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Comment Rube Goldberg strikes again! (Score 1) 80

Talk about Rube Goldberg approach! While the method is somewhat innovative, the structures have been known for at least 30 years. The catenans are easily made when preparing plasmid dna in bacteria. In a regular preparation of plasmid DNA about 1- 2% of DNA is in the form of catenan. They do not interfere with usual applications of plasmid DNA and so people do not pay attention to it's presence.


Submission + - Giant Underground Chamber Discovered On the Moon ( 2

siliconeyes writes: "Scientists at the Indian Space Research Organization have discovered a giant underground chamber on the moon, which they feel could be used as a base by astronauts on future manned missions to moon.

An analysis by an instrument on Chandrayaan-1 revealed a 1.7-km long and 120-metre wide cave near the moon's equator that is in the Oceanus Procellarum area of the moon that could be a suitable 'base station' for future human missions."

Comment Re:Central Dogma? (Score 3, Interesting) 196

You are right about the central dogma. It was formulated in 1958 and states that information flows from DNA->RNA->protein. Since that time it has been ammended many times. Just because it is genereally not true, does not mean it is not useful. For example, Newton's mechanics is generally not true, but it is quite usefull for some applications.

Just running some numbers (based on the abstract)
4 x 10^7 reads * 50 b/read = 2 x 10^9 b.
Error rate (general ballpark for RNA replication/translation, number comes from personal experience in the field and memory of published data) = 1 x 10^-5 errors/b
Expected number of detectable errors = 2 x10^9 * 1 x 10^-5 = 2 x 10^4, that's within order of magnitude from observed rate! Practically an exact hit in molecular biology.

Randomness of distribution of errors: should not be random. Several described and known factors impact frequency of errors, such as base composition around the site, secondary and tertiary structures of RNA and DNA (yes, even DNA! although many seem to believe that DNA is a plain old double stranded DNA, it does have a tertiary structure, including during transcription to RNA).

This statistical analysis (albeit a brief one) does not disprove the presence of RNA -editing, but might emphasize the need for a more careful analysis and interpretation of data. RNA editing has been described before, and in some cases plays a vital role in making an organism function at all (e.g. some viruses have RNA-editing to regulate activity of polymerases and expression of viral proteins).

In conclusion, it is not an earth-shattering, dogma overthrowing finding, but rather an additional piece of information about expression of the genome and translation of it into phenotype.

Just in case one thinks that I do not know what I am talking about, here are my credentials:
my @a = ('A'..'Z', " ",'a'..'z');
my @r = (15, 7, 3, 26, 12, 41, 38, 31, 29, 47, 38, 27, 44, 26, 1, 35, 41, 38, 41, 33, 51);
map {print $a[$_];}(@r);
print "\n";


Publishing Company Puts Warning Label on Constitution 676

Wilder Publication is under fire for putting warning labels on copies of historical US documents, including the Constitution. The label warns "This book is a product of its time and does not reflect the same values as it would if it were written today." From the article: "The disclaimer goes on to tell parents that they 'might wish to discuss with their children how views on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and interpersonal relations have changed since this book was written before allowing them to read this classic work.'"

Yellowstone Supervolcano Larger Than First Thought 451

drewtheman writes "New studies of the plumbing that feeds the Yellowstone supervolcano in Wyoming's Yellowstone National Park shows the plume and the magma chamber under the volcano are larger than first thought and contradicts claims that only shallow hot rock exists. University of Utah research professor of geophysics Robert Smith led four separate studies that verify a plume of hot and molten rock at least 410 miles deep that rises at an angle from the northwest."

Big Dipper "Star" Actually a Sextuplet System 88

Theosis sends word that an astronomer at the University of Rochester and his colleagues have made the surprise discovery that Alcor, one of the brightest stars in the Big Dipper, is actually two stars; and it is apparently gravitationally bound to the four-star Mizar system, making the whole group a sextuplet. This would make the Mizar-Alcor sextuplet the second-nearest such system known. The discovery is especially surprising because Alcor is one of the most studied stars in the sky. The Mizar-Alcor system has been involved in many "firsts" in the history of astronomy: "Benedetto Castelli, Galileo's protege and collaborator, first observed with a telescope that Mizar was not a single star in 1617, and Galileo observed it a week after hearing about this from Castelli, and noted it in his notebooks... Those two stars, called Mizar A and Mizar B, together with Alcor, in 1857 became the first binary stars ever photographed through a telescope. In 1890, Mizar A was discovered to itself be a binary, being the first binary to be discovered using spectroscopy. In 1908, spectroscopy revealed that Mizar B was also a pair of stars, making the group the first-known quintuple star system."

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