First day of class we were introduced to the basics of the cell and its different organelles. Learned about the history of biology and about eminent people like Antony Van Leeuwenhoek, Robert Hooke , Louis Pasteur, Theodore Shwann, Gregor Mendel, Watson & Crick, George Church and Craig Venter. Introduction to the theories of evolution as well as DNA and its function. Did some research on E-coli . We were given readings to go through to better our understanding of DNA, Human genome and such. Watched a BBC documentary based on the cell. Typical day but not a bad start to who knows whats in store for us later.
Today we watched a video lecture by David Sadava. Talked about the nucleus, genes, chromosomes genetic information phenotypes and genotypes. We were first introduced to synthetic biology today. A reading called Introduction to Synthetic Biology. Watched a video on the Darwinian theory of evolution. Lots of info pouring in and lots more to come. Learned something important today though :- Always be sceptical of what you read.
Video lecture by David Sadava on the capacity of the DNA to mutate, experiments giving insight on it, How lung cancer was caused by damage to the DNA due to smoking. Function and structure of DNA in different types of cells including viruses. DNA double helix structure. Cell theory proposed by 2 german scientists – Jakob Matthias Schleiden and Theodore Schwann. Viruses are composed of dna and protein. Discussed theories of evolution. Watched a video on tedtalks on Watson where he describes how they happened to come up with the DNA model. Two readings for the day – applying engineering to biology and adventures in Synthetic biology, the latter being a comic strip on the know hows of synthetic biology.
Todays lecture video was about proteins. How it is produced, the role of dna in producing it, the process and its properties.Watched a video showing the process in real time. Lecture touched Ricin, a poisonous substance and its discovery its chemical structure and experients done with ricin. This substance kills by inhibiting gene and is found in castor oil. We were getting somewhere with all the research that we’d been doing on our subject matter. Gained a slight picture of what we are dealing with and also a little know how on how to do it as well.
Video lecture talked about DNA sequencing and the different methods of doing it. Craig Venter explained his method but could not comprehend it completely but I have a general picture of how the sequences for different functions and organs are on specific sequences of the DNA. Learned the humans cannot produce 8 of the 20 amino acids required because of some defect in the DNA. Other bacteria produce it for us. Naked and Vector DNA. Cohen and Boyers experiment with bacteria and viruses. DNA recombinant technology where a required gene can be isolated and introduced into the dna of bacteria , for instance to induce resistance to antibiotics.PKU presence of a certain enzyme causes mental retardation .
Lecture on isolating the gene . Muscular dystrophy is a progressive reduction of the muscles and its function. It is caused by a missing sequence of DNA in chromosomes. Reverse genetics is when the gene is figured out before the protein is. This is contrary to the traditional method where the protein is analysed to produce what gene made it. He talks about Nucleic Acid Hybridization wherein the the complementary pairs to the target base is filtered and isolated. This in turn binds with another pair (a complement) that is the same as the target pair. If nothing binds then the outside dna does not have the dna with the same sequence.
Watched two more parts of the BBC The cell documentary .It goes on to describe the application of synthetic biology and showed graphic visuals of how the mRNA transfers genetic info to the ribosomes so as they can produce the required protein. Saw some interesting prospects of synthetic biology. Bio diesel.
We had a presentation by Zackery Denfeld about genetically modified organisms like Glofish, that are now commercially available for purchase.These are not for consumption though. We extracted our first DNA, with the help of pril and rubbing alcohol.
Our ideas on the new creature were discussed. The ideating was done in groups of two. Lots of crazy ideas, bacterial holograms, bacterial sonic sheets (idea was they are to be used instead of conventional speakers. Just a strip of paper containing bacteria that can produce sounds. Can be connected to playback devices). This involved a lot of playing with the mind. Since we were asked to come up with anything, our options were huge and since we had to come up with abstract or almost impossible it was a lot of conceptual exploration. I enjoyed this quite a bit.