a virus bag of tricks, exploit that barge, acoustic pinch me

Scientists Discover New Surprise in a Virus’ Bag of Tricks

Yale University researchers have discovered a novel viral survival strategy, an insight that could help scientists better understand how viruses contribute to diseases such as cancer and AIDS.

Viruses have developed a substantial bag of molecular tricks that help them hijack a cell’s own internal machinery and reproduce in huge quantities. Many of these tricks help the virus insert genetic instructions coded by DNA or RNA into the host cell and fool the cell into mass-producing copies of the virus.

However, the newly discovered trick, reported in the June 18 edition of the journal Science, involves tiny snippets of genetic material called microRNAs that do not code for gene products. Instead, these non-coding RNAs regulate the activity of other genes.

The Yale team found that Herpesvirus saimiri, a virus that infects monkeys and can cause cancers, seems to have copied other non-coding bits of RNA from the host cell. One of these non-coding RNAs adopted by the virus interferes with the ability of microRNAs made by the host cell to regulate its own genes.

One of the arguments in favor of predetermination is that genes are destiny. The big picture remains even if the minute details are changeable. That would main viruses are destiny. Making new copies of itself via hijacking one’s genes is your destiny caught up with the destiny of a virus. An organism that occupies a peculiar place in how one defines what life actually is. Or maybe this alien-like invasion of our bodies is part one organism’s free will at the expense of another. While we do not conscientiously encode our RNA and the subsequent proteins, that process is something that we would think of as a unique function required for survival of the animal body, controlled by a code that has evolved over millions of years to make a human a human or a cactus a cactus. A literally mindless – in the sense that we think of a brain and consciousness – virus seems to be capable of taking over control of something that we rely on nature’s programming for. Yet, many viruses do not kill the host and the host can function with a virus wreaking havoc – the common cold. Makes you wonder how much viruses have been entangled with the evolution of complex life forms.

planned chaos

Bill O’Reilly Spins and Distorts Gulf Spill Barge Story

Brassel said the barges are now “back in operating order.”

On Thursday night, the Incident Commander in Houma, Roger Laferriere, decided with the captain of the port in New Orleans to inspect the barges when they realized the ships did not have a certificate of inspection to demonstrate safety equipment on board. Thursday morning, the ships were inspected and grounded because they did not have the proper fire-fighting and life-saving equipment. There were also concerns about the stability of the barges. During the day Thursday, the problems were fixed, and the barges are back out on the water today.

As Media Matters notes 11 people have been killed so far because of the Gulf spill. It was O’Reilly’s considered judgment that spinning the barge story as a political ax against the White House was more important than considering more lives might be lost because of flouting yet more safety regulations. Life does appear to be cheap. It is worth exactly the amount of exploitation the right-wing media can milk from distortions and a lot of twisted opinions.

If only the world could hear you sing with the acoustics of your bathroom. Real life test – Barenaked Ladies – Pinch Me (The Bathroom Sessions)