at each side.  We’ll start with the claim that they don’t work.
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Do Antidepressants Work?

Antidepressants have been hailed as miracle drug rock stars and vilified as brain-changing happy pills.  All promotion aside—good or bad—are they effective?  The Savvy Psychologist Dr. Ellen Hendriksen digs though the data.

According to the Mayo Clinic, about 13% of Americans—more than 1 in 10—take an antidepressant. Of women between the ages of 50 and 64, nearly 1 in 4 take an antidepressant.  Second only to antibiotics, antidepressants are the most commonly prescribed class of medication. 

To clarify, when I say antidepressant, I mean the most common of many classes of antidepressants—the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors, or SSRIs, like Prozac, Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, or Zoloft.  They’re safer and cause fewer side effects than other, older types of antidepressants.

So, do they work? Or do they not work?  The answer to both questions seems to be yes. I know that’s a frustrating answer.  So let’s look at each side.  We’ll start with the claim that they don’t work.

Read more