“Look again at that dot. That’s here. That’s home. That’s us. On it everyone you love, everyone you know, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever was, lived out their lives. The aggregate of our joy and suffering, thousands of confident religions, ideologies, and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilization, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every mother and father, hopeful child, inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every “superstar,” every “supreme leader,” every saint and sinner in the history of our species lived there–on a mote of dust suspended in a sunbeam.” - Carl Sagan
“MicroRNAs from plants accumulate in mammalian blood and tissues, where they can regulate gene expression.”
So, basically microRNAs are these very short sequences of RNA that can modulate gene expression by binding to messenger RNA (mRNA). More specifically, MiRNAs are post-transcriptional regulators involved in translational repression by binding to complementary sequences on target mRNA transcripts.
The big news in this article is thus: as we unravel the modulation of gene expression, we’re learning that microRNAs might be influcening gene expression across kindgoms.
IN A NUTSHELL: It looks like it’s highly possibly that the rice you had in your lunch might be altering how and when your body expresses its own genes.
I have such a boner right now.
A year ago, when chemotherapy stopped working against his leukemia, William Ludwig signed up to be the first patient treated in a bold experiment at the University of Pennsylvania. Mr. Ludwig, then 65, a retired corrections officer from Bridgeton, N.J., felt his life draining away and thought he had nothing to lose.
Doctors removed a billion of his T-cells — a type of white blood cell that fights viruses and tumors — and gave them new genes that would program the cells to attack his cancer. Then the altered cells were dripped back into Mr. Ludwig’s veins.
At first, nothing happened. But after 10 days, hell broke loose in his hospital room. He began shaking with chills. His temperature shot up. His blood pressure shot down. He became so ill that doctors moved him into intensive care and warned that he might die. His family gathered at the hospital, fearing the worst.
A few weeks later, the fevers were gone. And so was the leukemia.
There was no trace of it anywhere — no leukemic cells in his blood or bone marrow, no more bulging lymph nodes on his CT scan. His doctors calculated that the treatment had killed off two pounds of cancer cells.
Trying not to get overexcited about this, but this whole article is absolutely fascinating.
Bolded, italicized, and underlined by me.
Also in the News: Sky, Blue; Grass, Green; You Can Pizza For All Meals of Day,
And I don’t care what else anyone has ever told you, the Sun is white, not yellow. Human color perception is a complicated business, but if the Sun were yellow, like a yellow lightbulb, then white stuff such as snow would reflect this light and appear yellow—a snow condition confirmed to happen only near fire hydrants.
In Death by Black Hole
This will always be true, and Neil Degrasse Tyson will always be awesome.
Neil Degrasse Tyson says:
UV is bad for molecules because its high energy breaks the bonds between a molecule’s constituent atoms. That’s why UV is bad for you, too: it’s always best to avoid things that decompose the molecules of your flesh.
[there may be more of these coming]