Blog Pick of the Month – September 2011

Macaque Portrait By Michael Ransburg,

The winner of the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for September 2011 is Paul Norris from AnimalWise for his post on a recent study about how macaque monkeys use both sights and sounds to identify, and remember, their peers.

As Paul said:

The researchers found that the macaques, who had never been trained to use vocalizations to guide their test responses, continued to be good at choosing the “correct” photo, but that when they made errors, they were statistically more likely than chance to pick the image of the vocalizing monkey, rather than the one in the video.

Congratulations, Paul!

Photo via Flickr / Michael Ransburg

Blog Pick of the Month – August 2011

vaccinia_poxvirus By Agriculturasp,

(Yes, we are a little bit late announcing this, but…) The winner of the PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for August is Connor Bamford from the Rule of 6ix for his post on recent advancements made in sequencing pox genomes.

By comparing the entire genetic sequence of pathogens like cowpox, smallpox, and monkeypox, researchers were not only to see how similar these able to virus were to each other, but they also started to uncover how these strains evolved in space and time:

Cowpox viruses were found to cluster in two major groups – cowpox like and vaccinia virus like suggesting that our smallpox ‘vaccinia’ vaccine potentially originated as a cowpox virus (as we thought) yet it was endemic to mainland Europe, something that goes against the tale of Jenner’s isolation of cowpox from the UK.

Connor, along with all of the authors of the paper, will receive a complimentary t-shirt from us.

Photo via Flickr / Agriculturasp

Blog Pick of the Month – July 2011

Lichen sur tronc 1 By Humpapa,

The PLoS ONE Blog Pick of the Month for July is Jennifer Frazer of The Artful Amoeba for her post on prions, the proteins that are notoriously difficult to kill:

If you had to choose the world’s most indestructible biological entity, it would be hard to do better than the prion. It’s the Rasputin of biology: cook them, freeze them, disinfect them, pressurize them, irradiate them, douse them with formalin or subject them to protein-cleaving proteases, and yet they live.

But a recent paper had data that suggested that certain types of fungi (lichens) may battle these deadly proteins, and win.

[A] few [lichens] seem to produce a molecule — likely a serine protease — or molecules that can take out prions. And they may do it, surprisingly, because fungi seem to get prions too.

Jennifer, as well as all of the authors of the article, will receive a complimentary PLoS ONE t-shirt for their work.

Photo via Flickr / Humpapa