Friday coffee break

Caffeine molecule

The caffeine molecule: more important to science than ethidium bromide?

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Devin: A new study finds that two genetic markers associated with increased risk of breast and ovarian cancer are also associated with greater fertility.

Individuals who tested positive for BRCA1/2 mutations who linked into multi-generational pedigrees within the Utah Population Database were used to identify putative obligate carriers. We find that women born before 1930 who are mutation carriers have significantly more children than controls and have excess post-reproductive mortality risks. They also have shorter birth intervals and end child-bearing later than controls.

From Jon: An amendment to the Mississippi state constitution (and similar ones in other states) would confer legal “personhood” on fertilized eggs, a move with wide-reaching implications for women’s reproductive freedom, medicine, and basic scientific research.

The amendment in Mississippi would ban virtually all abortions, including those resulting from rape or incest. It would bar some birth control methods, including IUDs and “morning-after pills,” which prevent fertilized eggs from implanting in the uterus. It would also outlaw the destruction of embryos created in laboratories.

From Jeremy: A new book traces the original transmission of HIV from chimpanzees to humans to sometime around 1921.

Dr. Pépin sifts the blizzard of scientific papers written about AIDS, adds his own training in epidemiology, his own observations from treating patients in a bush hospital, his studies of the blood of elderly Africans, and years of digging in the archives of the European colonial powers, and works out the most likely path the virus took during the years it left almost no tracks.

And finally, for your viewing pleasure, another Creaturecast, about the mating dance of Antarctic krill.

Krill Mating from Casey Dunn on Vimeo.