We Love Genetics… We Love Genetics Not

daisiesor Mendel’s Garden #11

Welcome to February’s edition of Mendel’s Garden! To bring some levity to our carnival today, I thought we’d see if genetics wins out in the game of love. It’ll be “We love genetics” (WLG) or “We love genetics not” (WLGN). Let’s see how it all turns out. (Posts are listed in the order they were received, not by any perceived bias for or against genetics.)

WLG: RPM at Evolgen discusses chromosome number and chromosomal fusion and the effect on meiosis and human evolution (eek! It’s that banned Just Science word again).

WLGN: GrrlScientist at Living the Scientific Life stays true to her love of birds with a post on genetically engineered chickens that lay “golden eggs” for use as vehicles to deliver protein drugs. Please, let the chickens live to deliver more golden eggs!

WLG: And if you’re wondering how dedicated GrrlScientist is to talk of birds, you need not worry anymore. She’s got some pictures of a chicken with duck’s feet. And you might want to cast a vote for the name of this poor chicken: chiuk or ducken? I’m waiting for the day when they discover a real, living, breathing turducken….

WLGNx3, WLGx2: Sandra Porter at Discovering Biology in a Digital World has an ongoing series on sequencing a genome. She says she’s got another three planned for the future so stay tuned! It’s been a great refresher course for me.

Part I: Introduction
Part II: Sequencing strategies
Part III: Reads and chromats
Part IV: How many reads does it take?
Part IV: Checking out the library

WLG: Kristina Chew of Autism Vox discusses prenatal testing for disabilities and ponders the tug between societal good and personal good. Life with her son who has autism is challenging but Kristina couldn’t imagine life without him.

WLGN, WLG: Rebecca Taylor at Mary Meets Dolly expands upon prenatal testing and the consequences of aborting fetuses that may have tested false positive. And, she reminds us to pay close attention to the genetic nondiscrimination bill, HR 493 because it could affect all of us through our work and through our health insurance.

WLGN: Bertalan Meskó at ScienceRoll backs up Kristina and Rebecca with some technical details on how prenatal diagnosis is performed. Watch out for a surprise photo at the end of the post.

WLG, WLGN: Lisa Lee at DNA Direct Talk also talks about the Genetic Information Non-Discrimination Act and IBM’s genetics privacy policy. And, she’s got a series of posts on Ashkenazi Jewish Diseases, including Gaucher Disease.

daisyWLG, WLGN: Ruth Schaffer at The Biotech Weblog shares some current research on improving crop plants through genomics. And she also has some results from a study of naringenin (huh?!), a flavonoid compound (ooOOooh) in grapefruit and oranges which may help prevent cancer.

WLG: Keith Robison at Omics! Omics! digs into the complexity of genetics. Since I’ve been accused of oversimplification before, it’s a good reminder that the world is layer upon layer of interactivity and complexity. Ahhh! My head hurts.

WLGN: Bora Zivkovic at A Blog Around the Clock examines transgenic animals – the Lark-Mouse and the Prometheus-Mouse. People with the lark phenotype wake before dawn and sleep in the early evening. Sounds like a dear friend of mine. Made it hard to go partying! The Prometheus mouse was used to study liver growth and regeneration.

WLG, WLGN: Gloria Gamat of Cancer Commentary shares a breast cancer diagnostic test, MammaPrint, that uses gene expression profiling. At Straightfromthedoc (should it really be one word?!), she writes of the 2-5AN6B nucleic acid that might be an effective HIV treatment.

WLG: Marie Godfrey of Genetizen writes to introduce a new feature on the Geneforum website – Your Stories. It’s a lovely way to make genetics more personal because it’s really all about people! (And some chickens/ducks/chiuks/duckens/mice, of course.)

WLGN: Greg Laden at his eponymous blog Evolution … Not Just a Theory Anymore ventures into the hairy realm of defining a gene. When I try to define a “basic” concept, I find myself meandering into qualifications because any firm statements always have exceptions. Glad I’m not working on a dictionary although I did create a genetics glossary once for a biotech company. Not fun. Ok, it was a little fun.

WLG, WLGN: Alex Palazzo at The Daily Transcript talks about how a silent mutation (meaning no change in the amino acid encoded) in the MDR1 gene can affect protein function. The answer may surprise you. He also sends along a write-up on the same study from Give Up Blog.

WLG: And finally from me at Genetics and Health, I want to tell you about a new book in my current reading rotation – Survival of the Sickest, a highly readable book about genetics, disease, and health.

no petal daisyWell, will you look at that. It turns out that We Love Genetics after all! And I only tweaked the data just a teensy bit. ;)

Thank you everyone for participating in this month’s Mendel’s Garden. Next month’s will be hosted at the Behavioral Ecology Blog. You can send your submissions by clicking here or emailing Matt at eremicus@gmail.com.

NB: I’m aware that my email has been down since sometime last night so if you sent me a submission that hasn’t been included, please leave a comment so I can add it. My apologies!

Update: Matt also sends us this point about factors to consider when conducting studies in population genetics. Warning: I spotted a swear word. :D

Photos: Coffee Monster, pbo31, FlickrJunkie

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    • http://www.gregladen.com Greg Laden

      Great issue, well done!

      My web site actually does have a name …

      “Evolution … Not Just a Theory Anymore”

      but I filled out the submission form incorrectly. I see a form label that says “name” I put my name in it, even if it is clearly where the Blog Name goes….

      But, excellent use of the word eponymous!


      (soon to change his name to gregladen.com … you know, like Madonna and Chere, but with a .com…)

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Greg: You are a quick one! I’ve changed the name of your blog although I did enjoy using the word eponymous. Ah well, next time. ;)

      Also, if you do change your name to gregladen.com, you should make your middle name gregladen.net just in case. Advice from someone who’s been there.

    • http://scienceblogs.com/evolgen RPM

      Contrary to popular belief, we haven’t banned “meiosis” from just science week — although I know some freshman bio majors that wish it was removed from their curriculum. Seriously, though, even evolution is fair game provided you’re not “debunking” creationists.

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      RPM: I know you guys haven’t banned evolution per se. I just like poking fun. I’m a pain. I’m sorry!

    • http://scienceblogs.com/transcript apalazzo

      Thanks, Hsien for typing up my super-duper late entry, but you forgot the link.

      (Don’t worry, I still owe you one!)

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Alex: I just wanted to make you beg for it. ;) I’ve fixed it!

    • http://theforcethat.blogspot Paul Decelles

      Great job!

      Of course I forgot to send in my link-it was at the deadline any way so I will use it next month. Lot’s of good genetics stuff on justscience as well..you think that maybe science is coming to consist mainly of genetics and a few other minor areas? **eg**

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Paul: Thanks! If you’d like, I could add your link to this issue although that means I’d have to pull another one from my archives or somewhere just to make sure that we still love genetics. :D

    • Pingback: We Love Genetics… We Love Genetics Not at Greg Laden()

    • http://matt-at-berkeley.blogspot.com/ Matt

      I was one of those affected by the outage: My submission, from the Behavioral Ecology Blog.



    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Matt: Got it! So sorry about the email problems.

    • http://matt-at-berkeley.blogspot.com Matt

      Swearing, what swearing. I’m a field biologist, swearing is just like breathing..

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Matt: Lucky for you I think swearing is funny! What the @#! I think we’ll get along just fine.

    • http://talk.dnadirect.com lisalee

      I love that we love genetics after all! (did anyone have a doubt? well, except for those creationists, but they’re not here during our week of Just Science) and I’m laughing out loud at you two, Hsien and Matt.

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      lisa: Shhh. Don’t let out my creationist past. And here’s some @#%#%@@#! just for you!

    • http://scienceroll.wordpress.com NCurse

      Hsien, it’s the best Mendel Garden I’ve ever read. An interesting theme and a list of many great posts.

      BTW, thanks for including mine. :)

    • Pingback: We Love Genetics… We Love Genetics Not « ScienceRoll()

    • http://geneticsandhealth.com Hsien Hsien Lei, PhD

      Ncurse: Thank you! That’s very kind but obviously you haven’t read Mendel’s Garden #2. ;) I appreciate your submission as well.

      • Emo

        I really think so too=) I have been looking around the internet for a while this week, and its really hard to find anything good to read on blogs=] Maybe its because there are too many of those around =) But your website actually keeps catching my attention. Great stories, and cool design ^__^. Ill be sure to give it more visits now =P