genetics

by Todd Smith

A key concept in science is molecular scale. DNA is a fascinating molecule in this regard.

While we cannot "see" DNA molecules without the aid of advanced technology, a full length DNA molecule can be very long. In human cells, other than sperm and eggs, six billion base pairs of DNA are packaged into 22 pairs of chromosomes, plus two sex chromosomes. Each base pair is 34 angstroms in length (.34 nanometers, or ~0.3 billionths of a meter), so six billion base pairs (all chromosomes laid out head to toe) form a chain that's ... Read more

If you have a little time, the Dolan DNA Learning Center at Cold Spring Harbor will be presenting some really interesting workshops on neuroscience and genetics. The dates are: Nov. 5, 2009: Inside Cancer - workshop on teaching cancer; Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville, NJ Nov. 6, 2009: Genes To Cognition - workshop on teaching neuroscience; Raritan Valley Community College, Somerville, NJ Nov. 21, 2009: Inside Cancer - workshop on teaching cancer; Great Bay Community College, Portsmouth, NH Nov. 20, 2009: Genes To Cognition - workshop on teaching neuroscience; Great Bay ... Read more
For the past few months, the shake-up that began with Next Generation DNA Sequencing has been forcing me to adjust to a whole new view of things going on inside of a cell. We've been learning things these past two years that are completely changing our understanding of the genome and how it works and it's clear we're never going back to the simple view we had before. What's changed? The two most striking changes, to me at least, are the new views of the way the genome is put together and what the cell does with the information. They just don't assemble chromosomes like ... Read more
What do the missing Romanov children, genetically engineered humans, financial risk taking, and poop have in common? You can read about all these topics from this month's Gene Genie carnival at Mary Meets Dolly. Who would have thought that mutations could be so much fun? Read more
I don't know if any DIY biologists are looking for projects, but I think engineering yeast with a gene to detect heavy metals might be a good DIY biology project and I have some ideas for how to do this. What are the advantages of using yeast and working on this kind of problem?
  • This could have a socially beneficial result. Contamination of soils, water, and even toys with heavy metals like lead, arsenic, and others, is a growing problem. If DIY
  • ... Read more
My garden at home is looking a bit bleak after all the snow, Mendel's Garden is blooming wonderfully at Jeremy Cherfas' blog Another Blasted Weblog. Jeremy has prepared a nice collection of perennial favorites. I especially like the story about pea breeding and, if you view the post, there are several interesting pictures of peas. These peas are far more diverse than the kind you'd normally see in a genetics text. Not all peas are shrunken or waxy. ... Read more
You can find out. Blaine Bettinger, the Genetic Genealogist has a fun little quiz.Read more
October is a month of darkness, mystery, and dread. Only one holiday brings joy in October and even then, October joy is distilled through fear and apprehension. In the early evenings the sun hurries home and once familiar objects loom ominously in the dark. Giant spiders appear out the fog, lurking on webs that span our walkways and doors. Even Mendel's Garden is dark and malevolent when October greys our skies. . Horror stories for adults ... Read more
But I'm certain that you will find some interesting things. i-70ef3063e2955c0853dfc305a40b7d40-erasor.jpgMendel's Garden will be ready for harvest, here on Sunday, October 7th, and I need your help. i-8f1c6b4ff3de11138e604044a7fbced7-grass.jpgYou won ... Read more
i-e46b5544cd67f35d5d7d6301be1637c0-yellow_rose.jpgIf you haven't, then hustle over to Mendel's Garden for a wonderful story about the monk and his life as a scientist, check out Gene Genie for best drawing of Craig Venter that I've ever seen; and if ... Read more