Archivio per 11 novembre 2015

11
Nov
15

Mechanisms of mutational robustness in transcriptional regulation

See on Scoop.itPapers

Robustness is the invariance of a phenotype in the face of environmental or genetic change. The phenotypes produced by transcriptional regulatory circuits are gene expression patterns that are to some extent robust to mutations. Here we review several causes of this robustness. They include robustness of individual transcription factor binding sites, homotypic clusters of such sites, redundant enhancers, transcription factors, redundant transcription factors, and the wiring of transcriptional regulatory circuits. Such robustness can either be an adaptation by itself, a byproduct of other adaptations, or the result of biophysical principles and non-adaptive forces of genome evolution. The potential consequences of such robustness include complex regulatory network topologies that arise through neutral evolution, as well as cryptic variation, i.e., genotypic divergence without phenotypic divergence. On the longest evolutionary timescales, the robustness of transcriptional regulation has helped shape life as we know it, by facilitating evolutionary innovations that helped organisms such as flowering plants and vertebrates diversify.

Mechanisms of mutational robustness in transcriptional regulation
Joshua L. Payne and Andreas Wagner

Front. Genet., 27 October 2015 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fgene.2015.00322

See on journal.frontiersin.org

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11
Nov
15

A rhythm landscape approach to the developmental dynamics of birdsong

See on Scoop.itPapers

Unlike simple biological rhythms, the rhythm of the oscine bird song is a learned time series of diverse sounds that change dynamically during vocal ontogeny. How to quantify rhythm development is one of the most important challenges in behavioural biology. Here, we propose a simple method, called ‘rhythm landscape’, to visualize and quantify how rhythm structure, which is measured as durational patterns of sounds and silences, emerges and changes over development. Applying this method to the development of Bengalese finch songs, we show that the rhythm structure begins with a broadband rhythm that develops into diverse rhythms largely through branching from precursors. Furthermore, an information-theoretic measure, the Jensen–Shannon divergence, was used to characterize the crystallization process of birdsong rhythm, which started with a high rate of rhythm change and progressed to a stage of slow refinement. This simple method provides a useful description of rhythm development, thereby helping to reveal key temporal constraints on complex biological rhythms.


Sasahara K, Tchernichovski O, Takahasi M, Suzuki K, Okanoya K. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 12: 20150802. http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsif.2015.0802

See on rsif.royalsocietypublishing.org

11
Nov
15

Conceptual Model for the Design of a Serious Video Game Promoting Self-Management among Youth with Type 1 Diabetes

See on Scoop.itNudges

Video games are a popular form of entertainment. Serious video games for health attempt to use entertainment to promote health behavior change. When designed within a framework informed by behavioral science and supported by commercial game-design principles, serious video games for health have the potential to be an effective method for promoting self-management behaviors among youth with diabetes. This article presents a conceptual model of how this may be achieved. It concludes by identifying research needed to refine our knowledge regarding how to develop effective serious video games for health.

See on ncbi.nlm.nih.gov

11
Nov
15

Every Flaw in Consumers Is Worse in Voters

See on Scoop.itBounded Rationality and Beyond

I have been making a mistake for most of my life. See, I’m an economist, and one of the things that attracted me to economics is the notion of the “ideal economy.”

Of course, there are valid objections to the use of markets. There are people who cheat and commit fraud, and there are problems with information and market power and externalities. Sometime consumers make mistakes. In fact, some of those mistakes, as my friend and Duke colleague Dan Ariely is fond of telling me, raise questions about the very nature of our “model” of consumption.

In his book Predictably Irrational, Dan makes two main points. First, consumers are not “rational,” at least not in the sense economists assume.  Consumers have trouble choosing among several alternatives; new product prices are arbitrary; and people are seduced by “free” stuff.  Second, sellers and marketers know that consumers are predictably irrational, and they take advantage of that weakness by advertising, packaging, and carefully framed comparisons.

So what’s the mistake I’ve been making for most of my life? I’ve been trying to defend the perfection of markets. I’ve been sucked in to the notion that markets are “ideal”: “Markets aren’t so bad!” “Consumers are generally better off!” and so on. Friends, if you have been defending the perfection of markets you have been played for a sap. Stop it.
The simple fact is that people can be hoodwinked. People. Human beings. The results of behavioral economists and psychologists such as Dan Ariely, Richard Thaler, and others are correct, and persuasive. But when someone uses those results to criticize markets – and stops there – they are not playing fair. Because the criticism of markets always has to be in reference to some other system: markets are bad, compared to what?

See on learnliberty.org




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