You can get a jump on the Darwin Day festivities.
Once again the Alliance for Science is sponsoring an essay contest for Darwin Day. If you download their suggestions for good essay writing, you can get your essay done over winter break and have a good crack at winning on those cash prizes!
The Alliance for Science is pleased to announce our second annual National High School Essay Contest. We invite interested students to submit essays of up to 1,000 words on one of two topics -- Climate and Evolution or ... Read more
This is a fun puzzle. The pink molecule is a protein and the other molecule is a nucleic acid.
If I gave you the amino acid sequence of this protein, or the nucleotide sequence of this nucleic acid, what is the probability of finding a similar sequence in a different species (picked at random)?
D. It ... Read more
As many of you know, I'm a big fan of do-it-yourself biology. Digital biology, the field that I write about, is particularly well-suited to this kind of fun and exploration.
Last week, I wrote some instructions for making a phylogenetic tree from mitochondrial genomes. This week, we'll continue our analysis.
I wrote this activity, in part, because of this awful handout that my oldest daughter brought home last year. She presented me with an overly photocopied paper that showed ... Read more
Students at Soldan International High School are participating in an amazing experiment and breaking ground that most science teachers fear to tread.
Soldan students, along with hundreds of thousands of other people, are participating in the National Geographic's Genographic Project. Through this project, students send in cheek swabs, DNA is isolated from the cheek cells, and genetic markers are used to look at ancestry.
Genetic markers in the mitochondrial DNA are used to trace ancestry through the maternal line and markers on the Y chromosome can be used to learn about one ... Read more
Last year I wrote about an experiment where I compared a human mitochondrial DNA sequence to primate sequences in the GenBank. Since I wanted to know about the differences between humans, gorillas, and chimps, I used the Entrez query 'Great Apes' to limit my search to a set of sequences in the PopSet database that contained gorillas, bonobos, chimps, and human DNA.
A week ago, I tried to repeat this experiment and...
Two protein structures from an avian influenza virus are shown below. One form of the protein makes influenza virus resistant to Oseltamivir (Tamiflu®)
Don't worry, these proteins aren't from H5N1, but they do come from a related influenza virus that also infects birds.
One protein structure is from a strain that is sensitive to an anti-viral drug called "Tamiflu®". The other structure is from the same virus, except there's a slight difference. A single base change in the viral RNA changed the codon that tells the translation ... Read more
One of the places that I've always wanted to visit in Portland, OR, is Powell's City of Books. Powell's is the kind of bookstore that people in Seattle discuss in the same reverent tones that they use when they're describing Cody's in Berkeley or City Light in San Francisco.
It's not just a bookstore. It's a destination.
I guess that's why I was soooo disappointed.
From ... Read more
Thanks to Steven Colbert you can hear about DNA directly from Dr. Spencer Wells from the National Genographic Project.
I read about this video in the GenomeWeb Daily Scan and had to check it out.
Who would have thought scientists could be so funny?
... Read more
Not content with his recent exploits in human experimentation and cavorting with Plosites in San Francisco, Professor Steve Steve jetted across the country once again, last week, hitting both both Blacksburg, VA and Seattle, WA, and creating pandemonium wherever he went.
And raising the question - how does he get back and forth across the coast so quickly?
Will you find out ... Read more
By now, many of you have probably seen the the new BLAST web interface at the NCBI. There are many good things that I can say about it, but there are a few others that caught me by surprise during my last couple of classes.
Because of these changes, and because I'm giving a workshop for teachers on BLAST at the Fralin Biotechnology Conference in Blacksburg, VA, next week, it seemed like a good time to update our animated ... Read more