Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Something Fun!

This doesn't have a lot to do with what we've been learning in class lately but I thought it was fun so here you go!

Click on the screen and follow each video to find out how much you know!! (By the way... click on Science)

Thursday, April 21, 2011


When I look at people's hands, I notice how different they are from mine. They have different lines on their palms, their cuticles are neat or torn, the shape of their nails are square or conical or spatulate. Sometimes their hands are square, long, soft, or worn like they've worked their entire lives. I can tell if their nails are blue at the moons of their nails that they have poor circulation. Palm readers have noticed these little things for centuries. Today, we can recognize people from another thing on their hand, their fingerprints.
These little swirly things on the tips of are fingers aren't just pretty designs designed to hypnotize unwitting victims, they can be used to find criminals or missing persons. In crime shows they're always dusting for prints, running print scans, or shooting people. So it's pretty interesting when you actually see it in real life. Now days they send out little packets that contain an at home fingerprinting kit and a cotton swab for your kid's cheek so you'll alway be prepared if a creeper sneaks through a window in the middle of the night and snatches your children. There are some pretty amazing things that happen now days, and there aren't as many missing kids as there used to be.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


I have to be honest, ever since watching GATTACA, I've been looking for it in DNA sequences that pop up on screens and videos we've been watching lately. I wonder if it's really hiding in there somewhere.... I really liked Original Jerome. He was really spunky and who doesn't like Jude Law? I think I liked his character the most because (Jude Law) he was driven. Jerome knew what he needed to get accomplished and went ahead with it. Even when "Jerome" was faltering. I wouldn't really want to be him though, besides being female, I think that the challenges he faced were pretty terrible.

 GATTACA sparked a few questions for me. It made me think about how the world would be if they could screen your child and tell you everything that that would make him/her "invalid". I mean, sure it would be wonderful to tell if your children will have brown hair with purple eyes and be adorable. But it would be horrible to know that that same child would die at the age of 7 because of a genetic disease, or 45 because of heart failure. This knowledge would probably bring you to shelter your child and hinder its growth. Jerome/Vincent knew what his "deficiencies" were but he went on to have a fulfilling life. He pushed his boundaries, but Irene didn't. She didn't dare do anything that may incur the prediction that was made at her birth. And that would seriously suck. Today we do things that could hurt us but we do them because, somewhere we can. GATTACA's society was wrong to judge people purely on their genetic code, because they didn't know what the person's will could or would be.

I loved GATTACA. It was interesting to me that this society may exist. Recently I read a book like GATTACA called "Matched". It's about a "perfect" society. People are paired with people who best fit their genetics. Their food and medicine and exercise is monitored and set up for them. Even their jobs are chosen for them, and ALMOST their every decision is predicted. And on their 80th birthdays, they die. Every choice is made easy for them, because what they offer is the best choice. But beneath the perfect society, it's not so perfect! It's a really easy read and pulls you into its world. It made me cringe to think that someday, someone could be making my choices for me.

pGLO Transformation

Thems is spooky cats! For the past 2 days we've been working on a pGLO Transformation Lab. It's basically playing with E. coli and seeing which one glows on the 2nd day, like the cats above. Don't worry they didn't put E. coli in those cats, but it is a similar process. But they are both genetically modified.

Here's an example of the glowing sample from a lab done in another class.

So what made the bacteria glow? Well, we began the lab with 2 samples, a positive and negative solution. After about 20 minutes of work, we were dishing out samples into 4 different agar sample plates (LB+, LB/Amp/ara+, LB/Amp+, and LB/Amp-). We waited over night and in the morning checked for results. Using a little black light we ran it over the 4 samples. As you can tell from the wonderful picture to the left, LB/Amp/ara was the completely awesome glowing sample. We successfully modified the bacteria! Hurrah for playing with bacteria!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011


I'm a medical technician and I need to run a DNA sequence. So I set off down the hall, happy as can be with my little sample of people skin. When I get to the lab, I suit up (put on rubber gloves), as not to contaminate the sample. I collect a bacterial colony to move into a microcentrifuge vial with a wire rod. Adding a digestive buffer to the the sample eats away at the cell wall so I can take a closer look, this takes a few hours so I twiddle my thumbs. When it's finally done "digesting" I heat inactivate the digestive enzymes using a water bath. When it's ready I move the sample to a centrifuge to be spun down into cellular debris to be removed from my sample. What I really want is the supernatant so I can move those into PCR tubes and sequence. When I've collected all the goodies i add PCR master mix. It contains water, a whole lot of nucleotides (GACT), oligonucleotide (a short nucleic acid polymer, with <50 bases) DNA primers, and  a heat-stable DNA polymerase that makes the copy DNA strand longer. I'll run a positive (the one with PCR master mix) and negative (this contains deionized water) test. After my samples are prepped, I put them in the PCR machine. Yippee!!
What the PCR does is replicate DNA. It begins by splitting the double helix, next the primer of the template is annealed(a heat treatment that causes changes), and ends when the DNA polymerase is used to extend the copy of DNA. Finally, after lots of other work... I can sequence the DNA! I add sequencing brew and turn a the PCR. When that's finished I put it in a automatic sequencer and then build the sequence. I can finally compare my sample to others.