Science Education

Jargon: Central Dogma of Molecular Biology (That DNA makes RNA which makes proteins)

The central dogma of molecular biology: The idea that, within a cell, information is transcribed from DNA into RNA and is translated from RNA to proteins. The DNA molecule is essentially a book containing the blueprints to make everything; RNA is a short copy of the blueprint that is necessary at a given moment; and … Continue reading

Science Education

Jargon: Molecular Biology (the study of the molecular underpinnings of life)

Molecular Biology: a field of science concerned with the way in which the molecules of life (DNA, RNA, and proteins for the most part) interact, regulate each other, and are modified within a cell. Not merely a subject but also a toolkit of techniques to gather information about biomolecules: the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), blotting, … Continue reading

Science Criticism

Read: 23andMe, Which Bypasses Physicians to Sell Genetic Testing to the Public, Is Told by the FDA to Stop Selling Its DNA Tests

Via @NatureNews, a very interesting article about the fight in the United States over how to best administer genetic testing. The company 23andMe has been selling a 99-dollar service in which your DNA profile reveals your carrier status for a slew of genetic diseases (including cystic fibrosis and Tay-Sachs disease), your expected drug response (e.g. … Continue reading

Science Education

Jargon: Polymorphism (a common variation in the DNA sequence)

Polymorphism: a common and localized variation in the DNA code. For example, if the sequence inside a gene typically reads “…GATTACA…” but many individuals are shown to have “…GATCACA”, the “C” that is normally a “T” is a polymorphism. Polymorphisms occur frequently in the human genome: some are neutral in their effect, some are beneficial, … Continue reading