Friday, 25 March 2016
The Lowest Common Multiplier?
News from Craig Ventner's laboratory that they have created, what appears to be, the simplest living cell (www.theguardian.com/science/2016/mar/24/landmark-lab-creates-synthetic-cell-with-minimum-genes-needed-for-life-craig-ventner). The synthetic 'bacterial' cell can do all the living processes (such as respiration, growth and cell division) in spite of having only 473 genes rather than the 20k found in ourselves and the ubiquitous fruit fly. It is striking that, although they know what 67% of the genes do in their stripped down creation, the roles of the remainder are still a mystery. This certainly suggests that the origins of living systems are a good deal less complex than those now found on the planet ( in that evolution of life might be a relatively simple process) but I am less enthusiastic (but resigned) about the prospect of developing synthetic micro-organisms to generate new fuels et cetera.
Hurricane Ophelia also blew a Green lacewing ( Chrysopa 7-punctata ) into my house.
A combination of night rain and day-time sun has resulted in more Bynea blooms. The Southern marsh orchid ( Dactylorhiza praetermissa...
A study ( https://www.theguardian.com/science/2017/feb/01/special-spit-is-the-secret-of-uniquely-sticky-frog-tongues-study-reveals ) has...
It is always sad to hear of problems occurring at places you have used for teaching and the outbreak of h5n8 avian influenza at Abbot...