*not clonal

Enviro rant//Hoof disease in Sitka elk is a result of disgusting industrial cow farm practices, fyi

It’s so fucking awesome how our shitty large farming practices that developed with cow farmers in europe and the usa started the bacteria that now causes hoof disease in Sitka elk in the PNW. Washington’s elk herds especially are suffering so much, and wildlife officials are doing nothing to treat them or develop a vaccine, of course. And, in spite of herds being sick and needing help, hunting permits for them are being sold like cheap candy. We barely develop any vaccines for humans, why would we make any for species that actually contribute to this earth and its valuable ecosystems?

Fuck lazy corporate farms and farmers, and fuck -all- government environment regulatory programs. The Forest Service and other government wildlife sectors have small bands of individuals who care and do good, but don’t be fooled overall. The upper management uses the name “Forest Service” as a guise for continued environmental destruction for corporate capitalist interests that is hurting every species. They can get away with this because few people truly understand ecology and the impacts of the Forest Service’s/EPA’s/DOFW’s less than desirable methods and lax standards overall. I’m sure the lack of science education in public schools (and the almost unidirectional focus on computer/mechanical engineering jobs for merchandise production in our society as opposed to earth sciences and medicine)is entirely intentional by the the government – understanding the truth about how the earth works and can thrive if we changed makes everything our government does seem nonsensical and careless. If people don’t understand the science, corrupt leaders can do what they want, and use rhetoric exclusive to the scientific community to confuse the public. These government regulators are still the arms of logging lobbyists and politicians who give no shits about the environment other than draining it dry to benefit them short term.

((I know this personally as well – not only did I study conservation biology, ecology, climate science, and botany while working in a lab with one of the best botanical ecologists in the country for five years – we did several studies for free for the Forest Service regarding invasive species managment. It was our job to show them the best ways to kill invasive species and the best ways to recover native assemblages post destruction. The Forest Service’s methods always involved deadly sprays, some were glyphosate which has been strongly linked to cancer in livestock and humans, while my methods involved hand picked weeding and planting of strong native plants/primary succession species post destruction. Guess which method allows the forest to grow back!!! Mine. The forest grew back with healthy native assemblages and no invasives, as long as all invasive material was removed from the site and humans were not allowed to trample the site. Destruction by humans simply walking around with invasive seeds and spores on their shoes, or dogs, is the number one cause of invasive plants overtaking native ones. My results were the same regardless of the forest area or original plant assemblage, or regardless of the invasive. The Forest Service’s lazy spray method had NOTHING other than weeds growing back on the site. Gross. Also, their standard practice in my state is to leave invasive material on site in huge piles even when they did hand pick some specimen along with spraying various chemicals. This is really dumb, because many of the worst invasives are clonal/can spread by rhizomes and can reproduce from a tiny slice of living material leftover. In the forests my lab and I studied, they had to employ our methods and three Oregon forests are now safely recovering from Brachypodium sylvaticum, Himalayan blackberry, and English ivy, as far as I know. They could have reverted back to old methods with Trump in charge, though.))

They will take and destroy in the name of capitalism until we get to a point where certain ecosystem types, and thus huge arrays of species, will disappear completely without recovering. It’s already happening. If enough remaining forest is destroyed, especially the Amazon, our climate systems will lose their drive (most importantly a huge part of the water cycle will effectively be stopped due to deforestation) and the jet stream will shut down, triggering another ice age. But it’s no big deal, don’t worry about the trees or the animals who live among them~

Due to the complexities of ant reproduction, it is very difficult to genetically engineer them. The first mutant ants have just been created from Indian jumping ants (Harpegnathos saltator) and clonal raiding ants (Ooceraea biroi). They both became very antisocial and exhibited odd behaviors.

This article has more info- the ability to alter ant behavior may give way to a lot of exciting new research!

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Cirsium arvense, Asteraceae

A very common sight for anyone living in cool, temperate areas of the northern hemisphere, creeping thistle, generally known as Canada thistle in North America, is ubiquitously considered a noxious weed with the potential to become quickly invasive, spreading rapidly through lateral rhizomes. Similarly to C. vulgaris, the common thistle much celebrated here in Scotland, its roots, stems and leaves are edible, but rather bland and not really worth taking the time to remove all the spines. 

However, the plant is of great value to wildlife, as its leaves, nectar and seeds, often available in large quantities due to its tendency to form impressive clonal colonies, are fundamental for the sustenance of a variety of creatures. I couldn’t take good photos of all of them, but in the ten minutes I spent observing two different colonies I spotted six different species between bees and bumblebees and dozens of couples of common red soldier beetle (Rhagonycha fulva) which love to mate on thistles. 

actualarishok  asked:

I am curious to know what the weirdest herp you know of is

I had a tie for this. The runner up is the Surinam Toad, who I might write about someday, but the winner is the Caucasian rock lizard, Darevskia (or Lacerta, the nomenclature is confusing) rostombekovi. 

Now these gals are parthenogenetic, which isn’t particularly weird for a herp. There’s several species that do this. Some, like whiptails in the genus Cnemidophorus, are neat in that they actually practice female-female courting behavior and require stimulation to reproduce. Another species, the mourning gecko (Lepidodactylus lugubris), is fascinating because sometimes physical males do crop up that produce sperm… that’s completely useless. They can’t impregnate a female. But the Caucasian rock lizard is something else entirely.

Also called Rostombekov’s Lizard, this creature is unique because it’s monoclonal, meaning there’s only one genetic lineage. There never was a male. Literally every single member of this species is genetically identical to her sisters. 

There are several parthenogenetic species in the genus Darevskia, but the rest of them have multiple lineages and so there’s some genetic diversity. That is absolutely not true of this particular lizard. How did this happen? What kind of speciation event led to a single clonal line for an entire species? We do know that the other Caucasian rock lizards that are strictly parthenogenetic have wider ranges than their bisexual ancestors, but this species is shamefully under-studied; we know very little about them, other than that they’re threatened by land development and they’re all genetically identical. That is unheard of in vertebrates. 

So here’s to you, weird identical lizard ladies. Science can’t tell me what the hell happened to you, but you do you. 

Literally. Because you’re all clones of each other.

Image sources: 1, 2, 3

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Árbol Pando

El árbol Pando es una colonia clonal surgida a partir de un único álamo temblón masculino (Populus tremuloides) localizada en el estado norteamericano de Utah. Todas las raíces de cada tallo emergen como una sola. En otras palabras, el árbol es, al mismo tiempo, un bosque.

Se estima que la planta pesa de forma colectiva aproximadamente unas 6000 toneladas (6615 toneladas), lo que la convierte en el organismo viviente más pesado.

Cancer pt 1

A cancer-y overview

  • the second most common cause of death in developed countries 
  • 29% of all mortality (13% worldwide) 
  • 12.7 million cases, 7.6million deaths in 2008 
  • 14.1 million cases 8.2 million deaths in 2012 

Tumours originate in epithelial cells, cells of the blood and lymph system, connective tissue cells and neural cells

Hallmarks of cancer

Genetic Factors

  • Cancer Producing Genes are known as oncogenes - “Any mutated gene that contributes to neoplastic transformation” 
  • These genes are activated in cancer 
  • Often promote cell growth & survival 
  • “Remove the brakes” from normal tissue homeostasis 
  • Often repress cell death and differentiation
  • Result = lots more cells

Oncogenes

Prior to mutation these are known as “Proto-oncogenes”. Activation can occur by altering gene expression or protein structure (e.g. constitutive activation). Many common oncogenes promote mitosis/progress through cell cycle OR the evasion of death signals.

Activation is caused by genetic changes, including:

  • Point mutations: can result in production of an abnormally functioning protein product.  
  • Deletions: of a few base pairs to loss of an entire chromosome 
  • Gene amplification: resulting in excessive production of oncogene product 
  • Chromosomal translocations: gene is activated inappropriately by another promoter region; caused by rearrangement of parts between nonhomologous chromosomes

Active oncogenes are found in tumours and are thought to be early events in malignant transformation.

Environmental Factors

Carcinogenesis - the process of initiating and promoting cancer

  • Initiationirreversible genetic alteration of a cancer-related gene (oncogene or tumour suppressing gene (TSG)) 
  • Promotion – clonal expansion of the initiated cell (i.e. stimulation of growth) 
  • Progression – stable alteration of an initiated cell. Gaining ability to invade and metastasise 

Carcinogenic agents (will go into detail in future posts)

  • Chemical Carcinogens 
  • Dietary factors 
  • Biological 
  • Viruses
  • Physical 
  • Exposure to ionising radiation

Following exposure to a carcinogenic agent there can be a long latent period before neoplasia develops. This is because the steps of carcinogenesis must be in the right order (initiation, promotion, progression). eg if exposed to a promoter and then an initiator, all is good until exposed to another promoter after the initiator.

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4,800+ Year Old Tree

Prometheus was the oldest known non-clonal organism, a Great Basin Bristlecone Pine tree growing near the tree line on Wheeler Peak in eastern Nevada, United States. The tree, which was at least 4862 years old and possibly more than 5000, was cut down in 1964 by a graduate student and United States Forest Service personnel for research purposes. (Source)

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Sea Buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) Plants

Not to be confused with the unrelated North American invasive Ohio Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica), Sea-buckthorn (Hippophae rhamnoides) is also known as Sandthorn, Sallowthorn, or Seaberry.

The bright orange berries of this plant contain more vitamin C than citrus fruits, and have been studied for medicinal applications that range from fighting tumours to regenerating tissues. They have been called both a ‘superfood’ and a 'delicacy.’

Being thorny, they are excellent for making a wildlife-proof hedge. They will spread laterally, forming clonal patches.

Hippophae species also have a bacterial symbiont in their root nodules (pictured above), which fixes atmospheric nitrogen into the soil. They can handle being near salt water, and extremes of moisture and dryness.

Since the plants are dioecious (male and female parts are on different plants), I am shipping them in lots of 5 and 10 so the odds are higher you will have both sexes.

Sea Buckthorns are regarded as a problem in Southern Alberta, Canada, Australia, and in Northern Ireland (although there is some dispute as to whether or not they are categorically invasive). I will likely not be able to ship these to place with tight biosecurity, like Australia, New Zealand, Hawai’i, or California.

Be cautious about introducing it to your biome, and if you are unsure, don’t plant it.          

Up in my shop → ebay / etsy 

what if EVERY OTHER SPACEFARING RACE were clonal or reproduced parthenogenetically. what if every single other spacefaring race got along and trusted each other and could cohere as empires or governments or principalities because they were all the same, that’s how they all drew together to get off their planets, by having extinguished somewhere back in the mists of pre-asccension time all their homeworlds’ other lineages of competitors, and only met people different from them after having come to sturdy social maturity among the stars

what if we’re the only sexual species to ever make it up there

what if we really truly deeply freak every other race in the galaxy out with our unpredictabilities and differences–what if they slowly and painstakingly decide they get along with ONE human, and then agonize over family lines and surreptitiously-filched DNA samples and insist somewhat pathetically on only doing business with people who’ve got similar immunohistocompatibility complexes as that one. they heist their way into the global bone marrow donor’s database for possible other humans to do business with

Like they DEFINITELY don’t trust family lines, the allellic reassortment of sexual procreation. They’ve got a deep-seated taboo against acknowledging the relatedness of our children to their parents–so different from what they ought to be; misborn; all wrong–but they know they can’t raise sane clones of us on their own. Maybe a whole entire other species decides they’ll only hire humans whose blood type is A+, because being able to share that fluid is not only a workplace safety issue but the powerfully symbolic interchangeability soothes their revulsion towards what would otherwise be a heterogeneous human workforce??

I just think it would be neat for aliens to be SUPER FAR-REACHING-IMPLICATIONS PREJUDICED AGAINST SEXUAL REPRODUCTION but for about every reason possible besides the mechanics of having the sex, because most all of them are like whiptail lizards and OBVIOUSLY thinking beings shouldn’t be prevented from having sex. they just think we’re as disconcerting and threatening on a fundamental level as we think the queen Alien with all her thousands of eggs from Alien is.

This is the so-called Old Tjikko, a spruce located on the Fulu mountains in the Dalarna (Dalecarlia) province of Sweden. It is commonly regarded as the world’s oldest individual clonal tree. That means that the stems themselves are oftenly no more than ~600 years, but the root systems continue to age far beyond them. In this case, it has aged for approxmiately 9,550 years.

Human immunodeficiency virus is a viral infection that enters the body through body fluids (i.e. shared needles, sexual intercourse), and invades the immune system. It leads to AIDS which is acquired immunodeficiency syndrome which is the ultimate deterioration and failing of the immune system. HIV leads up to the deterioration and failing of the immune system by targeting T cells.
HIV works by targeting T cells, specifically T helper cells, killing them one by one to lower their population in the body. This is extremely dangerous for the body as it is the T helper cells that create chemical signals to trigger phagocytosis, (engulfment of a pathogenic substance) thus triggering B cells to activate and divide into plasma cells post clonal selection of the complementary antibody to progress into making monoclonal antibodies to combat the antigen.  So if there aren’t any T cells present, then there won’t be any means of triggering the rest of the immune system to work. Without a functioning immune system, the individual becomes highly vulnerable to other illnesses such as tuberculosis, infections of the mucous membranes, recurring respiratory infections; and even some serious cases of toxoplasmosis of the brain and candidiasis of the lungs. …

Keep reading

DISCLAIMER: I am not a scientist. This plant should not be ingested or put into the body without thorough research. This is merely a post about the way that I use this plant in my craft. Basic info gathered from Wikipedia

Creosote Bush (Larrea tridentata) AKA Stinkweed, Greasewood, Chaparro Gobernadora, Chaparral, and Hediondilla

Larrea tridentata is a prominent species in the Mojave, Sonoran, and Chihuahuan Deserts of western North America, and its range includes those and other regions in portions of southeastern California, Arizona, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, New Mexico and Texas in the United States, and northern Chihuahua and Sonora in Mexico. The species grows as far east as Zapata County, Texas, along the Rio Grande southeast of Laredo near the 99th meridian west.

it is an evergreen shrub growing to 1 to 3 metres (3.3 to 9.8 ft) tall, rarely 4 metres (13 ft). The stems of the plant bear resinous, dark green leaves with two opposite lanceolate leaflets joined at the base, with a deciduous awn between them, each leaflet 7 to 18 millimetres (0.28 to 0.71 in) long and 4 to 8.5 millimetres (0.16 to 0.33 in) broad. The flowers are up to 25 millimetres (0.98 in) in diameter, with five yellow petals. Gallsmay form by the activity of the creosote gall midge. The whole plant exhibits a characteristic odor of creosote, from which the common name derives.[5] In the regions where it grows its smell is often associated with the “smell of rain”.

Meanings of Creosote in spellcraft:

Rebirth/renewal, immortality (not literally, of course)—when the plant reaches the end of its life-span, the crown of the plant splits and form new crowns. when the old crown dies, it becomes a clonal colony from which another bush grows.

Order, logic, reasoning—Creosote bushes require a very specific amount of space between other plants in order for them to survive. As such, the bushes tend to space themselves very evenly in the wild, looking as though they were planted by man.

Water—This will make sense to anyone who lives in an area where creosote can be found. When it rains, the air carries the distinct smell of the bush. It is also a surprisingly sticky and moist plant

How I use it:

I collect fresh twigs and leaves from plants (They are so abundant here that I can just walk outside and grab some) and arrange them in my workspace depending on their purpose. Often, I mist with water to bring out the scent (The smell of Creosote is the significant part for me).

For those who do not live where Creosote can be easily found, Oil or the dried leaves and flowers will do. They can be ordered online 

*narrows eyes*

So, I just spent 30 minutes learning about rotational kinetic energy and how to compute it into joules and another 30 minutes learning about clonal fragmentation, the asexual reproductive method of echinoderms for a Supercat story.

Why must I be this way?  Why can’t I just half-ass it or something?

Must the science be accurate???

(Spoiler alert: the answer is “Yes.”)

3

Double-Flowering Soapwort (Saponaria officinalis) seeds

Bushcraft, homesteading, and survivalism folks: this pretty pink flower is for you.

Also known as ‘Bouncing Bet,’ this European native has long been naturalised in North America and other parts of the temperate world, as it is an extremely useful patch-forming perennial that thrives in poor, dry, or rocky soils.

The roots have an approximately 20% saponin concentration, so they can be soaked in water and used as a natural surfactant. This means they can be used as soap, detergent, insecticide, and to poison fish (not that many people fish that way these days)!

The flowers are pollinator-attracting, and the plant itself will spread rhizomatically forming monotypic clonal patches. Harvesting is in order to keep the plant from overtaking an area.

Though this plant is widely-grown and naturalised outside of Europe, do your due diligence and check your local invasive species registries before ordering.

Up in my shop

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Tissue culture is a method of clonally propagating a plant of interest. Plant tissues naturally contain meristematic cells which have not yet become organ specific, meaning they can become root, shoot, or leaf cells depending on the environment. By adjusting the ratio of plant hormones in your growth media, namely auxins and cytokinins, you can control what kind of tissue the meristematic cells begin to form. This allows for the generation of multiple new plants from a single cutting, allowing for exponential growth of your plant of interest.

Pictured above are new shoots emerging from cotyledon and leaf cuttings of Stanleya pinnata and Stanleya elata in the family Brassicaceae.

Follow for more plant facts and photos!

Timothy Leary and Francis Crick were speaking the same language, the language of information where the organic and the machinic enfold each other helically and, sometimes, the capacity for replication goes through the ceiling. This new language of information would introduce a novel response and abyss: the pleasures and hells of eternal replication. The distribution of both life and consciousness enabled a dream of immortality from which we have not yet awakened, as the mere specter of infinite clonal replicants provokes entropies of identity even as it preserves the self from onslaughts of decay.
—  LSDNA: Rhetoric, Consciousness Expansion, and the Emergence of Biotechnology
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Rachel Sussman has photographed some of Earth’s oldest living organisms, describing her project as “a battle to stay in deep time.” Of the thirty ancient living things that she’s photographed, two have since died.

Top: Jomon Sugi, a Japanese cedar that is 2,180-7,000 years old (Photograph courtesy Rachel Sussman)

Bottom: Pando, a clonal colony of Quaking Aspen that is 80,000 years old (Photograph courtesy Rachel Sussman)