Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Stranger Than Fiction: Moonlit genes


Hi guys!

My current WIP is sci-fi. Bio-punk, to be more specific. I guess I'm a little science-geeky, so this was a natural theme to turn to in my writing.

As a result, I find all kinds of inspiration in the natural world. So I'm going to bring some of that to you. Even if you don't write paranormal or sci-fi, it's a great thing to stretch our imaginations with real life stuff.

Here are some earlier posts on Zombie Ants and Luna Moths: Beauty at the Ultimate Price.

Today's post is on light-sensitive genes. Did you know that we, along with shellfish and corals, have genes called cryptochromes?

The genes are turned on by the pale blue light of the moon and are responsible for the mass coral spawning in the Great Barrier Reef following a full moon.

Nowadays, the cryptochromes play a part of human circadian rhythm but the light-sensing part is no longer functioning. Too bad; it would have been a good explanation all that so-called crazy full moon behavior! (see Sarah's post of whether the full moon causes lunacy)

Neat, huh?

For more info, check out the original article from Scienceagogo.com

Finally, if you haven't had a chance, please stop by Deb Salisbury's blog where she'll be tackling the "In my writing, I always/never_____" question for our Sisterhood of the Traveling Blog series this month.

If you missed it, check out Laura's post, my post, and Sarah's post from last week!

52 comments:

Wen Baragrey said...

I always wondered if the stuff about the full moon was true. I'll have to go check that post out. I wonder, then, if those genes ever did work for us. Or, what would happen if they started to work again, maybe for just one person. Ooh, the possibilities!

welcome to my world of poetry said...

A very interesting issue, I've heard people mention about the moon but have never quite believed them.

Yvonne,

Anne Gallagher said...

Well, this certainly explains a lot. I wonder if the cryptochromes are just dormant in humans and will someday come back full force, and then we'll all be moles or something?

I love that you have classified your WiP as Bio-punk. That is SOOO cool!

Kelly said...

So cool!!!!!!!!!!
And I love the word bio-punk.

Liza said...

No matter what's been proved, I think the moon does to something, and that last, close to the earth one was a terror!

Melissa said...

Wow! That's so cool! All this science stuff will give you such a great foundation for paranormal or fantasy elements. I love anything supernatural but I also like some LOGIC behind it. It's missing in so many stories and I HATE That. BUt, you seem like you wouldn't do that.

I wish we still went crazy on the full moon. It would be like drunken stories but SOOO much funnier. (I dno why it'd be better... probably cause it was the moon and not some vodka!)

Also...bio-punk is a ROCKING word.

Carol Kilgore said...

The night of the full moon here was overcast so we didn't get to see it. Last night it looked like a big golden football hanging in the sky.

Matthew MacNish said...

You are so smart, and know about the coolest stuff. Bio-punk sounds awesome. I can't wait to hear more about your book!

Lynn said...

So interesting! I wonder if humanity will need that gene in the far-future. Love your term bio punk too!

Jess said...

Wow, that's really cool!

Faith said...

Oooh I didn't know we had cryptochromes! This gives me a great excuse next time I'm running around the house like a lunatic late at night... :D ...and I'm in full agreement with the other commenters, 'Bio-Punk' is a GREAT category name.

Bossy Betty said...

I believe my cryptochromes are still functioning. That's my story anyway, and I'm sticking to it.

Talli Roland said...

Interesting - I never knew! Thank, Lydia.

Angela Felsted said...

It used to be a pretty common belief that a full moon made people crazy, but I think it's been thoroughly disproven.

Chris Phillips said...

So THAT'S why I always want to spawn during a full moon! Good to know.

Melissa Bradley said...

Very interesting. I'll have to check out these articles and I love your bio-punk theme. That rocks!

Erin Cole said...

Always interesting stuff to learn here...maybe I can use an excess of cryptochromes for my next vampire story.
Zombie Ants?...I'm heading over.

D U Okonkwo said...

Wow - I'm not sci=-fi orientated at all but this was really cool reading! :)

Munk said...

And here I thought crypto-chromes were just zombie chromosomes.

Magan said...

When I first started my attempt at science fiction I didn't realize how much research was involved, but then after doing the research I found that I could be that interesting geek at cocktail parties! I'll be sure to use these facts at my next event!

Bathwater said...

There are always mutations out there maybe one in a million humans is still effected by the moonlight?

Read my books; lose ten pounds! said...

ohhhhhhhhhh kool!

Mary Anne Gruen said...

Wow! You're right, there are lots of ideas for SF & F in the science world. I have to start reading the Smithsonian again!

Tracey Neithercott said...

Wow, I've never heard of cryptochromes. Very interesting though. I have a disease that strangely gets worse at night, so maybe these cryptochromes are behind it.

LTM said...

that is totally neat and supercool! And I can so see the relation to full moon antics and cryptochromes... Is it true that ER rooms have more patients on full moon nights???

btw, your book sounds too cool. Yay! :o) <3

Rachna Chhabria said...

Hi Lydia..love the word bio-punk. Sounds cool. As for the moon, I am not a big believer that it has a connection with people's behaviour.

Heather said...

We're going to have to compare notes soon! I'm outlining a steampunk novel with a powerful bioengineering undertone. I'm so excited about this one I can hardly wait!

Connie said...

Bio-punk. Cool! I know a bit about genetics--I worked my way through college at a cytogenetics lab doing karyotyping. (I was an English major so it was an odd job for me. But I loved it, and it paid very well.)

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Cryptochromes? I bet werewolves have a major load of those floating in their altered DNA! Your novel sounds great. I wish you great success with it, Roland

Krispy said...

I was just about to mention the whole full moon thing. Haha.

Okay, I just read an article about zombie ants the other day, and it totally freaks me out. I think I'm just really grossed out by the whole fungus infecting, controlling, killing, and then GROWING OUT OF the carcass thing. Ew.

But thank you for sharing these awesome, strange, and sometimes icky things. :)

Carol Riggs said...

Lydia, how totally cool you are doing Biopunk! I just learned about that genre a month or so ago. I will be very curious as to how that works out (and what it reads like). It seems a natural genre for you!!

runawaybride said...

just imagine human skeletons forming another barrier reef..

Sierra Gardner said...

Biopunk is soooooo cool. I write thrillers with a strong science base and totally have a biopunk up my sleeve for the future. I post science related stuff on my blog on Thursdays (incl crazy weird science stuff =)

Jai Joshi said...

Years ago I read about how police say that the weirdest crimes are always committed on a full moon night. Like really weird stuff. And on a blue moon night it's just bizarre the stuff that goes on.

Jai

Nas Dean said...

And we had super big waves on the full moon night, flooding the shops! So full moon= big waves. So true.

Thanks for sharing.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Bio-punk has got to be the coolest sounding genre EVER.

I feel smarter every time I visit your blog. I get all kinds of ideas when I come here.

Sarah said...

I agree with Jennifer. Bio-punk just sounds seriously badass.

L'Aussie said...

Wow Lydia I'll never look at the Great Barrier Reef with the same eyes again. I'll be looking for cryptochromes. I never knew any of this but that's no surprise. Thanks for the fascinating facts!

Denise<3

Old Kitty said...

The light sensing part of my chryptochromes are alive, I swear, alive!!!! The full moon wakes them up always!! :-)

Thanks for such a fun and very amazing post! Take care
x

Alleged Author said...

I've never heard of bio-punk! Are you going to make up a whole new genre when you finish writing this book? Imagine, you could be the trend-setter for hundreds of authors. How cool is that?

nutschell said...

Bio-punk! First time I've encountered the word, but it sounds cool. I cannot wait to read your finished WIP. It sounds super interesting!

Steph said...

^^ what they said.. and cute picture, too!

Steph said...

^^ what they said.. and cute picture, too!

Meredith said...

Yay for being connected to the moon! I'm okay with that. :)

The Words Crafter said...

I actually love science, even the stuff I don't understand. I absolutely love the moon. When I was little, even as a teen-I'd wake up and just look out at the moon. We lived in the country-less light-so we could see more of the stars.

MMMmmm, now I'm in the mood for some moonlight.

Dreamy post and I can't wait until the day I can read your book!

Jonene Ficklin said...

Very cool, Lydia! I'm curious to see how you use use things like this in your book.

Diana Mieczan said...

That is really interesting. I heard those stuff before but you have a point. Have a lovely day, kisses

Ps: I’m hosting an amazing GIVEAWAY! You can win 5 cool art posters!

Karen Lange said...

I wondered where the full moon stuff originated. Thanks for bringing me up to speed, and for sharing the links! Have a good day. :) Hope everyone is feeling better.

lbdiamond said...

Hahahahaha! LOVE the drawing. LOL.

Oooh, lotsa interesting stuff--thanks for the links!

PS--I LOVE your concept. Love, love, love!!!! ;)

Lisa Gail Green said...

That is so cool. I wish I had a better understanding of science (that's what my husband is for he he he). I think it's awesome that you do, and that you bring that to your writing.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

I have heard police, EMTs, and hospital workers declare that the full moon increases the amount of crazy behavior. It's an interesting concept.

mist of the blossom rain said...

My cat is always going crazy when there is a full moon. This is very interesting!

 
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