Posts tagged dna
The majority of our DNA does not code for protein or RNA and does not seem to regulate how the information is used. Sometimes referred to as “junk” DNA, these regions make up about 98.5 % of our genome. Is this DNA really junk?
Scientists have recently identified a section of “junk” DNA that can regain function and cause disease. The section of DNA is made of repeat regions of the same sequence. They found that individuals who have 1-10 repeats on the end of chromosome 4 can develop one of the most common forms of muscular dystrophy, FSHD. The goal now is More >
Most people know that smoking is a hard habit to kick because smokers become addicted to the nicotine and habit. Equally sad is the tendency of young adolescents to start smoking for social and psychological reasons.
In a turn-around of sorts, it may be comforting to know that cancers can become addicted, too. Cancer cells have many different genetic changes, as well as changes in the expression of genes that are not due to mutations called epigenetic changes. Although cancer cells do have many differences from normal cells, they are still very similar to normal cells, making it very difficult to More >
The initial goal of the Human Genome Project was to find, map and sequence all of the genes within the human genome. Since the completion of the initial draft back in 2000, the White House predicted that this would lead to a new era of molecular medicine, bringing new ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and cure disease.
It has been amazing to see what we have learned since then, but even more interesting to think of where this could go in the future. Hopefully soon we will be able to apply this on a more individual basis, with people being able to More >
With the completion of the Neandertal genome by the team of Dr. Svante Paabo and a closer look at their proteins by Gregory Hannon’s team at CSHL, scientists reveal incredible similarities between Neandertals and humans.
Neandertals, the extinct species of what are most likely our closest relatives, lived on earth at the same time as our human ancestors but died out about 30,000 years ago. With the sequence of their genome now complete, we can compare the DNA to humans and chimpanzees to learn more about what makes humans unique as a species.
The discovery of fossils is an exciting link to More >
Only recently has science began to unveil some of the mysteries of these behemoths. For decades it was believed that ancient DNA, proteins, and soft tissue could not be preserved over millions of years. Now, during the last 2 years, soft tissue was discovered deep inside the thigh bones of T-Rex.
There are times that inspiration for truth comes from science fiction, such as the best selling novel and blockbuster More >
There are many different types of proteins that get made inside of human cells, including structure proteins, such as keratin and collagen, enzymes, and messenger proteins such as hormones. One large group that I forgot to mention, and that intrigues me the most, is the wide variety of different antibodies that get made in our blood cells. There are over a billion different types of antibodies that get made over the course of a lifetime, and each is able to identify antigens from foreign objects, such as viruses or bacteria, and elicits an immune response.
The amazing part of antibody production is the More >
We have several holiday traditions at my house, which include baking cookies, decorating the house, and of course the tree. I have a love-hate relationship with my Christmas tree every year. Not a holiday season goes by without me cursing the tree and its insidious needles throughout the house. Oh, and don’t forget the ornaments that the dog just can’t keep out of her mouth. But the smell of the tree is all I need to get in the holiday spirit!
Interestingly enough, the Spruce, a very common Christmas tree species, has seven times more DNA than a human. How is that, you More >
Today there is a huge concern about obesity. It is a medical condition characterized by excessive body fat accumulated to a point where it has become a health issue. It is associated with high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, sleep apnea, and heart disease – ultimately leading to reduced life expectancy. Obesity is a condition that can be caused by inactivity, excessive consumption of calories, or a genetic predisposition.
Scientists have used genome-wide studies to define a relationship between body mass index and polymorphisms in the FTO gene (Fat Mass and Obesity Associated Gene). Recently, insights into the function of the More >
It is a game of chance! With one spin of a wheel, X and Y chromosomes, represented by pink (X) and green ping-pong balls (Y), are passed from each parent to a child. When the wheel stops, the baby is either a boy or a girl – depending on which chromosomes were inherited. It is a simple, yet powerful tool that demonstrates basic chromosomal inheritance. It is easy to see that every time the wheel is spun, there is a 50/50 chance of having a boy or a girl.
Demonstrations with this wheel have led to some very interesting student responses and questions. I have More >
It is important as teachers to incorporate subject matter that is of interest to your students. This will get them more excited about the process of learning. Recently, I have seen an ever growing interest in forensic science, with the help of the media. This offers valuable teaching opportunities. Almost every student that I have encountered has seen at least one episode of CSI or Law & Order.
So how can you take this material from the television screen into the classroom? Using the applications of DNA testing alone can provide you with a wide range of lessons, including the use of DNA More >