Despite an ongoing bout of intermittent Interweblessness, I’m hoping to get the next Four Stone Hearth up and running as normal; Martin R seems to be away from his desk at the moment, so if anyone would like to submit anything for this coming Wednesday, please mail me by Tuesday at tim(oneword)jonzi AT gmail DOT com and I’ll do my best to ensure that all suitable submissions are duly included. Thanks.

Following on from the most recent post by Kambiz, readers, or in this case listeners might be interested in tuning into BBC Radio 4 tomorrow at 21.00 London time, when the first of a two-part documentary ‘Aping Evolution’ is due to air, in which Professor Steve Jones will apparently be challenging evolutionary psychology, described thus:

Evolutionary psychology seeks to explain human behaviour from the hunter-gatherers or our nearest relatives, the chimpanzee, and has some seductively simple theories. One argument is that we have Stone Age brains in 21st-century skulls, from which we can account for everything from the violence that men show to their stepchildren to why racism exists. Is evolutionary psychology a truly useful addition to the canon of ideas to come out of Darwinian evolution or a just-so science that can be adjusted to suit the researchers’ prejudices?

Another quick reading link which might be of interest is this from Science Daily: ‘Moonlighting’ Molecules Discovered; Researchers Uncover New Kink In Gene Control’, and from which this is a snippet:

“Everyone knows that transcription factors bind to DNA and everyone knows that they bind in a sequence-specific manner,” says Heng Zhu, Ph.D., an assistant professor in pharmacology and molecular sciences and a member of the High Throughput Biology Center. “But you only find what you look for, so we looked beyond and discovered proteins that essentially moonlight as transcription factors.”

The team suspects that many more proteins encoded by the human genome might also be moonlighting to control genes, which brings researchers to the paradox that less complex organisms, such as plants, appear to have more transcription factors than humans. “Maybe most of our genes are doing double, triple or quadruple the work,” says Zhu. “This may be a widespread phenomenon in humans and the key to how we can be so complex without significantly more genes than organisms like plants.”

Reading through the rest of the article, it seems there could be some very far-reaching implications, especially in the ongoing debate as to why despite our apparent genetic proximity to the chimpanzee for example, we are so radically different.