Chicken or Egg

Genomics tidbits

Hilary Miller Jul 14, 2010

Its been a little quiet round these parts over the past month, as the daily juggle between motherhood, work and blogging usually ends in me dropping the blogging ball.  I do have a couple of posts in the works, but in the meantime here’s a few tidbits from the past week in the genomics world [...] … Read More

The taxonomic affinities of Big Bird

Hilary Miller Jul 06, 2010

I’m not talking about any big bird, but THE Big Bird, the one who hangs out on Sesame Street. Mike Dickison, zoologist and information design specialist in Christchurch, gave this talk at a recent pecha-kucha event (a pecha-kucha is a talk in which 20 slides play for exactly 20 seconds each, and the speaker tries [...] … Read More

Quote on exploratory research

Hilary Miller Jun 23, 2010

I just came across this quote from Marie Curie on Christie Wilcox’s blog, Observations of a Nerd, which I thought followed on quite nicely from the recent TED talk I posted about on the benefits of exploratory research. “We must not forget that when radium was discovered no one knew that it would prove useful [...] … Read More

A plea for exploratory research

Hilary Miller Jun 08, 2010

On more than one occasion I’ve been asked what the commercial applications of my research are, usually by people who have no background in science themselves. When I tell them I do basic research in evolutionary genetics that doesn’t have any commercial application there often follows outrage that the government actually gives out money to pursue this research [...] … Read More

What are the limits of non-stop flight?

Hilary Miller May 14, 2010

In 2007, an Alaskan bar-tailed godwit (Limosa lapponica baueri) flew 11,000 kms over 8 days from Siberia to New Zealand.  Nonstop.  Thats without feeding, sitting down on the ocean to rest, or calling in for a break at a tropical island on the way.  In Plos Biology this week, Anders Hedenström looks at the physiological [...] … Read More

Mammoth hemoglobin back from the dead

Hilary Miller May 05, 2010

While we’re on the subject of extinct species, Prof Kevin Campbell and colleagues in Canada and Australia have reported resurrecting mammoth hemoglobin in a paper out this week in Nature Genetics.  This won’t help at all with cloning a mammoth, but provides a fascinating insight into mammoth physiology and evolution. Hemoglobin is the protein which transports oxygen [...] … Read More

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The statistics of the ultimate TED talk

Hilary Miller May 04, 2010

TED.com is one of my favourite websites – every week they have fantastic new talks from “the worlds most fascinating thinkers and doers”.  This weeks highlight is this talk from Sebastian Wernicke, where he does the stats on what makes the “most favorited” TED talks, and comes up with how to construct the ultimate TED [...] … Read More

Cloning extinct species #1: A how-to guide

Hilary Miller Apr 30, 2010

 Fancy seeing herds of mammoths running across the tundra, moa crashing through the undergrowth, or perhaps a tasmanian tiger lurking in the Aussie bush? Well in the near future these images might not just be the stuff of far-fetched Hollywood movie plots.  Advances in molecular biology and genomics mean that the ability to clone extinct [...] … Read More