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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

From Bdellium to Bdelloid Rotifers: Scrabble and Science Merge


           The search for Scrabble words starting with 'bd' brought me to both bdellium and bdelloid rotors (and, ultimately, back to our tardigrade friends).          

          Bdellium is a semi-transparent oleo-gum resin extracted from Commiphora trees growing in Ethiopia, Erythrea and sub-Saharan Africa. It is also an ingredient in myrrh.






        
            Bdelloid rotifers or "bdelloids" are asexual minute invertebrates found in freshwater habitats worldwide. There are over 450 described species. 



      
           Bdelloids share the ability to survive in dry, harsh environments by entering a state of desiccation-induced dormancy (anhydrobiosis) at any life stage (similar to the topic of an earlier post, the tardigrades ). This photo of one bdelloid species brought me right back to those Michelin Man tardigrades. 




       Like tardigrades, bdelloid rotifers are microscopic organisms, typically between 150 and 700 µm in length. They are slightly too small to be seen with the naked eye.

        Bdelloids reproduce by ingesting the DNA of other organisms like bacteria, fungi, and algae as described here.

       Bedelloid is from the ancient Greek βδέλλα , bdélla, meaning “leech."

       It's my first experience with words starting with 'bd." How about you? Have you seen bdellium in the ingredients list for your myrrh or run into any of the 450 species of bdelloids?



Happy 'bday' bdelloids and bdellium,

Steph





30 comments:

  1. I was not aware of any BD words but, growing up in Wisconsin, I am familiar with this guy (not "Bdell," but close. I had his baseball card. He barely made the majors, had "a cup of coffee" with the Milwaukee Braves in 1962, and a rePhil in 1968 with the Philadelphia Phillies. Actually, I am selling him short; it was more like an urn of coffee that he had.

    And he is in the record books (kind of) as a nemesis to the late great Don Drysdale.

    LegoLamBDa

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    Replies
    1. Lego, you are expanding my baseball knowledge!

      No bidet jokes?!

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  2. I ran into bdellas during my leech-neuron-poking days in grad school. Can't think of any others. This is my sports association with the initials.

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    1. Ah yes, leech-neuron poking--were you able to watch bdellas microscopically during those pokes?

      Enjoyed the link, too.

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    2. The leeches were definitely macroscopic. The neurons were right on the edge, You just could make out the 50 micron ones, but the 10 micron ones were tough, even with 20-something eyes. The electrode tips couldn't be resolved without a scope.

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    3. Did good things come from your research, jan?

      This was another article that caught my eye (not my eye tooth ;-)): Wisdom tooth pulp to help corneal scarring.

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    4. Yeah, I learned that lab science wasn't for me.

      Shame that the tooth fairy has all my wisdom. But it reminds me of the one about the guy in a bar who bets he can bite his eye. After assembling enough takers, he removes his glass eye and bites it. Collecting his winnings, he offers to double down and bets he can bite his other eye. Everyone knows he's not blind, so they take him up on it. So, he removes his dentures and bites the other eye.

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    5. Reminds me of machine language code I've seen:

      ...
      HLT
      HLT
      HLT # to prevent skidding

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    6. In this case, it designates a comment, i.e., a programmer's note, which isn't compiled into executable code.

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  3. Replies
    1. Those are unexpected. No clue.

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    2. No idea here either. But I just re-read the line in my autographed copy of 2001 (a college girlfriend's father was Clarke's accountant), "The eye of Japetus had blinked..."

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    3. I believe that NASA's photo of the Dwarf planet is a frawd!

      LegoMyDogSpotIsTopsButNotSoBright

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    4. We got blasted yesterday with snow and more tonight. The bright spot ? On Ceres! ;-)

      Cool about the autographed "2001." Thank heavens for accountants.

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    5. Coincidentally, jan, one of the puzzle I will post tomorrow on Puzzleria! involves an author's autograph.

      LegoHancock

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    6. Now I'm wondering about autocorrecting and autographs. . .

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  4. Just found Bdellovibrio, a bacteria that parasitizes other bacteria (including ones that may already be infected by our old friends, bacteriophage). And, not to get competitive, Steph, but these bugs can swim over 100 times their length per second.

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    Replies
    1. Whoosh, that's fast!

      And comma-shaped to boot. . .Punctuation-shaped bacteria--gotta love that.

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    2. Punctuation-shaped bacteria are pretty common. All the cocci look like periods, and the bacilli look like dashes, more or less. Diplococcus looks like a colon.

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    3. I wonder if they ever line up to make emojis or emoticons or whatever they are.

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  5. Replies
    1. jan, your link says "something went wrong, untrusted source" but yes, live long and prosper, Leonard Nimoy.

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    2. Enjoyed that, jan. Thanks. Surely we all will hear the same final tweet from Leonard Nimoy. It resonated with the gardener in me:

      “A life is like a garden. Perfect moments can be had, but not preserved, except in memory. LLAP”

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    3. Enjoy this tribute from a guy I know:

      Yesterday Leonard Nimoy passed away, at age 83. Today as I read the news I found myself close to tears in the Chicago O’Hare airport. Even now, writing this post brings tears again to my eyes. Why was I so affected by the death of a celebrity—mostly known for playing a single fictional character--that I had never met? Why am I so sad over the passing of someone who had lived a long, amazing life? And why the outpouring of despondent sadness from so many on the Internet? For many of us, the character Spock became a part of us. William Shatner’s portrayal of James Kirk was what lots of kids would aspire to be – the brave, charismatic, swashbuckling captain who got all (okay, most) of the girls. But for those of us who grew up loving technology, science, astronomy, computer programming, and math, Spock was the more relatable character—a great scientist and programmer, but also an outsider who struggled to fit in. Watching Star Trek, many of us saw a compelling character who valued the things that we did, and made us feel special (plus, the superpowers! Nerve pinch! Mind meld!). I can still remember my excitement when my Vulcan ears arrived in the mail. And what made that feeling durable into adulthood was that Leonard in real life had the personal qualities that made the character more believable – gentle, curious, compassionate, inquisitive, and intellectual. I mourn not for Leonard, who lived a rich, full life, but for the piece of myself that is now gone. Thank you, Leonard, for the joy you brought to my childhood and that of countless others. We’ll miss you.

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  6. New post on the first-ever image of light as both a particle and a wave is up.

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