Invertebrate-vertebrate animals’ relationship, new research

This 2010 video is about Ciona intestinalis. They are sea squirts, a subgroup of the tunicates; an invertebrate animal group considered to be close to vertebrates.

From the University of Tsukuba in Japan:

Common evolutionary origins between vertebrates and invertebrates revealed

Study shows a common evolution source for placodes and neural crests

August 1, 2018

Summary: Researchers have elucidated the evolutionary origins of placodes and neural crests, which are defining features of vertebrates, through lineage tracing and genetic analysis in Ciona intestinalis, a marine invertebrate animal. Striking similarities between the patterning of the lateral plate in Ciona and the compartmentalization of the neural plate ectoderm in vertebrates were observed, suggesting that the latter preceded the advent of vertebrates, and served as a common evolution source for placodes and neural crests.

Placodes and neural crests are defining features of vertebrates (animals with a spinal cord surrounded by cartilage or bone). Placodes are embryonic structures that develop into sensory organs such as ear, nose, and lens cells, while neural crests develop into various cell lineages such as bone, craniofacial cartilage, and epidermal sensory neurons.

In spite of extensive study on placodes and neural crests, their evolutionary origins remain unclear. The puzzle is further compounded by evidence of the presence of rudiments of both cell types in invertebrate chordates (animals without a spinal cord). This spurred a team of Tsukuba-centered researchers to unravel this evolution mystery.

“For the purpose of our study, the researchers used a combination of lineage tracing, gene disruption and single-cell RNA-sequencing assays to explore the properties of the lateral plate ectoderm, a peripheral embryonic structure, of the proto-vertebrate, Ciona intestinalis, a marine invertebrate animal commonly known as the sea squirt“, explains Ryoko Horie, one of three co-first authors of the study which was in the journal Nature.

By analyzing the regulatory “blueprint” of the Ciona embryo, the researchers identified several genetic determinants of the lateral plate ectoderm, and successfully obtained evidence for the interlocking regulatory interactions among them.

“The most striking deviation between the Ciona and vertebrate regulatory fate maps is the compartmentalization of the Ciona front lateral plate into two distinct domains”, says corresponding author Takeo Horie.

The researchers found that the antero-posterior compartmentalization of the Ciona lateral plate led to the development of related but distinct sensory cell types, including palp sensory cells (PSCs), anterior trunk epidermal neurons (aATENs) and bipolar tail neurons (BTNs). aATENS have been shown to have dual properties of placode-derived chemosensory neurons, such as neurons involved in the sense of smell, while BTNs are thought to share properties with neural crest-derived dorsal root ganglia, a cluster of neurons (a ganglion) in a dorsal root of a spinal nerve.

Notably, the BTNs readily transformed into PSCs when regulatory genes of the former were misexpressed. The proof of transformation was confirmed by whole-embryo single-cell RNA-sequencing assays.

“Taken together, our findings suggest the possibility of the entire lateral plate of the last shared tunicate and vertebrate ancestor being the source of both placodal and neural crest derivatives in vertebrates”, says Takeo Horie.


Racist injures African Italian athlete’s eye

Daisy Osakue's eye injury

From daily The Morning Star in Britain today:

Italy: Matteo Salvini rejects claims of rising racism in wake of attack on black athlete

ITALY’S far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has brushed off claims of a “racism emergency” in the country following an attack on a black athlete.

Daisy Osakue was targeted on Monday when a car drove alongside her as she was walking in the northern city of Turin. The assailants threw an egg at her which caused an eye injury requiring hospital treatment.

Ms Osakue said: “I don’t want to play the sexism or racism card, but people should be able to go out without someone attacking you out of the blue. They are just cowards.”

The athlete, who will represent Italy in the forthcoming European Athletics Championships in Berlin told Italian TV: “I’m sorry to say it, but I think we’re dealing with racism.”

It is the 11th attack with a potential racist element since Mr Salvini’s far-right Northern League came to power in Italy’s coalition government in June. The United Nations migration agency has warned that the incidents represent “an extremely worrying trend of violence and racism.”

Opposition groups have warned of a “climate of hate” in Italy since Mr Salvini launched an anti-immigration drive, using fiery rhetoric against minority communities and closing Italian ports to vessels carrying refugees.

Hundreds of residents were forcibly removed as police dismantled a Roma camp in the capital Rome earlier this month, in defiance of a European Court of Human Rights order to halt the evacuations.

In dismissing the ruling, Mr Salvini blasted: “I’m interested in restoring the rule of law, regardless of what letters from courts say.”

Among the spate of attacks, a 13-month-old Roma girl was left part-paralysed after being shot from a balcony while in her mother’s arms.

And UN refugee agency spokesman Felipe Camargo said: “We cannot tolerate this escalation of indiscriminate violence, which reveals an alarming racial matrix.”

Italy: Moroccan beaten to death, athlete of Nigerian origin attacked as fascists in the government spread racism: here.

Beautiful colours in Chinese salt lake

This 1 August 2018 video says about itself:

Thousand-year-old salt lake shining like a painter’s palette in north China

Sweltering temperatures have caused a thousand-year-old salt lake to turn brilliant colours recently in Yuncheng City, north China’s Shanxi Province.

Small crustaceans, algae cause these colours in these dry circumstances.

Young Bermuda petrel’s 2018 nesting season highlights video

This video from Bermuda says about itself:

31 July 2018

Watch one of the world’s rarest seabirds transform from fluffball to fledgling in this highlight clip of the 2018 Bermuda Cahow cam season. The CahowCam is a collaboration between the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Nonsuch Expeditions.

Donald Trump news

This 31 July 2018 video from the USA says about itself:

Trump Administration Can’t Drug Kids Anymore

“A federal judge reportedly ordered the Trump administration on Monday to stop administering psychotropic medication to migrant children without obtaining permission from their parents or guardians, finding that the practice violated child welfare law.

The Washington Post reported that U.S. District Judge Dolly Gee in Los Angeles ordered that officials must get consent or a court order to give the medication to migrant children. The psychotropic medications can still be given without permission under emergency circumstances.

Gee also ordered that the migrant children be removed from the Texas facility where the drugs were administered, Shiloh Residential Treatment Center in Manvel, except for those found to be a danger to themselves or others, according to the newspaper.”

Read more here.

The Trump administration is planning to provide the American ruling elite with a windfall of $100 billion through changes to Treasury Department rules for how capital gains taxes are calculated: here.

REPORTER: HOSTILITY TOWARD MEDIA WILL GET SOMEONE HURT CNN reporter Jim Acosta was abused by a febrile crowd at a Tampa, Florida, rally for President Donald Trump Tuesday night, with attendees shouting abuse at the newsman and giving him the middle finger. “Just a sample of the sad scene we faced at the Trump rally in Tampa”, Acosta wrote in sharing a video of the scene. “I’m very worried that the hostility whipped up by Trump and some in conservative media will result in somebody getting hurt”, he added. [HuffPost]

TRUMP: YOU NEED ID TO BUY GROCERIES At the same rally, “populist” Trump told the Florida crowd you need an identification card to buy groceries — an apparent justification for voter ID laws. The crowd, knowing it was untrue, cheered anyway. [HuffPost]

TRUMP PUSHES FOR INCREASED TARIFFS ON CHINESE GOODS The Trump administration plans to increase pending tariffs on $200 billion of imported Chinese goods to 25 percent in the hope of pressuring Beijing into trade concessions. The original proposed levy was 10 percent. [Bloomberg]

TRUMP’S 2020 CAMPAIGN WILL GET UGLY Vanity Fair goes inside the disorganized Trump campaign for 2020 — and it’s going to get very ugly, very soon. [Vanity Fair]

Trump chief of staff John Kelly has agreed to stay on until at least the 2020 presidential election at the request of Trump himself.

Burying beetles’ parenting, new research

This 2012 National Geographic video says about itself:

Raising Kids in a Corpse? | World’s Weirdest

For the burying beetle, life starts out in both the cradle and the grave. These two beetles will bury the body of a shrew underground before laying their eggs inside it.

From the University of Edinburgh in Scotland:

Sharing parenting leads to healthier young, beetle study finds

August 1, 2018

Animals who share the task of parenting do a better job than parents who do so on their own, according to a study of insects.

Offspring raised by both parents grow to a healthier weight and are more likely to reach adulthood than those raised by one parent, research into beetles has found.

The research is the first to offer evidence of whether being raised by two parents has benefits for offspring. It could help explain why many species — including birds, mammals, fish and insects — have evolved to share the burden of nurturing their young.

Researchers at the University of Edinburgh set out to examine whether care from two parents is greater than the sum of its parts, or if conflict between parents over their shared workload has a negative impact on their young.

In an experiment with burying beetles — which are acknowledged to be skilled parents — scientists examined how well pairs of adults compared with sole parents. Dozens of pairs of parents and single adult beetles were each given a brood to raise to adulthood, with single beetles given half as many young compared with the pairs.

Researchers found that young which were raised by both parents were better off — despite male beetles being seen to do less when working alongside their female partners.

Scientists say their finding supports the idea that co-parenting may help ensure animals can pass on their genes, in a trade-off against producing more young. In addition, both parents may pass on good bacteria to their young through close contact.

The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

Dr Natalie Pilakouta of the University of Edinburgh’s School of Biological Sciences, who led the study, said: “We’ve shown that offspring grow better and are more likely to survive if reared by both parents. This might help explain why shared parenting has evolved in so many species of animals.”

Zoologists exposed hundreds of [Nicrophorus vespilloides] burying beetles to two levels of parental care, for 13 generations. The researchers found that when parents fed meat to their babies’ mouth-to-mouth, the larvae evolved relatively smaller mandibles. By contrast, when the parents were removed from their young and larvae were forced to self-feed, the larvae evolved significantly larger jaws to compensate for the lack of help: here.

English neo-fascist ‘Tommy Robinson’ freed on bail

London demonstrators against neofascist 'Tommy Robinson'

By Sam Tobin in London, England today:

Anti-fascists condemn ‘travesty’ of Tommy Robinson’s release

THE decision to release Stephen Yaxley-Lennon on bail after his jailing for contempt of court was branded a travesty by anti-fascists outside the Royal Courts of Justice today.

The far-right leader, who goes by the name of Tommy Robinson, was released from HMP Onley near Rugby after the Court of Appeal ruled that a finding of contempt at Leeds Crown Court had been “fundamentally flawed.”

In May Mr Yaxley-Lennon, who had been previously convicted for a number of offences including football-related violence and fraud, was sentenced to 10 months behind bars five hours after live-streaming the arrival of defendants in an ongoing trial at Leeds. A judge also activated a three-month suspended sentence for contempt relating to a case at Canterbury Crown Court in May 2017.

The Lord Chief Justice quashed the finding of contempt at Leeds as it had been inappropriate for the judge to deal with the contempt immediately and because Mr Yaxley-Lennon was provided with “no clear statement” of what had put him in contempt of court.

But Lord Burnett dismissed Mr Yaxley-Lennon’s appeal against the Canterbury finding, ruling that there had been “no doubt about the conduct which was said to amount to contempt.”

He said Mr Yaxley-Lennon would be bailed until a rehearing of the Leeds contempt case at the Old Bailey, to be listed “as soon as reasonably possible.”

Lord Burnett added, however that Mr Yaxley-Lennon may be given an even longer jail term if he was found in contempt of court at the fresh hearing.

Outside court, supporters of the former leader of the racist English Defence League (EDL) traded chants with anti-fascist protesters separated by police.

Far-right fanboys were taunted with a chorus of “Master race? You’re having a laugh” and “Nazi scum, off our streets.”

London Young Labour chairman Artin Giles said: “Dear Tommy, dear Tommy supporters, what’s clear is that you don’t represent us.

“We have been fighting for people’s rights for the last 100 years and we have been fighting scum like you for the last 100 years.

“All you will ever represent is a racist ideology of hate and love always trumps hate. We are united against you, we are united against fascism and we are united against the politics of division. Tommy Robinson, fuck off.”

Stand Up To Racism co-convener Weyman Bennett said: “There is a danger that Tommy Robinson’s release on bail will embolden far-right and racists across Britain.

“Racism and fascism have no place in the 21st century.”

Mr Bennett told the Star: “It is a travesty that Tommy Robinson has been released on bail and what it represents is racism and fascism being allowed to organise in this country unhindered.

“The truth is that Tommy Robinson has a long criminal history and I don’t think this is something that would be afforded to a trade unionist or a black boy from Tottenham, where I’m from.”

In a statement, Hope Not Hate said: “‘Tommy Robinson’ is a convicted criminal. Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, his actual name, remains a far-right extremist and a violent thug.

“Stephen Yaxley-Lennon is a fraud. He’s been silent about sexual abusers within the EDL, including one man given a 17-year sentence this year.

“With his convictions for violence and his intimidation against journalists, he has shown utter contempt for justice and the rule of law.”