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Hi! We’re here to talk about all things CRISPR and NIH’s Center of Excellence in Genomic Science. We’re researchers from Jennifer Doudna’s lab at UC-Berkeley and program directors from the National Human Genome Research Institute, part of NIH. Ask us anything! by NIH-CRISPRCRISPR Researchers in science

[–]NIH-CRISPRCRISPR Researchers[S] 18 points19 points  (0 children)

Hi, this is Kyle from the Doudna lab. I looked into what research is being done on type 1 diabetes, and came across this review from about a year ago (open access): https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5345178/. It looks like there’s been some work so far trying to reactivate genes to ‘restart’ insulin production, but it seems pretty early days.

There’s a particular study referenced in that review (paywall): https://www.nature.com/articles/gt201628 where the authors showed that they could reactivate the human INS gene, which is responsible for insulin production.

Researchers recreate the DNA of a man who died nearly 200 years ago from his living descendants rather than his physical remains — something that has never been done before. by drewiepoodle in science

[–]DarthKavari 2316 points2317 points  (0 children)

I'd have to look into this, but it seems doubtful that they could be sure of this due to recombination which basically creates billions of different genetic possibilities. This is why no siblings (except twins) are genetically the same despite taking all of their DNA from the same two pools. The paper mentions that due to the homogeneity of Icelandic DNA, it was easier to figure out which DNA was which and where to put it, it seems. These people would definitely know ways to get around that difficulty that I do not.

For others in this thread, even one's exact genetic code were recreated and we incubated it into a human, they might have different traits for reasons that have to do with gene expression. Epigenetic changes might mean that if you got George Washington's exact DNA code and tried to create him, but that DNA was methylated differently than it was in actual GW, you could make something slightly different.

A sea turtle’s sex is determined by the temperature of the sand it’s born in; rising global temperatures mean that female green sea turtles now outnumber males 116 to 1. by SirT6PhD|MBA|Biology|Biogerontology in science

[–]99trumpets 26.6k points26.6k points x3 (0 children)

I study sea turtles. First, a minor clarification to the title - sex ratio is highly female-skewed at certain beaches.

It has always been the case that some beaches closer to the equator (warmer beaches) produce predominantly females, while other beaches farther from the equator, especially the “polar-most” beaches at the very fringe of the nesting range for certain species, produce mostly males. For instance in the US it has long been the case that southern Florida beaches produce mostly females while the North Carolina area produces most of the males (for loggerheads & greens).

What’s happening now is a sudden skew in ratios at both types of beaches, the mostly-female beaches going to all-female and the mostly-male beaches going to approx 50:50. The question is, can sea turtles alter nest depth or shift “polarward” to establish new male-producing nest sites, i.e. colonizing new beaches that haven’t been used before. Some recent studies have found that females at the “hot” beaches are indeed digging deeper (cooler) nests, apparently in a response to sand temperature, but that this is only partially effective (i.e. even the deep nests produce mostly females. Those deeper nests do produce a couple more males, but not enough to ensure optimum fertility of all females).

However, sea turtles are also shifting their range. For instance in the US, Assateague Island (Maryland) just had its first loggerhead nest, which produced 100 hatchlings, likely predominantly males. Kemp’s ridleys too are coming out of the Gulf of Mexico & starting to move up the eastern seaboard, and encouragingly Texas had a record number of Kemp’s nests last year (they usually nest in Mexico).

But a considerable problem here is that turtles are moving into areas that have not historically had them and that therefore don’t have basic protections set up to help nesting turtles. Cape Cod has been overwhelmed by a huge influx of young Kemp’s ridleys that end up stranded on the northern shore, in enormous numbers recently. Re nest habitat generally though, sandy beaches are usually intensely developed for human recreation and baby sea turtles don’t fare well with the “coastal roads + strip of houses + strong street lights” setup that we humans tend to put along most beaches.

This is one (of many) examples of species trying to shift their range in response to climate change, but in the process leaving the southern wildlife refuges & policies that had been set up to help them, and moving into more northern areas where no such protections yet exist. There is an interesting issue here of species moving faster than wildlife policy can keep up. (Same issue is occurring w N Atlantic right whales btw, which have just moved out of fisheries/shipping zones that were carefully arranged to not overlap w the whales, and into Canadian waters with no such regulations, the result being the worst die-off ever recorded, last summer. Ships smashing into them left & right, whales with horrific entanglements washing up dead. The Canadians have not had right whales up there before so it just took them all by surprise.)

Anyway, sea turtle survival may eventually depend on residents of mid-latitude beaches that have not historically had turtles being willing to rapidly change beach lighting/traffic policy to encourage sea turtle nesting. These mid-latitude beaches are the ones that can produce the males in the future. For example, US coastal residents in Maryland, Virginia & Long Island can help by watching for turtle nests & reducing lighting when nests occur. Though... the pace of change may become so rapid that we may need to move eggs, physically, to northern beaches so that those individual hatchlings will imprint on northern beaches. This is known as “assisted migration” and it may become essential, especially when the beaches themselves start moving/flooding as sea level really begins to change.

tl;dr - This is solvable if turtles can move to different nest sites, but we may need to help them move.

Testosterone and erectile function increased after vitamin D supplementation – A Transversal and Longitudinal Study by 1345834 in science

[–]Behavioral 2 points3 points  (0 children)

The guy simply doesn't understand that the effect size can be smaller as statistical power increases. Basically for a test to be significant for a lower sample size, the differences have to be more drastic.

As long as other experimental controls were enacted (e.g., double blind, random assignment, valid measurements, etc) and the sample was established at the beginning of the study (as opposed to recruiting more subjects simply fly fish for a significant finding), the study seems valid.

CDC Reports that US women are entering pregnancy at increasingly unhealthy and potentially dangerous weights by PHealthyMPH | Global Health | Infectious Disease in science

[–]BJPenwhistle 575 points576 points  (0 children)

Precisely. I believe I have an effective prescription for combating the obesity epidemic but any time I put it forth, people look at me like I'm nuts. Maybe I am but it seems like the obvious conclusion to me.

Pay people more money and allow them to work less hours if they want to. Address expansive wealth gap between rich and poor. Provide a robust social safety net that prioritizes a healthy, happy, self-actualized working lifestyle. Allow employees reasonable breaks for the amount of hours they work and promote "in place exercises" to break up long periods of sitting. (I don't think it's a coincidence that in first world countries with huge wealth imbalances, obesity has a correlation with poverty which is why I suggest tackling these seemingly unrelated issues.)

Subsidize healthy foods. SERIOUSLY cut down on the amount of mood disorder drugs we are prescribing; they should be reserved for people who absolutely, unequivocally need them and have no other alternatives, not everyone who has a case of the Monday blues. Fix our broken ass healthcare system so people can seek treatment for their illnesses INCLUDING mental disorders, many of which can cause, promote, or exacerbate obesity. Address the rampant proliferation of endocrine disrupting agents in our environment (food, water, plastics, textiles, etc). This one is controversial but I would suggest regulating sugar like a drug. Promote proper health education, especially for children.

I would be entirely shocked if the obesity epidemic did not start declining if we instituted policies like these.

Edit: Thanks for the gold! :D

Study suggests ‘sugar coma’ is real — glucose ingestion leads to worse cognitive performance. A new double-blind, placebo-controlled study found that glucose-containing sweeteners were linked to reduced attention and response times. by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]Tombstonesss 16 points17 points  (0 children)

Take refined sugar out of your diet for a few days and see what happens. I was blown away by the results and never went back. During the holidays I can have a bite of desserts but it’s just way to sweet for my palette now. I also like doing cocaine for the holidays as well. Does not affect my palette at all.

Self-injury more about coping than a cry for help - Between 63% and 78% of non-suicidal people who self-injure do it as a short-term strategy to ease emotional distress. However, though self-injuring may work for short periods, the effect can be short lived, and make matters worse in the long term. by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]m1sta 2711 points2712 points  (0 children)

I feel pain for a reason I can’t understand, control, or see an end to

Is temporarily replaced by

I feel pain for a reason I can understand, can potentially control, and can heal from.

Students whose sex ed programs teach abstinence as the only way to protect sexual health have less favorable attitudes toward condoms and are more likely to have unprotected sex than students who learn safe sexual practices. Abstinence-only sex education programs do not stop minors from having sex. by ekser in science

[–]jthill 1576 points1577 points  (0 children)

That's what scientific studies are about: considering and accounting for other potential contributory factors to determine whether the factors being investigated actually have an effect. Like this one:

Using the most recent national data (2005) from all U.S. states with information on sex education laws or policies (N = 48), we show that increasing emphasis on abstinence education is positively correlated with teenage pregnancy and birth rates. This trend remains significant after accounting for socioeconomic status, teen educational attainment, ethnic composition of the teen population, and availability of Medicaid waivers for family planning services in each state.

These data show clearly that abstinence-only education as a state policy is ineffective in preventing teenage pregnancy and may actually be contributing to the high teenage pregnancy rates in the U.S.

That study came out in 2011.

The 2012 TX GOP Party Platform expressly opposed teaching critical thinking skills.

New study reveals that the majority of the anti-vaccination movement on Facebook is female and that the comment networks exhibit 'small world' characteristics by timmaeus in science

[–]Jake_SciencePhD | Psychology | Cognition, Action, Perception 9184 points9185 points  (0 children)

It's pretty interesting that the network has small world characteristics, but not super surprising. Most human networks have small world connections. The easiest way to describe that is a node (in this case, an anti-vaxxer) with many short connections (close friends within a similar circle) and few long-range connections (presumably family and high school friends in much different social circles).

Small world networks were named by Stanley Milgram (yes, the obedience guy), who ran into a man who lived in the same town he did while on vacation in London. You know, the kind of chance encounter that makes you say, "Small world!" Milgram noticed that these occurrences happened more often than he felt they should and set up a study to discern the average number of people through which two completely unconnected people are linked. He asked people in two randomly selected towns in the Midwest to get letters to people on the East Coast who they did not know. To get them there, they were instructed to send their letters to someone who they thought would be closer than they were. The average number of links was 6, which gives rise to the 6 degrees of separation thing with actors and the 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon game (I'm only three degrees from him, btw). Milgram noted that most people have a lot of short-range, local connections and a few looking connections that span great distances. Graph theorists and neuroscientists began using the terminology when they noticed that other networks, including neurons, have the same structure. Buszaki (sp?) suggests that, while most neural connections are short and local, the brain can be spanned in just six long-range jumps, just like people. In terms of neurons, that structure prevents deleterious damage while also promoting efficient sharing of "information" (electrochemical potential).

I can look up citations if anyone wants them.

People with a greater sense of entitlement are less likely to follow instructions than less entitled people are, because they view the instructions as an unfair imposition on them, finds new research in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science. by mveaMD-PhD-MBA | Clinical Professor/Medicine in science

[–]Fibonacci35813 4542 points4543 points  (0 children)

How did they measure entitlement?

Edit: Psychological Entitlement Scale (Campbell, 2004), answered on a 7 point likert scale from 1(strong disagreement) 7 (strong agreement).

  1. I honestly feel I’m just more deserving than others.

  2. Great things should come to me.

  3. If I were on the Titanic, I would deserve to be on the first lifeboat!

  4. I demand the best because I’m worth it.

  5. I do not necessarily deserve special treatment.

  6. I deserve more things in my life.

  7. People like me deserve an extra break now and then.

  8. Things should go my way.

  9. I feel entitled to more of everything.

Thanks /u/frankalliance

A discovery that microbes in Antarctica can scavenge hydrogen, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide from the air to stay alive in such extreme conditions has implications for the search for life on other planets. by doctorabator in science

[–]DanHeidel 5954 points5955 points  (0 children)

Edit: since this post got surprising traction, I've added a little more info. Thanks for the gold, too!

I'm not surprised at all. When you work in microbiology, you find microbes growing and thriving in the most ridiculous environments. Oligotrophs are microbes adapted to extremely resource poor environments. Some examples:

  • it's been found that there are species of bacteria commonly found to be growing in ultra-high purity lab water reservoirs. These are 18.2 mega-ohm/sub ppb TOC water purifier outputs. (edit: lab-speak for extremely high purity water) The bacteria in them are presumably surviving on the materials coming through the air being breathed out by the people in the lab. Edit: Since folks were asking about more info - I don't have citations as it's not something I ever personally researched or read up on. I did talk to another researcher that had done some reading on the subject and I know there has been some sporadic looks at these organisms. They represent a potential issue since their presence can contaminate PCR and other sensitive techniques that use the water. However, I think it's been one of those research topics that never got much traction and very few biologists are even aware of it.

  • As an addendum, I've talked to maintenance techs that have found microbes growing in Millipore lab water supply 180nm UV chambers. Those are the chambers used to eliminate organic contaminants by applying UV radiation sufficiently energetic to directly dissociate C-C bonds. And stuff grows in there. edit: no citations here. I'm not sure if there has even been published research on the subject. I simply heard about this from a water purification system tech once. For all I know, he was pulling my leg, but he seemed genuine about this. Of all the examples, it's the one I consider the most far fetched.

  • The Black Sea deep biomes are extremely low light. There are photosynthetic organisms that grow down there that intercept a photon every few hours or days. These typically have cell division times measured in centuries rather than the usual < 1 hour. edit: I can't remember the original references since I read them 10+ years back but this is the organism or something similar to it.

  • edit: Extra bonus - There is a similar biome deep in the Earth. Numerous researchers have found bacteria miles down in the crust living in porous rock. Apparently they feed on hydrogen generated as a byproduct of nuclear decay. (not sure how that works, I thought only helium got generated that way) They also have insanely slow growth rates. Some estimates were in the millenia per division, but that's extremely unlikely. If they were that energy poor, they wouldn't have enough energy to repair DNA damage, much less do other stuff.

A couple bonus, non-oligotroph examples:

  • I once found a giant fuzzball of fungus growing in a 100 mM pH 1 dissolved calcium phosphate solution.

  • A lab tech from an old lab once found fungus growing in a 10,000x stock solution of acridine orange. edit: for reference, acridine orange is a very old dye that was banned because it is fantastically carcinogenic. Turns out the dye is perfectly sized to slip in between DNA base pairs and fuck up DNA replication. It's now used as a mutagen in genetics research to create mutant organisms. This fungus in question was living in a stock solution 10,000 more concentrated than the usual amount that was enough to nearly kill E. coli from DNA damage.

  • edit: Extra bonus - as a few folks mentioned, there's a fungus that's been found growing in nuclear reactors that literally feeds on radiation. That's something that I had assumed was completely impossible. Basically, a bacterium trying to use ionizing radiation for a power source is like you trying to catch a cannonball - not a good idea. But this fungus secretes a melanin-like substance all around it. This stuff gets hit by the radiation (the fungus does too, which can kill it, but there's a lot of it) and takes radiation damage. The delocalized bonds found in melanin can capture a lot of the radiation energy in the form of high-energy bonds and stabilized free radicals. The fungal cells then go around eating those high-energy bonds. Blew my mind when I first heard about it.

A study has found that people with the lowest social class scores—those with less income, less education, and more worries about money—scored about twice as high on the wise reasoning scale as those in the highest social class by Wagamaga in science

[–]JurijFedorovMS | Psychology | Evolutionary Psychology 1 point2 points  (0 children)

I have read some theories about music and the evolution of music in Homo sapiens but none really dominate the field of EP. In Moral Animal, Robert Wright proposes that music is a tool partly developed to tell potential partners that your brain is well developed. A bit like a peacock tale that shows a potential mate that he is healthy and strong enough to sustain it. Both his genes and development are top notch. And your singing voice also reveals a lot about your genes and health and brain development but I don't know exactly what as I have not read about these specific things. This makes sense because birds use music as a mating tool too. And many of our songs are about love, sex or showing off status. Guitar players using their skills to get chicks is not a far fetched concept. But I do think there were several forces that made us develop musical abilities. Because hunter-gatherer bands (groups) use music as a tool to sustain their groups and culture. They party with music and also use it in rituals. So it probably had many different uses. Hard to say which use was the strongest evolutionary force. But maybe you could say that the way communist leaders use music via proud national songs and the way guys use music to score chicks are just 2 different ways to use the same brain modules. And are both important ways to use music.

U.S. and European physicists searching for an explanation for high-temperature superconductivity were surprised when their theoretical model pointed to the existence of a never-before-seen material in a different realm of physics: topological quantum materials by DoremusJessup in science

[–]Ihavefourspades 3356 points3357 points  (0 children)

These are materials with “topologically protected quantum states.” These are quantum states that are protected due to the geometry of the material or potentials they are in. There’s not an easy to way explain this intuitively - quantum mechanics is inherently counterintuitive and is only widely accepted because nearly a century of careful and incredibly precise experiments align with its predictions - but I can try to give an example that hits the major idea here.

As a greatly simplified example, one of these topological materials involve the momentum and spin of an electron. The protected state is the spin of the electron. The electron is either spin up, spin down, or a quantum superposition of the two possibilities. It’s like a bit in a computer that equals 0 or 1, but also could be either a 0 or 1 depending how you look at it. You can control how often it’s either a 0 or a 1 both by how you measure it and by controlling it with outside energy sources, like microwave or optical photons.

What’s important for practical purposes is that you can reliably prepare the electron spin and have it maintain that prepared state as long as possible. However, the spin by itself is subject to influence from magnetic and electric fields in the environment and a variety of other more complicated effects due to living inside of a crystal.

But now, what if we could tie the spin of the electron to its momentum? More specifically, there are states on the edge of this topological material where the electron will travel counterclockwise and spin up or clockwise and spin down. So now, for the spin to flip, the momentum of the electron has to change as well. This means it’s much more difficult for the electron’s quantum state (the spin) to be changed by the environment randomly, but easy for us to change it intentionally.

This is a very simple example that glosses over a lot of details and a physicist who studies these would have a lot of qualms with it, but it captures the essence of what is happening in these topological systems. We are coupling something important for quantum computing (like a spin) to other degrees of freedom in the system (like momentum) in order to greatly reduce the chance of random errors in a quantum computer. It’s pretty neat stuff.

Religion in the U.S. is becoming increasingly polarized. In the past 30 years, intense forms of religion like evangelical Christianity have maintained their popularity, while moderate forms have consistently lost followers and the non-religious population has increased. by projectfreq91Editor | Science News in science

[–]Berrrrrrrrrt_the_A10 28 points29 points  (0 children)

What do people seek in religion?

-Meaning: P. Berger, "Religion and World Construction", and excerpt from The Sacred Canopy (1967)

-Moral Community: E. Durkheim, Elementary Forms of the Religious Life (1912) and R. Collins, Interaction Ritual Chains (2004)

-Security (The one which I think is one of the most important to consider): K. Marx, "Contribution to the Critique of Hegel's Philosophy of Right"; P. Norris & R. Inglehart, Sacred and Secular (2004)

-Identity: C. Smith, "Toward a Subcultuiral Identity Theory of Religious Strength", an excerpt from American Evangelicalism (1998); L. Peek, "Becoming Muslim: The Development of a Religious Identity" in Sociology of Religion (2005) pages 215 to 242.

-Spiritual Mastery: meh.

-Compensation: R. Stark & R. finke, "Rationality and the Religious Mind" and "The Micro Foundations of Religion", or for even more depth, Acts of Faith; L. Iannaconne, "Risk, Rationality, and Religious Preferences" from Economic Inquiry (1995):285-295

Edit: thank you for the gold! My first timeeee

Women rate the strongest men as the most attractive, study finds. Height and leanness were appealing attributes, too, but strength played an outsize role in the ratings of a man's torso by Wagamaga in science

[–]nukefudge 13.7k points13.7k points  (0 children)

160 women surveyed

Sixty of the shirtless men were recruited from the university gym; 130 were students enrolled in psychology courses

The raters were college-age women evaluating the appearance of college-age men

 

EDIT: Thanks for the gold, stranger! Keep sciencing, everyone!

CRISPR-Cas9 technique targeting epigenetics reverses disease in mice by Theodiore in science

[–]I_CAPE_RUNTS 37 points38 points  (0 children)

So each one of your cells has the exact same copy of DNA, which contains all instructions on what every cell in your body should do. But how does the cell know to be a pancreas cell instead of, say, a liver cell....since both types of instructions are in the DNA in that cell? (Coincidentally, This is why the DNA strand in one cell is several meters long, as it has instructions for every single type of cell in your body!)

Think of the instructions like a cookbook. Now imagine you want to cook for a vegan potluck. You wouldn’t cook a steak for the potluck, so you staple together all pages that are about cooking steak. This way all you have to do is flip open the cookbook to any page and it will only contain vegan recipes. That’s how the cell knows to be a pancreas cell, because all of the liver cell instructions have been stapled together.

Epigenetics is the study of those naturally occurring staples. The idea being that we can eventually add/remove staples for the cookbook’s pages on getting parkinson’s, or Huntington’s, eye color, height, etc. and CRISPR is one of the ways that we can add/remove those staples by cutting out the parts of DNA we don’t want and replacing with the ones we do want.

Science Discussion: Net Neutrality by ScienceModerator in science

[–]zastels 22 points23 points  (0 children)

My opinion is a bit different. I do not think we should have competition in the market for internet providers or telecom. In fact, I think there should only be a single company, state/government owned. I also do not think the internet should be something we turn on and off. It makes zero sense to me that I move into a new apartment that doesn't have internet, because the previous tenant turned it off. The internet always needs to be there, but they have us turning shit on and off and mailing modems back and forth for no good reason other than to charge money.

Why do I think this? I recognize competition will solve a lot of problems, however I question the source of the problem. The internet is our communication infrastructure, it is priceless and compulsory to modern economic growth. Nobody should own it except the citizens. Think about how useless competition is in telecom/internet. Nobody is interested in features, nobody wants something "unique" a telecom or ISP is offering. The only thing people want is fast working internet. You do not need competition in order to have that.

When it comes to cell phones, unlimited talk/txt/data. What else could you possibly need? How could competition offer you something more besides a price change? In Canada the only difference between the providers is the colour they choose to brand everything in. Rogers = Red Telus = Green Bell = Blue. Colours are literally only distinguishing factor in the "competition". If you add 5 more telecom companies, all you're going to get is 5 more colours and slightly lower prices in very small regions.

The only part about net neutrality that I like is that it is anti-censorship. The government if hypothetically owning the infrastructure should never be able to control or read the information, only deliver it.

I think Canadian's would all be different people if bandwidth restrictions were never a thing. We'd all have consumed more information, we'd have progressed further in R&D, we'd be more inclined to try and less to hesitate. Like it blows my mind that my own mother doesn't understand how the internet works, but she is still afraid of going over bandwidth caps. Even a friend yesterday refused to give me their wifi password to check my Facebook for messages because they weren't "unlimited", because they do not understand bandwidth and how much a megabyte is and the significance. I believe it so strongly, scientifically, we'd all be kilometers ahead without bandwidth caps.

Science Discussion: Net Neutrality by ScienceModerator in science

[–]lottosharks 2878 points2879 points  (0 children)

Here's the deal: We're on the cusp of a data explosion. The future of data is BIG data. All we are talking about currently is 4K movies, but the need for real time 3D information will become more important in the future. Our data needs are just starting to expand, and the major ISPs want to cap our data needs BEFORE they have been defined. This will therefore hinder progress of the internet by restricting the data that can be provided. Look how far Google has come with their mapping: not only do we get street view, but we get this awesome 3D enhanced topographical view of the earth. They have converted all major cities into 3D models, and it's beautiful. But it's also extremely data intensive. The future of data, the need to stream and share real time data, will require much more than our current needs, so we should not hand over the future to the ISPs now or any point in time.