Genetics

Pharyngula

Category archives for Genetics

Mother’s Curse

It’s a harsh world for us men. Oh, sure, we’ve got all the political and economic power, and we’ve got most of the guns, but step into a senior citizens’ center and you’ll notice the preponderance of elderly women. Men die younger, on average. I’m also acutely aware of the growing disparity as we get…

Give that fish a hand!

I have a bit of a peeve with a common analogy for the human genome: that it is the blueprint of the body, and that we can find a mapping of genes to details of our morphological organization. It’s annoying because even respectable institutions, like the National Human Genome Research Institute, use it as a…

I’ve constricted my anus 100 times, and it isn’t helping! I’m still feeling extremely cranky about this story from the NY Times. Scientists intend to sequence Adam Lanza’s DNA. They’re looking for genetic markers for mass murder. Why? Because some scientists are stupid. Some researchers, like Dr. Arthur Beaudet, a professor at the Baylor College…

The CephSeq Consortium has a strategy

I approve this plan. A number of researchers have gotten together and worked out a grand strategy for sequencing the genomes of a collection of cephalopods. This involves surveying the phylogeny of cephalopods and trying to pick species to sample that adequately cover the diversity of the group, while also selecting model species that have…

The ENCODE delusion

I can take it no more. I wanted to dig deeper into the good stuff done by the ENCODE consortium, and have been working my way through some of the papers (not an easy thing, either: I have a very high workload this term), but then I saw this declaration from the Electronic Frontier Foundation.…

The NY Times is touting a computer simulation of Mycoplasma genitalium, the proud possesor of the simplest known genome. It’s a rather weird article because of the combination of hype, peculiar emphases, and cluelessness about what a simulation entails, and it bugged me. It is not a complete simulation — I don’t even know what…

Creationist FUD refuted

If you’re looking for a meaty weekend read, look no further than Paul McBride’s thorough dismantling of Science and Human Origins, the new bad book from the Discovery Institute, by Gauger, Axe, and Luskin. It’s in 6 parts, taking on each chapter one by one: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, a prediction about what…

Forever disappointed

I always have unwarrantedly high expectations of creationists. I know that there are some flamingly ignorant nutjobs out there, all your Hams and Hovindses and Luskins, but lurking in my mind is always this suspicion that somewhere there has to be one or two biologically competent ideologues on their side of the fence. And I…

Vertebrates are modified segmented worms; that is, their body plan is made up of sequentially repeated units, most apparent in skeletal structures like the vertebrae. Arthropods are also modified segmented worms. Look at a larval fly, for instance, and you can see they are made up of rings stacked together. So here’s a simple and…

A while back, I told you all about this small piece of the biochemistry of the fly eye — the pathways that make the brown and red pigments that color the eye. I left it with a question: if even my abbreviated summary revealed considerable complexity, how could this pathway evolve? Changing anything produces a…