The unforgettable final scene of The Fly features a poor little fly stuck in a spider's web, screaming “Help me! Help me!” before being crushed to death. Although scientists in the real world don’t have disintegrator-integrator devices that could accidentally swap body parts between humans and flies, there are many remarkable genetic mutations that scientists can study to better understand how our bodies develop and why we have certain diseases. Many of these were first discovered in the fruit fly. Here are a few of these monstrous mutations for your viewing pleasure - hope they don’t give you nightmares!
Earlier this year, the American Society for Microbiology hosted its second annual Agar Art competition. In this competition, individuals created art using Petri dishes filled with bacterial growth agar, a gelatinous substance containing nutrients needed for bacterial growth. Microbes are etched onto the agar surface, invisible at first, but then after a period of growth, the microbes reveal themselves creating designs on the agar plates. Each piece is accompanied by a caption describing the imagery and the science used in the making of the agar art. After the submission process, the public votes for their favorite piece(s) on social media.
This year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to three outstanding scientists for revolutionizing the field of nanomachines. To put this in perspective, for a person to be on the same scale as one of these machines, they would have to shrink approximately one billion times, putting them on the same scale as atoms and molecules. The ingenuity, creativity and imagination of Drs. Sauvage, Stoddart, and Frenga is reflected in their work constructing precise molecular structures, including rotating molecular rings, nanomotors, and nanocars.
What does it mean for our cells to be alive after we are no longer living? Some researchers believe they may have found a way to answer this question using genomics. Enter the thanatotranscriptome and the discovery of zombie genes, genes that “wake up” in our cells after we die.
What’s notable about this paper is not the paradigm-shifting finding that zombie genes may exist, but that unbeknownst to the public, the scientific community actively retaliated against the supposition.
Now that the world is aware of this strange scientific term and Hollywood filmmakers have begun dreaming up ways to incorporate the terrifying idea of cellular cannibalism into their latest blockbuster horror films, the time seems right to answer some pressing questions about autophagy, and why it is important enough to have been honored with the 2016 Nobel prize in medicine.
Women have made essential contributions to how we understand the world around us, from discovering new elements and sub-atomic particles to advancing modern psychology. However, they are often left out of history books and popular discourse while their male colleagues are celebrated. In her new book Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, author and illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky spotlights fifty women who have made, and are currently making, invaluable breakthroughs in science. Illustrated in bold, beautiful colors on a dark background, each woman is depicted doing the work she loves next to a brief biography and fun facts about her life. Signal to Noise had the chance to talk with Ignotofsky about her book and the inspiration behind it.
Where do nanoscience, spray paint, geology, wood blocks, astronomy, and biology come together? An art gallery. TheenTANGLEment exhibition, curated by Bob Nidever and displayed at TRUNK Gallery in Venice, California, had its grand opening September 10 and is an examination of how art and science interact and influence each other