Science Criticism

Read: How Antibodies Let Biomedical Research Down

Antibodies are used a lot in research labs around the world and scientists tend to trust what’s on the label. But antibodies aren’t as reliable as researchers may think, with some scientists now arguing that “due diligence” in their use should include considerable time and money. I remember comparing my own experimental results to published … Continue reading

Science Education

Jargon: Exome (All of the DNA that makes it into mature RNA)

Exome: the part of the DNA that is transcribed into RNA and that remains after the RNA molecule undergoes liposuction. Well, not actual liposuction. DNA is like a book of blueprints, each blueprint being a gene; RNA represents a photocopy of a particular blueprint. The analogy, while useful, breaks down in the following way: the … Continue reading

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 Education

Jargon: Tyrosine Kinase Inhibitor (a type of anticancer drug)

Tyrosine kinase inhibitor (TKI): a drug which blocks the action of a type of protein called a “tyrosine kinase”, which can otherwise be stuck in the “on” position in certain types of cancers. An overactive tyrosine kinase can lead to uncontrolled cell growth (i.e. cancer); a TKI can be used to reduce this undesired activity. … Continue reading

Science Education

Jargon: Gene (A stretch of DNA that can be transcribed into a functional RNA molecule)

Gene: a stretch of DNA that can be transcribed into a functional RNA molecule. This RNA molecule is frequently, though not always, translated into a protein. Genes are always referred to as “functional units of inheritance”, which is not a fantastically intuitive concept. This one was given to us by a German who used the … Continue reading