genes sequencing

Did you all know that the only reason the clones age at an accelerated rate is because they had a specific nanovirus coded into their genetic makeup?

Yup. The Kamimoans had this virus target a specific, unchanging gene sequence that could make its target or targets stand out from the larger population, in this case allowing the clones to grow quickly both physically and mentally so that production value would never go down.

It’s depressing to think that as time went on they probably re-engineered that nanovirus in newer clones to age them faster and faster.

Also, I’d hate to think what would happen if, say, an evil scientist lady working for the Separatists got her hands on the specific nucleotide sequence for this nanovirus and weaponized it… absolutely *hate*.

Just about every day, genetic counselor Shawn Fayer heads to the maternity ward at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and tries to convince new parents to give him a blood sample.

Fayer is offering gene sequencing for newborns. It gives parents a tantalizing look at their baby’s genetic information.

New parents Lauren and Ian Patrick, from Marion, Mass., were excited when they were first approached earlier this month.

“My initial reaction — why wouldn’t someone do this? Why wouldn’t they want the information?” Ian Patrick says as he cradles his newborn son, Finn. “For me, more information is better, even if it’s not always good.”

If his parents sign him up, Finn would join the BabySeq project, an NIH-funded study led by Dr. Robert Green, a medical geneticist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. With genetic testing getting cheaper and cheaper, Green wants to figure out what happens when parents know their child’s genetic blueprint from day one.

Would You Want To Know The Secrets Hidden In Your Baby’s Genes?

Illustration: Scott Bakal for NPR

writingisproseandpotatoes-deact  asked:

Hi! I'm writing a story, and I was wondering if it were possible for birds to evolve to glow in the dark within the next hundred years? If that is impossible, could they be made to glow?

So they definitely could be made to glow! There’s lots of genes out there that code for fluorescent proteins. My favorite is a jellyfish gene called GFP (which stands for green fluorescent protein), which codes for a green protein that glows under blue-violet or UV light. (however, it doesn’t necessarily glow in the dark, I’ve looked over the other known fluorescent proteins and I’m not sure of one that specifically glows in the dark, but I believe GFP or one of its derivatives would do the job, as they’re specifically related to jellyfish bioluminescence! It’s also possible I’m getting way too into specifics here, so moving forward, feel free to read GFP as ‘generic fluorescent protein which also glows in the dark because scifi’)

This gene is easily extracted and has been sequenced already (fun fact: we do need to sequence genes before we can work with them extensively - that’s why it was such a big deal to sequence the human genome!) so it’s often used as a marker in the biotech industry (not sure if your gene is being expressed? Just add GFP! You’ll know if it glows!)

To actually make an organism glow, you’d need to combine GFP with a gene that codes for a protein involved in the actual structure of the organism. For example, when I was in school, I did a project where I made yeast cells glow by combining GFP with one of the major structural genes of yeast, creating what’s called a recombinant gene. This meant that instead of just coding for the protein it originally coded for, (which was used to build the cytoskeleton) it coded for both that protein, and for GFP. When I put this gene into new yeast cells and let them colonize, their cytoskeletons also contained GFP, making them glow!

This is what GFP looks like in action! Yeast cells are pretty simple, being single-celled organisms and all, but birds are a little more complicated. It could be done (and combining some mammal DNA and even human DNA with GFP already has been done!), but it would take more time than just a semester. I would say several years at the minimum, and they might run into some problems with animal rights laws/ethics laws depending on the government where your scientists are science-ing.

You also wouldn’t have all birds glowing, just a specific species, probably manmade. It’s possible this could happen naturally, but unlikely, and you’d probably only see isolated cases unless something in their environment was making it more useful to glow than not. (It’s likely the opposite would happen - it would make them much more visible to predators, for one, and I’m not sure what might offset that to make it useful enough to be selected for. However, birds are weird, and sometimes select for things harmful to their survival because they think it looks pretty, so it’s entirely possible that happened.) You’d be unlikely to see an entire glowing species develop within 100 years from natural evolution alone unless the glowing trait was being heavily selected for.

This is such a neat idea! Good luck with your story!

Tony takes the red line.

It’s what he did, back in the day. Way, way back, he thinks ruefully, noticing his reflection in the car’s window and definitely seeing the silver in his hair. Christ. Where’d the time go?

Rhodey’s not silver. Rhodey’s almost three years older than him; shouldn’t he be silver now, too? He doesn’t look like he did in college, but still. Something the military feeds them, maybe.

He gets off at the Kendall/MIT stop, makes sure his hood is firmly in place. He finds that he gets recognized less than he used to. Something about looking more like a broken down old eccentric person than the man who used to be on magazine cover. He’d done a side-by-side with FRIDAY a month ago, the last time he was on the cover of TIME versus now. It wasn’t pretty.

But MIT is still the type of place people might recognize him. Even if it’s just by associating the idea of the place with him and being primed to see him. And Tony’s not here for the press mess today.

He keeps his head down and slides his sunglasses more firmly up his face as he emerges into sunlight, takes to the mostly still familiar streets.

He’d meant it, when he’d dished out tens of millions of dollars to these kids. The September Foundation has a board and charity benefits and real donors now, but the inaugural grant was mostly him, throwing a charity name at his money to give it an air of legitimacy so no one would sneeze on those who took it. They need these kids. They need a future full of brilliant minds unafraid to play and try and create.

He has a list, on his phone. Every recipient of the grant is required to submit their name and a vague description of what they’re working on–not enough to get him accused of corporate theft, just enough to know loosely where the money is going and, potentially, inventors that might be tapped for SI recruitment in the upcoming years–and Tony’s compiled a list of who he wants to drop in on today.

He picks up coffees first. It’s only polite. His mother would lose it if she saw him show up empty-handed.

The campus is…soothing, Tony realizes is the word. And it’s true what they say, isn’t it? You never really know what you have until it’s gone. Long gone, in his case.

Tony alternated between lectures he often barely needed, to lab time, to parties, and rarely to his bed. What would have happened if he sat outside for an afternoon? Lingered over lunch?

Probably something catastrophic would have happened. He’s a Stark, after all.

He finds his destination and knocks on the door. “Can I come in?”

Four kids look up at him, and Tony’s thankful for the coffee, for his ability to extend it in offering rather than have to wave or something.

Two of them are squinting at him, as if questioning themselves. The other two have already figured it out.

“What are you doing here, Mr. Stark?” One of the woman asks. “Is it…the September Foundation?”

“If you’re asking if there’s something up with the money, then nope. That’ll keep coming. I told you, strings free. I’m just…wondering if I can watch.”

There’s not exactly a ton of extra space, but Tony manages to perch himself awkwardly in a corner once invited.

“Do we…like, make you sign a non-disclosure agreement or something?” the guy asks.

“If you can draw up a NDA, then I’ll sign,” Tony promises. “Or I can cross my heart and hope to die if that works. Of course, I have full intention of poaching every member of this team in May.”

“Is this an…audition?”

“Nah,” Tony says. “I’ve already put your names down at SI. Understand that’s not an obligation on either side. Just the R&D guy expressing a preference. This, today…is a tired old guy wanting to crash in your lab. And I brought coffee,” he adds as an after-thought.

One of them snorts. They share a look as a group, and then shrug and get back to work.

Tony needs to know the world is going to be okay, regardless of what happens next. He needs to know that there are futurists everywhere, that there’s a lot of them seeing the problems of the world, each of them seeing their piece and taking it apart and making things happen.

Tony’s list of recipients he might want to check in on is long. There’s groups of them thinking and weapons and defense, about what might be coming. And Tony’s interested, but honestly sitting in their lab might well trigger a panic attack. Plus, if this exercise is to get him out of his head, to show him the wide world of problems being solved by those who will usurp his throne and he’ll gladly step aside for, then weapons isn’t the way to go.

There’s a kid who’s basically using Tony’s money to keep him in food and coffee while he attempts to solve one of the millennium problems. There’s a team who’s sequencing genes and might very well cure cancer within five years. There’s a group that’s redesigning airplane engines for fuel efficiency.

And then there’s these kids, who’re going to make the internet globally accessible. No more economic, geographic, or political barriers to the people’s access of free information.

It’ll probably lead to a world of people watching cat videos.

But who knows. There’s a futurist out there somewhere, a kid who sees things that need their unique touch, who doesn’t have the tools to change the world. And these kids might give that kid the tools.

Tony sinks into his chair and closes his eyes, listens to them argue out their work between frantic sips of coffee. The science, the math, the desperate dirty pure creation of it soothes something inside him.

He’ll leave this lab before four thirty, because that’s when FRIDAY will prompt him to be on his way so he can get himself to the plane and be on his way to a meeting in New York, the next session of fighting it out over the Accords. Then he’ll return to his own lab, where he’s getting ready for what he knows is coming, damn what others keep telling him. He saw it. He knows it.

But today, he’ll be able to go, knowing these kids are out here. Futurists, the lot of them, all of them leaving their mark on the world, taking it into the next generation. The world’s going to keep on turning. Airplanes will go faster, cancer research will improve lives, math will be the wonder it always is. People all over the world will take to exploring and learning and solving problems.

And yeah, Tony thinks. He can live with this kind of world.

eyeloch  asked:

Would the children of clone troopers share the accelerated aging? I assume it would depend of if the altered genes were shared. This also assumes fertility, for that matter.

So I briefly touched on this a little while ago when I did that very, very long meta about the aging cure’s existence in Legends, but I didn’t really go into as much detail as I could with this specific topic.

The short answer is that of the (aging-related) gene sequences that were altered, not all of them were hereditary — and all of the sequences that were hereditary were recessive.

So, ultimately, a child could potentially inherit a type of accelerated aging in some shape, with a few caveats: 

  • it would not be exactly like the clones as they experience it, because not all of the sequences altered were done in a way that would then allow them to be passed down genetically
  • the statistical probability of a worst case scenario is so small as to be negligible, because again … all the ones that were altered were designed to be recessive
  • I mean, understand the chances are not 0, but they’re also not something a person should generally worry about. however, if they do …
  • the same person who created the cure (Mereel Skirata) had actually developed a method to test if an unborn child was carrying the traits / if they would develop with some form of accelerated aging

So, should someone carrying the child of a clone be worried about this … there are ways to test if that’s the case, given that they’re able to get in contact with Mereel, or somehow get in touch with someone who can get in touch with him. (you know, black ops folks on the run for defecting from the Republic turned Empire … they’re a paranoid, hard to find bunch).

And, once they test, we can assume they have the standard options from there.

After a certain point (at least one year post Order 66, when the cure was actually developed and tested), should Mereel still be present and able to be contacted, one could also potentially have a way for treatment to be delivered to the child should they have rolled unluckily in the genetic lottery. 

This of course all assumes fertility, which is something I maintain was a trait that was not touched nor altered by the Kaminoans, on the basis that sterility would not be a necessity to impose … specifically because many alterations were not hereditary, and thus no one could ever “breed” traits they wanted from clones. Thus, clones having children would never put industry secrets at risk, because why would they? They wouldn’t.

If questions of loyalty came up, that’s also a non-issue — if the Kaminoans flash training program was airtight, and it was (remember there’s several centuries behind the training program’s development), and if the employer actually utilized the clone troopers properly (the employer being The Republic), then loyalty was doubly ensured.

This isn’t even getting into the larger issues that link sterility and performance in relation to each other, and which fandom seems to either forget about or not take into consideration whenever it comes up — but this isn’t so surprising as generally fandom also buys into a lot of unhealthy / unrealistic fitness myths and expectations that are just not true. But I digress.

All of the above also includes more than just the accelerated aging — the high resistance to stress, the overall higher fitness, the foundations for sharper intelligence, etc etc etc.

And, you know, this isn’t to say that some clones may not have been sterile — some may well have been, either on purpose or accidental, due to the nature of cloning and the unusually high percentage of variations occurring across the clone trooper population (like … unusually high) — only that it’s, again, not all.

Anyways, regardless, the gene sequences specifically related to accelerated aging were designed to be recessive if they were hereditary at all. Since not all of them were, that’s already cutting down the potential by a percentage, and then their being recessive sends any statistical possibility plummeting. 

It feels like a perfect night
To mess up transistors
And go measure cortexes, uh huh, uh huh
It feels like a perfect night
To seal things up airtight
To catalogue some dangers, uh huh, uh huh

Yeah
We study physics, stars, biology and enzymes
Deliverable and logical
Oh yeah,
They think we can work miracles if given deadlines
This time -
We do!

I don’t know about you
But I’m wearing Science Blue
Everything will be alright
If I could discover you
Redshirts don’t live like me
But I bet they want to
Everything will be alright
If we keep exploring like we’re
Science Blue, ooh
Science Blue, ooh

It seems like one of those nights
This ship is too crowded
Too many cool kids, gold shirts, gold shirts (Who’s Jim Kirk anyway? Kid)
It seems like one of those nights
For sequencing genes, and end up beaming
Instead of sleeping

Yeah
We’re astrometrics, geo, quantum, sharp as x-rays
Inspired and methodical
Oh, yeah
Tonight’s the night we won’t forget about hyposprays
It’s time
(Come here!)

Hey!
I don’t know about you
But I’m wearing Science Blue
Everything will be alright
If we can just save our crew
Redshirt has a disease
And it’s completely new
Everything will be alright
If we keep on testing like we’re
Science Blue, ooh
Science Blue, ooh (I don’t know about you)
Science Blue, ooh
Science Blue, ooh

It feels like one of those nights
We’re out of known space
It feels like one of those nights
A desperate mind race
It feels like one of those nights
To give Jim bad news
We’re going Code Blue
Run this batch anew

Oh—Ooh —- Yeah!
I don’t know about you
But I’m wearing Science Blue
Everything will be alright
If we can just find that clue
Redshirt’s not in one piece
Just let us get the glue
Everything will be alright
If we’re boldly going like we’re
Science Blue (fascinating)
Science Blue (my god, man)
Science Blue
Science Blue

It feels like one of those nights
To find a vaccine
It feels like one of those nights
The stars are gleaming
It feels like one of those nights
We got the good news
We’re gonna school you
We’re gonna save you!

Made with SoundCloud

abbybabbles  asked:

Since you enjoy discussion, I was wondering if I could pose a question? It seems like it's been brought up some by the fandom, but I'd like another opinion & maybe some scientific discussion. I think for the first time, we have a species with a confirmed class. The Angara are mammals, meaning both humans & Angara are within the same class. There are several layers of organization between class & species, and even then, some organisms within the same species experience reproductive isolation 1/2

Hello! And thank you for this ask! ~Sorry this took me a while to respond, I knew the reason why but I wanted to do some research to be more specific for my answer. 

I would love to hear your thoughts!

Angara HC Discussion Topic: Reproducing with Humans

Short answer: I do not think so, no, angara are a different species.

Long answer: Under the cut. (It’s a really long answer~ whoops)

Keep reading

The mysterious powers of spider silks

Spider silks, the stuff of spider webs, are a materials engineer’s dream: they can be stronger than steel at a mere fraction of weight, and also can be tougher and more flexible. Spider silks also tend not to provoke the human immune system. Some even inhibit bacteria and fungi, making them potentially ideal for surgery and medical device applications. Exploitation of these natural marvels has been slow, due in part to the challenges involved in identifying and characterizing spider silk genes, but researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have now made a major advance with the largest-ever study of spider silk genes.

As they report today in an advance online paper in Nature Genetics, Penn scientists and their collaborators sequenced the full genome of the golden orb-weaver spider (Nephila clavipes), a prolific silk-spinner that turns out to produce 28 varieties of silk proteins. In addition to cataloguing new spider silk genes, the researchers discovered novel patterns within the genes that may help to explain the unique properties of different types of silk.

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Drug Receptors - Pharmacology

Ligand-Gated Ion Channels 

  • Ionotropic receptors
  • Structurally similar to other ion channels 
  • Quickest response
  • Each receptor consists of 16-20 membrane spanning domains, 4-5 per subunit
  • Open when ligand binds to extracellular part of channel 
  • (5 M2 helicases are sharply kinked inward halfway through the mebrane forming a constriction)
  • Excitatory neurotransmitters eg acetylcholine and glutamate induce opening of cation channels 
  • Inhibitatory neurotransmitters eg GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) and glycine induce opening of anion channels 

Nuclear receptors

  • Target for many hormones
  • Cytoplasmic or nuclear proteins
  • Ligand binding domain and DNA binding domain
  • Modulate gene expression
  • Upregulate or downregulate protein production 

Three families:

  • Steroid receptors (androgen/oestrogen/glucorticoid receptors)
  • Thyroid/retinoid receptors (vitamin D/retinoic acid/thyroid/peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors
  • Orphan receptors

Kinase linked receptors

  • Mediate the actions of a wide variety of protein mediators eg growth factors, cytokines and hormones
  • Large extracellular ligand-binding domain connected via a single membrane spanning helix to an intracellular domain
  • intracellular domain possesses kinase activity 

Main types include:

  • Receptor tyrosine kinases (eg epidermal growth factor, nerve growth factor and insulin receptors)
  • Serine/threonine kinases (eg transforming growth factor)
  • Cytokine receptors (eg colony-stimulating factor)

G-Protein Coupled receptors 

  • Membrane located - inner side of plasma membrane
  • 400 gene sequences for GPCRs
  • eg muscarinic ACh receptors, adrenoreceptors, dopamine
  • Most have extracellular N-terminus, 7 transmembrane domains and an intracellular C-terminus
  • Universally called 7-transmembrane receptors (7TM receptors)
  • Called G-proteins because of their interaction with guanine nucleotides GTP and GDP
  • G-protein system consists of three subunits (alpha, beta and gamma)
  • Trimer in resting state
  • GTP molecule binds to alpha subunit

GPCRs are divided into three groups

  • Family A: largest, comprising mostly of monoamine, neuropeptide and chemokine receptors
  • Family B: includes receptors for some other peptides such as calcitonin and glucagon
  • Family C: smallest: metabotropic glutamate and GABA receptors 

[Read more for some GPCR specifics]

Keep reading

Oh ye gods.

So (while I wait for another load of laundry to finish) I called home to Scotland and for once got my wee old dad instead of my mum, and he was over joyed to inform me that he’d been going through my book cases and found The Republic of Thieves by scottlynch78 on one of the shelves as he hadn’t realized it was out yet. (In my defense I did tell him at the time!)

This discovery also happened to co-inside with him finding his old wine making kit, the one which mum banned him from using in the house ever again after he tried to make banana wine in the basement and it exploded. (I’m told I was five at the time but have clearly blocked out the memory of foamy banana wine coming up through the floorboards like a sci-fi B movie monster. In retrospect, perhaps this explains my aversion to the smell of bananas?)

Even without being able to see the glimmer in his eyes I could hear the mischief in his voice and asked “Dad, what have you done?”

Following on in the footsteps of his bootlegging smuggler/vagabond grandfather, my father has started a Bastards Brewery and is currently fermenting his first batch of Anjani Orange Wine in the shed out back, and wants me to design a suitable label for him

I’ll let you know if it explodes.

{edit}

2

Somebody open a bottle of champers and organise a house party because this is it, ladies and gents! 12 pages on a Microsoft Word document that didn’t want to kill itself and it might have gotten a bit fluffy at the end but it’s done. I struggled a bit with the “what-happened-next” scene so let me know what you thought. Many thanks and apologies to theunlikelyavenger​ for being patient with me and my tech whilst processing your request. I hope this is what you were looking for (I’m willing to change it a little if it wasn’t). :) Also I had prompts from nerd-kat–hell-yes​ and floating-balloon​. Enjoy, my darlings! I’m going to go and pass out somewhere with a cup of tea. 

Prompt(s):  You nailed it. Abso-lutely nailed it…  I NEED PART THREE ASAP. PLEASE MAKE IT LENGTHY. 
Please please please have the reader end up with loki. Pleeeaaase
Is there going to be part three for strength?!

“Strength” (Part 3)

Part 2

It had been a long day. Your chat with Loki had created as many questions as they had answered and you couldn’t focus without knowing the answers. You found yourself seeking advice from the once person you never thought capable of giving it.

“Hey, Tony. You here?” You asked, walking into the seemingly empty lab.
“Yeah, over here.” He said. A hand shot up from behind the countertop and waved. You circled around it and saw that Stark was on the floor, gathering up pieces of paper. Kneeling down, you helped him gather them together. Once they were collated and tidily arranged on the table, Tony conjured a packet of blueberries from somewhere and hopped nimbly onto the side.
“What’s up kid?” You took a deep breath and released it.
“Has Bruce spoken to you at all? About me, I mean.” Tony ripped the top of the silver packet, shaking his head.
“Why?”
“Well, he’s been acting a little strange – I’d go as far as to say skittish – around me.”

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i’m going to share some thoughts about having mice in my apartment and i’m going to use the words “mouse/mice” and “rat/rats” interchangeably. and i know they’re different, like, creatures, but i’m using “rat” as more of a slur for “mouse”. because i don’t like them. i know there are people who have pet mice and they have like white fur with pink tinges around all their various holes and openings and stuff, and i’m not trying to offend you and your pet that crawls all over your chest, but if you get down with a roi de rats you might want to skip this. i’ve also spoken to my super about this stuff already etc. anyways here’s ~2,000 unedited words on rats.

we have rats. fucking rats, man. i’ve struck a horizontal line on the household pest bingo card. ants. that’s free space, everyone has ants at some point. bed bugs, fucking bed bugs. bed bugs are a kind of pest that change your personality long after they’re gone. they leave a scorch mark on your ancestral dna. 60 million years from now a scientist is going to point at a gene sequence on a hologram computer and go, “yeah right here is where it all started going wrong for this species, if you’ve ever wondered why you’re always scared of dark pieces of lint and your bed is 4 feet off the ground, this uh, this is why.” uh lizards and bats when i lived in florida, whatever, the point is that rats were always the end, the final frontier. the thing you only see on tv. now the only thing i have left is like, you ever hear about those stories that are like, “nanny cam footage reveals how an old japanese woman lived in this couple’s house undetected for 20 years!” that’s all i have left. haunted blonde twins with white eyes, that’s my new rats.

it all started, well i was at work, so like, already my soul was in a weakened state. like my spirit was extra susceptible to the universe fucking with it. i was at work and i got a text message from my girlfriend. it went something like, “i don’t want to freak you out, but i think i just saw a mouse in the apartment.”

and that text message, it marked the Before of my old life and the After that is my life trapped in rat crime city. my brain chemistry altered after reading those words. unknowingly it altered, because i was in denial at first, obviously. in fact my first reaction was to text back, “were you falling asleep at the time?” because sometimes when you’re falling asleep you’ll see weird, scary shit, right? like a demon sitting on your chest or something.

well whatever, i worked the rest of my shift in a daze and eventually, somehow, hours later found myself kneeling in an aisle of duane reade that i had only ever visited once before to buy fly traps. because i’ve had flies, and i bought a cute little fake apple to kill fruit flies. the apple of death, i was the purple witch to the fly sleeping beauty. whatever. i was kneeling because even in the aisle dedicated to killing the vermin of nyc, they put the rat stuff on the bottom shelf, not even the bottom shelf, like the space under the bottom shelf. because it’s so shameful. it’s rat killing merch and a dusty can of blueberry redbull that rolled under there five months ago. it was one step away from buying weapons from a guy in a dark alley. i was there kneeling, hunched over, like in prayer to the altar of the god of rat death. and the hovering, infinitely black orb flashed red and answered my prayers by unfurling like a rose and in the center of the strange petals was a poison trap.

so i bought the poison trap and here’s what i thought the poison trap did. i thought the rat walked inside of a little room, ate poison, and then somehow the door locked behind him and he just died in a shitty little poison rat studio apartment. upon getting home my girlfriend informed me that how it actually works is, the rat eats the poison disguised as delicious food, and then just goes and dies randomly some time later, probably in a hard to reach spot in the room where i live. 

side note. i pay too much money to live in a very small space because i feel aimless and lost and i’ll do things like move to a city to try and find meaning in my life, uh, rats have miles and miles of subway tunnels to live in. go, go be in them. get away from me.

so i returned to the altar of the god of rat death and prayed once more to the giant, hovering, infinitely black orb, and i said, “you fucking sold me- what is this trap for? give me the classic mouse traps, my god. i thought rat trap technology had evolved. just give me the regular cartoon thing made out of wood.”

they had two kinds of those, the classic retro wooden clap trap, and some more modern looking grey plastic one that looked like a building from command and conquer or some shit. i bought a bunch of both. i dropped mad stacks on rat traps.

i’d also like to comment on how the old fashioned traps, the wooden ones, they say on the package, “pre-baited” but when you look at them, at the spot where the bait would be, there’s nothing. like i looked at a couple and i was like, “where is the bait?” the little platform where you’re meant to put the bait is shaped like a tiny slice of swiss cheese, holes and all. that’s what they mean by “pre-baited. like what kind of acme logic is that? pre-baited with a cartoonish wedge of swiss cheese? rats don’t know what swiss cheese is! rats aren’t fucking born with an innate knowledge of swiss cheese. they don’t know that humans think they specifically like the cheese with the holes!! that’s not real. rats eat fucking glue and garbage and shit! by that logic an elephant trap would have a big plastic peanut on it. that’s not pre-baited!! bear traps don’t have pots of honey on them!!!

we decided to use the modern-y, plastic-y clap traps. you bait these in a little hatch and then when the rat lifts up the lid, it snaps down and breaks their neck. like if i opened my fridge and inside there was a spring-loaded metal bar that just swung out and clothes lined me to death. we baited them with peanut butter. which uh, marked the jar in my head as “rat peanut butter.” like it was new and i opened it for the traps and i don’t think i’ll use it now. like i can’t put a dollop of jif into a plastic death trap and then spread it on some ritz crackers. not appetizing. but hey, only the best name brands for my rat buds, eh? choosy daniels choose jif. you think they’d prefer crunchy over smooth? you think rats keep their peanut butter in the fridge?

side note again. my girlfriend pointed something out to me that was apparently rat droppings. a little black like, bit of dirt behind the sink. i was like, “that’s what that is? i’ve seen that every day, i just thought it was like, crud? you know? like schmutz, like just dirt that builds up from being alive and walkin around and shit. that’s what that is?” it blew my mind.

three days passed, alright? every day i woke up and went to go check the traps like some kind of fucked up easter egg hunt. four little sections of my tiny apartment where i can’t go anymore. my girlfriend had since gone home for vacation. i was alone, i was convinced there was no rat.

on the fourth day i woke up. rat in the trap. big fucking rat. not really a rat, it was a mouse, but like i said, well, to me, a rat. i froze. i knew i was going to be late for work. once i was late for work because i had to psych myself up to pick up a dead roach. a rat? that has a spine and an immune system and shit. i thought i was just gonna call and quit. here’s the real twist though. i looked over at the other trap and did a fucking double take. there was another rat. two, i caught two in one night. it really looked like a mom and a baby. everyone i’ve told this to, at this point they get sad thinking about a mom and a baby, but it just freaks me out more. rats don’t have one baby, they have a bunch. for all i know my apartment is a poorly staffed rat daycare right now. 

me picking up the traps with the rigid dead rat bodies isn’t important, just gross, but it’s something i had to do that i didn’t think i’d ever do, so there’s that. add that to my wheelhouse.

how did we even get rats? we’re clean, don’t leave out food, no british ships had docked in my fucking living room. (why isn’t there a stereotype of the arrival of british people coinciding with the arrival of rats? isn’t that how rats got to hawaii?) the only thing i can pin it to is construction they were doing down a manhole on our street. maybe that displaced them. would i have preferred to have four ninja turtles crashing on my couch? no, i don’t want anything from the sewer being displaced refugees in my apartment.

but now we’re all caught up. because this is where i am. i live in fear. when the sun sets i just go to bed because rats are nocturnal and i figure i’d better give them enough night time hours to kill themselves in my traps. like i just don’t stay up anymore and then i dread going out into the living room in the morning. 

i got home from work last night and pulled out everything from under the sink. taking a tip from a coworker, i taped up the holes in the back of the cabinet where the pipes from the sink meet the walls. you’re supposed to use steel wool because they can’t chew through it. all i had was purple duct tape left over from when i went through a duct tape wallet phase four years ago. so i was dripping sweat in my apartment with the ac off so i could hear rats trying to sneak up on me. i was shirtless, wearing jeans, my most rat bite-proof pants, a child’s headlamp so i could see under the sink, and wearing leather gloves. why was i wearing the leather gloves? because if i saw a rat and somehow i caught it in my bare hands i wouldn’t have the courage to crush it, but the leather glove would empower me to choke the life out of it i guess. yeah, shirtless, jeans, leather gloves, child’s headlamp, and a roll of purple duct tape. like a shitty sexy calendar miner. this is my life forever now, i guess. at night i dream from the perspective of the rats. i am them. where do you see yourself spending your last moments on earth if you’re a rat? rolling green hills, the feeling of wind gently running through your fur. in the distance are ancient ruins being overrun by moss. vestiges of a forgotten time. and now time would forget you too. something like that? no please i’m a rat and i want to die surrounded by some loser 25 year old’s shitty ikea furniture. i can’t go back to the way it was. i hate rats.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Here at the Scientific Pokédex, we’re grateful for all of our wonderful followers. So we’d like to show you our gratitude this Thanksgiving by examining Shaymin, the Gratitude Pokémon!

Feeling loved or feeling needed is great. But have you ever stopped to think about what goes on, chemically, in your body that makes these feelings so positive? Sometimes your heart might flutter, or your cheeks might turn red: what about feeling loved & happy makes that happen?

When a Shaymin senses gratitude or receives a loving hug, the buds all over its body burst into bloom! This, like the other effects we mentioned, is a physical response to an emotional stimulation. So let’s discover how that happens!

When you experience an emotion, it actually goes to two parts in your brain. The first part lets you actually sense the emotion, so the part of the brain depends on what emotion you are feeling. Researchers believe the frontal lobe is responsible for happiness and pleasure, while the amygdala allows you to feel anger, fear, and sadness.

At the same time, the signal is sent to a part of the brain that triggers physical responses: makes you paralyze in fear, smile during happiness, tighten muscles, increase blood pressure–any of those things. This is done in the hypothalamus.

How does the hypothalamus control the rest of your body? The hypothalamus links your nervous system (ie, your brain) to the endocrine system – the series of organs and glands that produce hormones. Hormones are chemicals that are secreted directly into your bloodstream and cause parts of your body to do different things. The hormone oxytocin is associated with happiness, melatonin controls when you feel sleepy, an so on. So from a signal in your brain, the hypothalamus controls how much of which hormones are produced: causing physical changes to happen in response to emotions.

After that, it’s all just a chemical reaction. The hormones will react with their target cells through means of receptors, and trigger a certain gene sequences in the cell that start the processes for the right results.

So let’s go back to Shaymin! When Shaymin feels loved, its brain tells its endocrine system to release a certain hormone, which will trigger the flowers on its body to bloom. Which leaves us only one more question…how do flowers know when to bloom?

It’s exactly this process! Flowers have a gene called Apetala1 that controls the whole flowering process. When activated, Apetala1 generates proteins that will then activate over 1,000 more genes in a flower, causing it to slow leaf growth and instead focus on producing sepals and petals of the flowers!

When Shaymin feels love or gratitude, its body starts producing hormones that activate the Apetala1 gene in Shaymin’s body, causing its flowers to rapidly bloom. 

Us Pokémon Professors may not grow flowers when we are happy, but thank you so much for supporting our pokéscience blog! We couldn’t be more grateful for all of you, so from the bottom of our hearts, thank you! And have a very happy Thanksgiving.

“I’m fascinated by the idea that genetics is digital. A gene is a long sequence of coded letters, like computer information. Modern biology is becoming very much a branch of information technology.”
 ― Richard Dawkins

He’s 65 this year and utterly mental.

“Hey dad, I told the internet about your next big mistake and Scott Lynch liked it.”

*thud crash crackle*

“Dad?”

“Sorry, sorry, dropped the phone because I was dancing. Can you show me?!”

“Sure I’ll send you a screen cap of the post.”

“Oooh look at all those people with the little hearts…ahaha, I like the banner too, you’re clever lass. By the way, you’re not getting any of these books back.”

“Those books are sigNED, YOU WILL GIVE THEM BACK.”

“THIEVES PROSPER, CHILD, THIEVES PROSPER”


And that’s when he hung up on me.