Know why your new born’s dark eyes resemble your wife or his/her charming smile reminds you of teenaged days?
This resemblance is not pre-determined but happens randomly between two copies of every gene for a given trait – one from mom, the other from dad. Business Standard reports that both copies of a gene are switched on or off as an embryo develops into an adult.
The ‘switching on’ of a gene begins the process of gene expression that ultimately results in the production of a protein. New research shows that this random phenomenon is far more likely to be found in mature, developed cell types than in their stem cell precursors. This, in turn, offers an unexpected glimpse of randomness and variability in gene expression.
“This significant amount of flexibility and randomness in gene expression is important for adaptation as a species evolves, but it is unclear how it functions in organisms today,” said professor David Spector at New York-based Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL).
Occasionally, a cell will arbitrarily begin to use of one copy of a gene over the other. The activation of only one member of a gene pair is called ‘monoallelic gene expression’. To better understand when ‘monoallelic gene expression’ is established, Spector and his team collaborated with researchers from the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.
The team used advanced sequencing technology and analysis tools to globally assess allele usage in two different cell types. They compared embryonic stem cells which can change or ‘differentiate’ into nearly any type of tissue with cells that had already differentiated into the precursors of neurons.
The team was surprised to find that 8 percent of the monoallelically expressed genes were able to boost their level of expression to compensate for what would otherwise be a shortfall.
“This work raises many important questions like how does the cell know how much of each protein to produce? How much flexibility is there? What is the tipping point toward disease?“ noted Spector.
According to LiveScience scientists found that dogs and humans have the same areas in the brain that are responsible for understanding and interpreting both canine and human sounds.
Scientists found that dogs and humans have the same “voice areas” in their brains, and these areas are responsible for understanding and interpreting both canine and human sounds.
Attila Andics, of MTA-ELTE Comparative Ethology Research Group, noted that the presence of voice areas in both dog and human brains suggests this region existed in an ancestor of the two species that lived as long ago as 100 million years ago.
“The way dogs and humans process emotionally loaded sounds is very similar. It is really not probable that the two species [dogs and humans] evolved these very similar brain mechanisms independently,” commented Andics.
A lot of research has looked into the strong social bond between people and dogs, but scientists still know very little about the brain mechanism behind this alliance, he said.
The scientists found that the dogs reacted most strongly to the sounds produced by dogs, whereas the humans reacted most strongly to the sounds produced by humans. But both the dogs and humans also responded to the emotions in each other’s sounds.
Click here to read the Entire Article.
In this interview Dr. Matsumoto delved into the topics of psychology, microexpressions (one of of his specialties), and what his typical work day looks like. He was asked questions such as, how and why did you choose the doctorate program you attended and what do you like least about being a psychologist.
For a sneak peek see some of his answers below. For a more in depth look read the entire article.
What do you like least about being a psychologist?
I don’t like the politics and administrative work that are involved in doing my work. I definitely don’t like waiting to get the answer once I do a study. I could have an interesting research question and do a study, but it could take me two years to get the answer. It’s not something that I can get immediately, so I don’t like waiting because I’m kind of an impatient guy.
Describe a typical day at work—walk readers through a day in your shoes.
I’m up around 5:30 a.m. I’ll decide then if I’ll get up then and work or if I’m going to stay in bed for an extra 30 minutes and then get up. As soon as I wash up, I go straight to my study in my house. I write every morning, six days a week. Whether it’s a journal article, chapter, book, grant proposal, I’ll be writing, which is a creative activity for me. I’ll spend one and a half to three hours, six days a week, doing that with minimal interruptions and I have done that for over 30 years. After that time, I’ll take my dog for a walk and eat breakfast. From there I usually go to one of my offices and supervise work going on there. I’m generally always moving from one office to the next, usually doing work which requires coordinating with other people, such as seeing how data collection is going, analyzing data, etc. I take breaks here and there. In the evening I go home or go to judo practice at my dojo, the East Bay Judo Institute
On average: How many hours a week do you work? How many hours do you sleep per night? How many weeks of vacation do you take?
On average I work 12-hour days three times a week and 12- to 14-hour days the other days in the week. I work a total of about 70 hours a week. When I was coaching judo, I had much longer days. I usually sleep seven to seven and a half hours a night. I can’t remember a time in the past where I took a week vacation where I did absolutely nothing to do with work or judo. Even now when go on vacation, the longest being around 10 days, most mornings I keep writing. Instead of taking long vacation, I tend to rest my mind and body throughout the month. I look forward to not doing anything on Saturday afternoons or evenings. Micro breaks throughout the day work better for me.
Dr.Matsumoto’s best advice, “…is to learn basic research methodology really well. Become a critical thinker and reader. Be a good scholar. Work hard.“
In the TED Talk video below National Geographic Explorer, Wade Davis, celebrates the diversity of the world’s indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.
Wade attempts to enlighten us on why culture is so important and how culture affects our modern world today.
“The problem is that even those of us sympathetic with the plight of indigenous people view them as simple quaint and colorful but somehow reduce to the margins of history as the real world meaning our world moves on. Well, the truth is the 20th century 300 years from now is not gonna be remembered for its wars or its technological innovations but rather the error in which we stood by and neither actively endorsed or passively accepted the massive destruction of both biological cultural diversity on the planet.”
Want to learn what culture is or how to control your emotions when dealing with people from other cultures?
Take Humintell’s IntelliCulture Online Training Course.
Why can some people control their emotions so well and others seem to emotionally fall apart so quickly? It’s often said “don’t make big decisions when you’re emotional”. Many of us hold in high admiration the individuals that hold their emotions in check most of the time. So is it really better to do this, or do emotions play a productive role in good decision making?
Fast Company.com published an article that notes that emotions are essential to making rational decisions. So Spock like decision making might not be the best way to go. According to neuroscientist Antonio Damasio’s book Descartes’ Error,
”At best, your decision will take an inordinately long time, far more than acceptable if you are going to get anything else done that day. At worst, you may not even end up with a decision at all because you will get lost in the byways of your calculation.“
Damasio purports that this is because you will not be able to hold in your head all the pluses and minuses your deliberation demands. Because attention and memory have limited supplies. It’s emotions that make the myriad of cost calculations go faster.
The article goes on to note that it’s more of an emotional “gut” feeling when one is deciding on the best couple of courses of action out of the many possibilities.
Rather than scrutinizing every item of every menu, your feelings about what you’d like to eat allow you to skip over the pizza that you aren’t in the mood for. Similarly, your emotions help you with your career: if the thought of spending hours a day coding gives you the heebie-jeebies, then perhaps it’s best to avoid the developer bootcamps you’ve heard so much about.
In this way, emotions don’t get in the way of making smart decisions, they’re an integral part of that process.