CatCave9 S02E07: Lab hierarchies, Ancient DNA, and an Island Adventure

In the Science Guest Spot: Yuko Ulrich from Unil

Who let the cats out: Nine, nine, nineninenine! Our improvisers came back from the holidays refreshed and ready to be cat-herded to new improv heights by our MC Robbie in front of a fully booked Cinema Oblò.

After interviewing Prof. Ousawmyuh on his research on insect mating habits of “the best insects”, we witnessed a sequence of scenes on bugs in cracks, babies in beds, and curing addiction by British citizenship, with help from our guest improviser Dan. We found that chicken farming is quite technical and sadly involves knives. Accompanied by our own Hedwig on the harp, we witnessed the discovery of a black hole expressed by the art of dance – a universe unfolded itself, and.. refolded itself. On that universal note, we also had the pleasure of meeting the banana messiah.

Our science guest-speaker was Yuko Ulrich from the Ulrich Lab at UNIL. Yuko presented her group’s research on queen-less ant colonies with controlled genetic and demographic structure. Our improvisers used this material to enact the Klein Lab’s quest to “do a lot of work” involved in a grant proposal. We’ve discovered the way that signals propagate through the lab’s different hierarchies to have a variety of effects: they start the pipetting, they make PCR machines stack up (how many of them), and they also control Jeremy (the Ph.D. student whose job it is to ensure access control). Sadly, the paper got rejected eventually – so much realism!

In the CatCave9 Journal-Couch we discuss (and act on) some research we recently read or experienced! Here’s what went down [references coming asap]:

  • Gustavo told us about the contamination problem of Ancient DNA 1)Soon!: We found that velociraptors are great at the following: French language lessons, eating fondue, buying Lausanne metro tickets.
  • Mark told us about the previous extinction events that earth went through 2) For a soft introduction see these Corrections to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos Series 3)The burning of coal deposits from the Carboniferous period by supervolcanoe eruptions in Siberia contributed to the Permian extinction event: Grasby S.E., Sanei H. & Beauchamp B. (2011). Catastrophic dispersion of coal fly ash into oceans during the latest Permian extinction. Nature Geoscience. 4 (2): 104–107. 4)Lignin-digesting fungi did not develop until the end of the carboniferous period, and so all trees that came before simply fell, piled up, and were buried eventually forming the coal burned during the Permian-Triassic extinction, and what we actually still burn today: Floudas D., et al (2012). The Paleozoic Origin of Enzymatic Lignin Decomposition Reconstructed from 31 Fungal Genomes. Science. 336 (6089): 1715-1719. 5)A study that refutes Floudas et al. saying that lignin-digesting fungi existed throughout the Carboniferous period, and that the coal deposits were formed through plate tectonics: Nelsen M.P., DiMichele W.A., Peters S.E., & Boyce C.K. Delayed fungal evolution did not cause the Paleozoic peak in coal production. PNAS. 113 (9): 2442-2447, where everything was killed except some of our distant ancestors – for example, Mark’s Great^10-father, Grand^10-mother, and Mark’s Great^9 grandfather.
  • Elliott talked about how a Danish researcher acquired old bones that he wanted to sequence DNA from by taking the daughter of the farmer who had the bones as a student in his lab 6)Soon!.

In our final long form we got inspired by an audience member who really wanted to go on an adventure to the Phillippines. After starting off with a scene in the dark, which we call “The Bat”, we went on a lengthy adventure across several islands of an island state, in which Mike and Randy were hunting to catch up with their Albertown co-resident Francine. Turns out the reason was she parked Mike’s car somewhere in Albertown, which all other adventure participants were a little let down with. That’s why adventures are never a good reason to leave your loved ones behind – just stay home and have a good time together.

If you didn’t make it, don’t feel bad! Our next show will be after the summer break on Thursday 26th October at Cinema Oblo.

 

Bibliography   [ + ]

1, 6. Soon!
2. For a soft introduction see these Corrections to Neil DeGrasse Tyson’s Cosmos Series
3. The burning of coal deposits from the Carboniferous period by supervolcanoe eruptions in Siberia contributed to the Permian extinction event: Grasby S.E., Sanei H. & Beauchamp B. (2011). Catastrophic dispersion of coal fly ash into oceans during the latest Permian extinction. Nature Geoscience. 4 (2): 104–107.
4. Lignin-digesting fungi did not develop until the end of the carboniferous period, and so all trees that came before simply fell, piled up, and were buried eventually forming the coal burned during the Permian-Triassic extinction, and what we actually still burn today: Floudas D., et al (2012). The Paleozoic Origin of Enzymatic Lignin Decomposition Reconstructed from 31 Fungal Genomes. Science. 336 (6089): 1715-1719.
5. A study that refutes Floudas et al. saying that lignin-digesting fungi existed throughout the Carboniferous period, and that the coal deposits were formed through plate tectonics: Nelsen M.P., DiMichele W.A., Peters S.E., & Boyce C.K. Delayed fungal evolution did not cause the Paleozoic peak in coal production. PNAS. 113 (9): 2442-2447

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