biology genetics

I find it disturbing that some find it okay to experiment and learn for yourself by mutilating your animals’ bodies. Fucking up their biology genetically doesn’t excuse making physical alterations to their form in risky medical procedures that you have exactly zero training for. (I don’t care how simple an alteration it is, it is surgery, and there’s a lot that can go wrong.)

I’m just going to draw a line there. I’m unfollowing those that think that’s okay. I don’t really care if you think less of me for drawing that line, because honestly I think less of you for not. Harsh but true. I feel strongly about this. Maybe lets not mutilate our animals, that can’t show us the pain we’re putting them through. If fish could scream you wouldn’t do it.

I am all about community discussion, learning, and growth. But learning should not come at the expense of your animals. That is irresponsible on so many levels. Don’t experiment dangerously on your pets. That’s kind of fucked up.


Life from the perspective of colour blind people 

Deuteranomalia: This is caused by reduced sensitivity to green light. Deutan color vision deficiencies are by far the most common forms of color blindness. This subtype of red-green color blindness is found in about 6% of the male population, mostly in its mild form deuteranomaly.

Protanopia: Caused by a reduced sensitivity to red light due to either defective or a lack of long -wavelength cones (red cones). Some scientists estimate that being a protan is associated with a risk of a road accident equivalent to having a blood alcohol level of between 0.05 and 0.08 per cent.

Tritanopia:  People affected by tritan color blindness confuse blue with green and yellow with violet.  This is due to a defective short-wavelength cone (blue cone). Whilst  Protanopia and Deuteranomalia are significantly more common in men, tritanopia affects both sexes in equal amounts.

Monochromacy: Only around 0.00003% of the world’s population suffers from total color blindness, where everything is seen in black and white.
What If (Almost) Every Gene Affects (Almost) Everything?
Three Stanford scientists have proposed a provocative new way of thinking about genetic variants, and how they affect people’s bodies and health.
By Ed Yong

In summary: The notion that only a couple of relevant genes affecting one trait–like a handful of genes involved in, say, bone growth for height variations–may be falling into the bucket of old and rejected scientific hypotheses. Scientists are now finding data that support a newer hypotheses that there’s actually a network of genes–some even unrelated to the characteristic in study–that can affect a single trait or disease. For example, the scientists in this article talk about how they may have identified as much as 100,000 genetic variants that affect just height alone. Each of those variants may have a very small or even seemingly irrelevant affect on height, but the effect ripples and builds. 

Or, as a better metaphor from the article:

Put it this way: The Atlantic is produced by all of us who work here, but our lives are also affected by all the people we encounter—friends, roommates, partners, taxi drivers, passers-by etc. If you listed everyone who influences what happens at The Atlantic, even in small ways, all of those peripheral people would show up on the list. But almost none of them would tell you much about how we do journalism. They’re important, but also not actually that relevant. Pritchard thinks the same is true for our genes. 

Fascinating article and worth a read. If the hypothesis turns out to be true, then this is about to become a significant paradigm shift in biology. 

everystarstorm  asked:

As a biologist the episode "The Zoo" really interested me. A much smaller population separated for thousands of years makes me really wonder how physically different the zoo humans are to earth humans. The zoo humans are even selectively bread. It's just something I've been thinking about since I saw that episode.

@everystarstorm said:
Also adding to the selective breeding thing I think that adds to how complacent they are. After all humans are inherently curious and questioning but the zoo humans just aren’t. Not to say the socializing part didn’t play a huge roll in it but not one of the humans ever questions anything in the zoo. That’s not something humans do, it’s even the plot of several movies.

That’s a really interesting observation. Physically, the Zoomans even subsist on a different diet. And yet, Steven and Greg eat the food easily. That’s Homeworld’s reverse-engineering organic food like fruits. 

And they’ve never felt physical pain. Like, everyone is barefoot and walking on the ground, but I doubt the ground has anything that can actually injure them. One thing that interests me about the selective breeding aspect, is that Homeworld probably has records of them. The selective breeding may be such that it maximises genetic diversity or minimises congenital defects. 

In fact, having a species so separated for so many years, it would be interesting to ask whether they were still considered “human beings” in the way we see ourselves. Their physical makeup may appear the same, but physiologically, they might have faster metabolisms (judging by the length of a “day” in the Zoo) and different base inclinations.

Taking it further, in another few centuries, they might be considered a new branch off the genetic tree. 

Human DNA: A history

DNA is an important part of modern crime evidence, but it is important to know when DNA is actually used in history, and the experiments it took to actually get DNA to be the robust science it is today. Hopefully this is helpful for your writing needs!

DNA Timeline

1866 – Gregor Mendel determines the principles of genetic inheritance

1902 – Sir Archibald Edward Garrod associated Mendel’s theories with human disease alkaptonuria (black urine or black bone disease, genetic disorder where the body cannot process the amino acids phenylalanine and tyrosine)

1944 – Oswald Avery, working with MacLeod and McCarty determines DNA as the “transforming principle”, while working with Streptococcus pneumoniae (bacteria causing pneumonia), it was determined that dead/heat-killed S-strain (which is lethal) can “transform” living R-strain (which is non-lethal) into lethal bacteria

1950 - Chargaff’s rules was developed by Edwin Chargaff, it basically states that there is a 1:1 ratio of pyrimidine and purine bases, that adenine = thymine, and guanine = cytosine, an important rule for base pairings and the DNA double helix structure

1952 – Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase experimented with T2 phage and elemental isotopes; phosphorus-32 labelled DNA while sulfur-35 labelled the proteins; the progeny infected unlabelled bacteria, and since phosphorus-32 showed up, it confirmed that DNA is the genetic material

1952 – Rosalind Franklin uses X-ray crystallography to photograph DNA fibres

1953 – James Watson and Francis Crick uses Franklin’s crystallography and previous research material to determine the double helix structure of DNA

1959 – an extra chromosome 21 is linked to Down’s syndrome

1965 – Marshall Nirenberg worked with E.coli bacteria cells to determine how DNA is involved with RNA and protein expressions, he helped decipher the codons of the genetic code

1977 – Frederick Sanger develops a technique for rapid DNA sequencing, the Sanger sequencing is also known as chain termination method based on selectively incorporating chain-terminating dideoxynucleotides (ddNTPs)

1984 – Sir Alec Jeffreys developed the multi-locus RFLP probes, a method to compare the variations in DNA of different individuals, leading way to genetic fingerprinting

1986 – The first use of DNA testing in a forensic case, using Jeffreys’ multi-locus RFLP probes for DNA typing to catch Colin Pitchfork, who sexually assaulted and murdered Lunda Mann in 1983 and Dawn Ashworth in 1986

1990 – the Human Genome Project begins, with the goal of mapping all of the 3.3 billion bases of the human genome, and the genome of other organisms, this project costed about $2.7 billion (this amount wasn’t calculated for inflation) and took almost 15 years to complete, compare that to now where it will take about $1000 to sequence the human genome and it will take about a day to do so

2013 – it was discovered that identical (monozygotic) twins actually have differences in their genetic make-up, with differences/mutations called Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNPs)

Chloe cracker (Hamadryas chloe) is a species of cracker butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in Suriname, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, and Brazil. The Chloe cracker found on Wikipedia has checks just in shades of brown, but other pictures on the net show some blues. I’m not an expert on Nymphalidae morphology, so I can’t say how common the morphs are or maybe one day we’ll find one is a subspecies. Photo by yakovlev.alexey

China’s embrace of embryo selection raises thorny questions

Getting time with Qiao Jie is not easy. At 7:30 a.m., the line coming out of the fertility centre that she runs blocks the doorway and extends some 80 metres down the street. Inside, about 50 physicians on her team are discussing recent findings, but Qiao, a fertility specialist and president of Peking University Third Hospital in Beijing, is still in an early-morning consult.

When she finally emerges, she jumps to the topic at hand: spreading awareness of preimplantation genetic diagnosis (PGD), a procedure that helps couples undergoing in vitro fertilization (IVF) to avoid passing on genetic mutations that could cause disease or disability in their children. Qiao typically refuses interview requests, but she’s concerned that people aren’t getting the message about PGD fast enough. “Now, more and more diseases can be stopped — if not immediately, in the generation after next,” she says. 

Such systematic efforts raise thorny questions for bioethicists. Some worry that pushes to eliminate disabilities devalue the lives of those who already have them. The cost and accessibility of the procedure raises concerns about genetic traits further widening the divide between rich and poor people. Then there are concerns about the push to select for non-disease-related traits, such as intelligence or athletic ability. The ever-present spectre of eugenics lurks in the shadows. But in China, although these concerns are considered, most thoughts are focused on the benefits of the procedures. “There are ethical problems, but if you bring an end to the disease, I think it’s good for society,” says Qiao.