Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Baby mammoth find promises breakthrough | Science | Reuters
MOSCOW (Reuters) - The discovery of a baby mammoth preserved in the Russian permafrost gives researchers their best chance yet to build a genetic map of a species extinct since the Ice Age, a Russian scientist said on Wednesday.

“It’s a lovely little baby mammoth indeed, found in perfect condition,” said Alexei Tikhonov, deputy director of the Russian Academy of Science’s Zoological Institute, which has been taking care of the mammoth since it was uncovered in May.

“This specimen may provide unique material allowing us to ultimately decipher the genetic makeup of the mammoth,” he told Reuters by telephone.

The mammoth, a female who died at the age of six months, was named “Lyuba” after the wife of reindeer breeder and hunter Yuri Khudi who found her in Russia’s Arctic Yamalo-Nenetsk region.

She had been lying in the frozen ground for up to 40,000 years, said Tikhonov.

Bringing back Mammoths and letting them roam the Great Plains… sounds kinda cool.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

First artificial life ‘within months’
Scientists could create the first new form of artificial life within months after a landmark breakthrough in which they turned one bacterium into another.
In a development that has triggered unease and excitement in equal measure, scientists in the US took the whole genetic makeup - or genome - of a bacterial cell and transplanted it into a closely related species. This then began to grow and multiply in the lab, turning into the first species in the process. The team that carried out the first “species transplant” says it plans within months to do the same thing with a synthetic genome made from scratch in the laboratory. If that experiment worked, it would mark the creation of a synthetic lifeform.

Very radical work and very cool.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Discovery Channel :: News - Animals :: Chimps More Evolved Than Humans?
A comparison of human and chimpanzee genes has revealed a startling possibility: chimps may have evolved more than humans in the 6 or 7 million years since both diverged from a common ancestor.

A study comparing human and chimp genes that appear to have evolved since we parted ways shows that humans have about 154 such genes and our nearest primate relative a whopping 233.

This implies that chimps have undergone more evolutionary changes than humans over the same period of time. It also underscores a common misunderstanding that if an animal is “more evolved” it must be smarter or superior to others in some way.


Very interesting.

Originally published at Twixel.net. You can comment here or there.

Pas de Deux of Sexuality Is Written in the Genes - New York Times
When it comes to the matter of desire, evolution leaves little to chance. Human sexual behavior is not a free-form performance, biologists are finding, but is guided at every turn by genetic programs.
Desire between the sexes is not a matter of choice. Straight men, it seems, have neural circuits that prompt them to seek out women; gay men have those prompting them to seek other men. Women’s brains may be organized to select men who seem likely to provide for them and their children. The deal is sealed with other neural programs that induce a burst of romantic love, followed by long-term attachment.

So much fuss, so intricate a dance, all to achieve success on the simple scale that is all evolution cares about, that of raisingthe greatest number of children to adulthood. Desire may seem the core of human sexual behavior, but it is just the central act in a long drama whose script is written quite substantially in the genes.

Interesting stuff.

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