For the first time ever researchers have grown viable eggs in the lab

One of the key goals in developmental and reproductive biology has been achieved this week which could have incredible implications on both this planet and others. Life has been created in a Petri dish.

In a paper published just this week in Nature, Japanese researchers have been able to grow mouse eggs entirely In vitro. Fibroblasts (skin cells which produce collagen) were reprogrammed to make eggs.

While it is true that cells have been reprogrammed to different types of cell in the past. Creating eggs is much more tricky. Eggs are the ultimate stem-cell, able to create all the bits necessary to an organism from raw genetic blueprints. They are far more flexible than stem cells.

This is very solid work and an important step in the field

– Developmental Biologist Diana laird

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Coral bleaching: Have you tried the innovative ‘Blue Carbon’?

The iconic and breathtakingly beautiful coral reefs that are found around the world are truly a sight to behold. They are diverse underwater ecosystems that harbour some of the worlds most fantastic, joyous and in some instances deadly species. The Great Barrier Reef (photo in set) is colossal. I’m sure that it has made the bucket list of many people, some of you reading this may have been lucky enough to have seen it for yourself. However, much like a number of Earth’s natural wonders, human agency seems to lead to its destruction..

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Why genetically modified plants (GMO) will play a huge part in our future

We seem to see the use of genetically modified organisms (GMO) more and more in recent years. Most recently we’ve seen the first genetically modified salmon cleared to enter the food chain by the FDA and there is also GMO pork in development.

Genetically modified food is not permitted anywhere in the world. This is due to public weariness with polls showing 52% of people believe GMO foods are unsafe and a further 13% unsure.

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Stunning Saturday #2 – Vaadhoo island, Maldives

Located in the maldives, known as ‘the sea of stars’ Vaadhoo island is breathtaking. The pinpricks of brilliant blue light seem to mimic the stars above and make for some incredible natural lighting.

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Is Objectivity possible in Archaeology?

Objectivity is the state or quality of being ‘bias-free’ (where biases include personal feelings, experiences and imaginings) while subjectivity is the idea that our decisions and ideas are formulated as a result of our own mental experience (Kristianses and Rowlands 2005). The scientific method strives to produces results that are objective or objective truths and is concerned with reproducibility and testability of methods and theories.

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Is Religion and Science compatible?

The relationship between science and religion is a debate that has raged on since classical antiquity. Discussed at length by philosophers, theologians, scientists and politicians, I have also found myself far too often discussing the ins and outs of religion and science over a pint of the local ale with friends and colleagues. This post will briefly describe the ways in which religion and science may be completely incompatible.

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Extremophile bacteria and the implications for extra-terrestrial life

Kicking off this blog with a rather long post based upon microbial extremophiles. In light of the recent discovery of water on Mars, I thought I’d write about the potential for life (microbial life) on other planets.

imagesFrom the beginnings of modern science it has always been hypothesised that we are not alone in the universe. This idea has been the driving force behind years and years of science fiction writing, film and artwork. While many people may believe in extra-terrestrial life, it is not very well know that microbes may well hold the key. An extremophile is an organism that survives and thrives in a physically or chemically extreme environment that would be inhospitable to ‘normal’ organisms. Extremophiles are characterised by the environment they are found in, for instance a psychrophile is found in extreme cold, halophiles found in extremes of salt and xerophiles in extremely dry environments.

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