As if we needed more evidence that cephalopods are on the verge of a global uprising that will end in humanity’s destruction, our favorite tentacled invertebrates appear to have an insane visual system that allows them to perceive color despite being technically colorblind. This, along with distributed brains and the ability to bust out of jars from the inside? We’re screwed.
Water bears, known to scientists as tardigrades, are famously adorable microscopic creatures who can survive anything: freezing, total dehydration, radiation bombardment, and even the vacuum of deep space. Now scientists have sequenced a tardigrade genome, and are very surprised by the results.
Giant viruses, containing unique genes unlike those found in any other life (as well as genes not normally found in viruses, such as those for protein synthesis) are forcing new speculations about very early life on Earth.
I’ve passed on the usual stories about Phineas Gage, and how his famous incident changed him into a sociopath. It turns out that how his damage affected his personality is less certain than we thought.
Why do we yawn?
The short answer is that we still don’t know for sure, but here’s a pretty good (popular) summary of some current research.
So there’s a copepod, normally transparent, whose shell has a gap between two crystalline plates of just the right size to reflect blue light while allowing other frequencies to pass. Thus it shimmers between invisible and iridescent blue.
Some new work in how memories are formed. It looks like certain mRNAs are molecularly masked and unmasked based on activity in the neuron, so that translation occurs based on which synapses are active.
Injecting good copies of a gene directly into the retina of patients with a genetically-based progressive blindness causes significant improvement in many of them.
This article is from IO9, a fun but non-peer-reviewed site. They do link to the actual Nature Communications article, though.