Background Whitepapers

While sitting to one of my last meals tonight (how morbid sounding!), it occurs to me that I’ve permitted a glaring error to escape my notice for several months. All scientific research is built upon the work of its predecessors, for the simple reason that working within a vacuum is both impractical and, in all honesty, impossible. One would have to question absolutely every detail of one’s experiment, and end up stumped at “but what is a protein?” All scientific research, without reservation, is built “on the shoulders of giants”, and a large part of participating in scientific discovery is working smart, not hard, by looking up and digesting the work of previous researchers in the field — and, of course, giving them credit if and when one makes and publishes a discovery. I highly recommend anyone interested in performing an experiment according to the strictures of the scientific method use tools such as Google Scholar to learn what has already been published on the chosen subject and avoid reinventing the wheel.

When, early last year, a group of earnest but disorganized biohackers and citizen scientists who knew each other initially only over the Internet determined to engage in an experiment to extend the range of human perception, we of course began by trawling the whitepapers. While we linked some of these papers to our Experiment (formerly Microryza) crowdfunding page, and alluded to others while promoting and discussing the project in a variety of venues, both digital and otherwise, we haven’t compiled a complete list for our backers and readers to peruse. For this we apologize. Below are several of the papers (with links) studied in the seminal days of Science for the Masses which I have compiled from our old Dropbox. I will be adding more later as I find the links (did I mention the disorganized hacker bit?), and while not all of these papers are terribly pertinent to the task at hand, they do offer some (I think) interesting background on the project. For instance, one will note several papers discussing A2 synthesis before we decided simply purchasing it outright was more cost-effective. The papers are arranged in no particular order, with the exception of having placed the inestimable Dr. George Wald‘s paper first detailing the discovery of the porphyropsin visual system first.

Wald, George, “The Porphyropsin Visual System“, The Journal of General Physiology Vol. 22.6

Shantz, E.m., and J. H. Brinkman, “Biological activity of pure vitamin A2“, Journal of Biological Chemistry Vol. 183

Kawaguchi, Riki et al, “A membrane receptor for retinol binding protein mediates cellular uptake of vitamin A

Millard, Ernest B. Jr., and William S. McCann, “Effect of vitamin A2 on the red and blue threshold of fully dark adapted vision“, Journal of Applied Physiology Vol. 1

Yuem, K.J. et al, “Human plasma carotenoid response to the ingestion of controlled diets high in fruits and vegetables“, The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition Vol. 64

Shantz, E.M., “Isolation of pure vitamin A2“, Science Vol. 108.2807

Sun, Hui, “Membrane receptors and transporters involved in the function and transport of vitamin A and its derivatives“, Biochimica et Biophysica Acta, Vol. 1821.1

Gerlach, T.H., and M.H. Zile, “Metabolism and secretion of retinol transport complex in acute renal failure“, Journal of Lipid Research, Vol. 32

Lamb, Adrian J. et al, “Induction of rapid, synchronous vitamin A deficiency in the rat“, Journal of Nutrition, Vol. 104.9

Barua, A.B. et al, “Structure and synthesis of naturally occurring anhydrovitamin A2“, Biochemical Journal, Vol. 177.3

Suzuki, Tastuo, and Sadao Miyata, “Substitution of porphyropsin for rhodopsin in mouse retina“, Experimental Eye Research, Vol. 46.2

Tee, E-Siong, and C.Y. Lee, Ph. D., “Carotenoids and retinoids in human nutrition“, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, Vol. 31.1-2


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