or 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.)
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.
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: 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.
Well, 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.