BioQuakes

AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: troybolton

We used to be shrews!?!

Ever think where did we come from?  Well, one answer to that could be evolution. While it is not yet a proven fact, it is a theory that shows promise to be true.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/usfws_pacificsw/5665647177/

Experts on the matter of evolution “recorded 4,500 physical traits for 86 mammalian species, including 40 that are now extinct.”  Using this information in tandem with DNA samples, the experts were able to figure out the probable start of placental mammals.  One of the findings was that the rise of placental mammals came after the dinosaurs had become extinct.  This was an earlier hypothesis that was now confirmed. The death of the Dinosaurs would allow for mammals to fill the top of the food chain where the dinosaurs once stood.  Less competition makes it easier to rise to the top.  Dr. Jonathan Bloch, who works at the Florida museum of Natural history, said “This gives us a new perspective of how major change can influence the history of life, like the extinction of the dinosaurs. This was a major event in Earth’s history that potentially then results in setting the framework for the entire ordinal diversification of mammals, including our own very distant ancestors.”

I think this is incredibly cool how all species could be related to one primal and ancient ancestor.  It shows how we are all linked in some way.

What do you guys think on the matter?

 

http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/feb/07/ancestor-humans-mammals-insect-eater

 

Bacteria Makes Fuel?

      Now if you’re like me, you have been expressing some concern as to where we are going to get energy in the upcoming years.  The increasing price of oil and the inefficiencies of solar power definitely cause some reason to worry.  Lucky f0r us, a new development at the University of California, Davis, might just solve all of our problems.

Shota Atsumi and his team at UC Davis made ground breaking research in Cyanobacteria that could lead to a solution to our energy problems. This Blue-Green bacteria uses sunlight and carbon dioxide to create 2, 3 butanediol, which is a chemical that can be used to create paint, solvents, plastics and even fuel.  The Scientists identified the enzymes that carried out the reactions that they wanted, and “introduced the DNA for these enzymes into the cells.”  While the experiment was deemed unpredictable at first because they were unsure how enzymes would work in different organisms, the end result was that the Cyanobacteria yielded 2.4 grams of 2, 3 butanediol per liter of growth medium.  This is a groundbreaking experiment because these scientists may have possibly taken the first steps to solving our energy crisis.  Imagine, we may be able create fuel and other resources by simply using the power of the Sun!

 

What do you guys think about this? Comment below.