Field of Science

Carnival of Evolution #16 now on Pleiotropy

Bjørn Østman over at Pleiotropy is hosting this month's Carnival of Evolution - go check it out for some extra procrastination web surfing educational reading opportunities! (well-organised too)

I do dig the ultra-geeky histogram of words/post distribution...mmm, data!

On an unrelated note, my post rate should be sacrificed a bit in the name of oncoming midterms. If you catch me writing up 5000 word posts on obscure organisms and evolutionary concepts, feel free to remind me of that 'school' thing I'm currently enslaved entrapped enrolled in. Apparently, getting a degree is supposed to be kind of useful, or something. Should probably go check out this 'studying' concept.

[rant]Also, since when does Developmental Biology entail memorising parts of vertebrate embryonic development? I don't ever recall signing up for ANIMAL development either, for that matter. Why does the entire course focus on vertebrates, with a small digression about basics of Drosophila? Shouldn't we go the other way around - focus on models like C.elegans and Drosophila, and THEN briefly mention spined things, leaving the rest of the latter for an actual embryology course? Furthermore, since we never specified the ANIMAL part, wouldn't it be nice to explore, you know, other regions of that massive phylogenetic tree of life? Do plants not develop? (if so, then what's my current research about? I guess stomatal development doesn't count for development, in the eyes of Zoology...) Do unicellular eukaryotes not develop? Do prokaryotes not develop?

Seriously... what's the damn big deal about glorified coenobia with segregated germ lines? Multicellularity is simply clumps of clonal cells responding to various environmental cues (eg. from neighbouring cells), using many of the same mechanisms free-living unicells employ. Oh, and metazoa have gone extra stupid where the germline can only segregate once, and stay there for life. You can't randomly decide to grow ovaries on your head. That's just dumb. Seriously. Lose your germline organs and you're screwed. Forwever. Most other forms of multicellularity (eg plants, fungi, some seaweeds, slime moulds) seem to have gotten around that. Plants are laughing as we speak. (and prokaryotes sneer at the whole concept altogether, save for Myxobacteria, Streptomyces et al.) 'Intelligent design' my ass.

So yeah, if you're going to call a course 'Developmental Biology', then you should probably include examples from the other >99% of life. Otherwise, let's just stick with 'Animal Development', ok?

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