Stem cells induce the natural hair growth cycle in hairless mice

A previously hairless mouse following an implantation of bioengineered
hair follicles recreated from adult tissue-derived stem cells

Researchers lead by Professor Takashi Tsuji from the Tokyo University of Science have successfully induced the natural hair growth and loss cycle in previously hairless mice. They have achieved this feat through the implantation of bioengineered hair follicles recreated from adult-tissue derived stem cells. While these results offer new hope for curing baldness, the work has broader implications, demonstrating the potential of using adult somatic stem cells for the bioengineering of organs for regenerative therapies…

Far more importantly, the implanted follicle germs developed all the proper structures and formed correct connections with the surrounding host tissues, including epidermis, arrector pili muscle and nerve fibers. Also, the stem and progenitor cells along with their niches were recreated in the bioengineered follicles, making a continuous hair-growth cycle possible.

The method has been shown to work with all types of hair follicles, regardless of function, structure and color (depending on the type of the origin follicle). In fact, some features of the hair shaft, such as pigmentation, may be controlled – fancy a new permanent hair color?

I admit it. I chose this article to post because I think the wee mouse is cute – with his silly hair.

Cave paintings depicted Stone Age horses in their true colors

About 25,000 years ago, humans began painting a curious creature on the walls of European caves. Among the rhinos, wild cattle, and other animals, they sketched a white horse with black spots. Although such horses are popular breeds today, scientists didn’t think they existed before humans domesticated the species about 5,000 years ago. Now, a new study of prehistoric horse DNA concludes that spotted horses did indeed roam ancient Europe, suggesting that early artists may have been reproducing what they saw rather than creating imaginary creatures…

A small number of caves, including 25,000-year-old Pech Merle in southern France, feature horses painted white with black spots. Some archaeologists have argued that this leopard-like pattern was fanciful and symbol laden rather than realistic. Indeed, in a 2009 analysis of DNA from the bones of nearly 90 ancient horses dated from about 12,000 to 1,000 years ago, researchers found genetic evidence for bay and black coat colors but no sign of the spotted variety, suggesting that the spotted horse could have been the figment of some artist’s imagination. Although researchers can only speculate on what prehistoric artists were trying to express, hypotheses range from shamanistic and ritualistic activities to attempts to capture the spirit of horses and other animals that ancient humans hunted.

But in a new paper…in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the same team reports finding that spotted horses did indeed exist around the time that cave artists were doing their best work. The researchers, led by geneticists Arne Ludwig of the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research in Berlin and Michael Hofreiter of the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed DNA from an older sample of 31 prehistoric horses from Siberia as well as Eastern and Western Europe, ranging from about 20,000 to 2,200 years ago. They found that 18 of the horses were bay, seven were black, but six had a genetic variant — called LP — that corresponds to leopard-like spotting in modern horses. Moreover, out of 10 Western European horses estimated to be about 14,000 years old, four had the LP genetic marker, suggesting that spotted horses were not uncommon during the heyday of cave painting.

If so, the team argues, prehistoric artists may have been drawing what they saw rather than creating imaginary creatures. Prehistoric horses came in at least “three coat color[s],” Ludwig says, “and exactly these three [colors] are also seen in cave paintings. Cave art is more realistic than often suggested…”

Not that any of the research will distract any scientist who thinks he’s also expert in the thought processes of artists.

Multiracial Americans recognized by the new census

This month, the Census Bureau will remind Americans that racial classifications remain an integral part of the country’s social and legal fabric while, at the same time, recognizing that racial lines are blurring for a growing number of people… The government will give the nation’s more than 308 million people the opportunity to define their racial makeup as one race or more.

The agency expects the number of people who choose multiple races to be significantly higher than the 2000 Census, when the government first allowed more than one race choice. Responses to this year’s survey will provide for the first time a glimpse at the evolution of racial identification: Those who were children in 2000 and were identified as one race by their parents may respond differently as adults today and select more than one.

It’s a historic opportunity to see how things have changed or how things have not changed,” says Nicholas Jones, chief of the Census Bureau racial statistics branch. Multiracial Americans are “one of the fastest-growing demographic groups in the country. There’s an increasing number of children born to parents of different races…”

At the same time, growing ethnic and racial diversity fueled by record immigration and rates of interracial marriages have made the USA’s demographics far more complex. By 2050, there will be no racial or ethnic majority as the share of non-Hispanic whites slips below 50%, according to Census projections…

• About three of 10 marriages involving Hispanics or Asians are now mixed-race, and almost one of six involving blacks are mixed race, according to an analysis by demographer Frey.

• About 9% of marriages involving non-Hispanic whites are mixed.

• A 10th or more of all marriages in 13 states — most in the West — were mixed race in 2008.

• Thirty-six states had at least a 20% increase in mixed-race marriages since 2000, including Florida, Virginia and Texas. A fifth of marriages in California and New Mexico were mixed…

“For the younger part of our society, race is going to be less of a factor when they decide partners, whom they’re going to church with, where they’re going to live,” William Frey says. “It won’t be exactly color-blind but much more color-blind.”

Excepting, of course, the larger proportion of decision-makers who own and control the economic and political structure of the United States. They’re stuck firmly into defending the racist analyses, the fears and answers determining foreign and domestic policies offensive to much of the world.

RTFA. Lengthy, lots of detail. Guaranteed to disturb those who still haven’t been able to get past Nixon-era politics.

Change coming to Afghanistan Strykers paint job – Duh!

Understand that half the “Change” Obama has to bring to the government of these United States is the elimination of Cheneyesque corruption and cronyism – and reversing Bush Era stupidity.

Sure blends into the landscape doesn’t it?

More than six years after sending the first Stryker armored vehicles into desert combat, the Army has decided that it’s probably a good idea to start painting them tan so they will blend in with the environments in Afghanistan and Iraq…“Strykers will blend into surroundings better. They’re less likely to stand out like silhouettes…”

The Army and its contracting agencies have been talking about changing the color of the Strykers since 2004, according to Butts, “but nothing firm was planned out until now.”

RTFA. There is some real “insight” displayed by soldiers and officers who just discovered that standing out like a sore thumb isn’t an advantage.

Field units cannot change the color themselves. There’s a facility for that. In another country.

The production line vehicles can only be ordered in one color; so, green it is unless the Pentagon changes to desert tan – for everywhere.

Lobsters saved from boiling pot

Two of Scotland’s most unusually coloured lobsters have become a huge visitor attraction.

The colourful crustaceans, one a vivid orange and the other electric blue, would normally have ended up on a dinner plate in an upmarket restaurant.

But their bizarre colours have saved them from the boiling pot because the fishermen who caught them off the coast of Fife thought they were so unusual.

The lobsters now share a rock pool at Deep Sea World in North Queensferry.

In my youth, subsistence fishing on the New England coast, we’d catch an odd fish every now and then. I hope none were sports like these – because we ate every one.