Sunday, February 12, 2017

Weekly Bio Journal #2 Feb. 12

This week on Bio Life, our intrepid hero Gridley braved blizzards and dreaded Mass drivers to receive his daily dose of Biology. He began the week by completing a Pogil on the translation of RNA into proteins. Because of how extensive the Vodcast was on this subject and because of my complete note taking this Pogil was fairly easy as I felt I had a firm grasp on the concept. As a result I feel I understand the Central Dogma. We next completed a packet on the impact of mutations that centered around the Myostatin Belgian Blue, a breed of cattle that due to a mutation in their genome have an inhibited production of the muscle inhibitor protein Myostatin. Animals with this mutation have double muscle growth and in the packet we analyzed several locations in the gene where a mutation occurred. Similarly we explored another packet on the mutation in pigment production of Rock Pocket Mice. Here we explored the affects of silent mutations, versus missense mutations, versus nonsense mutations.
Over the period of several classes we created and described the steps of transcription and translation using play-doh. Me and my partner used a genome sequence generator to select a DNA sequence 30 nucleotides long and using different colored play-doh, represented each nucleotide. We then made a 3-D model of the process of transcription and translation with the play-doh. At first we struggled to come up with an idea of how to represent the information using play-doh but once we got the ball rolling we set off like a spontaneous reaction.
At home I completed the three part 4.3 Vodcast on Biotechnology. This lesson was a little harder to digest than 4.2. I would like to know more about plasmids and how they work and exactly what they are. From what I gather they act as templates for altering genes or for producing clones. This lesson is very new because so much of this technology is so new and is in the very frontier of our biotechnology so I can understand if all the concepts are slightly slow to digest. I expect I will make sense of most of it come disco time next week.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Weekly Bio Journal #1 Feb. 5

We have just begun studying our fourth unit (Information). This week coming down after the Midterm exam, we mostly focused on Vodcast 4.1 and getting through the dense and extensive 4.2 Prezi. 4.1 introduced us to the background history of the research process of our modern understanding of DNA. 4.2 focused on the Central Dogma: DNA into RNA into proteins. 4.2 covered replication of DNA, transcription unto RNA, and translation into coding proteins. We also worked in class on a argument project to determine using hereditary data, whether "Jeff" was related to the family he claimed.
 Overall I understood all the new concepts of this week and the new lesson. I owe this to the fact that the new Prezi was so extensive, being over 112 slides long, and the fact that I took almost equally extensive notes. At first the leading and lagging strands of DNA did not make sense to me and I did not see why lagging strands existed. However this confusion was fixed within a day when I "discoed" with classmates and returned to my notes at home. Even reading the data on Jeff's DNA markers for the argument project did not compute at first. But when I read through the evidence section of another classmates presentation, it was made crystal clear. It really helps to be able to discuss and share information with our peers.
As far as a connection to the context of the course, the information we're learning on DNA relates backwards to the very beginning of the course. DNA codes for the production of proteins and enzymes used in photosynthesis, the knowledge of bonds and structures from unit two explain the workings and directions of the DNA strands, and considering how colossal the amount of data there is to be processed and replicated it is far more comprehensible that mutations occur leading to natural selection of different genes.