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

Phosphate, Sugar, and a Ring or Two: A Recipe for Disaster (or DNA)
Science Education

Phosphate, Sugar, and a Ring or Two: A Recipe for Disaster (or DNA)

I have written about DNA before (regarding proteins and in the context of crime scene investigations). What I have not broached yet is the physical constitution of the DNA molecule. The media (appropriately) keep things simple when a news story involves genetic concepts by talking about “letters”. DNA is the “code of life” made up … Continue reading