Genetics & Molecular Biology

Welcome to the October 15, 2006 edition of Mendel's Garden. Join me as we walk through the fields and admire the harvest. Evolutionary genetics i-19913c679fe20f39a91f541d41225319-pumpkin_smile1.jpgAs we stroll into the evolutionary biology plot, we notice a shape in the ground that looks suspiciously like a ... Read more
Why is an eye, an eye and a nose, a nose? Why do different cells create different kinds of tissues when all the cells in a single organism start out with the same set of instructions (aka DNA)? Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes is a learning activity that helps students discover, for themselves, that certain genes are expressed in some tissues but not in others. My goal here, as part of our NSF-funded project, is to show how students can learn biology by doing science with bioinformatics tools. If ... Read more
i-34fd3d0a3102c246d604706c85f667b1-mendelsg.jpgMendel's garden in Bruno, CZ, may be too far for physical travel, but you can still imagine what Mendel might have thought if he'd gotten a look at this version of his vision. Maybe I'm taking alliteration a little too far, but that doesn't mean that you have to show any restraint. All you have to do is submit ... Read more

Razib inspired me to share some of the story behind why white people are considered derivatives.

No red herrings, here! Lamason et. al. found a single gene that controls human skin color while studying pigmentation in zebra fish (1). These zebra fish had an unusual golden color that turned out to be an important clue. Lamason and collaborators found that the golden zebra fish lost their normal color because of a mutation in the slc24a5 gene. When the zebra fish have the mutant form, they produce fewer melanosomes.

A short language lesson Fewer ... Read more

If we compare sections 1, 2, and 3, we see that section 2 matches very well in a number of different samples, and that there are differences between the sequences in sections 1 and 3. i-bed5846063bbebc59fa0a4516d917562-small_mito_mut.gif We also learn something about the ... Read more
Like biology, all bioinformatics is based on the idea that living things shared a common ancestor. I have posted, and will post other articles that test that notion, but for the moment, we're going to use that idea as a starting point in today's quest. If we agree that we have a common ancestor, then we can use that idea as a basis to ask some interesting questions about our genomes. For, example, we know that genomes change over time - we've looked at single nucleotide changes here and ... Read more
Did HIV become resistant to Atazanavir because of a genetic change? Was that genetic change inherited? Did HIV evolve? Can we explain why genetic changes at specific sites might help HIV escape the effects of the drug? Let's find out. All of the sequences in the image below (except for the first) come from HIV strains that were isolated from patients who took Atazanavir and no other protease inhibitors. All of the strains of HIV from patients were resistant to the drug. If an amino acid is different from other strains, the color at that position is changed. ... Read more
In which we see the results and come to our own conclusions. If you want to let other people tell you what's right and what's wrong, they will surely do so. Turn on the TV and hordes of happy actors bounce around, only too happy to help you purchase the right deodorant. Open your e-mail and everyone wants to share the best on-line pharmacy and investment guide. Ugh. I prefer making my own decisions, thank you very much. So, I want to give you a chance to look at the data and decide for yourself, if the data show HIV protease sequences changing over ... Read more
i-e56bbbe39fca38ba141ccdad11201cf6-berries.jpgAugust is the time when gardens look their best. Fruit becomes showy, flowers abound, and plants are large and plentiful. Mendel's Garden #4, currently blooming at The Inoculated Mind, is no exception. Evolgen ... Read more
Let the experiment begin. We're experimenting with HIV in this series. And yes, you can try this at home! If you want to see where we've been and get an idea where we're going, here are the links. Part I. Meet HIV and learn how we're going to use it look at evolution. An introduction to the experiment and a link to a short flash movie on HIV. Part II. Instructions for doing the experiment. Part III. Look at the ... Read more

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