Recycling… Identity issues…

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The secret to a long life? For worms, a cellular recycling protein is key. Scientists at Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute have shown that worms live longer lives if they produce excess levels of a protein, p62, which recognizes toxic cell proteins that are tagged for destruction. The discovery, published in Nature Communications, could help uncover treatments for age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, which are often caused by accumulation of misfolded proteins.

“Research, including our own, has shown that lifespan can be extended by enhancing autophagy – the process cells use to degrade and recycle old, broken and damaged cell components”, says Malene Hansen, Ph.D., a professor in the Development, Aging and Regeneration Program at Sanford Burnham Prebys and senior author of the study. “Prior to this work, we understood that autophagy as a process was linked to aging, but the impact of p62, a selective autophagy protein, on longevity was unknown”. (1)

There you go.

Recycle old material and you will live longer.

But will that new ship built with new material be the same as the old ship which started the sail?

Will you recognize your mother when you get back home?

Questions we do not care about.

Because unfortunately modern man has chosen not to return home…

And on that new ship we set sails.

All into the dark sea.

Storm raging. Thunders and rain.

You believe these are obstacles toward your goal.

But they are just a calling back home…

Where our old ship is waiting.

To carry us where we need to go…

Inevitable life. Inevitable death…

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To help answer one of the great existential questions — how did life begin? — a study combines biological and cosmological models. Professor Tomonori Totani from the Department of Astronomy looked at how life’s building blocks could spontaneously form in the universe — a process known as abiogenesis.

As the only life we know of is based on Earth, studies on life’s origins are limited to the specific conditions we find here. Therefore, most research in this area looks at the most basic components common to all known living things: ribonucleic acid, or RNA. This is a far simpler and more essential molecule than the more famous deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, that defines how we are put together. But RNA is still orders of magnitude more complex than the kinds of chemicals one tends to find floating around in space or stuck to the face of a lifeless planet.

“In contemporary cosmology, it is agreed the universe underwent a period of rapid inflation producing a vast region of expansion beyond the horizon of what we can directly observe. Factoring this greater volume into models of abiogenesis hugely increases the chances of life occuring.”, a researcher explained.

Indeed, the observable universe contains about 10 sextillion (10^22) stars. Statistically speaking, the matter in such a volume should only be able to produce RNA of about 20 nucleotides. But it’s calculated that, thanks to rapid inflation, the universe may contain more than 1 googol (10^100) stars, and if this is the case then more complex, life-sustaining RNA structures are more than just probable, they’re practically inevitable. (1)

Inevitable life, we say.

Sounds like a joke.

Driving you away from home.

And day by day, you forget.

That there was a time when life was not.

At an era when existence was a fault.

Feel your own self.

Ask the right questions.

Inevitable life.

Inevitable death!

In the midst of the storm…

Can you stop laughing?

Evolution. Dark DNA.

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Scientists long assumed that new genes appear when evolution tinkers with old ones. There are studies suggesting that genes do not always evolve from existing ones, as biologists long supposed. Instead, some are fashioned from desolate stretches of the genome that do not code for any functional molecules. For example in the fish genomes, there are hints that this might be the case: the antifreeze protein — essential to the cod’s survival — has seemingly been built from scratch. (1)

In other news, a research group has discovered a novel cancer-driving mutation in the vast non-coding regions of the human cancer genome, also known as the ‘dark matter’ of human cancer DNA. (2)

Funny, but (philosophically) totally expected.

It is not the useful which produces something useful.

Look from a distance and you will see.

Everything is useless. Until they are useful in some way.

Everything is useful. Until they stop being such.

Stop defining something from its results.

And you will see light even in the deepest darkness…

Father. Mother. Cosmos…

It was long thought that during an embryo’s first cell division, one spindle is responsible for segregating the embryo’s chromosomes into two cells. Scientists now show that there are actually two spindles, one for each set of parental chromosomes, meaning that the genetic information from each parent is kept apart throughout the first division. (1)

Molded in fire.

Opposites in constant war.

A cosmos in turmoil.

Look at that beautiful day.

There is a tornado behind it.

Father. Mother…

I can feel it…

How peaceful…

A universe in fire…

Deadly life…

A once-maligned genetic parasite may actually be essential for survival.

Mouse embryos need that genetic freeloader — a type of jumping gene causing mutations, or transposon, called LINE-1 — to continue developing past the two-cell stage, researchers reported in Cell.

Transposons certainly can hop into and break genes, and cells deploy numerous tools to prevent the jumping genes from making RNA and protein copies of themselves. But, in early development, LINE-1 is turned on nearly full blast, packing RNA into embryonic cells as well as “germline” cells, which later give rise to eggs and sperm.

To see what the jumping gene was doing in the cells, scientists used a short piece of RNA that could pair up with LINE-1 RNA and cause the transposon to be degraded, essentially turning off the jumping gene. (The researchers couldn’t simply remove LINE-1 from a cell; there are thousands of copies) Without LINE-1 RNA, embryonic stem cells stopped making more of themselves and mouse embryos failed to progress past the two-cell stage of development. (1)

Meet life.

In death.

Look into the ground you step upon.

For mother Earth, life and death were never important.

Live. Die. Be.

This is the essence of life.

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