Monday, January 3, 2011

Cloning in Focus

What is Cloning?

1. Who is Dolly? Dolly is a genetically cloned sheep, experimented on in 1997.

2. When a zygote divides into to separate cells, it is called embryo twinning.

3. Somatic cells are also called diploids, owing to the fact that these particular cells refer to all those opposing the germ cells.

4. In order to clone a gene, a gene is inserted into a plasmid.

5. In order to create an embryo from a somatic cell, the donor egg cell must have its nucleus removed.

Click and Clone

6. List all the materials needed to clone a mouse.
Mimi-the brown mouse used for cloning
Megdo-egg cell donor
Momi-surrogate mother (white mouse) to grow Mimi clone
Petri dishes
Blunt pipette
Chemical to stimulate cell division

7. Place the following steps in the correct order.

___4____Stimulate cell division
___6____Deliver baby
___2____ Remove and discard the nucleus from the egg cell
___1____ Isolate donor cells from egg donor and germ cell donor
___3____ Transfer the somatic cell nucleus into the egg cell
___5____ Implant embryo into a surrogate mother

8. There are two time gaps in the process of cloning. What are they? (ie. what do you have to wait for?)
a) The substituted egg cell's nucleus and egg cell need some time to settle with one another in order for the DNA to 'restart' per say, to behave as a 'natural' egg cell's nucleus. This process takes several hours.
b) The second gap in the cloning process involves waiting for the cell to create a ball (morula, or 16 cells) in the petri dish. This process also takes several hours.

9. What color with the cloned mouse be?
The newborn mouse is brown, because its genetic substance derived from Mimi, the mouse used for cloning. What is the name of this mouse? The name of the new brown pup is Mini-Mimi.

Why Clone?

10. Why is cloning extinct animals problematic?
Cloning extinct animals is a problematic scientific agenda due to a little reasoning logic. To illustrate this point, take dinosaurs, for example. These dinosaurs, if reproduced in the current era, would have a terrible time adapting to the current atmosphere, environment, and the capacity that the animals utilize would behoove a major issue in the near future. Of course, this possibility is theoretically feasible, due to the fact that scientists could produce a well-preserved source of DNA from the extinct dinosaur, and a closely related species, currently living, that could serve as a surrogate mother.

11. What are some reasons a person might want to clone a human?
There are infinite reasons why one may want, or even need, to clone a human. However, the chief rationales include:
providing infertile couples with a child.
to replace a deceased child.
to help gay partners have children.
In theory, cloning humans are just as, if not more, viable when it comes to statistics and thesis. Unfortunately, not all consider the legal and ethical perspective of the issue, resulting in a global controversy on the main topic.

The Clone Zone

12. What animal was cloned in 1885?
The sea urchin was cloned in 1885 by a scientist by the name of Hans Adolf Edward Dreisch. In this experiment, Hans discovered that the action of shaking two-celled sea urchin embryos, the cells could then be divided. The consequences of these actions resulted in two, complete sea-urchin organisms.

13. How did Spemann separate the two cells of the embryo of a salamander in 1902?
Spemann separated the two cell of the embryo of a salamander in 1902 by sculpting a noose (fabricated from baby hair), and constricted the bond, thus dividing the unit into two cells. They developed into normal adult salamanders, opposed to those with advanced embryos.

14. The process of removing a nucleus is called enucleating.

15. In 1952, the nucleus of a frog embryo cell was placed into a donor cell. Did it work to clone the animal?
The cloning did, in fact, prove successful in correlation with the standard embryo. The scientists Robert Briggs and Thomas King devised a process, which involved: isolating the nucleus from a donor cell (early tadpole embryo), remove the recipient's from egg cell through enucleation, and ultimately reuniting the donor nucleus and the recipient egg. Although their earlier results were triumphant, their outcomes with the advanced nucleus were very similar to Hans Spemann's with his salamander lab. These particular frogs either died off or developed an abnormality in later life.

16. Can the nucleus of an adult cell be injected into an egg cell and produce a clone?
Yes it can. When using Briggs and King's operation, the nucleus of an adult cell can be injected into an egg cell and produce a clone. In fact, cloning doesn't necessarily mean to develop a fully complete, adult organism. Scientists from the Advanced Cell Technology company have discovered a therapeutical advantage when it comes to cloning. This works when the patient is cloned, individual stem cells are created by an embryo in its early stages, which are then grown in a laboratory, and utilized to repair damaged regions with tissue that is identical to those that were impaired.

17. Why are mammals hard to clone?
Transgenic technology has developed and become more probable every year. This particular technology is successful in cloning animals such as sheep due to easy access to milk. The milk provides facile means of retrieval for protein in large quantities, which is then purified and used in the medical fields. Besides from that from a scientific's exact eye, the DNA of mammals are complex, and it is difficult to determine how each individual with react and adapt to the environment.

18. What were the names of the first two cloned cows?
Fusion and Copy were the names of the first two cloned cows, twinned by scientists Neal First, Randal Prather, and Willard Eyestone.

19. In what year was the National Bioethics Advisory Council formed?
1995 saw the formation of the National Bioethics Advisory Council, organized by president Bill Clinton, who just so happened to demean cloning, yet still provide experts with the materials to investigate the therapeutical standpoint on the matter. The council consisted of both scientific and non-scientific experts focusing on the legal, ethical, and religious aspects of cloning. cl

20. The first mammal clone to be produced from an adult (somatic) cell?
Dolly the sheep was the first mammal clone to be produced from an adult somatic cell.

21. What do scientists do to adult cells to make them "behave" like embryos?
Scientists remove the nucleus of somatic cell, and transfer it into the enucleated egg cell, reprogramming it to behave like embryos.

22. Transgenic, cloned sheep were used to produce what medical protein?
The donor somatic cells (which were injected with the transgene) was devised to demonstrate human clotting factor IX protein in the milk of sheep; the protein plays an essential role in blood coagulation and inadequate quantities of it may lead to the disease Haemophilia B. All known, effective treatments encompass the objective of utilizing the intravenous infusion of factor IX. The production of this protein in pharming would distribute a source of this therapeutic protein that would reduce the cost in addition to the advantage of potentially infectious-free risk in relation to the current source of this protein, which in this case, would be human blood.

23. What is a stem cell?
A stem cell is an undifferentiated cell whose daughter cells may distinguish itself into other cell types, thus maintaining a sustainable population. Blood cells are typical exemplars of stem cells.

Cloning Myths

24. Briefly describe in your own words, why CC the cat was not identical in color to Rainbow, even though she was a clone.
in the early stages of Rainbow's development , Rainbow turned off an entire X chromosome. Thereby, the possibility of the black fur coat color gene switching, or the orange fur coat color gene switching both have a 50% chance. This process most often happens in females and this process is called X-inactivication; the process preserves the balance in genders.

25. What is "nature vs nurture"?
There is no doubt that the genome changes slower than a glacier. It is shaped by the environment and, fundamentally, nature in general. It has somewhat of a firm grip on the steering wheel on one's personality, appearance, memory, etc. There is nothing like it. However, the behavior one is exposed to influences their, and many successors likewise, disposition. Dietary factors also impact lives. If bad eating habits are not discouraged, one could eventually end up abating the family tree with an upshot of death by clogged arteries, in the worst case scenario. As you can interpret, there are many controversies over which is more dominant, recessive, or co-dominant. Which argument will preside?

Is it Cloning or Not?

26. For each of the following scenarios, indicate YES (it is cloning) or NO (it is not cloning)

__NO__ Sperm taken from a mole goat is combined with a female's egg in a petri dish. The resulting embryo is implanted into the female's uterus to develop
__YES__ A sheep embryo, composed of 16 cells, is removed from the mother's uterus and separated into indivudal cells. Each cell is allowed to multiply, creating 16 separate embryos, which are then implanted in different female sheep to develop to maturity.
__NO__ A cow with many desirable traits is stimulated with hormones to produce a number of egg cells. Each of these eggs is fertilized and implanted into a surrogate mother.
__NO__ In vitro fertilization
__YES__ Cell nuclei from an extinct wolly mammoth are placed into enucleated cow cells.

27. Define or describe each of the following processes (you may need to reset the Cloning or Not Screen)

Invitro fertilization: Egg cells are fertilized by sperm outside the body, in vitro. (In vitro, deriving from latin descent, means 'within glass'.)

Embryo splitting: Disaffiliation of an early-stage embryo into two or more embryos with identical genetic makeup, inherently breeding identical twins or higher multiples.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer: The act of moving a cell nucleus and its genetic material from one cell to another.

Multiple Ovulation Embryo Transfer: A method of producing an animal of certain genetic qualities in a quicker manner.
The multiple ovulation part is where the female animal is manipulated hormonally to produce more than the usual number of eggs during ovulation. The chosen male's semen, containing the genes you are selecting are placed to fertilise the eggs in the female. the new embryos are then removed from the female before they are attached to the uterine wall. This is the embryo transfer part. Other female animals are used because their oestrous cycle is at the right point to recieve the embryo. Hormones can be used to manipulate the recieving animal's oestrous cycle aswell.

Artificial Insemination: Artificial insemination, or AI, is the process by which sperm is placed into the reproductive tract of a female for the purpose of impregnating the female by using means other than sexual intercourse.

What Are the Risks of Cloning?

28. What is one reason why cloning animals has such a high failure rate?
Cloning animals through somatic cell nuclear transfer is simply inefficient. The success rate ranges from 0.1 percent to 3 percent, which means that for every 1000 tries, only one to 30 clones are made. Or you can look at it as 970 to 999 failures in 1000 tries. Some of the hypothetical/verified reasons include:
The enucleated egg and the transferred nucleus may not be compatible.
An egg with a newly transferred nucleus may not begin to divide or develop properly.
Implantation of the embryo into the surrogate mother might fail.
The pregnancy itself might fail.

29. What is a telomere and how does it affect cloned animals?
A telomere is a region of repetitive DNA at the end of a chromosome, which protects the end of the chromosome from deterioration. In cloned animals the telomere length is shorter than naturally uncloned animals.

What Are Some Issues in Cloning?

30. Pick one of the questions to ponder and ....ponder it. Write a brief essay on your thoughts and opinions.
Whom will the technology help? Does it have the potential to hurt anyone?
Ultimately and without a doubt, the scientists will receive the largest benefits from the production of the technology. After all, they are the ones who extracted the idea, proposed a hypothesis, established a rational conclusion, and published it for the world to adjudicate and ponder. Patients who are treated for their so-called ‘incurable’ disease or handicap, along with their family and friends, will also obtain their fair share of profits in restored hope, security, ability, etc. However, there are a community of swindled invalids who had participated in experiments, only to be awarded with their own pristine afflictions, ranging from mild to severe. These, without hesitation, are only a subsection of those who the technology will hurt. Connoisseurs of politics, religion, and ethics will have their own perspective of the matter at hand. Luckily for the scientists, a margin of the populace fluctuates like the stock market, each one hanging on to the edge of their seat, hoping to invest in the jackpot. With every failure, the aura dips into a stupefied stupor. And with every triumph, society cheers in jubilation. That’s the glory of a discovery. Everyone can not be pleased, so it is up to the leaders to decide which contingent will be rejoicing, and hope it’s in your favor.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Harvest of Fear

Should we Grow GM Crops?

Instructions: Read the page and click YES or NO, reach the YES or NO...etc until you’ve read all the arguments -- You will need to do this 12 times in order for your votes to be tallied. Navigate the site, each of the bold headings below are links within the site

1. What is a GM Crop.
The term GM foods is most commonly used to refer to crop plants created for human or animal consumption using the latest molecular biology methods. These plants have been modified in the laboratory to enhance quality traits such as increased resistance to herbicides or improved nutritional content. Genetically modified ingredients, in the form of modified enzymes, are found in virtually all breads, cheeses, sodas, and beers. This occurrence commenced in the mid-1990s with the mutation of crops such as soy and corn from food companies pooling raw materials from several sources into a single processing stream. Industry, government, and many academic scientists solicit the benefits of GM foods for agriculture, ecosystems, and human health and well-being, including feeding a world population bursting at the seams, which seems to be in high demand.

2. List 2 arguments FOR the growing of GM crops.

1) Advocates hold that GM foods will bypass old traditions and crops with their fast-paced development. They will be better for society as a whole, with some products already in the works while following the guideline for a low-calorie diet (containing sugar beets and oils with lower saturated fat content), and others bearing higher nutritional content (high-fiber corn and high-starch potatoes). Consequentially, the change in diet leads to healthier habits and an increase in energy levels. GM corn has lower fungal toxin content than non-GM corn, and farmers typically produce GM crops using fewer pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers. Food scientists hope to genetically modify crops to add vitamins and minerals to help poor, malnourished third-world countries. After all, vitamin-A deficiency kills two million children each year, and another 500,000 become permanently blind. Scientists are already studying ways to inject pharmaceutical vaccines into tomatoes, therefore finding an alternative to shots.
"The benefits of biotechnology are many and include providing resistance to crop pests to improve production and reduce chemical pesticide usage, thereby making major improvements in both food quality and nutrition."
--World Health Organization Expert Consultation on Biotechnology and Food Safety

2) Farmers can avoid crop losses due to insect pests and bring their produce to market at less cost. Instead of spraying the plants with weed killers, GM soybeans can be made genetically resistant to a single broad-spectrum herbicide. This allows the grower to make a single deposit of weed killers instead of multiple attempts. Int he winter months, technologies are being developed in the lab to help farmers reduce losses from sudden frosts, which can kill young plants using antifreeze gene.
"I am particularly alarmed by those who seek to deny small-scale farmers of the Third World -- and especially those in sub-Saharan Africa -- access to the improved seeds, fertilizers and crop protection chemicals that have allowed the affluent nations the luxury of plentiful and inexpensive foodstuffs....While the affluent nations can certainly afford to pay more for food produced by the so-called organic methods, the one billion chronically undernourished people of the low-income, food-deficit nations cannot."
--Dr. Norman Borlaug, Nobel-Prize-winning agriculturalist and father of the Green Revolution

3. List 2 arguments AGAINST the growing of GM crops.
1) One of scientists and environmentalists’ greatest worries is that GM crops could have a negative affect on the gas levels in the air and the well-fair of other species in the wild In 1999, monarch butterflies were chronicles as ill, which peaked students’ at Cornell University interest, Their studies exhibited that the ratio of 56:100 percent of monarch larvae that survived during the test was extremely disturbing. The control and variable included feeding the larvae milkweed plants covered in GM corn pollen, opposed to milkweed leaves with traditional corn pollen lived. Why is this so vital to the environmentalists? Approximately 50% of monarchs in the U.S. spend their summers dining on milkweed in corn-growing regions, and this point has never been brought to their attention before. On the other hand, the case of mosquitoes that became tolerant of DDT has been suspected to result in a category of 'superbugs' resistant to pesticides integrated into GM crops. In this same way, ‘superweeds’ are expected to convert to be immune to a broad-spectrum weed killer once they have come in contact with an herbicide-resistant gene from a closely related GM plant. This caused some geneticists to go directly to the source. What they found was even more perturbing; GM crops themselves can become weeds. Canadian farmers have reported that herbicide-resistant canola plants have annexed wheat fields within close proximity with the exemption of a feared superweed.
"Ecologists are unsure of the impacts of bypassing natural species boundaries. Consider, for example, the ambitious plans to engineer transgenic plants to serve as pharmaceutical factories for the production of chemicals and drugs. Foraging animals, seed-eating birds, and soil insects will be exposed to a range of genetically engineered drugs, vaccines, industrial enzymes, plastics, and hundreds of other foreign substances for the first time, with untold consequences."
--Jeremy Rifkin, author of The Biotech Century: Harnessing the Gene and Remaking the World

2) GM crops are definitely not a big hit with human emotions. Nature takes millions of years to impact on genetics, the environment, and even what we think. What gives us as a species the right to alter it in any way that fits our needs in a time period so short that it feels as though it's overnight? Who has the capacity to be a creator? How can we determine this? Is there a test such as the one Americans gave to immigrants? Perhaps, it is similar to an IQ test? One study that scientists were patronized for was their combination of antifreeze fish genes with fruit. This really got to the public's emotions. To some, the mere existence of genetic engineering is borderline on insanity, taking religion into consideration. GM processes are also couter-productive for many while limiting their choices in a specific diet. For those who are Orthodox Jewish, obeying the kosher dietary laws would be virtually impossible if tomatoes in their salad carried a surprise gene of pig.
"If Nature has spent millions of years building a structure with natural boundaries, it must be there for a purpose. It is there to guide the evolution of life and to maintain its integrity. Using genetic engineering in agriculture is like trying to fix something that has nothing wrong with it in the first place."
--Dr. Michael Antoniou, Senior Lecturer in Molecular Genetics, GKT Medical School, Guy's Hospital, London, U.K.

Engineer a Crop

4. Practice this simulation until you get the largest ears of corn. How many times did it take you?
It took me one try to engineer the most favorable breeding for the fifth generation.

Background Information: From cucumbers and carrots to white rice and wheat, we humans have altered the genes of almost every food we eat. For almost 10,000 years we've been engineering plants by keeping the seeds from the best crops and planting those the next season. Following this practice year after year has resulted in a slow but steady change -- and a substantial cumulative effect. We've been altering the genetic makeup of crops by cross-pollinating, too. About 8,000 years ago, for example, farmers in Central America crossed two mutant strains of a weedy-looking plant called Balsas teosinte and produced the first corn on the cob.

What’s for Dinner?

*Click on the foods on the table to see what research is being done to bioenginner the foods.

5. List two foods and desribe how they are being modified.
Background Info: Biotech companies and university laboratories are cooking up new ideas for GM foods all the time. The U.S. Department of Agriculture lists 7,516 field tests on new GM foods currently underway. It remains unclear which if any of these foods will pass the strict series of tests that stand between the laboratories and our supermarket shelves. Nevertheless, it's fun to sneak a peak into the future. Tuck in your napkin, pick up your fork -- well, your mouse, anyway -- and get a taste of the next wave of GM foods.

1) Potatoes: Although the approval from the food regulatory boards are still pending, manufactured potatoes are genetically mutated to absorb less oil in french fry form. Peanut oil, sunflower oil, and soybean oil are being cooked up in the lab to be more efficient foods with a lower degree of saturated fat.

2) Coffee: As many adults are familiar with, coffee contains a high caffeine content, which is not always the most highly recommended choice. With genetic mutation now available in labs, biotechnology industries are on the move with 'naturally grown' decaffeinated coffee. This new innovated coffee bean is not yet approved for public ingestion. Nevertheless, when and if it is made public without health defects, it could save farmers time and money by decaffeinating coffee beans before the harvest.

*Read the article titled “Are GM Food Sufficiently Regulated in the US?”

Do you think food should be labeled if it has been genetically modified? Why or Why not?
I do think that genetically modified food should be labeled because it is not equitable for the government to leave the public in the dark on vital issues such as the one at hand. Regardless, they choose to put a respective quantity of the general community at risk if they have allergies, follow specific diets for health reasons, religiously obey a various selection of food, etc. In 1992, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) steadfastly denied the society the right to label the specific GM foods. Wouldn't this be suspicious if they were dead-set against broadcasting the produce's constituents? The FDA's insecure claim that finally withered the crowd was that Gm foods are no different than regular food, and therefore should not be highlighted. What's more, is that their mandatory notification process, which encourages employees overseeing the biotechnology to keep an eye on the products, is supervised by no other than an FDA blue-collar worker. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has stood hushed in the background, silently cheering the FDA on with their own 5,000 genetically engineered crop applications. Stephen Johnson (Acting Assistant Administrator, Office of Prevention, Pesticides, and Toxic Substances, EPA) has conjectured that the technology utilized in the produce field has been rushed to the market without an unabridged inspection by regulators. This could possibly be why Cry9C (a protein in Starlink Corn that is intended to eliminate distinct insects) in the Taco Bell shells. Cry9C has been linked to infants becoming more prone to allergies, are sensitive to smaller quantities of allergen; are particularly susceptible to allergy from novel proteins, and often have diets richer in corn than adults. In other words, if there are traces of certain allergens in foods, especially in chain fast-food establishments, 74% need to seek the help of a physician. More than half the amount of humans who ate GM foods with Cry9C were in desperate demand for a general practitioner, at the least. What's at stake here, after all? Money that can be payed off by big corporations or the lives of 74% of the population that at Taco Bell?

Finished? Go to and type "genetic engineering" in the search field. Browse some of the sites that pop up.
Write down any of the sites you visited below.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Epigenetics and the Environment

Identical Twins:
Recent studies have been excessively focused on identical twins and the factors that make them unique, despite their label. Throughout the years, twins have been stereotyped to have an alike physique and mental capabilities. However, this is but a fantasy. Whether they are dressed the same for a family portrait does not decide which genes are turned on and off; that is a job for epigenetic tags. Imprinted tags are identical, thus giving twins their label. These determine what genes are active or not. The tags are placed on and off the genome in reality, which signals which trait to express or make dormant. So how do twins differ? And what causes this to occur?

The issue of nature versus nurture has been debated in Behavioral Genetics for over a century. From a genetic aspect, inherited traits from the maternal and paternal sources are researched, such as eye or hair color, are based on a biological component found in the DNA coding sequences. Other traits are coded from yet another origin: the environment. A study between two sets of twins (3 and 50 years old). Researchers hypothesized that certain diseases, handicaps, and traits are linked to their outside surroundings. In their research, dyed epigenetic samples were analyzed for epigenetic tag locations. Results yielded the 3 year old twins shared a generally common locale for their tags, whereas the 50 year old twins had the opposite effect. While running the study, scientists discovered that diseases such as arthritis are more environmentally-decided. However, dyslexia are more genetically influenced. This happens when the individual is allowed to make their own choices that may or may not impact their genetic makeup.

Fraternal twins are even more dissimilar in this case, speaking on a molecular level. Due to the fact that each stem from a different egg and sperm combination, they only share half the amount on similar genes that identical twins share. The rest of their pheno- and geno-type is based on their home lifestyle and the way they are raised. This also makes twins better role models for experiments when testing Molecular Genetics. To illustrate this point, take a set of identical twins. When one of them develops a disease such as lung cancer, scientists use newly advanced tools to pinpoint the mechanism of the event, whether it is environmental or genetic. In this case, the lung cancer is most likely caused by a physical activity that the particular twin chose to partake. Smoking, dietary decisions, exercise, and their overall routine influence the epigenome. These signals can be transferred from a number of sources, carried throughout the body on a cell, then copied onto a protein with the information to the genome, triggering the tags. Smoking must have been the main source of the twin's lung cancer.

Personal triggers on my specific epigenome most likely have been transforming my genotype through a semi-balanced diet, a fair amount of exercise, acceptable social behavior, the rate of the metabolic processes, fluctuating stress levels, environmental dust that provokes allergies/asthma, and the methods that may parents have chosen to raise me.

Lick your Rats:
Like many others in the animal kingdom, mother rats care for their young by grooming and licking their pups. These nurtured pups have been noted to develop a calmer personality, while opposing rats are more anxious. This trait is expressed in humans and bred dogs as well. These epigenetic tags that are established in the living organisms are almost as influential as the original imprinted tags. In the first week of the newborn's life, the Metho molecule (green) silences the GR gene (gold) in all rat pups. During the first week of licking, brain cells are stimulated and activate the GR gene, which makes the rat more calm in situations after stress hormones are released. This materializes in the hippocampus, where the GR protein energizes and binds to cortisol; this coordinates its fight-or-flight instinct. The nurturing that the pup receives in the first week may seem trivial at first glance, but the overall ramifications may conclude in breeding calmer rats, depending on how they were raised/licked.

As previously suggested, this occasion happens on a much larger and longer scale. Take humans and dogs, for example. The way a newborn is raised depends on how its parents are raised, which are based on how they were raised, and so on and so forth. The chain of reactions impact the way a human reacts to a situation, including stress. The all-too-common fight or flight instinct depends on whether he/she was raised to take a stand or flee from the combat zone. Social behavior is also a leading factor to how the individual nurtures his/her own offspring, if they even choose to have any. For example, the interaction with the opposite sex may take its toll on whether or not he/she will have an opportunity to produce progeny.

The interaction between dogs and humans are beneficial to biologist's studies because of their unique results that they have extracted. The chemical oxytocin is produced when an owner nurtures its dog. This occurs in both species, and has not been discovered in other relationships yet. This culminates in a more calm and nurturing second generation of dogs, and a convenience for humans that may live longer.

Nutrition and the Epigenome:
One can better understand something if they can easily relate to it, such as diet. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet is a struggle for many, especially in America, and countless individuals succumb to temptation. Methyl groups, extracted from the metabolic pathways in a human being, silence genes with their epigenetic tag abilities. Owing to the known actuality that the epigenome commences life as a blank slate, it is vulnerable to any rapidly altering chemical such as folic acids, SAM-e, or B vitamins. The earlier the intake is increased, the quicker the epigenome is manipulated. Studies show that methyl or choline deficient mothers deny their child of a methylated-healthy adulthood.

Yet again, mice were tested in the lab for agouti-linked dietary impacts. Those that were prone to obesity, cancer, diabetes, and a yellow coat, lacked in the gene. All the while, the contrasting experiment cluster supported their brown hue, immunity to common diseases, and smaller framework. Even though there is such a significant difference, the two sets of rats are still generically homogeneous. In a separate, yet related investigation, pregnant mutated rats with a high income dosage of methyl produced "normal" brown mice. Scientists connected the dots and concluded that your epigenome isn't based on your specific diet, rather, your prenatal diet.

When the mutated mothers were supplied with a Bisphenol-A-rich exposure status, the ratio of yellow to brown mice increased with a steep incline. BPA, being toxic in addition to a polycarbonate plastic component, altered the genetics in the maternal DNA and therefore passed on the unhealthy lineage to her infants. Even so, when a test was done to dictate whether the diet or contamination exposure level outweighs one another or if they were co-dominant, the BPA capitulated to the methyl-rich diet, consequentially resulting in a primarily brown generation.

Analogous in many other categories, a one-size-fits-all procedure is not in the least helpful when considering factors of obesity, reduce stress levels, or mapping out a successful diet in order to achieve a balanced lifestyle. Just as mapping the genome did to biology, the same may be said for charting unique epigenomes for solitary patients in dire need of guidance.

Epigenetics and the Human Brain

The human brain, thought to be sacred because of its overindulgence in functions and hippocampus minor existence, features innumerable roles that support our actuality and continuation. Recent inquiries have stumbled upon an association between the brain and the epigenome, as well as its DNA methylation stability, basic chromatin protein mutations, long-term memory, and chiefly suicide rates. Dr. Moshe Szyf described the methods of epigenetic researching and the link between child abuse, suicide, and the epigenome. Those who were neglected or abused as a child showed a 100% rate of suicide, with a 70% methylation level in the hippocampus minor, identical DNA sequence as non-suiciders, and an environmental stamp on their brain. Their "twin" who did not commit self-murder expressed little to no differences in methylation levels in the cerebellum, overall methylation levels, and a significant GR peak difference. What codes for this variation? The ribosomal RNA which acts as a scaffold which determines the quantity of expressed genes, regulated by methylation. This allows for an identical twin, at 50 years old who has been raised separately to contain less active ribosomal rRNA genes, to have less protein production, than their twin. A common pattern is also found in Alzheimer's disease.

Abuse is not the only cause of suicide, despite what some may think. Mental disabilities such as Rubinstein-Taybi syndrome is caused by the CPB protein malfunctioning to reduce acetyl tags on histones. Other mentally handicapped patients may suffer from REELIN deficiency, which shapes the brain for infantile development. The 60 connector genes that differentiate unstable and healthy human beings from one another are chiefly signals between brain cells being mistranslated or intercepted. This can be modified by drugs given to patients with these types of illnesses may change gene expression, therefore stabilizing DNA methylation in order to reverse the symptoms of the particular disease. Other drugs that are received by the patient may be abused, resulting in the mutation of hundreds of genes at a certain point in time. This misuse ad possible addiction has the possibility of rewriting the epigenome to a point of no return. Notwithstanding, modern technology has been able to operate a process in which specific genes are pulled down and the methylation levels are measured. This translates which specific section of the brain is being affected, leading to gateways of solutions in the genetic field.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

DNA Fingerprinting


1. DNA is unique for everyone. The only exception is if a person has what?
If a person has an identical twin, then the DNA is not as unique for that specific pair.

2. What are DNA fingerprints used for?
DNA fingerprints can be used for determining a biological mother or father, identifying the suspect of a crime, and it can be used to clear someone's name.

Part 1 “It Takes a Lickin”

3. What “crime” was committed?
Someone licked his lollipop.

4. What bodily fluid was removed from the “crime scene” to get DNA?

Part 2 “DNA Fingerprinting at the NOVA Lab”

5. What does a restriction enzyme do?
They cut the long DNA molecules depending on the code within the DNA molecule.

6. What is agarose gel?
Agarose gel acts like a molecular strainer, allowing the smaller pieces to move through easier, rather than the larger pieces of DNA.

7. What is electrophoresis?
Electrophoresis is the process of moving molecules with an electric current.

8. Smaller fragments of DNA move _____more easily____than longer strands.

9. Why do you need to place a nylon membrane over the gel?
You need to place the nylon on the membrane because it acts like a sheet of paper and picks up the DNA.

10. Probes attach themselves to ___the DNA fragments__ .

11. Which chemical in your “virtual lab” is radioactive?
The probes are radioactive.

12. Sketch your DNA fingerprint.

13. Based on your DNA fingerprint, who licked the lollipop?

Honey licked the lollipop.

Click on the Link “DNA Workshop” (if this link won't load, scroll down to the bottom where it says "try the non-java script version)
Once you’re there, go to the link “DNA Workshop Activity” and practice with DNA replication and protein synthesis.

Browse the DNA Workshop site.

14. What kinds of things could you do at the DNA workshop?
At the workshop, you can do an activity of DNA synthesis or replication, read related articles (such as Francis and Crick), and learn about key words in the glossary.

Find an Article about DNA

Go to

15. Read an article about genetics at this site that you might find interesting, or use the "Search" box in the upper right hand corner to search for DNA fingerprinting.

Title of Article __How does DNA Fingerprinting Work?__ Author and Date ____Dalya Rosner 2000- 2010____

Summarize what the article was about. Write this in a paragraph format.

DNA fingerprinting is a term that has been rumored about in the popular media for many years, due to its power to reprimand and save. It grew from it's highly doubted position in science and religion to a widely categorized branch of knowledge. To sum it up, it's a technique for determining the likelihood of genetic material's related origin. While researching (Dayla Rosner is a PhD student at Cambridge University) she discovered that 99% of human DNA has approximately 100% similarities between individuals, whereas the 1% that differs enables scientists to distinguish identity. However, there is a massive amount of "junk" that does not get coded into useful proteins, therefore preventing it from doing its proper job. This is what forensic scientists search for in investigations. It usually occurs with every 200 characters, so chemists have a good idea of where the damaged gene is located. They crop the DNA and formulate bands which help distinguish the difference, similarities, and where it derived. Obviously, the more similar the band is, the better chance that it is identical. This science has evolved o much in the past ten years, so much, in fact, that it can aid us in predicting the future good-will of ours and generations to come. This leads to screening parents and embryos and understanding gene functions, not only the disease that comes along with them.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010


Mitosis Tutorial
#1 Which stage does the following occur?

Chromatin condenses into chromosomes: Prophase
Chromosomes align in center of cell: Prometaphase
Longest part of the cell cycle: Interphase
Nuclear envelope breaks down: Prometaphase
Cell is cleaved into two new daughter cells: Prometaphase
Daughter chromosomes arrive at the poles: Telophase

#2 The colored chromosomes represent chromatids. There are two of each color because one is an exact duplicate of the other.

How many chromosomes are visible at the beginning of mitosis?
There are 4 visible chromosomes at the beginning.

How many are in each daughter cell at the end of mitosis?
There are 8 daughter cells at the end of mitosis.

The little green T shaped things on the cell are:
The light green T shaped things on the cell are centrioles.

What happens to the centrioles during mitosis?
The centrioles moves around along with the movement of the chromosome, and eventually is separated from it's pair in the mother cell when developing the daughter cells.

#3 Identify the stages of these cells:
1) Metaphase
2) Cytokinesis
3) Prophase

Another Mitosis Animation
Prophase: The centrioles move to opposite sides of the cell, while the chromatin in the nucleus condenses and its membrane dissolves, and the chromosomes connect to their "sister" chromosome.
Metaphase: The sister chromosomes divide and attach to spindle fibers that exrtract them, while the chromosomes gravitate towards their corresponding poles (centrioles).
Telophase: The chromosomes pull at their opposite poles, splitting the cell in half to produce two daughter cells and making new membranes. The chromosomes return to their original, undetected, stringy state.

Onion Root Tip
# of cells:
Interphase: 20-57.142%
Prophase: 10-28.571%
Metaphase: 3-8.571%
Anaphase: 2-5.5%
Telophase: 1-2.7%
Total: 36-100%

Mitosis in Whitefish & Onion Root
View 1: Telophase
View 2: Metaphase
View 3: Prophase
View 4: Anaphase

View 1: Anaphase
View 2: Metaphase
View 3: Prophase
View 4: Telophase
View 5: Anaphase