Pornography in the Primordial Soup

Panel of scientists debate on “What is Life?” Sometime between 4 and 3.5 billion years ago, the emergence of life had intense beginnings on a young planet in the midst of a so-called primordial soup—consisting of water vapor, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and ammonia and shaped by strong winds, electrical storms, volcanic eruptions, andContinue reading “Pornography in the Primordial Soup”

Evolution of Lactose Tolerance in Africa

Sarah Tishkoff Most African populations have lactose intolerance, but as recently as 3 kya a few pastoral populations have gained the ability to digest milk, which provides evidence of yet another example of ongoing evolution in human population since the time of their origins. Sarah Tishkoff has been studying this phenomenon of recent lactose toleranceContinue reading “Evolution of Lactose Tolerance in Africa”

The Nature of Human Skin Pigmentation

Nina Jablonsky On Sunday morning at #AAASmtg in Washington DC, Nina Jablonski talked to use about human skin pigmentation as an example of natural selection. “Human skin is colorful, it’s mostly naked, it’s sweaty, and it’s tough yet sensitive,” Jablonski said. The gradient of human skin pigmentation is very clear in the old world, as it’s lighterContinue reading “The Nature of Human Skin Pigmentation”

Designing biology

Photo credit: Sara Fulcher on Flickr Where can we find a cure for cancer, new semiconductor technology, or the solution for turning waste plant materials into biofuels? The answer is enzymes that are produced through “directed evolution,” according to Frances H. Arnold, professor of chemical engineering and biochemistry at the California Institute of Technology. Arnold’sContinue reading “Designing biology”

How environmental change shaped human evolution

Anna Di Rienzo Humans originated in Africa and then dispersed all over the world to environments that differ in terms of climate, biodiversity, etc, which has brought selective pressures on different populations. At #AAASmtg in Washington DC on Saturday, Anna Di Rienzo presented her research on the how this dispersal has left signatures of adaptationContinue reading “How environmental change shaped human evolution”

How much vitamin C do you really need?

Note: Vitamin C is fascinating topic and there’s no better way to understand it than through the eyes of my boss, Dr. Rockway. I’m glad I had the pleasure of editing her article and posting it here. David By Susie Rockway, Ph.D. Vitamin C, or ascorbic acid (ascorbate), is the most frequently taken dietary supplement in North America.Continue reading “How much vitamin C do you really need?”

Why dark chocolate is good for her heart

Listen up, men! On this Valentine’s Day, why not surprise your special lady with chocolates that are healthier for her heart? Dark chocolate eaten in moderate amounts weekly is associated with improved cardiovascular fitness in women, research suggests. Scientists are only beginning to understand why dark chocolate is heart healthy, but a new study offersContinue reading “Why dark chocolate is good for her heart”