New Theory About Inheritance Called Into Question. Researchers at UCLA say they are unable to repeat the results of experiments that were thought to reveal a form of inheritance previously believed impossible. Writes Helen Pearson in Nature this week,“In their 2005 Nature1 paper, Bob Pruitt and his colleagues at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana, challenged the textbook rule stating that offspring receive a mix-and-match of their parents’ genes. They suggested that some plants can instead convert their genetic sequences back into the code possessed by their grandparents or earlier generations — a discovery that sent ripples through the genetics community and beyond.”
Distaste for Sprouts in the Genes. Many months ago, we conducted a small study in our office on a gene variant that affects taste. Of of 8 employees who tested, one of us is a super-taster, a few are pretty strong tasters, and no one is a non-bitter taster. The test itself is a fun party trick. (Take it, see why.) Here’s yet another example of why I love my work: Where else does the director of business development runs around handing out little tabs of paper, instructing people “Put this on your tongue, then tell me what happens!”
Coffee: A Little Goes a Long Way. An entertaining news piece from NPR on the drug we can’t live with, can’t live without is dominating our coffeepot conversations. Okay, so this piece isn’t primarily about genetics, but as I’ve blogged in the past, coffee is a hot subject in our office, especially since Mr. High-Octane himself has recently de-coffeenated. (Ah, but will it last?) We’re not the only ones musing about coffee this week: RPM’s taking an informal poll.