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The genomes of most eukaryotes are riddled with introns – intragenic regions – that have to be cut out by sophisticated DNA-transcribing machinery so that the true gene sections (called exons) can be spliced together. Introns can vary from 20 base pairs to over 500,000 – significantly impacting the energy required to duplicate the genome. This mysterious phenomenon provides a test case for the explanatory power of design vs evolution. Two recent articles can inform the discussion of this mystery. The first from Science Daily called introns “meaningless junk.” Titled “DNA Needs a Good Editor: Researchers Unravel the Mysteries of DNA Packaging,” the article mentioned work going on at Tel Aviv University. “How cells differentiate between what’s useful and what’s garbage in our complicated and messy genetic code is a fundamental biology question – one with extremely important implications,” the article stated. One finding is that exons (the gene sequences) are packaged differently than introns. Understanding this may help to target improperly spliced transcripts that cause cancer and genetic disease. The article did not delve into the question of how introns evolved, but assumed they are meaningless, functionless pieces of genetic garbage. Another article in Science Daily (see also PhysOrg) reported that “Introns Nonsense DNA May Be More Important to Evolution of Genomes Than Thought.” Is there any sense in the apparent nonsense of introns? A team of scientists from University of New Hampshire and Indiana University Bloomington are not sure, but they did find something surprising. There seem to be hot spots for intron insertion. Different organisms with different genotypes can end up with the same introns at the same places. They call this “parallel intron gain”. Michael Lynch at Indiana U said, “This strongly argues against the common assumption that when two species share introns at the same site, it is always due to inheritance from a common ancestor.” If they did not evolve from common ancestry, how did they come about? The team is testing a hypothesis: “Our molecular analyses have enabled us to reject a number of hypotheses for the mechanism of intron origins, while clearly indicating an entirely unexpected pathway — emergence as accidents arising during the repair of double-strand breaks.” A somewhat related story in PhysOrg reported an “inverse relationship between gene duplication and alternative splicing.” Scientists at the University of Georgia, working with the lab plant Arabidopsis and with poplar trees, noted the difference in their degrees of duplication. They believe they reflect “distinct defense strategies” due to different environmental threats. “Alternative splicing is the molecular process that allows a single gene to produce many gene products or proteins with potentially different functions,” the article explained. The fact that the large poplar tree has only 7,000 more genes than a tiny weed indicated to the team that it’s not the number of genes that matters in a genome, but how they are regulated. Gene regulation – including the regulation of introns and duplicates and alternative ways to splice exons together – is at the cutting edge of genome research. Are these aspects of the evolutionary history of the organisms, or do they reflect underlying design strategies we do not yet understand?The design hypothesis already has a superior track record in debunking much of the “junk DNA” notion (12/05/2009, 05/18/2009). Here is a clear opportunity for design scientists to approach these puzzles with a different orientation than evolutionary biologists. Rather than assuming these are all leftover relics of common ancestry, why not assume there is a method to the madness? Already, “gene regulation” implies higher-order design that is not readily derivable from DNA itself. And developmental biology is beginning to see levels of hierarchical design that are orders of magnitude more intricate than anything man has ever designed. Introns appear as nonsense to us right now. Maybe that is because we just don’t understand the language yet. Even if they turn out to be the accumulations of scars from repair of double-stranded breaks, that fact would presuppose repair systems that were robust enough to prevent genetic catastrophes. Humans routinely discard much of the packaging of their inventions (crates, cardboard boxes, bubble wrap) without losing confidence that the goods were designed. The hypothesis that introns leave a trace of common ancestry has just been challenged by the discovery of parallel intron gain. Each new revelation in genomics, by contrast, underscores the elegance of the machinery that reads, transcribes and translates the genetic code. And to think that elaborate proofreading and repair systems exist to protect the genome is mind boggling (see Science Daily 10/22/2009, for example). With essential molecular machines like this required for reproduction, it seems impossible for evolution to even get started without the machinery already present and working – by design. Yet the mystery of introns remains unsolved (09/02/2003). There are tantalizing clues of design to be discovered. Already a functional intron has been reported (02/06/2008), or they may provide “handles” for transcription machinery (09/12/2003). The sophistication of the spliceosome that cuts out introns and splices together the exons gives us cause to wonder why Darwinian natural selection would go to such trouble to keep them around. Why isn’t evolution eliminating them from the genome? Given Darwinism’s dismal record on vestigial organs, glial cells and junk DNA, will you trust them with this question? It will be interesting to follow which approach – design or evolution – emerges as the fittest in explaining the puzzle of introns.(Visited 66 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Stick Man is the story of a happy-go-lucky father’s epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas. (Image: Triggerfish)A South African animation company has won a top prize for a TV production at a premier animation festival.Stick Man won a Le Cristal d’Annecy award at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in France. The short animation is a collaboration between South African animation studio Triggerfish’s and UK-based Magic Light PicturesThis is not the company’s first award. It recently received accolades at the BANFF World Media Festival, the Shanghai International Film and TV Festival, and two British Animation Awards.Previous Le Cristalwinners include the films Room on the Broom, The Amazing World of Gumball, Shaun the Sheep and Peppa Pig.Triggerfish CEO Stuart Forrest was delighted with the recognition, saying “this was Africa’s strongest showing at Annecy yet. In addition to Stick Man winning the TV category, our collaborator Clea Mallinson won the Animation du Monde pitching forum for her short film Fairy Wheels.”Other African winners this year included South African Naomi van Niekerk’s stop-motion animation short, ‘n Gewone Blou Maandagoggend. It won the Jean-Luc Xiberras Award for a First Film in the short film category.Adama, a film set in West Africa, won the André-Martin Award for a French-language feature film.Forrest said: “We also had a great response to the four TV series we’re developing from last year’s pan-African Triggerfish Story Lab, so it is an exciting time for African animation.”About Stick ManStick Man is based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s much-loved children’s picture book about a happy-go-lucky father’s epic journey to make it home in time for Christmas.The 26-minute film was directed by London-based Jeroen Jaspaert and South African Daniel Snaddon.“I’m so proud of the team who went beyond the call of duty to bring Stick Man to life, thanks to Jeroen for bringing out the best in us,” said Snaddon.Watch the trailer:The film features an all-star voice cast that includes Sherlock’s Martin Freeman, Hugh Bonneville from Downtown Abbey and comedienne Jennifer Saunders.The film was shown on the BBC during Christmas 2015 and was watched by over 10-million viewers.Co-producers, Magic Light Pictures is an Oscar-nominated, BAFTA and International Emmy winning production company.Triggerfish’s next project is another collaboration with Magic Light Pictures, and will be Christmas special for the BBC based on Roald Dahl’s popular Revolting Rhymes books.Nathi Mthethwa, South Africa’s minister of arts and culture, congratulated Triggerfish on Twitter:Congratulations to Triggerfish Animation Cape Town, for winning the overall Cristal for best TV production at the Annecy/MIFA awards.— Min. Nathi Mthethwa (@NathiMthethwaSA) June 20, 2016
Essential Reading! Get my first book: The Only Sale Guide You’ll Ever Need “The USA Today bestseller by the star sales speaker and author of The Sales Blog that reveals how all salespeople can attain huge sales success through strategies backed by extensive research and experience.” Buy Now “Buyers have changed,” they say. So much so, in fact, that what you know about sales is all wrong. In fact, if you’re not already looking for another line of work, you will be in, say, the next 15 minutes. Millions of salespeople will soon be roaming the streets, tin cup in one hand, cardboard sign in the other.This is what you are being told by Henny Penny, the kind of sales expert who quit their job in sales because it was too hard to make a living, telling you how you can succeed with the very challenges that drove them out of sales.This when you just had a record year in sales. This when you had double-digit top-line growth and when your profitability grew by a similar number.This, while you continue to create new opportunities using traditional prospecting methods that the “expert” insists are “outdated.” All of this when you are being told you are irrelevant at best, obsolete at worst. In spite of all that you are being told, you continue to win new clients.You keep winning deals despite the fact that you are being told that your buyers have so much power that the only way to win is to become subservient, avoiding conflict, lest you lose the deal to one who can prostrate themselves more effectively than you.You are creating opportunities even when the so-called experts tell you that the buyer’s journey is almost complete before they ever engage with someone like you. This while you are helping your clients understand why they need to change and how, something salespeople have done for centuries. Your clients (and dream clients) still turn to you to help them produce better results, even though they allegedly spend all of their time researching potential solutions on the Internet and now know as much or more than you do.Miracle of miracles, as backward and antiquated as you are, you are somehow still selling more than you sold last year. You are still succeeding in spite of what you are being told are the most radical changes to human behavior ever witnessed on Earth (or any other planet).Many years ago, I told you that the Charlatans were wrong about cold calling and social media. I am telling you now that the new variety of self-loathing sales experts are Charlatans, preying on your fears to gain attention.Has buying evolved? For sure. But if salespeople have everything wrong, how do we keep producing better results from year to year? Not everything you know is wrong and not every opinion, especially those citing research and facts, is worth your attention.If there is a group of people who will evolve their approach to succeed, it is surely salespeople.
Man Utd Transfer Watch: Four centre-backs Solskjaer should targetby Phillip Ekuwem10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveFollowing Jose Mourinho’s exit, Manchester United are looking to get their season back on track under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s guidance going into the second-half of the season. Considering the team’s defensive woes, the one area United undoubtedly need to bolster is their backline, primarily the centre-back position. Eric Bailly’s future at the club is currently uncertain, and the likes of Phil Jones and Chris Smalling are evidently not good enough to turn out for United on a regular basis.As such, here’s a look at four centre-backs United could realistically sign in January…Toby AlderweireldIt’s no secret that Manchester United are huge admirers of the Belgian centre-back having made attempts to sign him in previous transfer windows. Alderweireld has been a consistent performer at Tottenham since his arrival at the club, but with his proposed one-year contract extension at Spurs set to trigger a £25m release clause, Manchester United could snap him up at a relatively cheap price.Alderweireld is good with the ball at his feet and even better at preventing players from penetrating his side’s defensive line. He’s one of the best defenders in the Premier League and would be an excellent addition to United’s backline.Video Courtesy of Mathews FootballAndreas GranqvistAndreas Granqvist would be a more temporary option, but a good one nonetheless. The Helsingborgs man has been linked with a move to Manchester United since October.The 33-year-old was one of the best defenders in the World Cup back in June, as he marked players tightly and made key interceptions against highly skilled opponents. He also showcased his ability from spot-kicks, although should he sign for United, it’s unlikely that Pogba will give up his penalty taking duties.Granqvist has previously said that an offer from Manchester United would be ‘very hard’ to turn down, so should Solskjaer’s side table a concrete offer for the Swedish defender he’s likely to make the switch.Video Courtesy of Defence is an ArtDiego GodinGodin has a lot to offer United in terms of leadership and defensive contributions. The Uruguay international has been an integral part of both his national team set-up and Atletico Madrid for many years, so much so that he’s widely regarded as one of the best defenders of his generation.He’s reportedly got a £20m release clause which won’t be any trouble for United to pay, but the main hurdle is getting him to make the switch as he’s rejected offers from the club in the past.Godin would add a much-needed layer of protection to Manchester United’s back four considering his expertise in dealing with tricky and pacey forwards having face a number of world-class attackers with great success throughout his career.Video Courtesy of HN FootballHarry MaguireManchester United’s pursuit of Harry Maguire ended last summer because club chairman Ed Woodward refused to meet Leicester City’s valuation of the English centre-back.United have a much bigger need for a quality centre-back than they did back in August having already played through half of the season with defensive problems. The Leicester man has Premier League experience and World Cup experience so he knows what it is to play under pressure in massive games. Leicester are likely to demand a similar fee to what they asked for in August but whether United would take the same stance they did back then is unknown – one thing’s for sure, though – they need Maguire’s quality.Video Courtesy of Scouting Football TagsTransfersOpinionAbout the authorPhillip Ekuwem FollowShare the loveHave your say
LONDON — Police have charged four men who were accused of threatening the crew of a cargo ship in the Thames Estuary outside of London.Essex Police said Sunday the four were charged with “affray,” a crime defined as using of threatening to use violence in a way that makes by-standers fear for their safety.The operator of the cargo ship Grande Tema said the men had been discovered stowed away on the vessel, which travelled from Nigeria to England.The men were confined to a cabin but escaped and, according to ship operator Grimaldi Lines, threatened the crew with iron bars. Friday’s incident ended peacefully after authorities intervened.The men range in age from 20 to 27.They are scheduled to appear at Chelmsford Magistrates’ Court on Monday.The Associated Press
Kolkata: England all-rounder Joe Denly is looking at the ongoing Indian Premier League to impress upon the national selectors and guarantee his place in this year’s World Cup squad. Denly’s form in white ball cricket for Kent in 2018 has brought him on the selectors’ radar for a spot in England’s World Cup squad. He recorded an average of 70.28 in the Royal London One-Day Cup for Kent, besides scoring 409 runs in 12 innings — including two fifties and a hundred — in the Vitality Blast. With his part-time leg-spin, Denly also scalped 20 wickets at an average of 16.75 and an economy rate of 7.76. Also Read – Puducherry on top after 8-wkt win over ChandigarhHaving also played in the recent T20I series against the West Indies, Denly hopes to get selectors’ attention by doing well for Kolkata Knight Riders in the IPL. “I want to play as many games as I can. It’s important leading up to the World Cup. Hopefully I get some game time here and can contribute to some good performances. And then hopefully the England selectors will be watching them,” said Denly, who recently made his Test debut for England in the lost series against the West Indies. KKR boast of a star-studded foreign players line-up and Denly is still waiting in the pipeline for a dream IPL debut. Also Read – Vijender’s next fight on Nov 22, opponent to be announced later”We have some good players in the franchise and I think it’s a great position to be in. Hopefully, I can put my hands up and be in games,” he said. “I am coming here on the back of a busy winter. I have been to the West Indies and Sri Lanka. I am used to these hot conditions. So I feel like I am well acclimatised and ready to go.” Hosts England are considered as strong favourites to lift their maiden World Cup title this year, but Denly thinks otherwise and said their sole aim would be to play their best cricket in every game.
New Delhi: Global internet servers are expected to be ready by June to enable people register complete website name in nine Indian scripts, according to Universal Acceptance Steering Group. At present, website name can be booked in several non-English scripts including Mandarin, Arabic, Russian, Devanagari etc. However, top level domain (TLD) — which is the second part on the right side of the dot of a website address — can be booked only in limited set of characters identified by root server. As of now, people can book website name in Devanagari script and only .bharat in this script is available as extension. The nine Indian scripts that will be initially fed in root servers of ICANN (Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers) are Bengali, Devanagari, Gujarati, Gurmukhi, Kannada, Malayalam, Oriya, Tamil and Telugu. “Label Generation Rules (LGR) for nine language scripts that are used in India are expected to be finalised in a quarter and will be fed in root servers that are managed by ICANN by June. “LGR in root servers will identify characters in Indian scripts. This will allow people to choose complete name of website as per their choice,” Universal Acceptance Steering Group (UASG) Chairman Ajay Data told PTI. Data is the first Indian to hold the position in UASG that has been set up with the support of custodian of global internet ICANN. UASG is working to finalise standard characters of non-English scripts to be accepted by internet system globally. Under the new system, people will be able to use any name, word, combination of letters in the nine Indian scripts after ICANN accepts it and completes the process of allocating the system to various bodies across the globe that will facilitate registrations. “We are only waiting for a response from Bangladesh to complete recommendations for Bangla script,” Data said. He said the new scripts are required to connect over a billion people who can understand, read and write in their local language. “This will also solve data security and localisation issue to a large extent. We will engage with Indian government, large enterprises, software and application developers, internet companies to accept e-mails and make their system universally acceptable to enable next one billion non-English speaking people come online,” Data said. UASG has also been given task to finalise standards for full website name in Arabic, Hebrew, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Cyrillic, Greek, Latin, Sinhala, Thai and Georgian scripts. “UASG will focus heavily on India, Russia, China, the UAE and Thailand as billions of people follow scripts that are used in these countries,” Data said. ICANN expanded TLD system from traditional .com, .org, .net to generic names in 2012. It invited applications from companies, organisations and individuals in 2012 who can come up with USD 185,000 (over Rs 1 crore) to buy specific words that will replace the present TLD names and other usual suffixes on their website addresses.
The Big Ten relinquished a 3-0 lead in the Challenge early Tuesday night, and eventually needed OSU’s victory to finalize the Big Ten’s first win in 11 tries. Turner said it has been frustrating to constantly hear about ACC’s dominance over the Big Ten and the rest of the country. In the second half it was all OSU. The Buckeyes forced FSU to play fast with their smaller lineup and pushed a lead to more than 20. Florida State fought back within two, but that was the closest the Seminoles would come all night. OSU opened its lead back up to 11 at halftime with key shots and strong defense. “That’s a championship right there. It’s huge,” Turner said jokingly about the win. “You can’t say this is the biggest night of our lives, [though]. We’ve had some pretty big nights.” The game played out the same way the Big Ten/ACC Challenge had early on. Like the rest of the Big Ten, OSU garnered an early lead, but just as its conference had done, the Bucks left the door open. But when in doubt, the Buckeyes and their conference pulled it out. Junior Jon Diebler used guard Evan Turner’s penetration to set up big shots for three. He knocked down six of 12, scoring 22 on the night. Turner again set the pace for OSU, immediately penetrating and scoring within seconds of the tip-off. Effective penetration to the basket is something Turner excels at even though he was unable to utilize in OSU’s only loss of the season, to North Carolina. “Our penetration and our shooters were really amazing tonight and we really complement each other well,” Turner said. “That was key for us.” His 25 points on 10-17 shooting led the Buckeyes. He also added 13 rebounds and five assists. The Ohio State men’s basketball team triumphed over Florida State, 77-64, Wednesday in the final game of the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.The Buckeyes put the final nail in the ACC’s coffin, giving the Big Ten the deciding win and its first ever victory in the Challenge’s 11-year history. Turner joked earlier in the week that if the Challenge was tied at five games apiece, a victory would call for confetti and cutting down the nets. No nets were removed after Big Ten’s first ever win over the ACC, but a ton of pressure finally was.
The Ohio State men’s and women’s track and field teams participated in the Buckeye Tune-up Friday at OSU’s French Field House, their final meet prior to the Big Ten Indoor Championship meet.OSU athletes won seven of the 17 individual events contested for each gender. The men’s and women’s teams each had a two-event winner. Redshirt senior distance runner Adam Green took first place in the men’s mile run with a time of 4:11.25, and followed that with a winning time of 8:28.33 in the 3,000-meter run. On the women’s side, senior sprinter Christina Manning finished first in the 60-meter dash in 7.28 seconds, then won the 60-meter hurdles in 8.11 seconds.In addition to the event winners, two OSU athletes met automatic qualifying standards for the NCAA Division I Championship in the weight throw. Redshirt senior Matt DeChant met the mark with a throw of 70 feet, 9 1/4 inches, while fellow senior Max Mays also qualified with a throw of 70 feet, 7 inches. Ashland University’s senior Ryan Loughney won the men’s weight throw with a throw of 71 feet, 4 inches.While the Buckeye Tune-up served as a venue for some of the OSU athletes to perform, others rested this week in preparation for the Big Ten Indoor Championships.“Some people needed rest and some people need work,” said Karen Dennis, coach of the women’s team. “(Some athletes were) really getting geared up emotionally for Big Tens next weekend.”Although he won two events, Green said the meet “was more of a training day.”Heading into the conference championship meet, there is certainly pressure on the women’s track and field team, as they are the defending champions of the Big Ten Indoor Championship. Two women’s athletes also have individual conference titles to defend — Manning was last year’s Big Ten champion in the 60-meter hurdles, while senior sprinter Madison McNary took first place in the 60-meter dash.“As defending champions, we want to go defend our title, but we are also realistic in knowing that we have to expect people to want to bump us off,” Dennis said. “Sprinters and hurdlers all have to make it back to the finals.”The men’s track and field team finished fifth at last year’s Big Ten Indoor Championships, but their sights are set on greater accomplishments in 2012.Redshirt junior Heath Nickles, who cleared a height of 16 feet, 11 1/2 inches and won the Buckeye Tune-up pole vault, said the team is in it to win it.“We won’t accept anything else,” he said.Nickles said his individual goals for this weekend are to win the heptathlon and pole vault, stressing the importance of scoring 10 points for the team in each event.Coach Robert Gary said Nebraska is the team to beat in the Big Ten. He said he believes in his team’s chances to win, because the team “doesn’t bring anybody to the Big Ten meet just to get the experience of getting their butts kicked.”Senior sprinter Thomas Murdaugh and redshirt junior distance runner Cory Leslie did not compete in Friday’s meet, but will be crucial to the team’s success this weekend. Murdaugh will be attempting to defend his conference title from last year in the 400-meter dash. Leslie finished fourth in the mile run at last year’s meet, but he has been running faster times this season, including a mile time of 3:56.85 at the Penn State National Invitational which not only set a school record, but also met the mark to automatically qualify for the NCAA Division I Championship meet.The quest to bring the Big Ten Indoor Championships title back to OSU begins Feb. 24, in Lincoln, Neb. The meet concludes Saturday.