evolution

Sometimes when you go digging through the databases, you find unexpected things.

When I was researching the previous posts on insulin structure and insulin evolution, I found something curious indeed.

by Sandra Porter


In my last post, I wrote about insulin and interesting features of the insulin structure. Some of the things I learned were really surprising. For example, I was surprised to learn how similar pig and human insulin are. I hadn't considered this before, but this made me wonder about the human insulin we used to give to one of our cats. How do cat and human insulin compare?


It turns out, that all vertebrates produce ... Read more

Have you ever wondered if creationism was intelligently designed?

Most of my colleagues tend to dismiss creationism as generally nutty and not worth bothering about. But, every now and then, we did get the odd situation with a few students who disagree or state legislatures that get a little confused about the definition of science.

This video lecture is a bit long, but definitely interesting.

This month's cover of The Scientist has a mistake that makes me cringe.

Can you spot what's wrong?

i-1ed179c436a8573ded8cb468de9e1205-Jan_finches.jpg

And they call themselves "The Scientist" humph!Read more

The Galápagos islands rank high on my list of places that I really, really, really want to visit. But for many reasons, it's always looked like a trip to the Galápagos would be at least a decade or two away.

Now, I'll be able to go in January and so will all of you.

Thanks to the University of Cincinnati, we'll be able to follow in Darwin's historic steps, and experience some of his amazing journey.

The only difference is we'll do this trip as avatars in Second Life.

The ... Read more

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

... Read more

This is a fun puzzle. The pink molecule is a protein and the other molecule is a nucleic acid.

i-5c8403a3a835e477cc79b9d41e34f702-Picture 2.png

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)?

A. High
B. Medium ... 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 several protein ... 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...

It didn't work.

All I saw were human mitochondrial sequences.  I ... Read more