Friday coffee break

Experimental coffee

NiB does not endorse drinking coffee at your lab bench. No, sir.

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 Sarah: Herpetologists have discovered teeny tiny chameleons on Madagascar. Unfortunately, they’re as endangered as they are adorable.

Scientists believe the small ranges of the species make them especially sensitive to habitat disturbance.

B[rookesia] tristis, named after the French word “triste” meaning sad, was found in an isolated patch of forest close to an expanding city.

From Jon: A new implantable microchip could be used for drug delivery.

The chip is one-fiftieth of an inch thick and measures half an inch long by a fifth of an inch wide. It contains 10 cube-shaped reservoirs, 40 one-thousandths of an inch on each side. Each holds 600 nanoliters of a highly concentrated solution of the drug.

The side of the reservoirs that touches human tissue is covered with a metallic membrane, a composite of titanium and platinum, wired to internal electronics that provide a path for an electrical current. To deliver the drug, the membrane is melted.

And, from Jeremy: A new technology for collecting DNA sequence seo company data promises to be a major step forward. But the error rate may be a problem.

According to Nanopore, the ‘indel’ error rate is about four percent. That is, every four out of one hundred bases, a base is either erroneously added or deleted due to sequencing error. …

… the problem comes when we try to annotate the genome–that is, figure out what the genes are contained in the sequence. In my experience, technologies that have a lot of ‘indels’ in the raw sequence end up with lots of ‘broken genes’ because enough of those indels wind up in the final, assembled genome (for the cognoscenti, a 1-in-10,000 final indel rate will bust up lots of genes).