Science education

Over 2600 genetic diseases have been found where a change in a single gene is linked to the disease. One of the questions we might ask is how those mutations change the shape and possibly the function of a protein? If the structures of the mutant and wild type (normal) proteins have been solved, NCBI has a program called VAST that can be used to align those structures. I have an example here where you can see how a single amino acid change makes influenza resistant to Tamiflu®. This 4 minute movie below shows ... Read more
Bill Gates, Eric Lander, Maynard Olson, Leena Peltonen, and George Church fielded questions last night at a fascinating panel discussion on personal genomics at the University of Washington. We were fortunate to be in the audience. I'll share some of the questions and answers, in some cases shortened and paraphrased. The room in Kane Hall at the UW was already warm when we arrived last night (yes, I do go to evening seminars). A student handed us cards and cute little pencils for writing our questions and we sat down. We fought the impulse to write "What's the air ... Read more
One of my favorite web 2.0 technologies is the webinar. When you work at a company and not a University, with constant seminars, it gets a bit harder to hop on a bus and travel across town to learn about new things. Webinars are a good way to fill that gap. I grab my coffee cup, put on my headphones, and I get to listen to someone tell me about their work for an hour and show slides over the web. It's nice. Our company is even going to be involved in two webinars in the next two months. One of us is giving an Illumina webinar tomorrow ... Read more
In the class that I'm teaching, we found that several PCR products, amplified from the 16S ribosomal RNA genes from bacterial isolates, contain a mixed base in one or more positions. We picked samples where the mixed bases were located in high quality regions of the sequence (Q >40), and determined that the mixed bases mostly likely come from different ribosomal RNA genes. Many species of bacteria have multiple copies of 16S ribosomal RNA genes and the copies can differ from each other within a single genome and between genomes. Now, in one of our last projects we are determining where ... Read more
Ribosomes are molecular machines that build new proteins. This process of synthesizing a protein is also known as translation. Many antibiotics prevent translation by binding to ribosomal RNA. In the class that I'm teaching, we're going to be looking at ribosome structures to see if the polymorphisms that we find in the sequences of 16S ribosomal RNA are related antibiotic resistance. This is related to our ... Read more
You can find out. Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist has a fun little quiz.Read more
I love using molecular structures as teaching tools. They're beautiful, they're easy to obtain, and working with them is fun. i-9790f45bb226e437ef4adac839e2d21a-herpes.png But working with molecular structures as an educators can present some challenges. The biggest problem is that many of the articles describing the structures are not accessible, particularly those published by the ACS (American Chemical Society). I'm hoping that ... Read more
This morning I had a banana genome, an orange genome, two chicken genomes (haploid, of course), and some fried pig genome, on the side. Later today, I will consume genomes from different kinds of green plants and perhaps even a cow or fish genome. I probably drank a bit of coffee DNA too, but didn't consume a complete coffee genome since my grinder isn't that powerful and much of the DNA would be trapped inside the ground up beans. Of course, microbes have genomes, too. But I do my best to cook those first. So, what is a genome? Is it a chromosome? Is it one of those DNA ... Read more
Goodbye desktop, we're off to see the web. Both my students and I have been challenged this semester by the diversity of computer platforms, software versions, and unexpected bugs. Naturally, I turned to the world and my readers for help and suggestions. Some readers have suggested we could solve everything by using Linux. Others have ... Read more
Our new Scibling, Jane, is a real life computer scientist. If you've ever wondered what computer scientists really do during the day, Jane will set you straight (I guess they're not playing Nintendo. Darn! Another illusion shattered, just like that.) Jane has also promised to explain why computer science is a science and not ... Read more

Privacy     |     Using Molecule World Images    |    Contact

2019 Digital World Biology®  ©Digital World Biology LLC. All rights reserved.