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In Case You Were Confused About Ontology...

John Wilkins has begun a series of posts on the ontology of biology, and if, as he waxes philosophic at Evolving Thoughts, it even exists given the underlying nature of biology -- change. He goes into what ontology is, how it should fundamentally (instead of practically) be used as a classification system for the "furniture of the world," and why it runs into problems when applied to the world of biology. "There is a tendency for us to try to force living things into defined kinds of a standard ranking, and to make inferences as if things in the living world were A or Not-A, when in fact they are not only distributions of traits, but changing distributions of traits, and changing distributions of changing traits -- not only do legs vary in length and size, they change in their variation over time, and sometimes they change from being legs, to being wings, for example, or flippers, or even disappearing," he writes.

The Scan

Genome Sequences Reveal Range Mutations in Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

Researchers in Nature Genetics detect somatic mutation variation across iPSCs generated from blood or skin fibroblast cell sources, along with selection for BCOR gene mutations.

Researchers Reprogram Plant Roots With Synthetic Genetic Circuit Strategy

Root gene expression was altered with the help of genetic circuits built around a series of synthetic transcriptional regulators in the Nicotiana benthamiana plant in a Science paper.

Infectious Disease Tracking Study Compares Genome Sequencing Approaches

Researchers in BMC Genomics see advantages for capture-based Illumina sequencing and amplicon-based sequencing on the Nanopore instrument, depending on the situation or samples available.

LINE-1 Linked to Premature Aging Conditions

Researchers report in Science Translational Medicine that the accumulation of LINE-1 RNA contributes to premature aging conditions and that symptoms can be improved by targeting them.