Category: Science

Origin of the genetic code

Wolfgang Nitschke and Michael J. Russell have proposed a race to beat the acetyl coenzyme A-pathway to the origin of life. I see no alternative stance to the one they hold assuming a continuity of biology from its begginings to the present day. Their considerations of how a primordial metabolism could arise on the Hadean planet are the best treatment of the subject known to me. No mystery how to “hydrogenate carbon” – Michael’s reduction of life’s primary activity on the planet – and arrive from carbon dioxide and hydrogen (with the help of metals of course!) to acetate or formamide. (more…)

Drosophila prefers red to white wine

Introduction

From a casual conversation with Dr. Carmen Vivar, we were surprised to learn of her observations that wild Drosophila flies were excellent at spotting her glass of red wine; whereas when she would serve white wine, the flies would rarely appear. We were previously under the impression that flies would be attracted to the alcohol vapor, but clearly such a pronouncement was not able to distinguish between the two types of wine. A quick search in the literature revealed studies on the adaptions carried by populations of flies grown near wineries (see a historical view [1] by the pioneer of these investigations, Stephen W. McKechnie), whose observations were repeated by Spanish colleagues [2], while more recently attention is on Drosophila suzukii [3] , a pest of the grapes themselves. But, to our surprise, given the relationship of most Drosophilists we know of, with wine, we could identify no data on whether our (also known as) vinegar flies, had preference between vin rouge ou vin blanc. (more…)