Classic Digital Bio

No biology course is complete these days without learning how to do a BLAST search. Herein, I describe an assignment and an animated tutorial that teachers can readily adopt and use, and give teachers a hint for obtaining the password-protected answer key. Development of the tutorial and the activity were supported by funding from the National Science Foundation. This is reposted from the the original DigitalBio blog. This popular activity, designed to accompany the BLAST for beginners tutorial, has been updated to ... Read more
i-5e05c7070b9ee8a38eb30b5847ac7647-colors.pngHave you ever wondered about Cheeze Whiz? why new cars have a distinctive smell? or what makes golf balls so springy? Chemical and Engineering News, published by the American Chemical Society, has a wonderful section that you will certainly appreciate. "What's that stuff?" is a ... Read more
The fall soccer season is well underway and the Hummingbirds soccer team is kicking everything in sight. The hummingbirds in these two series of photos are much quicker, considerably smaller and certainly cute. A friend sent me this link since I manage the Hummingbirds soccer team. Hopefully, the person who posted these shots of baby hummingbirds will leave them up for awhile. My husband told me about this page at Nature Photography with other truly incredible hummingbird ... Read more
One of most wonderful things about the Internet has been the emergence of research projects that involve the general public. Universities like Cornell, Kansas University, and the University of Minnesota, to name a few, have established web sites and on-line databases that encourage both students and amateur biologists to participate in biological field studies. Not only do these projects extend the potential for good science by collecting more data, they give visibility to the research process and allow the public to take ownership and contribute to the store of scientific knowledge. ... Read more
It seems kind of funny to be thinking of anti-freeze at the moment, with heat waves blanketing the U.S., but all this hot weather makes me miss winter. And so I decided it was time to re-post this from the original DigitalBio. Winter is coming soon, my bike ride to work was pretty chilly, and it seems like a good time to be thinking about antifreeze. Antifreeze proteins, that is. Antifreeze proteins help keep pudgy yellow meal worms from turning into frozen wormsicles and artic flounder from becoming frozen flat fish.

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Trade publications; such as catalogs, technical bulletins, and web sites; are a valuable source of information for students in biotechnology-related courses. Not only do catalogs and technical publications provide current information, but they also contain a wealth of useful facts and physical constants that biologists need on-the-job. Further, using catalogs in the classroom mimics the way that science is carried out in the real world. In the research lab, scientists and technicians often rely on catalogs, technical bulletins, and web sites, for quick and useful information. I probably ... Read more
i-88f6464d4c019e769897ee428c21834a-Picture 5.0.jpgA few years ago, the General Biology students at the Johns Hopkins University began to interrogate the unseen world. During this semester-long project, they study the ecosystems of the Homewood campus, and engage in novel research by exploring the microbial ecosystems in different sections of the campus. Biology lab students gather environmental samples from different campus ... Read more

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