Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Tech, when used with creativity and perception, can save the world. As an example, researchers have learned Jaguars need to be able to commute or they will not survive as a viable species...

"But in the past decade or so, scientists have realized that connecting corridors are needed because many species rely for survival on the migration of a few animals from one region to another, to intermix gene pools and to repopulate areas devastated by natural disasters or disease. Placing animals in isolated preserves, studies have found, decreases diversity and risks dulling down a species — like preventing New Yorkers and Californians from getting together to procreate.

“It was kind of an epiphany,” said Alan Rabinowitz, a zoologist who is president of Panthera, an organization that studies and promotes conservation of large cats. “We were giving them nice land to live on when what they were doing — and what they needed — was an underground railway.”

This kind of approach also applies to medicine where scientists have discovered cancer cell circadian rhythms differ from healthy cells, thus providing an opportunity to use digitally controlled releases of anti cancer drugs timed to kill the diseased cells while leaving healthy tissue intact.

Biologists have observed that cell division in normal cells in species ranging from unicellular organisms to humans peaks at specific times of the day and consider this as indirect evidence that the process is regulated by their internal biological clocks. Cells in the human mouth, for example, tend to divide in the evening, just before nightfall.

"There is a general evolutionary explanation for this," says research associate Julie Pendergast who participated in the study. "Ultraviolet light is one of the primary causes of mutations. Cells are particularly vulnerable to mutations during cell division. So organisms with cells that divide at night have a selective advantage."

In addition, there has been a considerable amount of indirect evidence that mitosis (division) in cancer cells is not under 24-hour control. For example, "experiments have found that cells turn cancerous when certain circadian clock genes have been knocked out," says Yamazaki. The results of other experiments that have periodically sampled cancer cell division rates also support this possibility."

Every sentence I utter must be understood not as an affirmation, but as a question.  - Niels Bohr 
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