Evolution in Action, etc.

The prestigeous journal Science has just announced the “Breakthrough of the Year”. The prize goes to — can we have some drumroll, please — “Evolution in Action”. You can read its report here. If you are wondering why a 146-year old idea is being accorded this special status now, you should read P.Z. Myers, who explains that “we’re on the edge of a Renaissance in the discipline [evolutionary biology], if we’re not already in the middle of it.”

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Sunil Laxman has a nice post explaining a recent breakthrough in understanding the genetics of skin colour.

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BBC has a report about some promising research on cancer (leukemia) neutralizing effects of green tea. Doctors warn, however, that it is all still early days.

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For the average woman, life holds not two but three certainties: death, taxes and 35 years of monthly hormonal mayhem. Periods can be wretched. But from a young age, girls are comforted with the promise that the bleeding, cramping and radical mood swings are all part of the special alchemy of womanhood. Menstruation is — to use the mother of all feminine-hygiene euphemisms — a precious gift. Which is why the introduction of a new product that invites women to opt out of the whole ordeal is something of a cultural upheaval. Health experts are predicting that by this time next year, menstruation will no longer be an inevitable function but rather an optional feature, a bit like power steering or pay-per-view.

I am sure this quote piqued your interest. Go read all about Anya, a new contraception pill that also “provides a steady stream of hormones, [thus promising] to quash a woman’s usual cyclical fluctuations, virtually wiping out all the irksome symptoms of PMS”. It is expected to hit the drugstore shelves in the US and Canada in 2006. [Update: Anne Casselman notes some curious side effects mentioned in the article.]

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