Thursday, April 22, 2010

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Green glowing frogs detect pollution

Just came across this article from last December about engineering tadpoles to express green fluorescent protein when exposed to pollutants. A strength this approach has over more traditional techniques is that the tadpoles only respond to bioavailable forms of target toxins.

Since this is fluorescence not luminescence, the detection would require at minimum a special light source and a filter. My first thought when seeing this was to wonder how they detect the fluorescence. According to the researchers this turned out to be “nontrivial.”

"Tadpoles aren't just going to sit still while you measure them. They're usually off and running."

Product literature available at the website of the company the researchers founded, WatchFrog, says that the method can be used to detect hormonal disruptors and heavy metals.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It is a microbial world!

Researchers scouring the world's oceans have been forced to drastically revise estimates for the number of microbial species residing there after a census indicated up to one hundred times the expected diversity may be present.
Qiu 2010. Nature Online