Hachimoji DNA

Sep 25, 2020

By Anastacia Wienecke Before we jump into our discussion of hachimoji DNA, let’s talk a little bit about proteins. Did you know that you are made up of proteins? Right this second, the proteins in your body are helping you digest food, send oxygen from your lungs to your muscles, and build tissues. Your body […]

Technique Tuesday: Gel Electrophoresis

Sep 01, 2020

Welcome to our first installment of “Technique Tuesdays”! With these posts about methods and tools, we hope to give you a window into what day-to-day life is like working in science.  ——————————————————————————————————————————- By Anna Wheless Technique Name: Gel Electrophoresis Fun Rating:  What is the general purpose? Gel electrophoresis separates charged molecules based on their sizes. Why […]

Commercial DNA Testing Kits: Worth the Price?

May 12, 2020

By Rami Major Commercial DNA testing kits are becoming increasingly more popular. Although they can be fun windows into our past, they can also have serious repercussions related to questions of privacy, crime, and health.  Your DNA contains clues called markers, which are short sequences of your DNA that scientists have associated with different regions […]

The Human Genome Project: More questions than answers

Apr 11, 2019

By Laetitia Meyrueix The Human Genome Project (HGP) was an amazing endeavor to map the full human genome. A genome consists of all the DNA of an organism, which represents all the genetic information found in the nucleus of every cell in your body. DNA is made up of base pairs and parts of DNA […]

CRISPR-Cas9 Genome Editing of Humans – Future or Fiction?

Mar 28, 2019

By Dominika Trzilova You’re half of your mom and half of your dad. You get different characteristics from each parent, many of which are determined by the genes your parents give you. Most of the time the genes passed down to you result in good characteristics, such as athleticism. However, not all inherited genes result in […]

The Other Humans

Mar 13, 2019

By Rachel Cherney “Where did we come from?” “Why are we here?” These questions have been asked since the dawn of modern humans. While these questions often have a more rhetorical, philosophical meaning, there is also a scientific answer as to how modern humans arose and from where they came. We (Homo Sapiens), are the […]

Space Biology: The Search for Life Beyond Earth

Nov 08, 2018 https://exoplanets.nasa.gov/the-search-for-life/habitable-zones/

By Sam Stadmiller Have you ever wondered if aliens are real? Well, scientists do too, and they spend lots of time and effort searching for life on other planets. When you think about the vastness of our universe, the existence of life on other planets in the past, present, or future, is statistically probable. All […]

E. coli: The Bug We Love and Hate

May 10, 2018 https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/84/Diverse_e_Coli.png

By Yitong Li The recent E. coli outbreak is all over the news these days. These malignant bacteria can be found in romaine lettuce, leafy vegetables, and possibly all salad mixes. Many people have been hospitalized because of it and one person has died. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this is […]

“Y” So Different?

Apr 19, 2018 https://www.flickr.com/photos/nihgov/28189336441

By Rachel Cherney While a baby is developing, it is by default, female. However, with the presence of the Y sex chromosome, the developing female will be overridden and instead develop a male reproductive system, thus becoming male. Males have an X and a Y sex chromosome, whereas females have two X chromosomes. Millions of […]

From the Archives: Genes and Giants in Ireland

Mar 22, 2018

As many of us just celebrated St. Patrick’s Day and all things Irish, we thought it would be a good time to revisit an Irish legend and its unexpected connection to modern day genetics. Originally published on October 27, 2016. By Michelle Engle Genetics is usually advertised as a science that impacts the future – […]

How to Copy DNA: The Invention of the Polymerase Chain Reaction

Jan 11, 2018 https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Grand_Prismatic_Spring,_Yellowstone_National_Park_(3646969937).jpg https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Thermus_aquaticus

By Matt Niederhuber There’s a good chance you’ve heard about DNA testing before, probably on a crime TV show or on the news. Sometimes, DNA testing is how the police identify suspects, but it has also helped prove the innocence of many people who have been falsely imprisoned. I bring up DNA testing because I […]

The Secrets of Our DNA

Oct 19, 2017 https://www.flickr.com/photos/mitopencourseware/4814933459

By Eva Vitucci The human body is composed of trillions of cells – these cells make up your skin, hair, lungs, and even your toenails. Inside each of these cells are specialized instructions that are essential for life, otherwise known as deoxyribonucleic acid, or your DNA. But what exactly is DNA? Quite simply, your DNA […]

Thank Mom for Your Mitochondria

May 27, 2017 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mitochondrion

By Michelle Engle We inherit ½ of our DNA from our mothers, but that’s not the only thing we inherit from them. Mitochondria are organelles in the cell that are responsible for making energy used to create proteins and respond to the environment. Mitochondria are passed from mother to baby upon fertilization of the egg. […]

Your ancestors had better teeth than you do, so go brush your teeth

Mar 15, 2017

By Lauriel Earley If you’ve ever been to the dentist, you’ll know that most of your time there is spent having plaque cleaned off your teeth. Have you ever given much thought as to what plaque is? If not, then check out here to be a little grossed out. Plaque is a ‘biofilm’, which means […]

Ancient virus genes make male mice extra muscular

Dec 05, 2016

By Lauriel Earley You’ve probably already heard that you may have more bacterial cells than human cells in your body*, but did you know that you’re also part virus? About 5-8% of your genome is from viruses that integrated into the DNA of your ancestors. These pieces of virus that are in your genome are called […]

Genes and Giants in Ireland

Oct 27, 2016

By Michelle Engle Genetics is usually advertised as a science that impacts the future – the future of healthcare, the future of cancer therapy, etc. But it’s also the biological science that most closely links us to the past, through the DNA passed down from our ancestors. In Ireland, where the past is filled with […]

Epigenetics – more than what you’re born with

Oct 06, 2016

By Mike Pablo It’s well-known that children can inherit features from their parents. Eye color, hair color, and height are just some characteristics that can be passed down from parent to child. If you’ve had a class on DNA, you’ve likely heard about Mendelian inheritance, originally proposed in 1865 by Gregor Johann Mendel. Mendelian inheritance is […]

DNA: an eyewitness to crime

Sep 22, 2016

By Christina Marvin Crime dramas such as NCIS and Law and Order engross us with images of law enforcement blasting down city streets in pursuit of suspects, lights flashing and sirens blaring. Bringing criminals to justice often relies on the prompt ability to secure a crime scene and interview suspects. But what happens when criminals get away […]