zeldathemes
scigrrrl

Welcome to the blog extension of the scigrrrl zine series! This blog (and the zine) includes everything under the umbrella of feminist science studies (aka where my love for both feminism and science intersects). Feedback, constructive criticism, and questions are greatly appreciated!
shychemist:

mindblowingscience:

Is Booze Tasty, or Bitter? Your Genes Decide

Whether or not you like the taste of alcohol may be in your genes, new research suggests.

In the study, people with one version of a bitterness taste receptor gene said they found an alcoholic drink to be less bitter-tasting than those with a different version of the gene, according to the findings published today (Sept. 23) in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.
"The two genes, that had been previously associated with [alcohol] intake, also associated with differences in the perception of ethanol," said study author Dr. John E. Hayes, of the Sensory Evaluation Center at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park. "The reason this work is significant is because it fills in this gap, because no one had shown in the lab that the alcohol actually tastes differently depending on which [version of the gene] you have.”


People who find the taste of alcohol less bitter may be more inclined to start drinking, Hayes said, which could have implications for identifying those at risk of becoming problem drinkers. “It seems unlikely the taste of alcohol matters at all once someone is alcohol-dependent,” Hayes said, although he noted this was speculation on his part. “Still, taste genetics may be an important risk factor before someone becomes dependent.”
Humans have 25 genes that encode for taste receptors on the tongue that perceive bitterness, Hayes said. He and his colleagues looked at variants in two of these genes, called TAS2R13 and TAS2R38, in 93 healthy people of European ancestry, as well as variants in a gene called TRPV1, which codes for a receptor involved in perceiving “burning” or “stinging” sensations in the mouth.
The study participants rated the overall intensity of a drink that was 16 percent alcohol, which they sipped and then spit out, and also scored their taste sensations for three minutes after a cotton swab soaked with 50 percent alcohol solution was applied on the back of their tongue.
There were three places in the TAS2R38 gene where a change in the gene’s code was associated with bitterness perception, the researchers found. Everyone carries two copies of the gene; in the study, those with two copies of the most sensitive version of the gene perceived the alcohol to be the most bitter, and those with two copies of the least sensitive version of the gene found it the least bitter, and other individuals fell in between.
"We would expect about 25 percent of the population to have two of the really sensitive forms, 25 percent insensitive, and 50 percent in the middle," Hayes said.
People’s versions of the TAS2R38 gene have also been linked to their food preferences, and the gene is believed to explain why a minority of people are “supertasters,” who are more averse to bitter veggies like kale and cabbage, as well as beverages like coffee and grapefruit juice.
Past studies suggest that having just one of the more sensitive versions of TAS2R38 is enough to suppress people’s alcohol intake, Hayes noted. He pointed to a 2004 study that found people with two sensitive forms of the TAS2R38 gene reported drinking about 134 drinks a year, versus 188 drinks per year for those whose two copies differed from each other, and nearly 290 drinks per year for those with two copies of the less-sensitive version.
The researchers also found that one variant of the TAS2R13 gene and three variants of the TRPV1 gene were associated with how intense the alcohol tasted to the study participants. 
Hayes said he and his colleagues would like to conduct a prospective study that follows college freshman over time to see if the bitterness taste genes influence their risk of becoming future problem drinkers.
But it’s important to remember, he added, that a host of cultural and environmental factors contribute to a person’s drinking behavior. Still, he said, “the idea that one little biological factor could seemingly have such a large role is pretty stunning.”


I’m pretty sure I have these genes. Most alcohol I can’t drink because it tastes so awful. X_X I wouldn’t be surprised if I were a supertaster either. I’ve always been a very picky eater and foods that other people don’t notice I complain about their taste.

shychemist:

mindblowingscience:

Is Booze Tasty, or Bitter? Your Genes Decide

Whether or not you like the taste of alcohol may be in your genes, new research suggests.

In the study, people with one version of a bitterness taste receptor gene said they found an alcoholic drink to be less bitter-tasting than those with a different version of the gene, according to the findings published today (Sept. 23) in the journal Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research.

"The two genes, that had been previously associated with [alcohol] intake, also associated with differences in the perception of ethanol," said study author Dr. John E. Hayes, of the Sensory Evaluation Center at The Pennsylvania State University in University Park. "The reason this work is significant is because it fills in this gap, because no one had shown in the lab that the alcohol actually tastes differently depending on which [version of the gene] you have.”

People who find the taste of alcohol less bitter may be more inclined to start drinking, Hayes said, which could have implications for identifying those at risk of becoming problem drinkers. “It seems unlikely the taste of alcohol matters at all once someone is alcohol-dependent,” Hayes said, although he noted this was speculation on his part. “Still, taste genetics may be an important risk factor before someone becomes dependent.”

Humans have 25 genes that encode for taste receptors on the tongue that perceive bitterness, Hayes said. He and his colleagues looked at variants in two of these genes, called TAS2R13 and TAS2R38, in 93 healthy people of European ancestry, as well as variants in a gene called TRPV1, which codes for a receptor involved in perceiving “burning” or “stinging” sensations in the mouth.

The study participants rated the overall intensity of a drink that was 16 percent alcohol, which they sipped and then spit out, and also scored their taste sensations for three minutes after a cotton swab soaked with 50 percent alcohol solution was applied on the back of their tongue.

There were three places in the TAS2R38 gene where a change in the gene’s code was associated with bitterness perception, the researchers found. Everyone carries two copies of the gene; in the study, those with two copies of the most sensitive version of the gene perceived the alcohol to be the most bitter, and those with two copies of the least sensitive version of the gene found it the least bitter, and other individuals fell in between.

"We would expect about 25 percent of the population to have two of the really sensitive forms, 25 percent insensitive, and 50 percent in the middle," Hayes said.

People’s versions of the TAS2R38 gene have also been linked to their food preferences, and the gene is believed to explain why a minority of people are “supertasters,” who are more averse to bitter veggies like kale and cabbage, as well as beverages like coffee and grapefruit juice.

Past studies suggest that having just one of the more sensitive versions of TAS2R38 is enough to suppress people’s alcohol intake, Hayes noted. He pointed to a 2004 study that found people with two sensitive forms of the TAS2R38 gene reported drinking about 134 drinks a year, versus 188 drinks per year for those whose two copies differed from each other, and nearly 290 drinks per year for those with two copies of the less-sensitive version.

The researchers also found that one variant of the TAS2R13 gene and three variants of the TRPV1 gene were associated with how intense the alcohol tasted to the study participants. 

Hayes said he and his colleagues would like to conduct a prospective study that follows college freshman over time to see if the bitterness taste genes influence their risk of becoming future problem drinkers.

But it’s important to remember, he added, that a host of cultural and environmental factors contribute to a person’s drinking behavior. Still, he said, “the idea that one little biological factor could seemingly have such a large role is pretty stunning.”

I’m pretty sure I have these genes. Most alcohol I can’t drink because it tastes so awful. X_X

I wouldn’t be surprised if I were a supertaster either. I’ve always been a very picky eater and foods that other people don’t notice I complain about their taste.

scinote:

image

Question:

I’ve read previously that scientists have figured out the geometry of the universe and it is flat. How then, can there be wormholes? If wormholes are two sections of spacetime connected, then wouldn’t the fabric of the universe have to be curved?

Asked by…

neuromorphogenesis:

UNDERSTANDING THE PHENOMENON OF SYNESTHESIA

The number 3 is color orange and January is moody, according to synesthetes. They are blessed with the natural ability, thought to be passed on by genes, of a blending of senses, in which the brain’s sensory centers remain connected on two levels.

by MEZZMER

a person’s a person no matter how small
Dr. Seuss, a pro-choice advocate who publicly donated to Planned Parenthood and actively sued pro-life organizations for using this as a slogan. Stop using this to justify your bullshit pro-life ideals. Not even the original author of the phrase agrees with you.  (via celestialfucker)
we-are-star-stuff:

Virgin births: Do we need sex to reproduce?
Fatherless pregnancies happen in nature more than we thought, so what’s stopping human beings from doing the same?
It’s hard to be a woman. As if doing the reproductive heavy lifting wasn’t bad enough, nature played a cosmic prank in making women need men to complete the task, and giving them a limited window in which to have children.
Perhaps it would be simpler if women could go it alone. After all, not all animals are so hung up on sex. As New Scientist reported earlier this year, virgin births in nature are common. The females of several large and complex animals, such as lizards and sharks, can reproduce without males, a process called parthenogenesis – and now we’re realising it happens in the wild more often than we thought.
So could humans learn this biological trick, allowing women to fall pregnant on their own schedule – without men getting in the way?
It’s a given that, at the very least, women need sperm if they are to conceive. But there’s no reason why that source of sperm ought to be a man. Ten years ago, Japanese researchers unveiled a mouse that had two mothers but no father. Named Kaguya, after a mythical moon princess born in a bamboo stalk, she was created in a laboratory by combining genetic material from two female mice.
With a little bit of help, stem cells from a female donor can be induced to grow into sperm cells – something that would never normally occur. So it might be possible to create a child from two mothers, each of whom contributed half the genetic material. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, as Dr Allan Pacey, a reproductive biologist at the University of Sheffield, explains: “We can make something that looks like a sperm cell down a microscope, but whether it is programmed genetically in the same way is a really difficult thing to establish. I don’t know if there’s a way to check that except to use the sperm and see if the babies develop normally. You can do that in rats and mice but it’s a big step potentially to do that in a human.”
Even if researchers could clear that roadblock, a partner is still required. What if women didn’t need a second person?
In the wild, most females that resort to parthenogenesis do so only when it is strictly necessary – typically when they have become isolated from any males. Should several female komodo dragons wash up on a virgin island, they’ll be able produce males and kick start a brand new colony. Likewise, parthenogenesis in sharks came to light after several incidents in which lone females kept in aquariums inexplicably fell pregnant. But these are testing times for the animals. “Most large animals do not reproduce asexually, because evolutionarily it is not in their interest to do so,” says Pacey. They lose the genetic diversity that keeps a population healthy, he explains.
In theory, it might be possible to produce a child from one woman’s genetic material in the laboratory. The price they would pay, however, would be an alarming genetic bottleneck. When a gene pool is small, the risk of birth defects and other illnesses rises. Take the European royal families, nearly all of which are in some way related. Prognathism, a deformity that causes the lower jaw to jut out, is so common within the European royals that they lent the condition its common name, the Habsburg lip. Poor Prince Charles II of Spain suffered such an extended jaw that he could not even eat properly. In a normal population this condition would be diluted out, but in the tightly-knit European royals it emerged again and again.
Just as inbreeding reduces genetic diversity of a population, self-fertilisation can reduce the genetic diversity of your offspring. If you chose to reproduce entirely on your own, your child would only have one parent, and thus half the genetic diversity available to a normal child. Each subsequent generation of single-parent reproduction would continue that trend, with the increasing risk that normally hidden defects would surface. In this manner, your offspring would suffer a collapse in genetic diversity far worse than any European royal faced. “It’s not a good road to go down,” says Pacey. “You would only really want to do this for one generation or two.”
[Continue Reading →]

we-are-star-stuff:

Virgin births: Do we need sex to reproduce?

Fatherless pregnancies happen in nature more than we thought, so what’s stopping human beings from doing the same?

It’s hard to be a woman. As if doing the reproductive heavy lifting wasn’t bad enough, nature played a cosmic prank in making women need men to complete the task, and giving them a limited window in which to have children.

Perhaps it would be simpler if women could go it alone. After all, not all animals are so hung up on sex. As New Scientist reported earlier this year, virgin births in nature are common. The females of several large and complex animals, such as lizards and sharks, can reproduce without males, a process called parthenogenesis – and now we’re realising it happens in the wild more often than we thought.

So could humans learn this biological trick, allowing women to fall pregnant on their own schedule – without men getting in the way?

It’s a given that, at the very least, women need sperm if they are to conceive. But there’s no reason why that source of sperm ought to be a man. Ten years ago, Japanese researchers unveiled a mouse that had two mothers but no father. Named Kaguya, after a mythical moon princess born in a bamboo stalk, she was created in a laboratory by combining genetic material from two female mice.

With a little bit of help, stem cells from a female donor can be induced to grow into sperm cells – something that would never normally occur. So it might be possible to create a child from two mothers, each of whom contributed half the genetic material. Of course, it’s not quite that simple, as Dr Allan Pacey, a reproductive biologist at the University of Sheffield, explains: “We can make something that looks like a sperm cell down a microscope, but whether it is programmed genetically in the same way is a really difficult thing to establish. I don’t know if there’s a way to check that except to use the sperm and see if the babies develop normally. You can do that in rats and mice but it’s a big step potentially to do that in a human.”

Even if researchers could clear that roadblock, a partner is still required. What if women didn’t need a second person?

In the wild, most females that resort to parthenogenesis do so only when it is strictly necessary – typically when they have become isolated from any males. Should several female komodo dragons wash up on a virgin island, they’ll be able produce males and kick start a brand new colony. Likewise, parthenogenesis in sharks came to light after several incidents in which lone females kept in aquariums inexplicably fell pregnant. But these are testing times for the animals. “Most large animals do not reproduce asexually, because evolutionarily it is not in their interest to do so,” says Pacey. They lose the genetic diversity that keeps a population healthy, he explains.

In theory, it might be possible to produce a child from one woman’s genetic material in the laboratory. The price they would pay, however, would be an alarming genetic bottleneck. When a gene pool is small, the risk of birth defects and other illnesses rises. Take the European royal families, nearly all of which are in some way related. Prognathism, a deformity that causes the lower jaw to jut out, is so common within the European royals that they lent the condition its common name, the Habsburg lip. Poor Prince Charles II of Spain suffered such an extended jaw that he could not even eat properly. In a normal population this condition would be diluted out, but in the tightly-knit European royals it emerged again and again.

Just as inbreeding reduces genetic diversity of a population, self-fertilisation can reduce the genetic diversity of your offspring. If you chose to reproduce entirely on your own, your child would only have one parent, and thus half the genetic diversity available to a normal child. Each subsequent generation of single-parent reproduction would continue that trend, with the increasing risk that normally hidden defects would surface. In this manner, your offspring would suffer a collapse in genetic diversity far worse than any European royal faced. “It’s not a good road to go down,” says Pacey. “You would only really want to do this for one generation or two.”

[Continue Reading →]

triapus:

OLD MAC DONALD HAD A FARM…

triapus:

OLD MAC DONALD HAD A FARM…

image

wizardsquad:

PERFECTION

wizardsquad:

PERFECTION

College students can now get microsoft office for free

melthemuslim:

Just go here and sign up with your college email. You can install it on up to 5 PCs or Macs and on other mobile devices, including Windows tablets and iPads.

anthrocentric:

Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your GenesYour ancestors’ lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.

Darwin and Freud walk into a bar. Two alcoholic mice — a mother and her son — sit on two bar stools, lapping gin from two thimbles.
The mother mouse looks up and says, “Hey, geniuses, tell me how my son got into this sorry state.”
“Bad inheritance,” says Darwin.
“Bad mothering,” says Freud.
For over a hundred years, those two views — nature or nurture, biology or psychology — offered opposing explanations for how behaviors develop and persist, not only within a single individual but across generations.
And then, in 1992, two young scientists following in Freud’s and Darwin’s footsteps actually did walk into a bar. And by the time they walked out, a few beers later, they had begun to forge a revolutionary new synthesis of how life experiences could directly affect your genes — and not only your own life experiences, but those of your mother’s, grandmother’s and beyond.
The bar was in Madrid, where the Cajal Institute, Spain’s oldest academic center for the study of neurobiology, was holding an international meeting. Moshe Szyf, a molecular biologist and geneticist at McGill University in Montreal, had never studied psychology or neurology, but he had been talked into attending by a colleague who thought his work might have some application. Likewise, Michael Meaney, a McGill neurobiologist, had been talked into attending by the same colleague, who thought Meaney’s research into animal models of maternal neglect might benefit from Szyf’s perspective.
[read more]

anthrocentric:

Grandma’s Experiences Leave a Mark on Your Genes
Your ancestors’ lousy childhoods or excellent adventures might change your personality, bequeathing anxiety or resilience by altering the epigenetic expressions of genes in the brain.

Darwin and Freud walk into a bar. Two alcoholic mice — a mother and her son — sit on two bar stools, lapping gin from two thimbles.

The mother mouse looks up and says, “Hey, geniuses, tell me how my son got into this sorry state.”

“Bad inheritance,” says Darwin.

“Bad mothering,” says Freud.

For over a hundred years, those two views — nature or nurture, biology or psychology — offered opposing explanations for how behaviors develop and persist, not only within a single individual but across generations.

And then, in 1992, two young scientists following in Freud’s and Darwin’s footsteps actually did walk into a bar. And by the time they walked out, a few beers later, they had begun to forge a revolutionary new synthesis of how life experiences could directly affect your genes — and not only your own life experiences, but those of your mother’s, grandmother’s and beyond.

The bar was in Madrid, where the Cajal Institute, Spain’s oldest academic center for the study of neurobiology, was holding an international meeting. Moshe Szyf, a molecular biologist and geneticist at McGill University in Montreal, had never studied psychology or neurology, but he had been talked into attending by a colleague who thought his work might have some application. Likewise, Michael Meaney, a McGill neurobiologist, had been talked into attending by the same colleague, who thought Meaney’s research into animal models of maternal neglect might benefit from Szyf’s perspective.

[read more]

astro-feminist:

"I haven’t always been an advocate for “women’s issues” in academia.  I have distinct [not-so-distant] memories of rolling my eyes when hearing about ‘diversity workshops’ or scholarship/fellowship opportunities only available to women or men of color or white women.  I thought we were beyond this. I thought the playing field was leveled.  I even thought such `nonsense’ did a disservice to underrepresented groups in science by unnecessarily reminding them of their uphill battle and struggles of the past.  And then I had a major wake up call.

“Wake up call” isn’t really the right term. I didn’t suddenly wake up one day and see that I lived in a world different to the one I knew growing up. “Waking up” took years of thought, questioning, self-doubt, and help from colleagues and friends, but it eventually happened.  I woke up to a world where I had been a reluctant recipient of sexual harassment and hated my job as a result.  It was a job I had once loved and invested so much in.  I was depressed, isolated and ready to quit. I blamed myself and my incompetence for a whole lot of strange, uncomfortable interactions with colleagues. 
  #astronmy    #women    #sexual harassment    #raising our voices to be heard