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Comment Re:Does this mean... cyborgs? (Score 1) 71

I'm a little lost here. In my lab we already engineer discrete parts like promoters, terminators, resistance makers and individual genes all by their lonesome into plasmids that we use as starter material. Then we cut and paste with restriction enzyme and T4 ligase to make our "composite material" or BioBrick as they would call it. How is this product better? Its only 235 dollars per 50 reactions according to the NEB website...maybe their way saves a dollar or two when you buy the kit....

But the current software is god-awful, and exceedingly limited.

I know its a bit off topic but I'm curious. What software do you use? I primarily use Sequencer and Clone Manager myself. Occasionally Vector NTI. They get the job done but there is certainly room for improvement.

Comment Re:Why do so many people...? (Score 1) 227


The Swedish king Karl XI has this figured out already in the 17th century when he organised his forces so that people would fight side-by-side with brothers, cousins and people from the same region as you are from. This improved morale and made people less likely to flee the battlefield as you knew you could depend on, and wanted to support loved ones.

Gays in the military is sounding like a good idea. Retreat!? We can't abandon Fernando!! I LOOOVES him!

Comment Re:Sorry (Score 1) 383

"#64. CDs have never been sold in cardboard packaging" Personally, I see more and more CDs sold in cardboard rather than plastic these days.

They are talking about the early foot long cardboard boxes that plastic CD jewel cases used to be placed into. I've heard multiple reasons for this, one was compatibility with existing vinyl racks and the other was making it difficult to steal the CD. Later the foot long cardboard box was replaced with a plastic (propylene) case that was removed by the seller after you purchased it. Later still the whole idea of encasing the CD jewel case in something else was abandoned and they just started adding electronic theft deterrents inside the jewel case.


Scientists Learn To Fabricate DNA Evidence 256

Hugh Pickens writes "The NY Times reports that it is possible to fabricate blood and saliva samples containing DNA from a person other than the donor, and even to construct a sample of DNA to match someone's profile without obtaining any tissue from that person — if you have access to their DNA profile in a database. This undermines the credibility of what has been considered the gold standard of proof in criminal cases. 'You can just engineer a crime scene,' said Dan Frumkin, lead author of the paper. 'Any biology undergraduate could perform this.' The scientists fabricated DNA samples in two ways. One requires a real, if tiny, DNA sample, perhaps from a strand of hair or a drinking cup. They amplified the tiny sample into a large quantity of DNA using a standard technique called whole genome amplification. The other technique relies on DNA profiles, stored in law enforcement databases as a series of numbers and letters corresponding to variations at 13 spots in a person's genome. The scientists cloned tiny DNA snippets representing the common variants at each spot, creating a library of such snippets. To prepare a phony DNA sample matching any profile, they just mixed the proper snippets together. Tania Simoncelli, science adviser to the American Civil Liberties Union, says the findings were worrisome. 'DNA is a lot easier to plant at a crime scene than fingerprints,' says Simoncelli. 'We're creating a criminal justice system that is increasingly relying on this technology.'"

Comment Re:Not even remotely new (Score 2, Informative) 297

I (as a schizophrenic) have never read or been told about if from physicians so if it is common knowledge maybe they do not recommend it for some reason.

Anyone know a good link?


Smoking is bad for a multitude of reasons. Additionally, nicotine interacts with some anti-psychotics (clozapine for instance) causing both the nicotine and clozapine to have attenuated effects. No Dr. would ever recommend smoking. I would only recommend it if you lived in world with no other medication options.

Nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs, models of schizophrenia and impacts on cognitive function

Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA

People with schizophrenia often have substantial cognitive impairments, which may be related to nicotinic receptor deficits, (α7 and α4Î2), documented in the brains of people with schizophrenia. The large majority of people with schizophrenia smoke cigarettes. Thus, nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs are widespread. Complementary co-therapies of novel nicotinic ligands are being developed to add to antipsychotic therapy to treat the cognitive impairment of schizophrenia. Thus, it is critical to understand the interaction between nicotinic treatments and antipsychotic drugs. Nicotinic interactions with antipsychotic drugs, are complex since both nicotine and antipsychotics have complex actions. Nicotine stimulates and desensitizes nicotinic receptors of various subtypes and potentiates the release of different neurotransmitters. Antipsychotics also act on a verity of receptor systems. For example, clozapine acts as an antagonist at a variety of neurotransmitter receptors such as those for dopamine, serotonin, norepinepherine and histamine. In a series of studies, we have found that in normally functioning rats, moderate doses of clozapine impair working memory and that clozapine blocks nicotine-induced memory and attentional improvement. Clozapine and nicotine can attenuate each other's beneficial effects in reversing the memory impairment caused by the psychototmimetic drug dizocilpine. A key to the clozapine-induced attenuation of nicotine-induced cognitive improvement appears to be its 5HT2 antagonist properties. The selective 5HT2 antagonist ketanserin has a similar action of blocking nicotine-induced memory and attentional improvements. It is important to consider the interactions between nicotinic and antipsychotic drugs to develop the most efficacious treatment for cognitive improvement in people with schizophrenia.

Comment Not even remotely new (Score 5, Informative) 297

Schizophrenics have been said to "self medicate" with nicotine for YEARS. When I started in the field in 1998 it was already a conclusion everyone was working under.

Schizophrenia Bulletin 1998 24(2):189-202;

A series of human and animal investigations has suggested that altered expression and function of the {alpha}7-nicotinic cholinergic receptor may be responsible for the auditory sensory gating deficit characterized in schizophrenia patients and their relatives as diminished suppression of an auditory-evoked response (P50) to repeated stimuli. This finding, in conjunction with evidence for familial transmission of this sensory gating deficit, suggests a pathogenic role of the gene for the {alpha}7-nicotinic receptor in schizophrenia. This article considers the possible effects of this dysfunction in a broader context. Not only is this dysfunction consistent with difficulties in sensory gating, but it might also pre dispose patients to problems with learning efficiency and accuracy. Such learning problems could underlie schizophrenia patients' delusional thinking, hallucinations, and social dysfunction. In addition, heavy smoking in many schizophrenia patients is consistent with the high concentration of nicotine necessary to activate the receptor and with the receptor's extremely rapid desensitization. Finally, the receptor's possible role in cell growth and differentiation should be considered in connection with developmental deficits and other cellular abnormalities in schizophrenia.

Comment Re:Self domesticated aka evolution (Score 4, Interesting) 503

To a dog, the human owner is the pack leader, who should always be followed and obeyed. To a cat, the human owner is just a convenient source of food.

I used to agree with that statement, but not anymore. We have two cats in our home. One of the two plays fetch AGGRESSIVELY. While I'm at my computer she brings me toys to throw all night. Its an interaction I didn't think possible in cats. But its not a creepy as the pack activity.

The cats follow me around from room to room while I'm home. On the few times I've argued with people in my home they either flank or circle behind the person I'm arguing with, growling and hissing the entire time. One one occasion they actually attacked someone they like because I was yelling at them.

They also seem to understand that my children are my children. They tolerate abuse from them that they wouldn't take from me or anyone else and NEVER give them any grief. They actually hang out with my 1 year old (if I'm in the room) and let her roll/drool all over them without complaint. They even go so far as to wake my wife and I up when the kids are restless at night. Its not behavior I would have ever expected from cats.

Comment SNP Analysis (Score 1) 97

I began performing SNP analysis on genomic DNA for schizophrenic patients back in 2002 in the new Pharmacogenoics group of a large Pharmaceutical company. Our goal was to correlate drug effect to the genetic background of the individual. If we could establish a relationship we could potentially get a few failed drugs to perform "better" when used in patients genetically predisposed for a positive effect and get them into the market.

All of our results required TEAMS of statisticians to figure out if there was any correlation. You couldn't simply look at the data and say ah-ha! they are responding! Everything was very subjective and open to interpretation.

The very best current genetic testing can do is tell you if you're more inclined toward some disease. At our current level of knowledge we have few absolutes when it comes to genes.
Operating Systems

Submission + - Windows 7 gets Offical. ( 1

LabRat007 writes: From our friends at Endgadet
... It looks like the Windows 7 release date just got official.
"We knew good and well the next iteration of Windows would be generally available this fall, but now we've a date to circle in our datebooks: October 22nd. Yep, the fourth Thursday in the tenth month of this year will mark the first date in which you — the general consumer — can purchase Win7, which gives you plenty of time to figure out which of the 94 variants will suit you best. Have fun!"

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