molecular structures

but the red berries are RNA. Picture below the fold.
Want to learn more about Parkinson's disease? See why a single nucleotide mutation messes up the function of a protein? I have a short activity that uses Cn3D (a molecular viewing program from the NCBI) to look at a protein that seems to be involved in a rare form of Parkinson's disease and I could sure use beta testers. If you'd like to do this, I need you to follow the directions below and afterwards, go to a web form and answer a few questions. Don't worry about getting the wrong answers. I won't know who ... Read more
Lots of bloggers in the DNA network have been busy these past few days writing about Google's co-founder Sergey Brin, his blog, his wife's company (23andme), and his mutation in the LRRK2 gene. I was a little surprised to see that while other bloggers (here, here, ... Read more
Instead of enjoying a sunny summer day today, or partying with SciBlings in New York, I'm staring out my window watching the rain. Inspiration hit! What about searching for August? i-15229e4ef21ba40ef0a2aa526c93f358-HFQ_protein.gifFolks, meet the HFQ protein from E. coli. I found this lovely molecule by doing a multi-database search at the NCBI with the term 'August'. HFQ is a lovely protein with ... Read more
Over 2600 genetic diseases have been found where a change in a single gene is linked to the disease. One of the questions we might ask is how those mutations change the shape and possibly the function of a protein? If the structures of the mutant and wild type (normal) proteins have been solved, NCBI has a program called VAST that can be used to align those structures. I have an example here where you can see how a single amino acid change makes influenza resistant to Tamiflu®. This 4 minute movie below shows ... Read more
In the class that I'm teaching, we found that several PCR products, amplified from the 16S ribosomal RNA genes from bacterial isolates, contain a mixed base in one or more positions. We picked samples where the mixed bases were located in high quality regions of the sequence (Q >40), and determined that the mixed bases mostly likely come from different ribosomal RNA genes. Many species of bacteria have multiple copies of 16S ribosomal RNA genes and the copies can differ from each other within a single genome and between genomes. Now, in one of our last projects we are determining where ... Read more
Ribosomes are molecular machines that build new proteins. This process of synthesizing a protein is also known as translation. Many antibiotics prevent translation by binding to ribosomal RNA. In the class that I'm teaching, we're going to be looking at ribosome structures to see if the polymorphisms that we find in the sequences of 16S ribosomal RNA are related antibiotic resistance. This is related to our ... Read more
I love using molecular structures as teaching tools. They're beautiful, they're easy to obtain, and working with them is fun. i-9790f45bb226e437ef4adac839e2d21a-herpes.png But working with molecular structures as an educators can present some challenges. The biggest problem is that many of the articles describing the structures are not accessible, particularly those published by the ACS (American Chemical Society). I'm hoping that ... Read more
This morning I had a banana genome, an orange genome, two chicken genomes (haploid, of course), and some fried pig genome, on the side. Later today, I will consume genomes from different kinds of green plants and perhaps even a cow or fish genome. I probably drank a bit of coffee DNA too, but didn't consume a complete coffee genome since my grinder isn't that powerful and much of the DNA would be trapped inside the ground up beans. Of course, microbes have genomes, too. But I do my best to cook those first. So, what is a genome? Is it a chromosome? Is it one of those DNA ... Read more

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