Wolbachia cronenbergium

My, the folks over at the Venter Institute have been busy lately. First they changed one microbe species into another by physically replacing its entire genome. They did this in their quest to create a synthetic organism, basically a chassis with the absolute minimum number of genes necessary for life, which could then be loaded […]

Posted in: biology, evolution, science by Peter Watts 12 Comments

Canadian… Smugness… Failing… Must… Read…. Darwin…

From yesterday’s Globe & Mail, this flabbergasting factoid: Only 51% of Ontario residents accept the reality of evolution. Even Americans do better, at 53%. Nationally, Canada beats the States in the Enlightenment Sweeptstakes — at 59% — but that’s not by very goddamn much. Sullen, resentful thanks to Dave Nickle for the link. Meanwhile The […]

Posted in: evolution by Peter Watts 34 Comments

The Uplift Protein

Neuropsin, that is. A prefrontal-cortex protein involved in learning and memory. There’s this one variant that’s peculiar to us Humans, 45 amino acids longer than the standard model handed out to other primates, and a team of Chinese researchers have just nailed the gene that codes for it. And the really cool part? Utterly ignoring […]

Posted in: evolution, neuro, science by Peter Watts 9 Comments

Another Step Towards the Maelstrom

Those of you who read Maelstrom might remember what that book was named for: the frenetic chainsaw fast-forward jungle that the Internet had evolved into, infested by the virtual predators and parasites that evolved after we gave genes to spambots and let them breed at 50 generations/sec. (Those of you who didn’t read Maelstrom can […]

Posted in: a-life, evolution, science by Peter Watts 9 Comments