Basic Biology

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Category archives for Basic Biology

Protein Structure

Learn everything you need to know about protein structure, explained clearly and as simply as the topic allows: Beta Strands and Beta Sheets Loops and Turns Levels of Protein Structure Examples of Protein Structure Evolution and Variation in Folded Proteins I think these should be included into the Basic Concepts collection. Update: Larry has put…

Biodiversity Heritage Library

Get yourself free PDFs of old biology/taxonomy books and papers courtesy of Biodiversity Heritage Library: Ten major natural history museum libraries, botanical libraries, and research institutions have joined to form the Biodiversity Heritage Library Project. The group is developing a strategy and operational plan to digitize the published literature of biodiversity held in their respective…

News from SCONC: Oliver Smithies is the Nobel-Prize winner next door. A professor at UNC for almost 20 years, Smithies got the nod from Stockholm last fall. He will give a seminar at the Friday Center on Thursday March 6 at 6:30 p.m. in a lecture hosted by the Carolinas Chapter of the American Medical…

DNA barcoding

I tried to understand what DNA barcoding is, as everyone is talking about it. And I tried reading a couple of papers about it – I am a biologist, so I should have understood them, but nope, I was still in the dark. So, what does one do? Waits for a science blogger to explain…

Bone anatomy

Oh, how I wish eSkeletons website existed back at the time I was teaching anatomy! Very, very cool! You can focus on human bones only, look at movement, insertions and origins, etc. Or you can make comparison between bones of several primates. Thanks Anne-Marie.

The Hopeless Monster? Not so fast!

Olivia Judson wrote a blog post on her NYTimes blog that has many people rattled. Why? Because she used the term “Hopeful Monster” and this term makes many biologists go berserk, foaming at the mouth. And they will not, with their eye-sight fogged by rage, notice her disclaimer: Note, however, that few modern biologists use…

Life Sciences in North Carolina

OK, this may not be very new, but for all of you taking a look at science in North Carolina next week due to the focus on the Science Blogging Conference, The Scientist has published a number of essays looking at every aspect of Life Science in the state – check it out: The State…

Pilobolus, Antlion and the Vertebrate Eyes

On Pilobolous: When I first wrote my post on Pilobolus (here and here) I really wanted to do something extra, which I could not do at the time. If you scroll down that post, you will see I reprinted the Figure 1 from the Uebelmesser paper. What I wanted to do was find (and I…

It’s In Your DNA!

That is one of the phrases that has been getting on my nerves for years now. So, I chuckled when I saw Keith Robison explain why that is not such a good corporate slogan. I’ll add another one to his funny list: – Most of our organization sits there inert and dead while all of…

When Wilhelm Johannsen coined the word “gene” back in 1909 (hmmm, less than two years until the Centennial), the word was quite unambiguous – it meant “a unit of heredity”. Its material basis, while widely speculated on, was immaterial for its usefulness as a concept. It could have been tiny little Martians inside the cells,…