November 21, 2006
Last week, students inserted a jellyfish plasmid into bacteria. The jellyfish gene codes for Green Fluorescent Protein (GFP) and is resistant to the antibiotic ampicillin. Students who successfully performed this transformation were able to produce bacteria that fluoresced green under UV light and are resistant to antibiotics. A podcast will follow soon!
Posted by Larkin at 05:34 PM
November 13, 2006
To conclude our unit on genetics, students will be engaging in an amazing transgenics lab. Students will take a DNA plasmid extracted from a jellyfish and insert it into the DNA of bacteria, designing a new species of bacteria which manufactures a protein that fluoresces under UV light and would otherwise not exist in the wild. Our students are getting an authentic look at how genetic scientists are using new technologies to create treatments (and hopefully someday even cures) for diseases such as diabetes, hemophilia, and sickle cell anemia to name a few.
The jellyfish we will be stealing DNA from is the Aequorea victoria. This awesome bioluminescent jellyfish actually glows in the dark thanks to its genes for GFP, or Green Florescent Protein. To check out what we'll be doing this week, click on the pGlo Transformation Student Manual.
Posted by Larkin at 05:35 PM
November 09, 2006
We will have a test on Chapter Four on Monday, November 13th. As always, there is an optional study guide worth five bonus points when completed and signed by a parent. There will also be a study session Monday morning at 8:15.
Posted by Larkin at 12:26 PM
This one, the world's first cloned cat!
Click here to read more!.
Posted by Larkin at 10:31 AM
Cloning is the genetically identical duplication of an organism through asexual reproduction. Scientists have made some mind boggling achievements with cloning, including the asexual reproduction of sheep and cows. There is much ethical debate as to how far and for what purpose cloning should be used. However cloning, or asexual propagation, has been common practice in the horticultural world for hundreds of years. Simply taking a stem cutting from a ‘parent or mother’ plant, rooting and planting it to create a new plant is cloning or asexual propagation in it’s most basic form.
Posted by Larkin at 10:14 AM
Any parents interested in chaperoning the Jekyll Island field trip should contact Varda Kulkarni. You may send a note to school with your child to room 7-D1 or send her an email at email@example.com. Please include your name, your student's name, your student's science teacher, and which trip your student is going to be attending.
Posted by Larkin at 09:34 AM
November 08, 2006
Today students learned about selective breeding. Selective breeding is when two organisms with desired traits are selected to serve as the parents to the next generation. We are studying two types of selective breeding, inbreeding and hybridization. Inbreeding involves crossing two individuals who have identical or similar sets of alleles, which will result in the offspring's traits being very similar to their parents. An easy example or model for students to understand is dog breeding. For example, two pug parents make pug puppies. Hybridization occurs when breeders cross two genetically different individuals, which results in the offspring inheriting the best traits of both parents. Examples of hybrid dogs include puggles, cockapoos, labradoodles, goldendoodles, pomapoos, and so forth.
Posted by Larkin at 07:49 PM
Years ago, doctors only had pedigrees and Punnett squares to help predict the inheritance pattern of genetic disorders. Today, thanks to modern technology, doctors use tools such as amniocentesis and karyotypes to help detect genetic disorders. During amniocentesis, doctors use a long needle to remove a small amount of fluid that is surrounding the developing fetus, or baby. The fluid contains cells from the baby that can be examined and used to create a karyotype. A karyotype is a picture or arrangement of the baby's chromosomes and can reveal whether the baby is developing the correct number of chromosomes.
Posted by Larkin at 10:28 AM
November 06, 2006
If you didn't finish in class, students should finish making their pedigrees and answer the five questions from today's activity.
Posted by Larkin at 05:26 PM
Just a reminder that all Jekyll Island paperwork was due on Friday, November 3rd. We're about 90% of the way there, but I'd love to have 100% attendance at Jekyll Island! Don't forget to bring a front/back copy of your insurance card and we have a notary here at the school.
Posted by Larkin at 05:07 PM
Don't forget, applications to join the i-movie team are due on Wednesday, October 8th. In case you don't have an application, here is an online version. A list of those students selected to participate will be posted by my classroom door on Friday, October 10th.
Posted by Larkin at 05:05 PM
November 01, 2006
A genetic disorder is a disease that is caused by an abnormality in an individual's DNA. Abnormalities can range from a small mutation in a single gene to the addition or subtraction of an entire chromosome or set of chromosomes. To learn more about different genetic disorders, browse through the Genetic Disorder Library by clicking on THIS LINK.
How do we get mutations in our genes?
We can get mutations in several ways:
1. Mutations can be inherited, or passed from parent to child. This type of mutation is called a germline mutation.
2. Mutations that arise sporadically throughout our lifetime (in non-sex cells) are called somatic mutations. Most of the time, our cells are very good at fixing somatic mutations when they occur. In the rare instances when they are not repaired, a medical condition may result.
3. A third type of mutation, called a novel germline mutation, is a combination of a somatic and an inherited mutation. The novel germline mutation arises in a parent's germ cell - either the father's sperm cell or the mother's egg cell. The child conceived through the union of sperm and egg carries the novel germline mutation.
Posted by Larkin at 06:24 PM
During the next few days, students will be studying genetic disorders. We will explore the causes and symptoms of various genetic disorders, study the inheritance pattern of genetic disorders, explain how genetic disorders are diagnosed, and describe the role of genetic counseling through biomedical technology. Here's a sneak peek at a few images and articles we will be referring to during class.
Posted by Larkin at 05:24 PM