"Read this carefully so that you understand it.
When you come home we will show you the model. Lots of love, Daddy." In 1953 Francis Crick, sat down to write his twelve-year-old son Michael a letter explaining his brand-new discovery: the double-helix structure of DNA. Now you can read the original, seven-page hand-written letter, complete with an interactive feature that lets you click for details, context and explanations. Courtesy of the Smithsonian. [more inside]
posted by evilmomlady
on Sep 13, 2013 -
The Hidden Life Of the Cell (57:24)
There is a battle playing out inside your body right now. It started billions of years ago and it is still being fought in every one of us every minute of every day. It is the story of a viral infection - the battle for the cell. This film reveals the exquisite machinery of the human cell system from within the inner world of the cell itself - from the frenetic membrane surface that acts as a security system for everything passing in and out of the cell, the dynamic highways that transport cargo across the cell and the remarkable turbines that power the whole cellular world to the amazing nucleus housing DNA and the construction of thousands of different proteins all with unique tasks. The virus intends to commandeer this system to one selfish end: to make more viruses. And they will stop at nothing to achieve their goal. Exploring the very latest ideas about the evolution of life on earth and the bio-chemical processes at the heart of every one of us, and revealing a world smaller than it is possible to comprehend, in a story large enough to fill the biggest imaginations.
You may be familiar with molecular movies from my two previous megaposts collecting them, but this extended documentary uses original animation that is collected into a coherent educational narrative and is just so fucking gorgeous. Enjoy. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb
on Mar 24, 2013 -
Scientists at the European Bioinformatics Institute successfully encoded several different file formats onto strands of synthetic DNA
, which were then sent to an American lab and sequenced to extract the data. Selections included Shakespeare, audio of Dr. Martin Luther King, and photos of their lab. If the idea sounds vaguely familiar, you've probably been reading Dresden Codak.
posted by BZArcher
on Jan 24, 2013 -
Hacking the President’s DNA.
"The U.S. government is surreptitiously collecting the DNA of world leaders, and is reportedly protecting that of Barack Obama. Decoded, these genetic blueprints could provide compromising information. In the not-too-distant future, they may provide something more as well—the basis for the creation of personalized bioweapons that could take down a president and leave no trace."
posted by homunculus
on Oct 26, 2012 -
Less than two weeks after a controversial paper came to light advocating the pre-natal treatment of some female fetuses with a hormone to make their behavior more stereotypically female (previously discussed here
) comes news of actual animal research on causing the opposite inclination. By knocking out the fucose mutarotase gene, scientists in South Korea have apparently created "Lesbian mice" who prefer other female mice and who resist the attempts of male mice to mate with them. Article abstract
, and coverage by The Telegraph
posted by Asparagirl
on Jul 9, 2010 -
DNA Not The Same In Every Cell Of Body.
"...calls into question one of the most basic assumptions of human genetics: that when it comes to DNA, every cell in the body is essentially identical to every other cell... if it turns out that blood and tissue cells do not match genetically, these ambitious and expensive genome-wide association studies may prove to have been essentially flawed from the outset"
posted by GuyZero
on Jul 16, 2009 -
The origin of life?!
I heard from an authority in molecular biology today that a group of researchers funded by the Carnegie Institution and NASA believe they've discovered the origin of RNA
, and with that, the origin of life.
This new discovery grew out of NASA's Deep Impact
mission to study the composition of comets. Specifically, they started investigating a kind of carbon that forms in layers, with each layer slighly offset from the previous one in a helix shape. Significantly, the thickness of these carbon layers corresponds with the thickness of each twist in a strand of RNA.
It turns out that the individual building blocks of RNA are capable of bonding to this layered carbon when exposed to UV radiation. Once this has happened, apparently formaldehyde
can then bond to the building blocks of RNA on the carbon "pattern", allowing the bonded RNA to slough off into the primordial soup. Over time, some of these RNA strands could fold and bond to themselves, forming DNA. Formaldehyde, the initial bonding material, would eventually be replaced by a more chemically sophisticated substance, creating the chemical bond that we observe today in DNA.
Expect a paper on it to be released in approximately three months with all the details.
posted by insomnia_lj
on Nov 6, 2005 -
the Milky Way at 10 million light years from the Earth. Then move through space towards the Earth in successive orders of magnitude until you reach a tall oak tree just outside the buildings of the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory in Tallahassee, Florida. After that, begin to move from the actual size of a leaf into a microscopic world that reveals leaf cell walls, the cell nucleus, chromatin, DNA and finally, into the subatomic universe of electrons and protons.
posted by semmi
on Sep 20, 2004 -
not so junk DNA
the idea has always made me uncomfortable. now scientists are taking a closer look at base-pair sequences that have been generally overlooked till now.
posted by jessica
on May 12, 2004 -
"A single test can now reveal the presence
of meat from any of 32 different species in food samples, enabling a wide range of important questions to be answered. These include whether chicken has been bulked up with beef or pork extracts; whether expensive albacore tuna is really cheap skipjack tuna; whether rats, mice or even bits of people fell into the mincer when your burger was being made..."
posted by taragl
on Mar 4, 2004 -
The Diamond Age
begins. Research scientists at the University of Wisconsin at Madison have bound DNA to circuits using a thin film of diamond as a bridge. Pathogens detected by the DNA, trigger it to send an electrical signal via the diamond medium to the circuit. [MORE]
posted by yonderboy
on Dec 14, 2002 -
Need a user's manual for your DNA?
Sure that there's some bug in there you could fix if you knew how to? Here are the tools you'll need. I know the web isn't relly about one-to-many publishing, but just sometimes it does it wonderfully well.
posted by alloneword
on Sep 16, 2002 -
Scientists ruin mouse's day.
Or maybe, "discover the end of all ends"? or something. This story is begging for clever headlines, and I cannot think of any. Too embarassing. But still, the possibilities raised by this study are endless. Oh, there you go, another pun...
posted by costas
on Aug 30, 2002 -
"Life science researchers -- even those who work in academic settings -- are finding that corporations are just as eager to patent the tools as they are the data, and in many cases, universities are bending over backward to let the private sector have its way. As a result, a growing number of bioinformatics researchers are beginning to look to the free-software and open-source software movements for inspiration in their quest for bio freedom."
posted by homunculus
on Feb 26, 2002 -