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CharonY last won the day on September 23

CharonY had the most liked content!

About CharonY

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  • Location
    somewhere in the Americas.
  • Interests
    Breathing. I enjoy it a lot, when I can.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Biology/ (post-)genome research
  • Biography
    Labrat turned grantrat.


  • Biology Expert

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SuperNerd (12/13)



  1. It is not working the way you think. The issue here is not exposure of DNA to external factors, they will have that all the time, anyway as active regions have to be unwound (most of the time far from the ends where the telomeres sit). Rather, they are involved in solving the end of replication issue (which is not the subject here) but also interacting with our own damage response system. The issue is really is focused on the end of chromosomes. If we have DNA damage, our response pathways either try to fix it or it can lead to further degradation pathways, which ultimately can result in cell arrest or death. To prevent that, telomeres together with a protein complex called sheltering. There are different functions involved, but ultimately they stop a number of different pathways that are involved in DNA repair pathways (specifically nonhomologous end joining and homology directed repair, in case you want to read up) as well as signaling pathways that are activated when DNA breaks are detected (ATR and ATM). So in short, the resulting structures are not so much about exogenous damage protection, but really about protecting our ends from our repair systems. Edit: I found an article on wiki that explains it a bit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelterin
  2. Not quite true. Telomeres are actually genetic material themselves and as such have no protective properties over other stretches of DNA. Essentially, they are repetitive sequences of DNA at the ends of chromosomes. They shorten during replication, though reactive oxygen species are also thought to play a role in telomere shortening.
  3. Generally speaking, animal welfare is related to the ability of an animal to suffer in some form. Depending on country, the laws will vary, but typically we assume that animals that are closer to us are more likely able to suffer. So generally, warm-blooded animals are most protected, and this also often extended to animals with a spinal cord (e.g. fish). Local regulations can be stricter than that and some also include e.g. certain cephalopods. Beyond that, most animal use is exempt from animal welfare considerations as folks assume that they have limited ability for suffering. This is why no one gets charged with animal cruelty if they squish flies or put out ant killers.
  4. Two tidbits on that. In Canada BA.5/BA.4 showed up during summer, and caused a lot of infections. After that, it was hypothesized that the expected Fall surge would be delayed until immunity wanes, so perhaps around winter. However there are new variants,BA.2.75.2 and BQ.1.1, circulating worldwide, which are both very immune evasive. So now the fear is that a wave may come in earlier, after all, as those sub-lineages would reduce or nullify the immunity provided by BA.5. No clear data on virulence (AFAIK) yet.
  5. Considering, the lengthy abolitionist campaign and the fact that there were several stages (first trade, then abiut 30 years later owning them), it seems only neat in hindsight and compared to the US. And again some historians are putting more weight to the Haitian revolution as one of the factors weighing against slavery. Also not really neat. JC's link has a good summary (though as non-historian hard to tell how much nuance is list).
  6. And again, it depends on what precisely what we are talking about. Based on OP I would interpret it as general laws pertaining mostly to the Atlantic chattel slave trade, which as practice has ended. But if it is about slavery in general, including e.g. legal forms in the US as per the 13th amendment then it would be a very broad discussion.
  7. Now this alludes to a rather different discussion. There are different forms of slavery, which involve different types of attitudes between slaves and slave owners. However, chattel slavery is infamous for the particular reason that the slaves were basically treated as tools and properties and sometimes disposable ones. Enslaving of prisoners of war falls under a somewhat different category (though someone enslaved under one condition could end up in the other category). For chattel slavery there is generally no path to freedom as compared to some other forms slavery, the children born to slaves are slaves themselves. Dehumanization seems rather apt here for this type of slavery, at least. Also, in modern times slavery became increasingly connected to race. But again, this would make a whole new discussion and I think it is important to distinguish different forms of slavery and their historic context. Otherwise one would be stuck with making very generalized statements that are just inaccurate, depending on which era you are talking about.
  8. There is quite a bit of scholarship around the various factors and the first thing to consider is that the motivation for each country to abolish slavery was somewhat different. The two most common arguments that you can find are related to morality as well as economics, as you pointed out. Economically, slave trade were connected to colonies, and obviously they becoming less profitable and in connection with the industrial revolution, slave labour was becoming less profitable and ethical concerns got more weight as a result. However, one often overlooked factor are also the actions of black abolitionists, and perhaps, most famously the Haitian Revolution, which in one fell swoop cut France off from its largest plantation colony. While it took a while (and the Haitians had to pay reparations for their freedom until recently https://www.npr.org/sections/money/2021/10/05/1042518732/-the-greatest-heist-in-history-how-haiti-was-forced-to-pay-reparations-for-freed ), some historians argue that this was a turning point in the abolition of slavery in the French (and British) empire. So, while there is no singular (or simple answer) to the question in OP, it should be noted that luck is probably not a good answer and also takes away the agency of folks who were opposed to it.
  9. I think motivated is the key point here.
  10. Now that we have gone through it for a while, what we have seen in practice is that online teaching is even less effective as in-Person. The latter kind of forces at least a minimum level of student engagement, whereas online it is just very difficult to achieve, even if you throw in all the gimmicks there are at them (polls, questions, exercises etc.). Folks just check out mentally much faster in front of a screen as opposed to have someone right in front of them (and scowling at them).
  11. I don't think that it necessarily at a specific effort of social engineering, though it could have that consequence. Primarily it seems to me like a performative act (something that some folks love to call virtue signaling) for their basis. Of course it does perpetuate a certain worldview (which is supposed to appeal and mobilize a specific segment of the voter base), but I am not sure whether that is really the main point. But then folks were taking QAnon seriously, so what do I know?
  12. Going back to OP, fundamentally it means that ultimately power comes from the population. That could have many different means, but ultimately it requires the ability of the population to remove folks from power, if they so choose. There are challenges, of course and one of the key elements of democracy is that it relies on an informed public. It is no coincidence that controlling the flow of information is one of the key elements of any modern dictatorship. We had long discussions in the past on this forum on the dangers of media monopolies, mostly in conjunction with the Murdoch empire, but also the Koch brothers etc. which were actively working to create certain narratives to control public opinion resulting in folks voting against their interest (including on issues such as climate change which has gotten so bad that it is now impossible to ignore, but also aspects such as health care, taxation and so on). This issue has now been supercharged with social media, which in theory should democratize flow of information, but instead resulted in a fracture on how folks perceive reality. While media conglomerates put a lot of efforts in "spin", it turns out that you do not actually need to that. Rather you just need a stupid algorithm to push falsehoods and magically it will become reality for a lot of folks. Under these circumstances I am not sure how democracy is supposed to function.
  13. OP was asking about arbitrary measures in order to categorize phages (i.e. ways to measure genetic distance), and was not referring to naming conventions as such. IOW it is not about how systematic we name phages, but rather how systematic (or not) are we able to distinguish them in the first place.
  14. From a recent opinion article (NYT):
  15. I think most interested folks will come across the term a fair bit, as newspapers and popular science magazines do mention whether papers are peer reviewed or not. This has also become more common during this pandemic. So I would think many folks would have at least a vague idea what it means. Folks might see as a high bar rather than the minimum requirement it really is, though. I think in recent times folks increasingly believe things to be true based on their beliefs rather than evidence (probably also depending on country).
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