Tag: humans

21 Nov

Hurray for Telomerase!

Doreen So General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

According to this CNN article, a scientific breakthrough has occurred thanks to research from the Arizona State University and Texas A&M University.  These scientists have, for the very first time, identified the structure of telomerase in plants.

Telomerase is an enzyme that creates the DNA of telomeres.

>>Telomeres protects our cells from aging as our cells multiply.

>>>If our cells are protected from aging, then so will our bodies…

This breakthrough will allow scientists to study how telomerase in plants compare to the ones in animals, including humans!  For example, there is a pine tree, named Methuselah, that is 4,845 years old in California.  It is so inimitable that the location of this particular pine tree is kept secret for protection.

On the flip side, certain cells that have too much telomerase can be deleterious to our health, like cancer cells.  The ability to stop a cancer cell from multiplying by shortening its telomeres could be revolutionary!

Fun fact: these components of life are so important that the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Elizabeth H. Blackburn, Carol W. Greider, and Jack W. Szostak for their research on how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and telomerase.

Thanks for Reading!

Doreen So

25 Sep

Humans v. Monkeys: A Copyright Battle

Doreen So Ethical Issues, General Interest, In the News, Pets Tags: , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The concept of legal and equitable ownership is constantly evolving as our blog has documented over the years.  In a world where anything is possible, the viral photograph of the “Monkey Selfie” has led to a new lawsuit by PETA to extend copyright laws to animals.

The “Monkey Selfie” is a series of photographs that were taken by a black macaque during a photo-shoot set up by nature photographer, David Slater.   Mr. Slater travelled to North Sulawesi, Indonesia in 2011 for the purpose of photographing black macaques when one of the black macaques took control of his camera and began pressing the shutter button resulting in hundreds of photographs.  While most of the photographs were blurry or unremarkable, a handful of these photographs captured a facial portrait of the black macaque, Naruto, smiling and grinning at the camera.

Eventually, the infamous “Monkey Selfie” was posted on Wikipedia for free distribution around the world wide web.  To Mr. Slater’s dismay, Wikimedia took the position that there is no copyright attached to these photographs because they were not taken by a human being (see here).  In 2014, the US Copyright Office issued a compendium of its policies which included a new stipulation that only works produced by human beings may be registered for copyright.

As the result, PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, is now suing, on behalf of Naruto, to claim copyright to the “Monkey Selfie”.  According to PETA, as reported here by CNN, “authorship; under the Copyright Act, 17 U.S.C. § 101 et seq., is sufficiently broad so as to permit the protections of the law to extend to any original work, including those created by Naruto”.

For good measure, click here for an “elphie” to round out your #Friday morning.

Thanks for reading!

Doreen So




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