Selasa, 30 Juni 2009
Taking this new mortality data into account and reviewing the graph on p. 346 of Human Biology, one wonders whether the range of “normal” weight shouldn’t be shifted about 3 BMI to the right. A word of caution, however; the shape of the weight-vs.-risk curve is likely to be different for every disease, age group, etc. It’s probably going to be impossible to come up with a perfect functional definition of overweight, no matter how much we’d like to.
Sabtu, 27 Juni 2009
Some flu pandemics cause only mild symptoms and few deaths – others can be quite deadly. The best-known pandemics of the last century were the deadly Spanish flu of 1918 (20-40 million deaths), and the milder Asian flu of 1957 (1-4 million deaths) and Hong Kong flu of 1968 (also 1-4 million deaths). In contrast, the milder seasonal flu that many of us get nearly every year kills “only” about a quarter of a million people each year.
Pandemics are of concern to public health officials (and the public!) because the virus spreads so quickly and because the consequences of the spread cannot always be predicted in advance. Fortunately, it now appears that this pandemic will be no more deadly than the typical seasonal flu that many of us get nearly every year. Most people who become infected with Influenza A (H1N1) are recovering without the need for medical care. But it could have been otherwise, and that’s why health officials were so concerned at first and why they are still watching it closely.
The other flu we worry about is avian flu (see Human Biology 5th ed., pp. 540-541). Avian flu is VERY deadly in the few cases in which it has been caught from birds, but human-to-human transmission is still exceedingly rare.
Kamis, 25 Juni 2009
Contact Matthew Christian if you are interested
Selasa, 23 Juni 2009
Worldwide, only about a thousand children have been born from previously frozen eggs. In contrast, over 50,000 babies are born each year in the U.S as a consequence of in vitro fertilization and implantation (Human Biology 5th ed., p. 394). Obviously, the idea of older single women freezing their eggs has not yet caught on. But it just might!
See “Why I Froze My Eggs”, by Rachel Lehmann-Haupt. Newsweek May 11, 2009, pp. 50-52.
Normally, patients who need an organ transplant place themselves on the transplant list of one of eleven regional Organ Procurement Organizations (OPOs) in the U.S. Waiting times can vary. When an organ becomes available the regional OPO offers it to a patient already on its list, with the highest priority given to the sickest patients and those who have been on the list the longest time.
Most patients sign up for the transplant list at only one OPO, because insurance companies will only pay for an organ transplant performed in a person’s “home” OPO. Nevertheless, patients who are willing to pay for the transplant themselves (and with access to a plane so they can get to the hospital within six hours) can increase their odds for a transplant by placing themselves on the transplant lists of several different OPOs simultaneously. No one has said whether or not Mr. Jobs was on more than one list at the time of his transplant, or how long he waited for his new liver.
For a discussion of whether the current organ allocation system is fair, see “How Should We Allocate Scarce Organs?” in Human Biology 5th ed., pp. 368-369.
Minggu, 21 Juni 2009
An excellent first time project, that is completely safe, requires only a kitchen, and will give you visible DNA in a glass. And Jennifer is delightful! The video's are so easy to follow, they work for any level and any age group. Thanks Jen, This is great.
This article is from the Home Activities section of Stanford University's understanding genetics website: http://www.thetech.org/genetics/medicine.php
For your convenience it has been pasted below:
Do-It-Yourself Strawberry DNA (Kiwi's and Banana's work too)
Strawberries, bacteria, humans—all living things have genes, and all of these genes are made of DNA. That's why scientists can take a gene from one living thing and put it into another. For example, they can put human genes into bacteria to make new medicines.
How do scientists take DNA out of a living thing? It's not that hard—there are lots of ways to do it! You can follow the directions in the video above to get DNA out of a strawberry. Or you can follow the steps below. Either way you'll have strawberry DNA at the end!
What you need:
* measuring cup
* measuring spoons
* rubbing alcohol
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1/3 cup water
* 1 tablespoon Dawn dishwashing detergent
* glass or small bowl
* tall drinking glass
* 3 strawberries (green tops removed)
* reclosable plastic sandwich bags
* test tube or small glass jar (like the kind spices come in)
* bamboo skewer (find them at the grocery store)
What to do:
1. Chill the rubbing alcohol in the freezer. (You'll need it later.)
2. Mix the salt, water, and Dawn detergent in a glass or small bowl. Set the mixture aside. This is your extraction liquid.
3. Line the funnel with the cheesecloth, and put the funnel's tube into the glass.
4. Put the strawberries in the plastic bag and push out all the extra air. Seal it tightly.
5. With your fingers, squeeze and smash the strawberry mixture for 2 minutes.
6. Add 3 tablespoons of the extraction liquid you made in Step 2 to the strawberries in the bag. Push out all the extra air and reseal the bag.
7. Squeeze the strawberry mixture with your fingers for 1 minute.
8. Pour the strawberry mixture from the bag into the funnel. Let it drip into the glass until there is no liquid left in the funnel.
9. Throw away the cheesecloth and the strawberry pulp inside. Pour the contents of the glass into the test tube or small glass jar so it is 1/4 full.
10. Tilt the test tube or jar and very slowly pour the cold rubbing alcohol down the side. The alcohol should form a layer on top of the strawberry liquid. (Don't let the alcohol and strawberry liquid mix. The DNA collects between the two layers!)
11. Dip the bamboo skewer into the test tube where the alcohol and strawberry layers meet. Pull up the skewer. The whitish, stringy stuff is DNA containing strawberry genes!
You can try these steps to purify DNA from lots of other living things. Grab some oatmeal or kiwis from the kitchen and try it again! Which foods give you the most DNA?
And here's the DIY BIO NYC Group doing Strawberry DNA extraction in shot and wine glasses, and trying out a homemade gel electrophoresis box.
Using a kit developed for high school students, NYC DIY BIO transform E. coli with a plasmid carrying the gene for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP). It's a little hard to understand at times, but the on screen titles help out. Great work NYC DIY BIO!
The work area met all criteria for Biosafety Level 1 as defined by the Centers for Disease Control.
In the last video they finish the transformation of E. coli with a plasmid containing the GFP (Green Fluorescent Protein) gene and succeed in generating green bacterial colonies. Next meeting we will purify the GFP and visualize it under black light and with gel electrophoresis.
For more info on GFP check out these archived posts:
1. BIO LAB EXPERIMENT WALK THROUGH VIDEOS - Mike White's Entire Collection - Inserting GFP into bacteria, Mixing Agar, and More!
2. Futures in Biotech 37: Just A Touch Of Green - Published on Dec 29, 2008 GREEN FLUORESCENT PROTEIN DISCOVERY and HOW ORGANISMS SENSE TOUCH
In these podcast's Marty Chalfie, the discoverer of GFP! Describes how he developed one of the most important tools of modern molecular biology, one that allows us to see inside a living cells, down to the protein level. With green fluorescent protein, or GFP, we can now track the life of a protein, from when the gene that makes the protein is turned on, to where it goes, to where it dies.
3. 11 Excellent Videos introducing GFP:
4. Green fluorescent protein Virtual Lab! Narrated in a flash classroom and Student Protocols are Included!
From PSYORG.com: http://www.physorg.com/news161861163.html
A team of University of Oregon biologists, using fruit flies, has created a way to isolate RNA from specific cells, opening a new window on how gene expression drives normal development and disease-causing breakdowns.
While DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) provides an identical genetic blueprint in every cell, RNA
(ribonucleic acid) decodes genetic instructions that turn protein molecules on and off in different cell types.
The new tagging method, tested in a variety of subsets of Drosophila brain cells, is described in a paper put on line ahead of regular publication by the journal Nature Methods. Instead of scientists needing to physically separate cell types, they now can inject a chemically modified gene from the one-celled organism Toxoplasma gondii and activate it in only one cell type within a tissue. Only newly generated RNA in this cell type is then tagged and isolated. "By analyzing RNA from different cell types, we can begin to understand how cellular differences are generated," said lead author Michael R. Miller, a National Science Foundation-funded doctoral student in the lab of Chris Doe, a UO biologist and Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator. "Our new TU-tagging method should be useful for isolating cell-type specific RNA from other organisms, including mammals, and should be useful in broad areas of research including studies of development, neurobiology and disease." The new non-toxic, non-invasive method makes it possible to "listen in" to the messages -- in fact, messenger RNA -- that the nucleus is sending each cell, without perturbing the cell, Doe said. "It is much like eavesdropping on a phone conversation, rather than pulling the person out of the house for questioning. The cell has no idea that its RNAs are being 'tagged' for isolation and study. That's good, because we get a more accurate idea of what the cell is saying."
Cleary's group built its tool with the enzyme uracil phosphoribosyltransferase (UPRT), a nucleotide salvage enzyme that prepares nucleotides for incorporation into newly synthesized RNA. By altering the nucleotide analog 4-thiouracil, the UPRT enzyme caused RNA to become tagged with thiouracil (TU), allowing the "TU-tagged" RNA to be purified from untagged RNA. In Doe's lab, Miller, Cleary and research technician Kristin J. Robinson of the UO's institutes of Neuroscience and Molecular Biology manipulated Drosophila so that they would only express UPRT in specific target cells. The group tested the new approach in embryos, larvae and adults using microarray technology to detect cell type-specific gene expression. The researchers say the method should work in other systems, including vertebrates, by using gene transfer, retroviral delivery, electrical pulses of molecules through cell membranes, or messenger RNA injection. Source: University of Oregon
Kamis, 18 Juni 2009
Now researchers are attempting to do the experiment. Sponsored by USA Track & Field (USATF), the researchers are currently enrolling people who run at least 10 miles per week. Participants must agree to be assigned randomly to either the "stretch" or the "no-stretch" group and to adhere to the study protocol for three months. Runners in both groups are expected to report their injuries during the study period.
Runners can apply to be participants at www.usatf.org/stretchStudy/. So far several thousand runners have signed up, though not all of them have completed the study protocol and submitted their reports. The results will be made public as soon as enough runners have completed the protocol for there to be a statistically significant difference between the groups, or when enough data has accumulated to show that there is no difference. Ultimately, up to 10,000 runners may be needed.
Runners, this is your golden opportunity to contribute to the advancement of science.
Selasa, 16 Juni 2009
This is interesting. A 400x zoom USB from Celestron for 59$.
Here's the lens in action on youtube:
but it might be more trouble than its worth. It has be discontinued from the manufacturer - could be because of this...
Stormin Norman from Arizona on 4/3/2008 writes.
Here's the demo Norman's talking about:
Anyone else have this?
Thanks to Jason Bobe on the DIYBIO mailing list letting us know about this...
23-year-old Kay Aull set up a do it yourself DNA lab in her closet! The MIT graduate says with just $300 and a little bit of knowledge, almost anyone can start combing through their DNA. She brings her lab equipment to our studio to show us how it all works.
Windows Media Player:
Selasa, 09 Juni 2009
enhancement and preservation of existing restoration sites.
This is a great opportunity to gain field experience in restoration techniques, native plant propagation, and volunteer supervision. The assistant will be employed for approximately 6-10hours/ week at a pay rate of $10/hour. Applicant must be a UCSB student, and available for the entire summer. Preferred availability is Friday mornings (~8:30-12:30) plus one other weekday morning (9-12noon), and able to commit to occasional weekend time (~one Saturday/per month). Students eligible for work study in the Fall are strongly encouraged to apply!
To apply, send resume and class schedule/time availability for summer and fall quarter to: Tara Longwell at firstname.lastname@example.org and Darlene Chirman email@example.com
Kamis, 04 Juni 2009
If any of you are interested in neurobiology writ large, this could be a real opportunity to get a great start at lab research in a very nice lab!
The Application of Platform-Based Design to Embedded Electronics and Synthetic Biological Systems (Video 2/26/2009)
This talk will outline Platform Based Design techniques as they relate to both embedded electronics and synthetic biology. Platform-Based Design is a design methodology within Computer Aided Design which at its core promotes the separation of functionality from implementation. Rigorous and formal applications of PBD have been shown to be very useful in the design of embedded electronic systems. This work has manifested itself in the development of the Polis, Metropolis, and Metro II design environments at UC Berkeley. PBD's true power lies in its ability to cross into new application areas. Download Video as MP4
Rabu, 03 Juni 2009
Click here to download the PDF
"This report aims to define the term ‘synthetic biology’, review the state of the field and consider potential future developments and their likely technological, economic and societal impact. It will also attempt to assess the requirements for the development of the field and to identify key policy issues."
The following is a summary of the central themes and issues that the report
has investigated, and the resulting recommendations.
Defining synthetic biology
We define synthetic biology thus:
“Synthetic biology aims to design and engineer biologically based parts, novel
devices and systems as well as redesigning existing, natural biological systems.”
This definition, while maintaining a certain level of simplicity, expresses the key
aspects of synthetic biology. It is consistent with the views of most researchers
in the field (both in the UK and abroad) and those of The Royal Academy of
Engineering. Synthetic biology strives to make the engineering of biology easier and more predictable.
Current activity and applications
There is considerable activity in a number of areas including health, energy, the
environment, agriculture and applications in other industrial sectors.
A synthetic version of the anti-malarial drug artemisinin is being developed
using synthetic biology methods. This makes it amenable to large scale
industrial production - if successful, it will have a major impact on the
treatment of malaria in the developing world. The cost of treatment should be
low as the development of the drug is being funded by the Gates Foundation.
Opportunities for microfluidic
technologies in synthetic biology
"We introduce microfluidics technologies as a key foundational technology for synthetic biology experimentation. Recent advances in the field of microfluidics are reviewed and the potential of such a technological platform to support the rapid development of synthetic biology solutions is discussed." Published online before print May 27, 2009
Selasa, 02 Juni 2009
- The last lectures are now up as pdf files on the right hand side. I think the only one missing is the first part of today.
- The answers to the ecology quiz I handed out are here with a few comments.
- For Thursday remember YOU are presenting. Don't make it a lecture, make it INTERESTING (oops, that didn't sound right). Remember you are supposed to be passionate about this so tell us something cool you investigated.
Senin, 01 Juni 2009
As phosphorus supplies decline and as the world demand for agricultural fertilizers grows, we can expect fertilizer price spikes, phosphate shortages, and perhaps even disruption of food production. Countries with large phosphorus reserves such as Morocco will benefit economically. Morocco could be among the wealthiest nations in the world in 50-100 years.
Today I open 93106, the weekly faculty and staff newspaper to find an article about the restoration project and the bioswales - Restoration Project Provides Model for Future Environmental Efforts.