Genetics

Category archives for Genetics

In my initial

Happy Birthday Gregor Mendel

Mendel was born on July 20th, 1822. He is famous for his discovery of peas and genetics. Here is his stuff translated into English.

In an BBC article describing a Royal Society paper on the rate of mutation in warm vs. cooler climates, the BBC made this statement: DNA can mutate and change imperceptibly every time a cell divides and makes a copy of itself. But when one of these mutations causes a change that is advantageous for the…

Junk DNA is like bigfoot. If a zoologist says something like “Hmmm… it would be cool to find bigfoot” all the other zoologists jump on him or her, drag the poor sap into the alleyway, toss on a blanket, and beat the scientist with rubber hoses until the movement stops. Same with junk DNA. If…

I first became acquainted with the Romanovs (as historical figures, not the actual Romanovs) reading in middle school about Russian History. Later, someone turned me on to Massie’s Nicholas and Alexandra, which is quite a well known popular historical account of the last Czar of Russia and his family. Everyone knows the story of the…

Why is there “junk DNA”? What is Junk DNA? What is a Pseudogene? What is Gene Duplication? Goodness, you certainly do have a lot of questions. And some of them can be answered, or at least addressed, on examination of a very interesting new paper recently published about a gene that became a useless “pseudogene”…

Evolution of the Lexicon

I recently posted about the work by Pagel and colleagues regarding ancient lexicons. That work, recently revived in the press for whatever reasons such things happen, is the same project reported a while back in Nature. And, as I recall, I read that paper and promised to blog about it but did not get to…

Perhaps we are all subject to falling into the trap of what I call the Hydraulic Theory of Everything. If you eat more you will be bigger, if you eat less you will be smaller. Emotional states are the continuously varying outcome of different levels of a set of hormones, forming “happy” or “stressy” or…

I want to bring your attention to a somewhat dense and possibly inconclusive (but important) paper accompanied by a very informative overview in PLoS Biology, concerning mutations in the human genome. Mutation rates and patterns of mutation are important for a number of reasons. For one thing, the genome itself is a data set that…

When Kissing Cousins get to Third Base

It has long been known that incest is not as bad as you think. Anti-cousin marriage laws are like prohibition laws and blue laws. They arise from a Christian conservative movement that swept Western Civilization from the late 18th century through the 19th century, up to about the time of the repeal of Prohibition. Sure,…