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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Single Gene Mutation Shapes Cerebro!

Jimmy Olsen © DC Comics
The size and shape of the human cerebral cortex, an evolutionary marvel responsible for everything from Shakespeare's poetry to the atomic bomb, are largely influenced by mutations in a single gene.
The findings are based on a genetic analysis of in one Turkish family and two Pakistani families with offspring born with the most severe form of microcephaly. The children have brains just 10 percent of normal size. They also lacked the normal cortical architecture that is a hallmark of the human brain. This combination of factors has not been seen in other genes associated with the development of the human brain, the authors note.

The researchers found that mutations in the same gene, centrosomal NDE1, which is involved in cell division, were responsible for the deformity.

"These findings demonstrate how single molecules have influenced the expansion of the human cerebral cortex in the last five million years," Gunel said. Link
Ref: The Essential Role of Centrosomal NDE1 in Human Cerebral Cortex Neurogenesis. 2011. M. Bakircioglu, et al. American Journal of Human Genetics.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Kids Reading Comics (1951)

Well, at least one kid.
The photo is scanned from a magazine called Friends, (Ceco Publishing for Chevrolet Dealers, August 1959). There is no photo credit given.

Based on the presence of White Chief of the Pawnee Indians # 1 in the photo, I'm guessing that it was taken in 1951.

Thanks to Clive Coy for the scan!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Born This Day: Francesco Maria Grimaldi

Gramaldi (April 2, 1618 - Dec. 28, 1663) was an Italian mathematician and physicist who studied the diffraction of light. He observed the image on a screen in a darkened room of a tiny beam of sunlight after it passed pass through a fine screen (or a slit, edge of a screen, wire, hair, fabric or bird feather). The image had iridescent fringes, and deviated from a normal geometrical shadow.

He coined the name diffraction for this change of trajectory of the light passing near opaque objects (though, more specifically, it may have been interferences with two close sources that he observed). This provided evidence for later physicists to support the wave theory of light.

With Riccioli, he investigated the object in free fall (1640-50), and found that distance of fall was proportional to the square of the time taken. link