Digital Biology Fridays

Last week I posted an image with two molecules (below the fold), one protein and one nucleic acid, and asked you about the probability of finding similar molecules in different species. You gave me some interesting answers. DAG made me clarify my question by asking what I meant by "similarity." I was wondering whether I would be likely to find a statistically relevant match by doing a BLAST search and I hadn't really thought about the cutoff values. I decided to guess and say that that the protein would be about 30% similar and the nucleic acid about 60 ... Read more
This is a fun puzzle. The pink molecule is a protein and the other molecule is a nucleic acid.
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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 C. Low 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 several protein sequences from ... Read more

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