Genetics

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Category archives for Genetics

Brendan Bohannan, Richard W. Castenholz, Jessica Green and their students and postdcos at the Center for Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at University of Oregon are currently doing a Journal Club on the PLoS ONE article The Sorcerer II Global Ocean Sampling Expedition: Metagenomic Characterization of Viruses within Aquatic Microbial Samples, which is part of the…

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…

Intelligently Designed DNA

Someone did it. Get a prize if you correctly identify which one is intelligently designed. In both cases, the designer was an intelligent…..human. Of course. No media reports yet of bioengineering labs run by chimps, dogs, elephants or dolphins.

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…

I had no time to read this in detail and write a really decent overview here, perhaps I will do it later, but for now, here are the links and key excerpts from a pair of exciting new papers in PLoS Biology and PLoS ONE, which describe the patterns of expression of a second type…

Grapevine Genomes

Two grape genomes were published this year, one in Nature, the other in PLoS ONE. Larry Moran explains the methodologies and results of both and discusses the trustworthiness of each. The Nature paper is explained in The Grapevine Genome, and the PLoS ONE paper is discussed in The Second Grapevine Genome Is Published. Obligatory Readings…

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,…

Another thing I will also have to miss – the Inaugural Event of the 2007-2008 Pizza Lunch Season of the Science Communicators of North Carolina (SCONC), on October 24th at Sigma Xi Center (the same place where we’ll have the Science Blogging Conference). Organized by The American Scientist and the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, the first…

Genes vs./plus Environment

My former SciBling David Dobbs regularly posts on the SciAm Blog, usually bringing in guest contributors highlighting novel research in neuroscience. Today, he invited Charles Glatt to review an interesting study on the interaction between genes and environment in development of depression. David writes: This week reviewer Charles Glatt reviews a study that takes this…

Rethinking FOXP2

Earlier studies have indicated that a gene called FOXP2, possibly involved in brain development, is extremely conserved in vertebrates, except for two notable mutations in humans. This finding suggested that this gene may in some way be involved in the evolution of language, and was thus dubbed by the popular press “the language gene”. See,…