A structural example of Influenza virus mutation

A structural example of Influenza virus mutation

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This is the atomic resolution top-down structure of the neuraminidase protein found on the surface of the Influenza virus (individual spheres represent individual atoms). Neuraminidase is the protein, along with haemagglutinin which allows for the nomenclature of naming strains of Influenza (i.e. H1N1). These are key proteins used by the virus to establish and maintain infections, and also mutate at a rapid rate which is why you need a new flu vaccine every year (P.S. it is flu season, get vaccinated!). In this image of neuraminidase, the yellow spheres make up amino acids within the protein sequence that are commonly mutated, whilst the other colours depict those amino acids that are conserved. As you can see, there is a lot of yellow here, and so there is very little conservation of amino acids in this protein between strains, which presents a challenge to drug and vaccine design.

 

Image courtesy of Professor Peter Colman , Division head of Structural Biology at the Walter and Eliza Hall Institute in Melbourne, Australia.

 

 

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Logical Fallacy Question Time

Logical Fallacy Question Time

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Recently a reader asked us the below question-

 

“I would like to know what fallacy this is: It cannot be proven that there are not other life forms living in the caves of Mars, therefore I cannot believe that there is no life on Mars.”

 

This is known as the “Argument from Ignorance” (in Latin: argumentum ad ignorantiam) or “Appeal to Ignorance” and is a type of informal logical fallacy. I actually listed this as one of the most common logical fallacies in my opinion in a previous article. I will go into a little more detail here and also share some other examples that others and I have come across. But first we can break down the example you provided.

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A Call for Scientists and the Scientifically Minded to Enter Politics

A Call for Scientists and the Scientifically Minded to Enter Politics

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As a citizen or resident of any country I think it is highly important to do your best to learn at least the basics about the political system that governs over you, and of course if you want to meaningfully comment on a state of affairs

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