We Tried Getting DNA from La Brea Mammoths but Couldn’t

Too many scientists are reluctant to publish negative results and there is no reason why they should feel this way. Knowing what doesn’t work is just as important as knowing what works. http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ece3.928/abstract Attempted DNA extraction from a Rancho La Brea Columbian mammoth (Mammuthus columbi): prospects for ancient DNA from asphalt deposits Fossil-bearing asphalt deposits…

Modern Taxonomy

Molecular methods are increasingly important in describing and classifying cryptic species. There are some hurdles to be met. http://bit.ly/Hm7GqT Frontiers in Zoology 2013, 10:59 doi:10.1186/1742-9994-10-59 How to describe a cryptic species? Practical challenges of molecular taxonomy Molecular methods of species delineation are rapidly developing and widely considered as fast and efficient means to discover species…

Bacteria, Ancient Teeth and Modern Teeth

I had previously noted research indicating that modern diet has changed the bacterial profile of our guts. This new paper looks at the oral microbiome at different time periods and how that has affected dental health. Like the previous paper it finds a marked change in the microbiomes between ancient and modern samples specifically tied…

Vitamin D and Selenium for Where the Sun Don’t Shine

Epigenetic markers accumulate as we age, nothing you can do about it. The second biggest factor is lifestyle and diet is one of them. This new paper for Aging Cell looks at methylation in a group of genes known to be associated with cancer (do not read “CAUSE!!”) and found that that vitamin D and selenium intake…