Genetics & Molecular Biology

The past few Fridays, we've been comparing human mitochondrial DNA with the mitochondrial DNA of different apes. We started doing this here, where you can find directions for getting started. And, we've found some interesting things. In this installment, we found that humans have practically an entire mitochondrial genome stuck in chromosome 17. ... Read more
When can a really bad virus be used to do something good? i-a6550bc9f8fd2b4ba98054d13cd679e5-hiv_photo.jpg When we can use it to learn. The human immunodeficiency virus, cause of AIDS, scourge of countries, and recent focus of ScienceBlogs; like humans, evolves. As one ... Read more
During these past couple of weeks, we've been comparing mitochondrial DNA sequences from humans and great apes, in order to see how similar the sequences are. Last week, I got distracted by finding a copy of a human mitochondrial genome, that somehow got out of a mitochondria, and got stuck right inside of chromosome 17! The existence of this extra mitochondrial sequence probably complicates some genetic analyses. One of my readers also asked an interesting question about whether apes have ... Read more
It's hard sometimes when you're out of synch with the rest of the world. While my fellow ScienceBloggers have been obsessing about breasts, I've been really amused by the genetics of ear wax. Eh, what's that you say? Yes, it's true. Back in March, when Nature Genetics published this paper from Yoshiura (and friends), this bit of fun just went in one ear and out the other. But then I read this really funny blog ... Read more
Last week, we decided to compare a human mitochondrial DNA sequence with the mitochondrial sequences of our cousins, the apes, and find out how similar these sequences really are. The answer is: really, really, similar. And you can see that, in the BLAST graph, below the fold. A quick glance shows that the ape with the most similar mitochondrial sequence is Pan paniscus, the pigmy chimpanzee. Next, is Pan troglodytes, the chimp that we see in movies, and last we have Gorilla ... Read more
We've had a good time in the past few last weeks, identifying unknown sequences and learning our way around a GenBank nucleotide record. To some people, it seems that this is all there is to doing digital biology. They would, of course, be wrong. We can do much, much more than identifying DNA sequences and obtaining crucial information, like who left their DNA behind on that little blue dress. Today, we're going to a deeper question about who we are and who are our relatives. Drumroll, okay, here it comes: How similar are DNA sequences between humans and apes? ... Read more
I mean phone call. Because, if I thought he remembered me, I would call and say "thank you." Because of the time I spent in his lab, I know that cloning started long before Dolly. The first vertebrate animal was cloned over 50 years ago. And it wasn't a sheep. Raising Rana pipiens Several years ago, I had the good fortune to work as a student intern for one of the kings of cloning, Robert McKinnell, now an emeritus professor in the Cell Biology and Genetics Department at the University of Minnesota. Reminiscing on history a bit, ... Read more

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