Archives de avril 2011

Are we ready for neo-evolution?

I’m fundamentally opposed to the way Henry Fineberg dissect the subject, but paradoxically I very much like the overall stance he is promoting.

Where he presents the three possibilities of how our species is going to evolve in the future he get it wrong (direct link to 9m51sec).

  1. He says « no evolution », but he describe alleles frequencies variations due to preservation thanks to medicine and that fits exactly the definition of evolution!
  2. He distinguish natural evolution from some other kind… What? Supernatural? Nope, he prepare the audience to contrast natural evolution with directed by humans evolution, bad idea to present H. sapiens as not being part of nature.
  3. Self-directed evolution, thus, where « self » would be the attribute of a species rather than an individual. Not only that doesn’t fit the standard definitions but also presents part of the process: human-directed evolution will concern much more than our own species. To what extend are we going to be one of the selective factors for the whole biosphere?

Now, I’m ready for neo-evolution! And in fact, does it matter if we are ready for it? The next generations will adapt.


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Towards a Synthetic Chloroplast

Towards a Synthetic Chloroplast.

Agapakis CM, Niederholtmeyer H, Noche RR, Lieberman TD, Megason SG, et al. (2011)

PLoS ONE 6(4): e18877. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018877

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Créationnistes, dont les catholiques

Ce n’est pas la première fois que je souligne que les chrétiens en général, les catholiques en particulier sont des créationnistes. Il y a eu des discussions dans les commentaires de ce blog à ce sujet, où certains, y compris des chrétiens athées ou athées chrétiens, difficile à dire, on fait valoir que traiter les catholiques de créationnistes n’était pas de leur goût. Comme si c’était une question de goût…

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Jerry Coyne’ Open Letter to the NCSE and BCSE

Read it and go add your name to the signatories if you feel comfortable with it;

Dear comrades:

Although we may diverge in our philosophies and actions toward religion, we share a common goal: the promulgation of good science education in Britain and America—indeed, throughout the world. Many of us, like myself and Richard Dawkins, spend a lot of time teaching evolution to the general public. There’s little doubt, in fact, that Dawkins is the preeminent teacher of evolution in the world. He has not only turned many people on to modern evolutionary biology, but has converted many evolution-deniers (most of them religious) to evolution-accepters.

Nevertheless, your employees, present and former, have chosen to spend much of their time battling not creationists, but evolutionists who happen to be atheists. This apparently comes from your idea that if evolutionists also espouse atheism, it will hurt the cause of science education and turn people away from evolution. I think this is misguided for several reasons, including a complete lack of evidence that your idea is true, but also your apparent failure to recognize that creationism is a symptom of religion (and not just fundamentalist religion), and will be with us until faith disappears. That is one reason—and, given the pernicious effect of religion, a minor one—for the fact that we choose to fight on both fronts.

The official policy of your organizations—certainly of the NCSE—is apparently to cozy up to religion. You have “faith projects,” you constantly tell us to shut up about religion, and you even espouse a kind of theology which claims that faith and science are compatible. Clearly you are going to continue with these activities, for you’ve done nothing to change them in the face of criticism. And your employees, past and present, will continue to heap invective on New Atheists and tar people like Richard Dawkins with undeserved opprobrium.

We will continue to answer the misguided attacks by people like Josh Rosenau, Roger Stanyard, and Nick Matzke so long as they keep mounting those attacks. I don’t expect them to abate, but I’d like your organizations to recognize this: you have lost many allies, including some prominent ones, in your attacks on atheism. And I doubt that those attacks have converted many Christians or Muslims to the cause of evolution. This is a shame, because we all recognize that the NCSE has done some great things in the past and, I hope, will—like the new BCSE—continue do great things in the future.

There is a double irony in this situation. First, your repeated and strong accusations that, by criticizing religion, atheists are alienating our pro-evolution allies (liberal Christians), has precisely the same alienating effect on your allies: scientists who are atheists. Second, your assertion that only you have the requisite communication skills to promote evolution is belied by the observation that you have, by your own ham-handed communications, alienated many people who are on the side of good science and evolution. You have lost your natural allies. And this is not just speculation, for those allies were us, and we’re telling you so.

Jerry Coyne

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wet (t-)shirt

Watering the girls


It’s a fertility ritual from a pre-Christian time in Hungarian tribes, where boys throw buckets of water of young girls running past them.

Looks very much like the ancestor of wet t-shirt contests to me.

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Zebrafish limb development is triggered by a retinoic acid signal during gastrulation

Zebrafish limb development is triggered by a retinoic acid signal during gastrulation

Heiner Grandel, Michael Brand

Developmental Dynamics Volume 240, Issue 5, pages 1116–1126, May 2011 doi: 10.1002/dvdy.22461

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WNT5A/JNK and FGF/MAPK pathways regulate the cellular events shaping the vertebrate limb bud

WNT5A/JNK and FGF/MAPK pathways regulate the cellular events shaping the vertebrate limb bud

Gros J, Hu JK, Vinegoni C, Feruglio PF, Weissleder R, Tabin CJ.

Curr Biol. 2010 Nov 23;20(22):1993-2002. Epub 2010 Nov 4. doi: 10.1016/j.cub.2010.09.063

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Bone Marrow-Derived Endothelial Progenitors Expressing Delta-Like 4 (Dll4) Regulate Tumor Angiogenesis

Bone Marrow-Derived Endothelial Progenitors Expressing Delta-Like 4 (Dll4) Regulate Tumor Angiogenesis.

Real C, Remédio L, Caiado F, Igreja C, Borges C, et al. (2011)

PLoS ONE 6(4): e18323. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018323

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Capture d’écran 2011-04-19 à 09.30.25.png

Il fallait évidemment @OldCola pour envoyer ma grille au tapis… !


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Ptenb Mediates Gastrulation Cell Movements via Cdc42/AKT1 in Zebrafish.

Ptenb Mediates Gastrulation Cell Movements via Cdc42/AKT1 in Zebrafish.

Yeh CM, Liu YC, Chang CJ, Lai SL, Hsiao CD, Lee SJ.

PLoS ONE 6(4): e18702. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0018702

Entre les deux y’a pas ‘dintermédiaire. Les gènes ne sont pas en mesure d’arrêter quoi que ce oit, ça tourne dans tous les sens d’une façon démentielle. [Source]

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