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Darren Abbey
Computational Biologist
Computational Biologist

Darren's posts

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Unionids Along the Missouri
Green is where Unionids were found in research . Red is where I collected Unionid shells. [Figure derived from those at link .] Several years ago, my brother and I went on an overnight road-trip to Nebraska. Why? ...well, mostly because it was there and it ...

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Snail Locomotion
During a recent conversation with a biologist I'd just met, the topic of a jumping nematode came up. (It is a type of tiny nematode that parasitizes insects, so you don't have to worry about these critters jumping out of the woods at you.) I then mentioned ...

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A Pretty Little Weed
One of my favorite roadside wild-flowers is the invasive Eurasian weed Lotus corniculatus (Bird's Foot Trefoil) .  It is almost always found in a bright yellow, but I've been keeping a look out for forms with other colors. I occasionally find plants with en...

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Black Nightshade 2
The potential toxicity of Solanum nigrum  fruit has been much debated. I had previously written about this species and some thoughts about why people might think it was poisonous . I generally consider it's ripe fruit to be edible and I routinely eat small ...

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Early Chile Domestication
I first discussed Capsicum annuum var. glabriusculum in an earlier post . I've collected wild seeds for this species from a few different sources throughout the desert southwest. The two views at right are the same plant, grown from seed collected in Phoeni...

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Relict Ecosystems
Part of what I like about biology is that it includes topics ranging in scale from the analysis of how a single protein functions all the way to how species and whole ecosystems change over geological time. At every level, there is dramatic complexity to be...

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Science Outreach
Though I haven't been writing much here lately, I have been active with another modern form of science outreach. You can follow my Twitter feed @thebiologistisn for links of interest, observations, and other short-form expressions that don't really fit here...

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Unstable Genetics
Collecting germplasm is a key step for any plant breeding project. For the amateur plant breeder, this can seem like an arduous task. Fortunately, you can take a quick shortcut by saving seeds from hybrid plants. A hybrid plant will be heterozygous for many...

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Botanizing in Alaska: Low-Bush Cranberry
I still have some photos from my last trip up to central Alaska to go through. I found this plant on a drive in the vicinity of Fairbanks-AK. We drove up a mountain until we were at the tree-line. While walking around, we saw lots of this plant woven throug...

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Future of the Guinea Worm
Guinea worm ( Dracunculus medinensis ) is one of those parasites that nightmares are made of. Juvenile worms infect freshwater copepods, which invariably end up getting ingested when drinking contaminated water. The adult female grows up to a few feet long....
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