Life-saving Seaweed These bobbing blobs look a lot like…

Life-saving Seaweed

These bobbing blobs look a lot like something you might find floating in a cup of murky seawater. In fact, they’re tiny spheres of alginate gel – the main component of brown seaweed – speckled with a type of human white blood cell known as a monocyte, which could hold the key to a new way of treating severe peripheral artery disease. This condition causes narrowing of the blood vessels in the limbs, eventually cutting off the blood supply. In the worst cases, it can even lead to patients having their toes, feet or larger parts of their legs amputated. Injections of monocytes on their own can help to regrow and repair damaged blood vessels, but they don’t stay in the body for very long. Researchers are investigating whether encapsulating these cells helps them to stick around and do their job, restoring blood flow in damaged limbs and avoiding the need for amputation.

Written by Kat Arney

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HiPOD 12 September 2019: The View from Straight DownThe image,…

HiPOD 12 September 2019: The View from Straight Down

The image, taken with HiRISE pointing straight down, shows us the wonderful texture of lava flows in the Marte Vallis region, part of the Amazonis quadrangle, which has a low density of craters compared to other areas on Mars.

ID: ESP_055075_2025
date: 26 April 2018
altitude: 286 km

NASA/JPL/University of Arizona

Y-haplogroup R1a and mental health

I’ve updated my map of pre-Corded Ware culture R1a samples with a couple of new entries from Central and South Asia (the original is still here). However, before any of you get overly excited, please note that these samples aren’t older than the Corded Ware culture. The reason I added them to my map is to counter the ongoing absurd claims online that South Asian R1a isn’t derived from European R1a.

Just in case the map can’t be viewed in all of its glory in some devices, here’s what the fine print says:

The oldest example of R1a in ancient DNA from Central Asia is dated to 2132-1940 calBCE (ID I3770, Narasimhan 2019). Moreover, this sequence is closely related to much older R1a samples from Central, Eastern and Northern Europe, and phylogenetically nested within their diversity. Thus, it must surely represent a population expansion from Europe to Central Asia. Indeed, it’s also associated with the Bronze Age Andronovo archeological culture, which is usually seen as an offshoot of the Corded Ware culture (CWC) of Late Neolithic Europe. The vast majority of present-day R1a lineages in Central Asia are closely related to that of I3770, and so must also ultimately derive from Europe.
The oldest instance of R1a in ancient DNA from South Asia is dated to just 1044-922 calBCE (ID I12457, Narasimhan 2019). This sequence, as well as the vast majority of present-day South Asian R1a lineages, are closely related to much older R1a samples from Central, Eastern and Northern Europe, and phylogenetically nested within their diversity. Thus, they must surely represent a population expansion from Europe to South Asia via Central Asia, in all likelihood during the Bronze Age. Even if R1a existed in South Asia before the Bronze Age, which is extremely unlikely, because it’s found in samples from indigenous European hunter-gatherers, the vast majority of present-day R1a lineages in South Asia must be ultimately from Europe.

The idea that most, if not all, South Asian R1a is derived from European R1a seriously scares a lot of people. This is obvious in many online discussions on the topic. I suspect they’re so frightened by it because, in their minds, it has the potential to encourage discrimination and even racism, perhaps by re-defining the colonization of much of the world by European nations in the recent past as the natural order of things?
In any case, clearly we’re dealing with some sort of mass phobia here. I’ve got advice for those of you suffering from this problem: if you’re honestly worried that the geographic provenance and expansion history of some Y-haplogroup is going to negatively impact on your life in any meaningful way, then it’s time to find yourself a quality mental health professional. All the best with that.
See also…
The mystery of the Sintashta people
The Poltavka outlier
Yamnaya isn’t from Iran just like R1a isn’t from India
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