evolgen

Archives for February, 2007

So Many Badges, So Little Time

Those kooky Canucks at the Science Creative Quarterly have started a new club: the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique. Anyone is free to join, provided they’re not a teetotaling, lying, world-dominating, badge-hater, ’cause they’re really into badges. To profess their love of badges, the Science Scouts have produced…

Junk DNA, Revisited

Some bio-bloggers are atwitter over an article by Wojciech Makalowski on Scientific American’s website about Junk DNA. I’m a little late to the game because, well, I’ve been really busy looking at sequences to determine if they are junk DNA. Is it irony? Is it coincidence? Who cares? It’s an opportunity to discuss semantics, and…

Snow Dayz!!

In honor of all the snow being dropped on the Northeast US, I give you “Things that rock & things that suck.” Cue the theme music… Things that rock: Snowfall measured in feet. Things that suck: Freezing rain. Things that rock: Showing up to class/work on cross-country skis. Things that suck: Cancelled classes. Things that…

A Question about Retroposition

Duplicated genes can arise via various mechanisms — polyploidization, chromosomal duplication, segmental duplication, and retroposition — and we can usually distinguish the various mechanisms as each has distinct signatures. For example, retroposed duplicates arise when an RNA transcript is reverse transcribed back into DNA and re-inserted into the genome. This is how many transposable elements…

NESCent

Does anyone know anything about NESCent (the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina)? They’re affiliated with Duke, UNC, and NC State (the Research Triangle universities), and they offer postdoctoral fellowships. One of my committee members suggested it as a possible location for a postdoc, but I’m concerned that any potential project would be way…

Mendel’s Garden #11

Hsien at Genetics & Health has posted the newest edition of my favorite (just) science blog carnival: Mendel’s Garden. There are oodles of reasons why you should love genetics (and only a couple why you should not). If you would like to host a future edition of Mendel’s Garden, visit the carnival’s blog and leave…

Science & Technology

I have previously mentioned, in passing, a pet peeve of mine: when people conflate ecology with environmentalism (see here and here for examples). It’s an odd pet peeve for an admitted non-ecologist, but it falls under the umbrella of distinguishing science from technology which is at the heart of the real pet peeve. It just…

Shotgun Sequencing a Eukaryotic Genome

Shotgun sequencing refers to the process whereby a genome is sequenced and assembled with no prior information regarding the genomic location of any of the DNA we sequence. There are quite a few steps that you have to go through before you have an assembled genome sequence. We’re going to cover isolating DNA, putting the…

Mutation

Where the variation comes from. Evolution proceeds by the action of many different evolutionary forces on heritable variation. Natural selection leads to the increase in frequency of variation that allows individuals to produce more offspring who, themselves, produce offspring. Genetic drift changes the frequency of variation through random sampling of individuals from one generation to…

Speciation, Natural Selection, and Karyotypes

I’ve been chatting up Wilkins about the role of natural selection in speciation (and when I say “speciation” I mean “reproductive isolation”). Wilkins listed a few cases where speciation would occur independently of natural selection. Amongst the mechanisms in Wilkins’s list was speciation via karyotypic changes (polyploidy, inversions, fusions or fissions). I cried shenanigans, and…