Monthly Archives: April 2007

Hobbit man of Indonesia: Homo floresiensis

There is a debate going on whether Homo erectus existed in Asia (Indonesia) in recent human history. This debate is being fueled by a recent finding of a human bones of ‘hobbit man.’ The ‘hobbit man’ has ben called ‘Homo floresiensis.’ To know more about ‘hobbit man, please visit the first link below. The picture is for you to analyze the info on the first link.

Micro cephaly stirs Human Evolution!

Disturbing Image: A bizzare baby was born in Nepal who was later diagnosed with anancephaly.

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Scientists cure cancer, but no one takes notice

By David McRaney

http://media.www.studentprintz.com/media/storage/paper974/news/

2007/01/23/Opinion/Scientists.Cure.Cancer.But.No.One.Takes.Notice-2667600.shtml

Issue date: 1/23/07 Section: Opinion

EDITORS NOTE:Since the original publication of this article we have been inundated with responses from the public at all walks of life. It is important to note that research is ongoing with DCA, and not everyone is convinced it will turn out to be a miracle drug. There have been many therapies that were promising in vitro and in animal models that did not work for one reason or another in humans. To provide false hope is not our intention. There is a lot of information on DCA available on the web, and this column is but one opinion on the topic. We hope you will do your own research into the situation. So, we have added links to resources at the end of this column. If you are arriving here form a linking website like Fark, then those links will not appear because they tend to grab only the text. For those visitors, here is a link to the original research: http://www.depmed.ualberta.ca/dca

END NOTE

Scientists may have cured cancer last week.

Yep.

So, why haven’t the media picked up on it?

Here’s the deal. Researchers at the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada found a cheap and easy to produce drug that kills almost all cancers. The drug is dichloroacetate, and since it is already used to treat metabolic disorders, we know it should be no problem to use it for other purposes.

Doesn’t this sound like the kind of news you see on the front page of every paper?

The drug also has no patent, which means it could be produced for bargain basement prices in comparison to what drug companies research and develop.

Scientists tested DCA on human cells cultured outside the body where it killed lung, breast and brain cancer cells, but left healthy cells alone. Rats plump with tumors shrank when they were fed water supplemented with DCA.

Again, this seems like it should be at the top of the nightly news, right?

Cancer cells don’t use the little power stations found in most human cells – the mitochondria. Instead, they use glycolysis, which is less effective and more wasteful.

Doctors have long believed the reason for this is because the mitochondria were damaged somehow. But, it turns out the mitochondria were just dormant, and DCA starts them back up again.

The side effect of this is it also reactivates a process called apoptosis. You see, mitochondria contain an all-too-important self-destruct button that can’t be pressed in cancer cells. Without it, tumors grow larger as cells refuse to be extinguished. Fully functioning mitochondria, thanks to DCA, can once again die.

With glycolysis turned off, the body produces less lactic acid, so the bad tissue around cancer cells doesn’t break down and seed new tumors.

Here’s the big catch. Pharmaceutical companies probably won’t invest in research into DCA because they won’t profit from it. It’s easy to make, unpatented and could be added to drinking water. Imagine, Gatorade with cancer control.

So, the groundwork will have to be done at universities and independently funded laboratories. But, how are they supposed to drum up support if the media aren’t even talking about it?

All I can do is write this and hope Google News picks it up. In the meantime, tell everyone you know and do your own research.

PLEASE READ THE EDITOR’S NOTE AT THE TOP OF THIS COLUMN, AND PLEASE CLICK ON THE LINKS TO OTHER DCA RESOURCES LISTED DIRECTLY UNDER THIS COLUMN.

This is a column of opinion written by Printz Executive Editor David McRaney. Comments can be sent to printz@usm.edu

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What Blood Type Are You?

Blood Group Important Information
Did You Know?Provided by Laba Thapa

Blood type and Rh

How many people have it?

O +

40 %

O -

7 %

A +

34 %

A -

6 %

B +

8 %

B -

1 %

AB +

3 %

AB -

1 %

Does Your Blood Type Reveal Your Personality?

According to a Japanese institute that does research on blood types, there are certain personality traits that seem to match up with certain blood types. How do you rate?

TYPE O

You want to be a leader, and when you see something you want, you keep striving until you achieve your goal. You are a trend-setter, loyal, passionate, and self-confident. Your weaknesses include vanity and jealously and a tendency to be too competitive.

TYPE A

You like harmony, peace and organization. You work well with others, and are sensitive, patient and affectionate. Among your weaknesses are stubbornness and an inability to relax.

TYPE B

You’re a rugged individualist, who’s straightforward and likes to do things your own way. Creative and flexible, you adapt easily to any situation. But your insistence on being independent can sometimes go too far and become a weakne ss.

TYPE AB

Cool and controlled, you’re generally well liked and always put people at ease You’re a natural entertainer who’s tactful and fair. But you’re standoffish, blunt, and have difficulty making decisions.

Most Important Information Now:

You Can Receive

If Your Type Is

O-

O+

B-

B+

A-

A+

AB-

AB+

AB+

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

YES

AB-

YES

YES

YES

YES

A+

YES

YES

YES

YES

A-

YES

YES

B+

YES

YES

YES

YES

B-

YES

YES

O+

YES

YES

O-

YES

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Economist’s view on King Gyanendra

KNIGHTS AND PAWNS CHECK KING
April 27th 2006
The Economist

People power wins in Nepal–for the moment.

IT WAS Nepal‘s army that finally called time on King Gyanendra’s
disastrous attempt at absolutism. Faced with the prospect of either
mowing down unarmed demonstrators or seeing the palace stormed, the
generals went to the opposition and asked them to form a government on
the eve of a huge rally planned for April 25th that would have been in
violation of a near-total curfew.

Although foreign diplomats and others were involved, it was almost
certainly the army that brought the news to Nepal‘s deluded sovereign
that the game was up. Shortly before midnight on April 24th, a
shattered-looking king appeared on national television, to read words
written by his democratic enemies. He restored the parliament that had
been dissolved four years ago, implicitly accepted the opposition’s
policy of securing peace with the Maoist rebels by rewriting the
constitution, and offered his condolences to the families of the 15
protesters shot dead on his orders during 19 days of mass
demonstrations against his regime.

For the first time in many years, the outlook for Nepal seems hopeful.
The alliance of seven political parties, which now forms the
government, reached an agreement with the powerful Maoists last year
with the aim of restoring peace and adopting a new constitution. Girija
Prasad Koirala, now 84 years old, has become prime minister for the
fifth time, and says the preparation of a constituent assembly will be
his first act when parliament convenes on April 28th. A Maoist
ceasefire was announced on April 27th, for three months to begin with.

The movement got its momentum from the Nepali people’s fervent wish for
peace with the Maoists after a decade-long civil war that has cost some
13,000 lives. It was intensified by King Gyanendra’s obstructive
attitude towards the achievement of that peace. Since the political
parties offer a solution, they are apparently being forgiven their past
sins. But the public is sure to remain wary of their new leaders.

Previous democratic governments, including those led by Mr Koirala,
have been inept, corrupt and short-lived. It was the politicians who
dissolved their own parliament in the first place, opening the way for
the king to seize power. As the crowds celebrated their victory this
week, their message was clear: don’t betray us again.

The road ahead is difficult. Nothing has been decided about how the
constituent assembly will work–and it is not even absolutely clear
that Mr Koirala will be able to convene one. Negotiations with the
rebels will be awkward and drawn out. Although they acknowledge that
they cannot win militarily, they have shown themselves to be shrewd,
and this week hardened their position publicly before getting down to
business.

International expertise in the highly technical process of supervising
a ceasefire, holding peace talks and organising elections will be
needed, though it is sure to be available if sought. Trials, or a
reconciliation effort, for crimes committed on both sides of the
conflict will play a role. Western aid money, reduced after the king’s
coup last year, should now flood back in, though Nepalis will hope that
donors perform better than in the past, when billions were spent to
little effect.

The democratic government will also want to bring the army under
control and dismantle whatever remains, once the dust settles, of the
palace’s power. Under the existing constitution, the army is answerable
only to the king. But Pyar Jung Thapa, the chief of staff, is sounding
co-operative, pledging loyalty to the new government and speaking of
absorbing rebels into the army under a peace deal.

And what of the king? His fate may be decided by the people if and when
they vote on a new constitution. This week many of his most despised
lieutenants were believed to have already fled; the country had no
functioning government for three days. Republican sentiment is running
high, although the two largest parties, and some foreign governments,
would like to see a purely ceremonial monarchy remain. But the Shah
dynasty has nothing to offer and King Gyanendra, a man of blood, may
have to go.

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Filed under Nepal, News from Nepal

Human Race: One or Many?

A few weeks ago, I had a conversation with my brother about Human diversity and it ended on the most popular topic in Human diversity–RACE. I had never expected to discuss such a topic after a couple of pitchers of beer at a bar. Although the R word is considered politically incorrect, it is probably one of the most discussed topics even today. Even without beer, it is important that we understand what race is all about.

To understand race, we need to consider the origin of the word itself. The concept of race was not coined by biologists; in fact, Darwin had mentioned that we all probably come from Africa. Biologically speaking there is one human species for, according to the Darwinian concept, as long as two fertile individuals can interbreed to produce fertile child, they cannot be considered two species. Up until now, there has been no incidence of two different looking people not producing fertile children because of intercaste/interracial marriage. If that were the case, the human population of the world would not be in billions. So, biologically all humans are one species.

But are species and race synonyms? Certainly not. Species is a biological word and race is not. Fine there is one species but can there not be subspecies? If so, can different subspecies level be considered various races? According to biologists, more than 98.9 % genes are similar in all humans. Therefore, we humans have very little differences to be even differentiated under subspecies. Besides, all our morphological differences are due to our adaptation to various environments we live in.

So, why is race so popular? The concept of race is the outcome of human history. When ancient travelers and sailors started the system of slavery, the slaves usually looked different. Based on morphology and so called ‘lack of culture’ and in the name of ‘civilization’ many peoples have suffered. Race was one way of justifying the injustice on the suppressed b the suppressor. It was never a widely accepted scientific concept.

There is no human race in science. The concept of race is unscientific so a biologist like me cannot explain the merits of race. However, even in cultural and social aspects, the concept of race can open Pandora’s Box. Already we have humans fighting with one another to prove one group is stronger and better than the other. The world has suffered enough violence to prove one culture is mightier than the other and such unnecessary violence continues even today. Why should we divide ourselves further and compartmentalize each other in this fake and hypothetical boundary of race? Will that not create more chaos more civil wars in desperation to prove one race is better than the other?

Humans are intelligent and social creatures and our strength is to accept differences among us. We now know that Neanderthals and even Homo erectus lived along with humans for thousands of years. It is probable that humans lived with them in peace but unfortunately, the other hominids were not able to keep up with technologically advanced modern humans. If our ancestors lived with various species of humans, why can we not live in harmony amongst ourselves, besides we all are global citizens…or at least moving towards being one.

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A new perspective on PCR: Amplifying Mammoth mtDNA

Joshua L. Pollack et. al.

Muchas Gracias to Dr. Allan Wilson of Cal for spending his Saturdays not in the Memorial Stadium or at Raleigh’s but at his lab. Dr. Wilson was a pioneer in using genetics to understand human origins and today his successors have extended it to beyond just humans but to anything that is alive or was once alive (like the mammoth).

In a seminar I attended, Professor Monty Slatkin and his postdoc Josh Pollack presented a paper “Multiplex amplification of the mammoth mitochondrial genome and the evolution of Elephantidae” that was published in Nature. The paper discussed a new technique involving PCR to amplify the whole mitochondrial genome of a wooly mammoth.

Usually PCR is used in labs to amplify a small piece of DNA and such amplified products are used for various purposes including evolutionary genetics, phylogenetics, and disease resistance. What happens in this process is that we use two known primers to bind to a part of DNA of interest and then amplify that fragment in multiple steps. While this process works for contemporary DNA, it poses some challenges to analyze ancient DNA. PCR is super sensitive to contamination and old DNA molecules have some degradation which is a form of contamination and thus are prone to errors. Besides the amplified products from old DNA are tiny (less than 2,000 bps). Due to this problem, there are lots of ambiguities while using genes to analyze history.

According to Pollack, his team has found a new technique to generate a much bigger fragment or even the whole mitochondrial DNA of prehistoric organisms using “multiplex polymerase chain reaction.” In this process, if I understand it right, two sets of primers are used for an initial amplification so that products of one set overlaps with those of the second set. The first set has some primers that bind to specific DNA and the second set has primers that cover the gap between the primers in the first set.

Thus these two sets can cover the entire mtDNA genome. After the initial amplification each amplified product can be used as templates for further amplifications. Thus, with samples that would be necessary for a typical PCR, the whole mtDNA genome can be recovered. They applied this technique on a wooly mammoth to isolate its whole mtDNA which was an astonishing discovery. After analyzing the mammoth mtDNA they concluded that the mammoth was more related to the Asian elephants not African elephants as previously assumed.

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Filed under Evolution, My Life My Thoughts