Computer Music Research: « Excerpt taken from the original takes filmed in March 2005 for TV Tokyo’s programme ‘Mysterious Brain’, featuring a demo of the latest results of the Brain-Computer Music Interface project »

PLoS Biology – Bushes in the Tree of Life: « Genome analyses are delivering unprecedented amounts of data from an abundance of organisms, raising expectations that in the near future, resolving the tree of life (TOL) will simply be a matter of data collection. However, recent analyses of some key clades in life’s history have produced bushes and not resolved trees. The patterns observed in these clades are both important signals of biological history and symptoms of fundamental challenges that must be confronted. Here we examine how the combination of the spacing of cladogenetic events and the high frequency of independently evolved characters (homoplasy) limit the resolution of ancient divergences. Because some histories may not be resolvable by even vast increases in amounts of conventional data, the identification of new molecular characters will be crucial to future progress. »

PLoS Biology – Metagenomics Offers a Big-Picture View of the Diversity and Distribution of Marine Viruses: « When we think of ocean life, we tend to think of sharks and squid and sea turtles and such. Underpinning these large life forms is a massive but much less conspicuous world of microscopic bacteria and archaea. And existing at an even lower rung, bridging the gap between life and nonlife, are bacteriophage (phage) viruses%u2014minute, self-replicating bundles of biochemicals that alter microorganisms%u2019 genetic material and moderate their communities through predation and parasitism. »

PLoS Biology – Apoptosis Versus Survival: When in Doubt, Choose Both: « To function, a protein must fold up after it is synthesized. When it doesn%u2019t, trouble can ensue%u2014the accumulation of unfolded proteins is a common cause of degenerative disorders such as Parkinson disease. When unfolded or misfolded proteins begin to build up, the cell sets in motion a coordinated cascade of events termed the %u201Cunfolded protein response%u201D (UPR). In fact, the UPR comprises two distinct pathways leading to opposite fates: down one path lies adaptation and continued life for the cell, while down the other lies the programmed cell death known as apoptosis »

PLoS Biology – Phenotypic Plasticity Opposes Species Invasions by Altering Fitness Surface: « Understanding species invasion is a central problem in ecology because invasions of exotic species severely impact ecosystems, and because invasions underlie fundamental ecological processes. However, the influence on invasions of phenotypic plasticity, a key component of many species interactions, is unknown »

PLoS Biology – Intralocus Sexual Conflict Diminishes the Benefits of Sexual Selection: « Evolution based on the benefits of acquiring %u201Cgood genes%u201D in sexual selection is only plausible with the reliable transmission of genetic quality from one generation to the next. Accumulating evidence suggests that sexually antagonistic (SA) genes with opposite effects on Darwinian fitness when expressed in the two different sexes may be common in animals and plants. »

Forest growth is encouraging, say researchers – earth – 14 November 2006 – New Scientist: « The authors point out that some countries poorer than this appear better able to manage their forests than others, indicating that good forest management is not purely dependent on wealth. »


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