Saturday, March 26, 2005

It's All Too MUCH Brain Melting!!

Red State Rabble has a link to this article from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. It concerns the development of armor in a species of fish known as the stickleback. Apparently, the researchers have identified the gene responsible. Most species of sticklebacks in the US evolved after the ice age and the retreat of the glaciers. Originally, most sticklebacks were ocean dwelling species and were heavily armored. Freshwater species were not. Apparently, the difference iis in one gene. The kicker is a mutation in this gene causes one form a human disease called ectodermal dysplasia. As I understand it, the gene is responsible for events related to ectodermal development, hence, tissues that are derived from the ectoderm (such as hair, teeth, etc.) are affected. Great, interesting stuff. I thought I would do a really cool post on it, perhaps relating it back to ostracoderms and placoderms and what not. I was even going to tie it in to the development of cascades (such as blood clotting - which could then be tied to the whole irreducibly complex debate) and show how they can evolve. In the course of doing some research on these issues I stmbled across this cool article about Zebrafish. Apparently researchers at the same institute have identified three different - human- blood diseases in zebrafish. One of these is thalessemia. Great, I thought, I know all about thalessemia. It was mentioned in almost every anthropology class I had. I'll do a post on it too... So now I have about six tabs open in firefox, as well as numerous word docs to hold all the links and what not and my brain is melting cause I can't keep track of it all! Too many ideas at once - science is truely mind blowing! Come to that, where the heck is PZ Myers on this. He's all about zebrafish!