Tag: Science

Sunday Summary: Nuclear Family Bombardment

Someone's idea of getting back to nature
Someone's idea of getting back to nature

Magic Bus

The pool is always bluer...
The pool is always bluer...

Science Generation

Mr Green Genes

In 2008, scientists at the Audubon Center for Research of Endangered Species found themselves the proud surrogate-parents of Mr Green Genes, above.

They modified his DNA to see if a gene could be introduced harmlessly into an animal’s genetic sequence.

To track where the gene went, they decided to use one that glowed under ultraviolet light.

The particular gene in question, known as green fluorescence protein, is likely to express itself in mucous membranes – hence his freakish mouth and ears. – The Daily Mail

This was just the beginning of a larger plan, however, and the center has recently built on the research with a follow-up: Son Of Green Genes.

“When we saw Kermit we all cheered because we knew then that the genes were passed on,” Dr. Dresser said. “Using this trans-genetic model we are hoping to save a lot of these endangered cats by transferring genes that are good genes.” – neworleans.com

That’s right, there’s now a modified breed of cats that will freak out anyone who happens to wave a UV light near them – but so what?

Well, I largely bring it to your attention due to it’s inherent neatness, but also because Dr. Dresser, mentioned above, is, in my opinion, the closest thing we have to a modern mad scientist.

I realize it isn’t the same as having eerie samples in jars, but she maintains a gene bank!

And have you ever heard of a frozen zoo? Inside several metal containers, scientists have preserved the DNA from hundreds of exotic animals. It’s all an effort to save the species from extinction. – neworleans.com

– and, do you recall that disturbing-looking crane-feeding costume I discussed a while ago?

Crane Feeding Costume

That whole project was the work of Betsy Dresser’s hand!

Oh, go ahead and laugh – but, one evening you’ll be out on a midnight stroll with a loved one, gazing at the ponderous moon and exchanging naughty words, when you’ll hear it in the distance: a tiny mewl.

Seconds later, you’ll be inundated by thousands of glow-in-the-dark attack-kittens, deployed by swarms of specially trained whooping cranes.

Within moments you’ll be gone, devoured by a multitude of rough-tongued mouths, but, somewhere in the distance, Betsy Dresser will be recording the results, and preparing a submission for another research grant.

A cat being dropped upside down to demonstrate how a cat's movements while falling can be imitated by astronauts in space.

Of Figs and Vengeance

Most interesting article I’ve read today:

Trees retaliate when their fig wasps don’t service them

Figs and fig wasps have evolved to help each other out: Fig wasps lay their eggs inside the fruit where the wasp larvae can safely develop, and in return, the wasps pollinate the figs.

But what happens when a wasp lays its eggs but fails to pollinate the fig?

The trees get even by dropping those figs to the ground, killing the baby wasps inside, reports a Cornell University and Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute study published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society. –  More at PhysOrg.com