Color Wheel Expansion

Thanks for joining us for the fun tonight! I think we’ve kept the lid on this for long enough…

Our engineering team has been working on new tools to help us generate and implement genes in a much faster and more efficient manner that does not sacrifice the image and color quality we’ve come to value as part of our site’s style. These tools are being developed to make future gene implementation much easier, but also come with the added benefit of allowing us to expand our color wheel without also increasing artist workload exponentially.

We are currently working on converting our existing breed art templates into ones that will be compatible with our new tools. Every time we finish 10, we will be revealing a color. Some will be old, some will be new.

To answer your questions:

  • We are intending to only expand the color wheel once, as we would like to minimize the disruption to player’s breeding ranges.
  • New colors will go between existing colors on the wheel so that they are in places that make sense for their range. We will not reshuffle the wheel, and your ranges will remain close to the same, but expanded.
  • New colors will ONLY be able to be bred, hatched, and scattered for.
  • Example: If you had a Rose to Magenta range, you’re not suddenly going to have a green in there. It will be more pinks.
  • To remain fair to all of our players, only the original 67 colors will be available during account registration and new dragon creation.

There is enough DNA in an average person’s body to stretch from the Sun to Pluto and back, 17 times.

The human genome, the genetic code in each human cell, contains 23 DNA molecules each containing from 500 thousand to 2.5 million nucleotide pairs. DNA molecules of this size are 1.7 to 8.5 cm long when uncoiled, or about 5 cm on average. There are about 37 trillion cells in the human body and if you’d uncoil all of the DNA encased in each cell and put them end to end, then these would sum to a total length of 2×1014 meters or enough for 17 Pluto roundtrips (1.2×1013 meters/Pluto roundtrip).

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The emotional sensitivity gene

Serotonin is one of the major neurotransmitters (i.e. chemicals) in the brain. It’s very connected to our emotions and so it’s not a coincidence that a lot of the drugs that are used to treat depression and anxiety act on the serotonin system in the brain. This is clearly a very important chemical for determining the nature of our emotional lives.

The serotonin transporter gene regulates serotonin in the brain. People are born with variations of this gene. The long variation clears serotonin out of the neural synapse more efficiently. The short variation is less efficient, which lets the serotonin hang around a little bit longer in the synapse. 

The short variation was originally considered a risk gene — but it’s now being thought of as a sensitivity gene.

Learn more about how the gene impacts our emotional responses →

Scientists Discover That Eyes Are Windows To The Soul

The eye is the window to the universe, and some would say they are also windows to the soul… We have heard this phrase get passed around before: “The eyes are the windows of the soul”. People usually say this when they can see pain, anger, or some other emotion in somebody else’s eyes.  But recent research gives a whole new meaning to this phrase.  Eyes not only windows to emotions, they are windows to the soul.

How? The answer has to do with the actual eyeball itself.  Everyone has a different structure of lines, dots and colors within the iris of their eye.  Some people may have similar eye color to each other, but the lines and dots on the iris are as unique as a fingerprint.

Although they vary from person to person, there are certain patterns contained within the iris which are widespread, and scientists at Orebro University in Sweden wanted to see if these patterns correlated with specific personality traits.

They focused on patterns in crypts (threads which radiate from the pupil) and contraction furrows (lines curving around the outer edge) which are formed when the pupils dilate.  The studied the eyes of 428 subjects to see if the crypts patters and contraction furrows reflected their character traits.

What they found

Their findings showed those with densely packed crypts are more warmhearted, tender, trusting, and likely to sympathize with others.  In comparison, those with more contraction furrows were more neurotic, impulsive and likely to give way to cravings.

It’s crazy to think how the markings on a person’s eyeball can reveal the most deep-rooted character traits of an individual.

There was an extremely strong correlation between a person’s iris and their personality traits.  But correlation does not imply causation right? Right. But it appears as though both eye detail and a person’s character traits may be caused by the same thing.

The researchers said that eye structure and personality could be linked because the gene sequences responsible for developing the structure of the iris also contribute to the development of the frontal lobe of our brain, which is the motherboard of our personality.

“‘Our results suggest people with different iris features tend to develop along different personality lines,’ said Matt Larsson, a behavioural scientist who led the study at Orebro University.  ‘These findings support the notion that people with different iris configurations tend to develop along different trajectories in regards to personality.  Differences in the iris can be used as a biomarker that reflects differences between people.’”

The scientists also mentioned something very interesting about a gene called PAX6, which controls the formation of the eye in the early stages of embryonic development.  Research has shown that mutation of the gene results in poor social skills, impulsiveness, and poor communication skills.

Eye color reveals even more

According to researchers at Pittsburgh University, women with lighter colored eyes experience less pain during childbirth compared to women with darker eyes. People with lighter eyes also consume significantly more alcohol, as darker eyed people require less alcohol to become intoxicated.

The reason boils down to genes. A senior lecturer in biomolecular sciences at Liverpool John Moores University said, “What we know now is that eye color is based on 12 to 13 individual variations in people’s genes… These genes do other things in the body.”

Take melanin, the pigment that makes eyes darker. Melanin may also makes people more susceptible to alcohol. When psychologists at Georgia State University in Atlanta surveyed more than 12,000 men and women, they found those with light eyes consumed significantly more alcohol than those with dark eyes. The reason brown-eyed people may drink less – and also be less likely to be alcoholics – is because they need less alcohol to become intoxicated.

Melanin not only determines eye darkness, it’s also an insulator for the electrical connections between brain cells. The more melanin in the brain, the more efficiently, sensitively and faster the brain can work, the researchers reported in the journal Personality and Individual Differences.  So the chemical responsible for eye darkness is also responsible for brain efficiency.

Eyes are literally the windows to the inner most aspects of our personality and character traits.  If you look into someones eyes, you can easily tell if they are scared, sad, or worn down inside.  But if you look even closer, you will also be able to see what kind of psychology and personality that person has.  Eyes are literally a window into people’s souls.

By: Steven Bancarz

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View the TED-Ed Lesson Where do genes come from?

When life emerged on Earth about 4 billion years ago, the earliest microbes had a set of basic genes that succeeded in keeping them alive. In the age of humans and other large organisms, there are a lot more genes to go around. Where did all of those new genes come from? Carl Zimmer examines the mutation and multiplication of genes.

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First Time Humans Saw the Structure of DNA - the photograph that revealed the Geometry upon which all Life is based.

Photo 51 is the nickname given to an X-ray diffraction image of DNA taken by Raymond Gosling in May 1952, working as a PhD student under the supervision of Rosalind Franklin. It was critical evidence in identifying the structure of DNA.

Working in the lab alongside Wilkins in 1952, Franklin had taken a startling, high-resolution photograph of a piece of DNA using X -ray crystallography, a technique whereby X -rays are shone on a crystalline structure (in this case, the DNA protein), to create a scattered reflection pattern on film.To the naked eye the photo looked merely like an X diced up into bits, but to Franklin it confirmed that DNA was a double-helix.

Photo 51 has an important place in history and has at least a claim to be the most important image ever taken.

Listening to classical music modulates genes that are responsible for brain functions

Although listening to music is common in all societies, the biological determinants of listening to music are largely unknown. According to a latest study, listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic neurotransmission, learning and memory, and down-regulated the genes mediating neurodegeneration. Several of the up-regulated genes were known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds, suggesting a common evolutionary background of sound perception across species.

Listening to music represents a complex cognitive function of the human brain, which is known to induce several neuronal and physiological changes. However, the molecular background underlying the effects of listening to music is largely unknown. A Finnish study group has investigated how listening to classical music affected the gene expression profiles of both musically experienced and inexperienced participants. All the participants listened to W.A. Mozart’s violin concert Nr 3, G-major, K.216 that lasts 20 minutes.

Listening to music enhanced the activity of genes involved in dopamine secretion and transport, synaptic function, learning and memory. One of the most up-regulated genes, synuclein-alpha (SNCA) is a known risk gene for Parkinson’s disease that is located in the strongest linkage region of musical aptitude. SNCA is also known to contribute to song learning in songbirds.

“The up-regulation of several genes that are known to be responsible for song learning and singing in songbirds suggest a shared evolutionary background of sound perception between vocalizing birds and humans”, says Dr. Irma Järvelä, the leader of the study.

In contrast, listening to music down-regulated genes that are associated with neurodegeneration, referring to a neuroprotective role of music.

“The effect was only detectable in musically experienced participants, suggesting the importance of familiarity and experience in mediating music-induced effects”, researchers remark.

The findings give new information about the molecular genetic background of music perception and evolution, and may give further insights about the molecular mechanisms underlying music therapy.

Listening to classical music enhanced the activity of genes that are mainly related to reward and pleasure, cognitive functions and proper brain function. Some of the findings of this study may explain the molecular mechanisms underlying music therapy.
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Chakravarthi Kanduri, Computational Biology Researcher at the University of Helsinki

Music can change your genes — and that’s huge for just about everyone

npr.org
The Gene For Sweet: Why We Don't All Taste Sugar The Same Way
We know that a gene can determine how strongly we experience bitter flavors. Scientists wanted to know if this was also true for sweet. Their study shows genetics may affect our taste for sugar, too.

“How you perceive [sweet] may influence what you like in the extreme, but it’s more like shades of gray,” says Danielle Reed at the Monell Chemical Senses Center. “And we still need to see whether this has any implications for people’s food behavior.”