X inactivation is a type of gene dosage compensation. In humans, the sex chromosomes X and Y determine the sex of an individual - females have two X chromosomes (XX), males have one X and one Y chromosome (XY). All of the genes on the Y chromosome are required in male development, while the genes on the X chromosome are needed for both male and female development. Because females receive two X chromosomes, they inherit two copies of many of the genes that are needed for normal function. Extra copies of genes or chromosomes can affect normal development. An example is Down's syndrome, which is caused by an extra copy of part or all of chromosome 21. In female mammals, a process called X inactivation has evolved to compensate for the extra X chromosome. In X inactivation, each cell 'switches off' one of its X chromosomes, chosen at random, to ensure the correct number of genes are expressed, and to prevent abnormal development.
Here is a helpful eleven minute description of what it is and why it's important by Etsuko Uno and metafilter's own Drew Berry in a fucking gorgeous Goodsell-esque 3D animation. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Sep 14, 2013 -
These days, it's easy to take visualizations of biological molecules for granted, what with the easy availability
of an ever-increasing supply of high-resolution X-ray
and neutron crystallography data, as well as freely available software
that render them into beautiful and useful images that help us understand how life works. The lack of computers and computer networks in the mid-1950s made creating these illustrations a painstaking collaboration, requiring an artist's craftsmanship and aesthetic sense, as well as, most importantly, the critical ability to visualize the concepts that scientists wish to communicate. One such scientific artist was Irving Geis
, who painted the first biological macromolecule obtained through X-ray data: an iconic watercolor representation of the structure of sperm whale myoglobin, as seen in the third slide of this slideshow of selected pieces
. His first effort was a revolutionary
work of informatics, including coloring and shading effects that emphasized important structural and functional features of the myoglobin protein, simultaneously moving the less-important aspects into the background, all while stressing simplicity and beauty throughout. The techniques that Geis developed in this and subsequent works
influenced the standards for basic 2D protein visualization that are used today.
posted by Blazecock Pileon
on Aug 8, 2012 -
Woman, 83, Has World’s First Lower Jaw Replacement – In 3D [abc.com]
In what has been called the first operation of its kind, an 83-year-old woman in the Netherlands has been fitted with a custom-made artificial jaw that was created by a 3D printer.
The titanium implant, which weighs less than 4 ounces, was created by taking a CT scan of the woman’s lower jaw and duplicating it with a 3D printer that lays down titanium powder instead of ink. The printer followed the pattern of the woman’s jaw bone layer by layer, fusing the titanium powder in place with heat. In just a couple hours, the 3D replica was ready.
posted by Fizz
on Feb 7, 2012 -
The official Google Earth plugin
is one free download that makes all sorts of cool stuff possible in your browser. There's a full screen version of the program
(complete with underwater views and 3D buildings) which can be searched by entering queries at the end of the URL. There's a framed version
with support for layers, historical imagery, day/night cycles, and the Google Sky starmap.
Less useful but more fun are Google's collection of "experiments" demonstrating the possibilities of the Earth API, including a "Geo Whiz" geography quiz
, an antipode locater
, a 3D first-person view of San Francisco
, a virtual route-follower
, and MONSTER MILKTRUCK!
, a crazy fun driving simulator that lets you careen a virtual milk truck through the Googleplex campus, ricochet off the Himalayas, or explore any other place you care to name.
Lots more can be found in the Google Earth Gallery
-- highlights include
a look at mountaintop removal mining
a real-time flight tracker
a guide to trails and outdoor recreation
a 360 panorama catalog
geotagged Panoramio photos
and the comprehensive crowdsourced Google Earth Community Layer
And while it's too large to view online, don't miss loading the Metafilter user location map
into a desktop version of Google Earth! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi
on Jun 9, 2011 -
Ever have trouble visualizing
how the solar system is put together, how the orbits work, how everything is positioned relative to everything else? This site helps you see how we think it all fits together.
posted by Fozzie
on Jun 22, 2005 -
is an interesting JAVA web-app offered by NASA which gives a 3D interactive display of over 500 satellites currently orbiting the Earth.
posted by numlok
on Feb 16, 2005 -