Molecule World

We've been fans of the Molecule of the Month series by David Goodsell, for many years. Not only is Dr. Goodsell a talented artist but he writes very clear descriptions of the ways molecules like proteins, RNA, and DNA work together and function inside a cell. To learn about proteins and their activities, I like to go directly to the Molecule of the Month page, where I can find a list of articles organized by molecule type and name.  Many of these articles can also be downloaded in a PDF format. A really nice of his articles is that he includes PDB IDs ... Read more

To have an effect, a molecule must bind to a receptor and trigger a signal.  Studying a receptor's structure can give us insights about the way this triggering process works.

Capsaicin is a fascinating molecule that puts the "pep" into peppers.  Curiously, the amount of capsaicin in a pepper is measured with a test devised in 1912 by Wilbur Scoville.  Dried peppers are dissolved in alcohol, this liquid extract is diluted in water, and trained people determine the pepper's Scoville value by "tasting" the heat.

I really wonder how these people are recruited.   I like hot ... Read more

Todd M. Smith, Sandra, G. Porter, Ditigal World Biology LLC. Seattle WA. 

It is impossible to grasp fundamental concepts in biology without understanding the relationship between sequence, structure, and function. Modern data collection technologies are creating enormous data resources that can be used to help students’ understand these relationships, but currently are underutilized. This is due to the fact that easy-to-use tools that meet teachers’ needs for clear instruction and data visualization are not yet commonplace. Filling the gap between the embarrassment of data riches ... Read more

A real family, struggling with a history of breast cancer provides the back story for this compelling lesson on genetic testing in the Bio-ITEST Genetic Testing curriculum strand. We recently updated lesson 5 for students using Molecule World. This video shows how we used the Molecule World iPad app to locate a mutation site and see how the cancer-causing mutation affects the BRCA1 protein.

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This video shows how we used the Molecule World iPad app to make an image of a folded insulin peptide. Protein folding brings the amino acid at the beginning of the protein chain near the amino acid at the other end.

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by Sandra Porter

On pinene and inhibiting enzymes.

People of a certain age may remember a series of really funny commercials featuring Euell Gibbons and his famous question about whether you've ever eaten a pine tree. " Some parts are edible " said Euell.

Perhaps some parts are, but other pine tree products aren't so nourishing. Read more

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?

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by Sandra Porter

Molecules of sucrose tore apart in their bellies letting glucose course free in their veins.

Luckily for us, a system evolved long ago to capture that glucose and minimize it’s potential for damage.

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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 ... Read more

TM. Smith, SG. Porter. Digital World Biology® LLC, Seattle, WA. @finchtalk, @digitalbio  

From plant and animal breeding to genetic modifications to creating new kinds of energy resources, it is impossible to design improvements without understanding the relationship between molecular sequences and their structure and function. As we contemplate new ways to produce food and energy, understanding molecular structures is critical to both target development and follow on manufacturing processes. Additionally, to have large-scale benefit, our emerging scientists, the technical ... Read more

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