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Mammoth Blood in the ER?

A 35,000-year old woolly mammoth blood protein may aid in contemporary medical procedures.

By | September 19, 2011

Woolly Mammoth blood may lend clues to modern medicine.DEREK K MILLER, FLICKR

A cold-tolerant blood protein of the now-extinct woolly mammoth may be the next best thing for surgeries requiring doctors to induce artificial hypothermia, a medical treatment that reduces the risk of ischemic tissue injury after periods of insufficient blood flow.

Among other adaptations to the cold climates mammoths survived during the Pleistocene ice age more than 1 million years ago, the elephant-like mammals accumulated genetic mutations in their hemoglobin gene, which encodes the blood protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. To compare the pre-historic hemoglobin with that of modern elephants, scientists synthesized the blood protein in the laboratory by using fragmented DNA sequences from three different 25,000 to 43,000 year-old Siberian mammoths. The resulting hemoglobin, described in Biochemistry, had more robust temperature tolerance than either that of modern Asian elephants and humans, meaning it could still provide tissues with oxygen under freezing conditions.

The researchers suggested that the cold-tolerant hemoglobin may be useful to doctors performing heart and brain operations that require inducing artificial hypothermia, which drastically reduces a patient’s body temperature. Having already identified two mutations in the mammoths’ hemoglobin gene that could be responsible for this adaptation, they argue that the ancient protein could serve as a model for a new line of artificial hemoglobin-based oxygen carriers for use in surgery.

Correction: This story has been updated from its original version to remove the incorrect affiliation between the researchers and the American Chemical Society reported by TG Daily. The Scientist regrets the error.

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Avatar of: Ken Roy

Anonymous

September 20, 2011

This work was not done by scientists from The American Chemical Society. It was just published in Biochemistry, a journal of the ACS. The scientists were, in fact, from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the University of York, and the University of Manitoba.

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Posts: 0

September 20, 2011

This work was not done by scientists from The American Chemical Society. It was just published in Biochemistry, a journal of the ACS. The scientists were, in fact, from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the University of York, and the University of Manitoba.

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Posts: 0

September 20, 2011

This work was not done by scientists from The American Chemical Society. It was just published in Biochemistry, a journal of the ACS. The scientists were, in fact, from Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, the University of York, and the University of Manitoba.

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Posts: 0

September 23, 2011

Language is a wonderful thing.  A seemingly simple statement can be articulated in multiple ways, each denoting or, at least suggesting peripheral auxiliary postulations which, if challenged, can be explained away as "...not what I meant, and you're just reading that into it because you are biased," and things like that.

In all my reading I come across wordings that seem to imply that gametes have the characteristic of being able to "read" what is going on between long term environmental changes acting upon their hosts somatic cells and impacts upon transductions and holistic systemic dynamics, such that the gametes know what proactive interim increments of change will conduce to an appropriate inheritable feature (not to be confused with an acquired characteristic) over the course of many generations.

Did I say that right?

I never read any words that actually say whatever it is I was just trying to verbalize.  It just seems to be implied again, and again, and again, and again... and yet, when I ask a biologist I am told something that seems to me to be saying, "No, evolutionary adaptation is a result of the conservation of incidental random mutations, which if not useful are not conserved," or something to that approximate affect (effect?... whatever).

I've no intent to disagree.  I'm just curious what the latest is on the specific question of why, in my own casual observation, I see some evidence of vestigial stuff that doesn't seem to be in any hurry to go away, like thumbs on dogs, for example.  How long has it been since they used those little cutesy thingees?  So, okay, that hasn't been disposed of yet, and apendices seem to be hanging on a long time.  But I'm not arguing.  I'm just curious.  Why don't I see any random things like polar bear-like fur on a chihuahua now and then?  They would die of heat, maybe, and end that blood line, but I guess what I'm curious about is why I don't see any dead chihuahua puppies that died from the heat, from their parents' sharing a rare mutation for fur.

I understand the "it-takes-a-long-time" thing.  It's kind of like the question of how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb?  The stock answer to which is, "It only takes one, but it takes a long, long time, and the light bulb has to really want to change."  I get that.  And I'm not wanting to ask any question that has been over-asked, about how a series of random mutations is reinforced along the way to developing all the mutations required to complete a bridge which cannot be reinforced until a member of a successful trait can cross over and be welcomed with open arms by "environment" on the other side of the transition river.  Seriously, I'm not asking that one.

I'm just trying to learn here.  I'm genuinely curious.  I do read a lot, and I think, and some dots that satisfy others as to a picture of adaptation seem to reach for one another and not quite connect.

My mind is OPEN on this.

One of the many kinds of things, other than peer review journals and big fact books like Herman Melville and Herman J. Gould have written, and I get the impression that some writers feel that if they talk all around something long enough and obliquely enough the reader will be able to grasp and articulate what the author can't quite explicate.  That's okay.  I understand.  There seem to me to be two kinds of empiricism (not the Quine kind, exactly) but the kind that says out of one side of the mouth, "Nothing is science unless it is empirical," and then, out of the other side of the mouth, some things are self-evident and therefore do not require proof, like, for example, Newton's thing about an object not changing its vector unless acted upon by an external force.  The way you do the experiment is step outside the universe, this particular multiverse... whatever, toss a ball, trot alongside it for infinity and... oh, oh... what if your body distorts space-time a teensy little bit, and the ball distorts it a teensy little bit, and that corrupts the data.  But wait.  Does crazy stuff happen out there, too, where there is a perfect vacuum?  I mean, forget about the ball and the observer's body exploding, and just let me ask if things pop into and of existence in that vacuum like they do in some attempts at creating (whoops, not scientific... hmmmm...) in establishing a perfect vacuum in a laboratory.

I guess Quine does sort of have a point that it may only be the holism of science that makes sense, and if you try to take it apart some of the pieces don't stand the test of empirical corroboration or whatever.

I've read some of Noam Chomsky's ideas, too.  And the one that comes most blatantly to my mind right here and now is his assertion that a person who is sufficiently educated to be hired as a large periodical's reporter has been thoroughly inculcated with the reality that there are some things you just do not ask, or say.  And, Chomsky says, if you have NOT internalized that "proper" state of mind then you are not going to get, or keep, the job.  What's a good word for the absence of being "properly" inculcated with the limits of what you dare say or ask?  Objectivity?

Who was it who said being born with a high intelligence is more curse than gift?

I plagiarize myself sometimes.  Maybe it was I.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 23, 2011

Excuse me, please, for replying to my own comment, but what I set out to say was that I find this article to AVOID the kind of statement that I was referring to.  This is intended as a COMPLIMENT to the author.  This article, in utilizing the word "accumulated" in relation to the particular mutations discussed, does not seem to imply -- as many papers containing any form of the word "adapt" in reference to accumulated inheritable characteristics seem to me to -- suggest the existence of a proactive evolutionary mechanism.  My compliments to the author on that.  It is refreshing.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 23, 2011

Language is a wonderful thing.  A seemingly simple statement can be articulated in multiple ways, each denoting or, at least suggesting peripheral auxiliary postulations which, if challenged, can be explained away as "...not what I meant, and you're just reading that into it because you are biased," and things like that.

In all my reading I come across wordings that seem to imply that gametes have the characteristic of being able to "read" what is going on between long term environmental changes acting upon their hosts somatic cells and impacts upon transductions and holistic systemic dynamics, such that the gametes know what proactive interim increments of change will conduce to an appropriate inheritable feature (not to be confused with an acquired characteristic) over the course of many generations.

Did I say that right?

I never read any words that actually say whatever it is I was just trying to verbalize.  It just seems to be implied again, and again, and again, and again... and yet, when I ask a biologist I am told something that seems to me to be saying, "No, evolutionary adaptation is a result of the conservation of incidental random mutations, which if not useful are not conserved," or something to that approximate affect (effect?... whatever).

I've no intent to disagree.  I'm just curious what the latest is on the specific question of why, in my own casual observation, I see some evidence of vestigial stuff that doesn't seem to be in any hurry to go away, like thumbs on dogs, for example.  How long has it been since they used those little cutesy thingees?  So, okay, that hasn't been disposed of yet, and apendices seem to be hanging on a long time.  But I'm not arguing.  I'm just curious.  Why don't I see any random things like polar bear-like fur on a chihuahua now and then?  They would die of heat, maybe, and end that blood line, but I guess what I'm curious about is why I don't see any dead chihuahua puppies that died from the heat, from their parents' sharing a rare mutation for fur.

I understand the "it-takes-a-long-time" thing.  It's kind of like the question of how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb?  The stock answer to which is, "It only takes one, but it takes a long, long time, and the light bulb has to really want to change."  I get that.  And I'm not wanting to ask any question that has been over-asked, about how a series of random mutations is reinforced along the way to developing all the mutations required to complete a bridge which cannot be reinforced until a member of a successful trait can cross over and be welcomed with open arms by "environment" on the other side of the transition river.  Seriously, I'm not asking that one.

I'm just trying to learn here.  I'm genuinely curious.  I do read a lot, and I think, and some dots that satisfy others as to a picture of adaptation seem to reach for one another and not quite connect.

My mind is OPEN on this.

One of the many kinds of things, other than peer review journals and big fact books like Herman Melville and Herman J. Gould have written, and I get the impression that some writers feel that if they talk all around something long enough and obliquely enough the reader will be able to grasp and articulate what the author can't quite explicate.  That's okay.  I understand.  There seem to me to be two kinds of empiricism (not the Quine kind, exactly) but the kind that says out of one side of the mouth, "Nothing is science unless it is empirical," and then, out of the other side of the mouth, some things are self-evident and therefore do not require proof, like, for example, Newton's thing about an object not changing its vector unless acted upon by an external force.  The way you do the experiment is step outside the universe, this particular multiverse... whatever, toss a ball, trot alongside it for infinity and... oh, oh... what if your body distorts space-time a teensy little bit, and the ball distorts it a teensy little bit, and that corrupts the data.  But wait.  Does crazy stuff happen out there, too, where there is a perfect vacuum?  I mean, forget about the ball and the observer's body exploding, and just let me ask if things pop into and of existence in that vacuum like they do in some attempts at creating (whoops, not scientific... hmmmm...) in establishing a perfect vacuum in a laboratory.

I guess Quine does sort of have a point that it may only be the holism of science that makes sense, and if you try to take it apart some of the pieces don't stand the test of empirical corroboration or whatever.

I've read some of Noam Chomsky's ideas, too.  And the one that comes most blatantly to my mind right here and now is his assertion that a person who is sufficiently educated to be hired as a large periodical's reporter has been thoroughly inculcated with the reality that there are some things you just do not ask, or say.  And, Chomsky says, if you have NOT internalized that "proper" state of mind then you are not going to get, or keep, the job.  What's a good word for the absence of being "properly" inculcated with the limits of what you dare say or ask?  Objectivity?

Who was it who said being born with a high intelligence is more curse than gift?

I plagiarize myself sometimes.  Maybe it was I.

Avatar of:

Posts: 0

September 23, 2011

Excuse me, please, for replying to my own comment, but what I set out to say was that I find this article to AVOID the kind of statement that I was referring to.  This is intended as a COMPLIMENT to the author.  This article, in utilizing the word "accumulated" in relation to the particular mutations discussed, does not seem to imply -- as many papers containing any form of the word "adapt" in reference to accumulated inheritable characteristics seem to me to -- suggest the existence of a proactive evolutionary mechanism.  My compliments to the author on that.  It is refreshing.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

September 23, 2011

Language is a wonderful thing.  A seemingly simple statement can be articulated in multiple ways, each denoting or, at least suggesting peripheral auxiliary postulations which, if challenged, can be explained away as "...not what I meant, and you're just reading that into it because you are biased," and things like that.

In all my reading I come across wordings that seem to imply that gametes have the characteristic of being able to "read" what is going on between long term environmental changes acting upon their hosts somatic cells and impacts upon transductions and holistic systemic dynamics, such that the gametes know what proactive interim increments of change will conduce to an appropriate inheritable feature (not to be confused with an acquired characteristic) over the course of many generations.

Did I say that right?

I never read any words that actually say whatever it is I was just trying to verbalize.  It just seems to be implied again, and again, and again, and again... and yet, when I ask a biologist I am told something that seems to me to be saying, "No, evolutionary adaptation is a result of the conservation of incidental random mutations, which if not useful are not conserved," or something to that approximate affect (effect?... whatever).

I've no intent to disagree.  I'm just curious what the latest is on the specific question of why, in my own casual observation, I see some evidence of vestigial stuff that doesn't seem to be in any hurry to go away, like thumbs on dogs, for example.  How long has it been since they used those little cutesy thingees?  So, okay, that hasn't been disposed of yet, and apendices seem to be hanging on a long time.  But I'm not arguing.  I'm just curious.  Why don't I see any random things like polar bear-like fur on a chihuahua now and then?  They would die of heat, maybe, and end that blood line, but I guess what I'm curious about is why I don't see any dead chihuahua puppies that died from the heat, from their parents' sharing a rare mutation for fur.

I understand the "it-takes-a-long-time" thing.  It's kind of like the question of how many psychiatrists it takes to change a light bulb?  The stock answer to which is, "It only takes one, but it takes a long, long time, and the light bulb has to really want to change."  I get that.  And I'm not wanting to ask any question that has been over-asked, about how a series of random mutations is reinforced along the way to developing all the mutations required to complete a bridge which cannot be reinforced until a member of a successful trait can cross over and be welcomed with open arms by "environment" on the other side of the transition river.  Seriously, I'm not asking that one.

I'm just trying to learn here.  I'm genuinely curious.  I do read a lot, and I think, and some dots that satisfy others as to a picture of adaptation seem to reach for one another and not quite connect.

My mind is OPEN on this.

One of the many kinds of things, other than peer review journals and big fact books like Herman Melville and Herman J. Gould have written, and I get the impression that some writers feel that if they talk all around something long enough and obliquely enough the reader will be able to grasp and articulate what the author can't quite explicate.  That's okay.  I understand.  There seem to me to be two kinds of empiricism (not the Quine kind, exactly) but the kind that says out of one side of the mouth, "Nothing is science unless it is empirical," and then, out of the other side of the mouth, some things are self-evident and therefore do not require proof, like, for example, Newton's thing about an object not changing its vector unless acted upon by an external force.  The way you do the experiment is step outside the universe, this particular multiverse... whatever, toss a ball, trot alongside it for infinity and... oh, oh... what if your body distorts space-time a teensy little bit, and the ball distorts it a teensy little bit, and that corrupts the data.  But wait.  Does crazy stuff happen out there, too, where there is a perfect vacuum?  I mean, forget about the ball and the observer's body exploding, and just let me ask if things pop into and of existence in that vacuum like they do in some attempts at creating (whoops, not scientific... hmmmm...) in establishing a perfect vacuum in a laboratory.

I guess Quine does sort of have a point that it may only be the holism of science that makes sense, and if you try to take it apart some of the pieces don't stand the test of empirical corroboration or whatever.

I've read some of Noam Chomsky's ideas, too.  And the one that comes most blatantly to my mind right here and now is his assertion that a person who is sufficiently educated to be hired as a large periodical's reporter has been thoroughly inculcated with the reality that there are some things you just do not ask, or say.  And, Chomsky says, if you have NOT internalized that "proper" state of mind then you are not going to get, or keep, the job.  What's a good word for the absence of being "properly" inculcated with the limits of what you dare say or ask?  Objectivity?

Who was it who said being born with a high intelligence is more curse than gift?

I plagiarize myself sometimes.  Maybe it was I.

Avatar of: Guest

Anonymous

September 23, 2011

Excuse me, please, for replying to my own comment, but what I set out to say was that I find this article to AVOID the kind of statement that I was referring to.  This is intended as a COMPLIMENT to the author.  This article, in utilizing the word "accumulated" in relation to the particular mutations discussed, does not seem to imply -- as many papers containing any form of the word "adapt" in reference to accumulated inheritable characteristics seem to me to -- suggest the existence of a proactive evolutionary mechanism.  My compliments to the author on that.  It is refreshing.

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