Monday, December 13, 2010

DNA & Genomics Project

Attributions for Video:
About the TED Talk
   Juan Enriquez in this TED talk exclaims that life sciences, including genomics, will have drastic effects in technology, politics, business, and society. These effects will bring about a new world and way of life.

Eyes on The Future
   Imagine a purely technological world where flying cars stream freely across the sky, where mechanical robots accompany each and every person, where people carry their genetic information from work to doctor's offices, where disease is non-existent, where technology takes over, bringing about an evolution of the entire human species. Juan Enriquez claims that with the technology of the present and the future, human capacity, and a efficient use of that human capacity, the human species can evolve to become that of HomoEvolutis- hominids who have the ability to  take direct and purposeful control over the evolution of their species, and others. 

A Little Bit About Juan Enriquez
        "A brilliant thinker and entrepreneur unlocking the extraordinary promise of the new life sciences — and changing the world."
                               -Leigh Bureau
  Juan Enriquez is a bestselling author, businessman, and academic who continues to be a leader in the field life sciences and its relationship with politics, economics, and society. Throughout his academic career, Enriquez has written a number of essays, journal entries, and books, becoming one of the world's leading authorities on the "uses and benefits of genomic research" (LeighBureau). One of these books entitled Homo Evolutis: A Short Tour of Our New Species, illustrates a place where humans have the ability to manipulate the environment around them to the point where they can control their own evolution, as well as that of others. 
   Enriquez is committed to the study of bio-science and the impact it has on society as a whole. In this commitment, Enriquez has co-founded Synthetic Genomics, a company creating solutions for major global issues driven solely on the basis of genomics. Apart from his essays and written works, Enriquez continuously aims to deliver his message that genomics and other life sciences will have profound effects on technology, business, politics, and society through lectures and speeches delivered around the world.  
Attributions for BIO:

Some Perplexing Vocabulary
  •  leverage:  The use of credit or borrowed funds to improve one's speculative capacity and increase the rate of return from an investment, as in buying securities on margin.
  •  entitlement: a government program providing benefits to members of a specified group; also : funds supporting or distributed by such a program
  • stem cell: an undifferentiated cell whose daughter cells may differentiate into other cell types (such as blood cells)
  •  cochlear implant: An electronic apparatus that allows people with severe hearing loss to recognize some sounds, especially speech sounds, and that consists chiefly of a microphone and receiver, a processor that converts speech into electronic signals, and an array of electrodes that transmit the signals to the auditory nerve in the inner ear.
  • bond: Bonds are fixed-income financial assets—essentially IOUs that promise the holder a specified set of payments. The value of a bond, like the value of any other asset, is the present value of the income stream one expects to receive from holding the bond
  • GDP: Thetotalmarket valueof allfinal goodsandservicesproduced in acountryin a given year, equal to totalconsumer,investmentandgovernmentspending,plusthevalueofexports,minusthe value ofimports.
  • microbe:  any microscopic organism, esp a disease-causing bacterium
  • deficit: the amountby which agovernment,company, or individual's spendingexceedsitsincomeover a particularperiodof time.
  • species:  a category of biological classification ranking immediately below the genus or subgenus, comprising related organisms or populations potentially capable of interbreeding, and being designated by a binomial
  • axolotl:larval salamander of mountain lakes of Mexico that usually lives without metamorphosing
  • tissue:  aggregation of cells that are similar in form and function and the intercellular substances produced by them.
  • hiedelbregensus: An early type of European fossil man known from an isolated lower jaw; considered a variant ofHomo erectusor an early stock of Neanderthal man.
  • Homo floresiensis: A human-like species who lived until 18,000 years ago in the company of giant Komodo lizards and now-extinct pygmy elephants on the isolated island of Flores in Indonesia.
  • homo neanderthal: An extinct human species (Homo neanderthalensis) or subspecies (Homo sapiens neanderthalensis) living during the late Pleistocene Epoch throughout most of Europe and parts of Asia and northern Africa and associated with Middle Paleolithic tools.
  • abiogensis: The obsolete concept that plant and animal life arise from nonliving organic matter. Also known as autogenesis; spontaneous generation.
  • DNA: deoxyribonucleic acid: an extremely long macromolecule that isthe main component of chromosomes and is the material thattransfers genetic characteristics in all life forms
  • RNA: A polymeric constituent of all living cells and many viruses, consisting of a long, usually single-stranded chain of alternating phosphate and ribose units

Theme 1: Science, Technology, and Society- The Inevitable Wave of Technology

     Throughout human history, human beings have desired improvement, progress, and change. Like anything, human imrpvement always causes controversy. Especially in the field of science and technology, imrovements can have both beneficial and damaging impacts on human society. 
      However, there are the many that believe that the benefits of this progress outweigh any possible negative consequence. Juan Enriquez, for example, understands the increasing pace of technology and its presence in society today, and believes this pace will cause a drastic positive change in the lives of people all over the world. Technical innovations such as the cochlear implant and the subretinal implant, for example, have allowed the deaf to hear and the blind to see. Steam cell research has allowed for the creation of regrown tracheas, bladders, and ears. If enough scientific research has resulted in technological advances such as these, Enriquez  exclaims the possiblity of having technology shaping many more aspects of society. "Sticky Bots", as they are called, and robots the size of flies, have been innovated to aid in the field of forensics and fighting crime. A powerful wave of technology is on the verge of occurring, he argues. In it, humans- if utilizing their individual capacities to the fullest- will begin to evolve into hominids of the HomoEvolutis, in which they will be able to control not only their own evolution, but also that of other species. 

Theme 1: Evolution- The Ultimate Reboot
        The species of Homo Sapiens constitutes modern human beings. The homo sapien has been evolving for over twenty million years, descending from its ancestor Dryopithecus. The evolutionary change that has occurred until that time has brought about diversity of life on Earth and has proven to be pivotal in the human's understanding of itself. Enriquez, in his TED talk, argues the prominence of evolution in present day society. Technology, he believes, is slowly, but surely bringing about an entirely new generation- Homo Evolutis. One day, Enriquez states, with enough scientific research and technological advancement, human beings will be able to control their own evolution as well as that of other species. Hominids' "direct and deliberate control," he claims, will spur a most unprecedented change that will eventually reboot the entire system we call our Earth- making for the "Ultimate Reboot."

"Embrace Homo Evolutis"-Nick Kinni

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Meiosis Reflection!

    This is what I learned about... Meiosis!
    • I really have come to understand the process of Meiosis and its function in sexual reproduction. Meiosis is a type of cell division that produces four cells, each with hald the number of chromosomes as the parent cell. In humans, meiosis happens in the sex organs. Every human being has 46 chromosomes, 23 pairs. 22 of those pairs are homologous, which means that they make up a matching pair. Humans inherit one homologous chromosome from their father, and one from their mother. The last pair, however, can either contain homologous chromosomes or hemizygous chromosomes. If those chromosomes are hemizygous, the sex of the human will be a male (X-Y). If they are homologous, the child will be born a female. 
    • The process of meiosis consists of a two step process, thus the two phases. The first phase is the transformation, or cell-dividing, from the tetrads made up of 2 homologous chromosomes to two seperate chromosomes. In the second phase, the seperate chromosomes divide further, while possibly exchanging genetic information, to become 4 seperate chromatids-that were originally the "sister chromatids" that made up the original chromosomes in the tetrad. 
    What I have found difficult is...
    • Sometimes, I get confused diploid and haploid. I do understand that us humans are diploid, meaning we have 46 chromosomes in each cell, because we have 23 pairs. Does that mean that haploid organisms have random chromosomes only consisting of their haploid number? For example, if an organism's haploid number was forty, does that mean they have 40 chromosomes in each cell?
    Essential Question: How do biological systems regulate?
    • The biological system of the cell goes through a variety of processes in  order to maintain a specific balance necessary for the body to be healthy. One of the processes that cells go through is the process of meiosis, which is the process of cell division where four cells are produced from the interaction of two homologous chromosomes. When these homologous chromosomes interact, they exchange genetic information in the process of "crossing over." All cells go through this process of meiosis because it is absolutely essential- without it, humans would have 92 chromosomes!

    Sunday, October 17, 2010

    Reflection 6.2-6.3

    In 6.2-6.3, I learned about the cell membrane and how important of a role it has in the processes of cells

    • Specifically, I focussed on what they are made up of. Membranes are made up of phospholipids, proteins, and carbohydrates. The membrane must be fluid so that things can move in and out of it easily. Therefore, the phospholipids, proteins and carbs must be held together loosely by weak interaction. 
    • What I found a little difficult was the importance of the phospholipid bilayer and its relationship with proteins.
    • How is structure related to function?
      • The weak interactions of the phospholipids and proteins allow the membrane to be fluid. A fluid membrane signifies that vesicles and other material can easily flow in and out of the cell through the cell membrane. 

    Wednesday, September 29, 2010

    How Jello WORKS


    • composed of long, stick like molecules; when dissolved in water, molecules seperate
    • when liquid cools, molecules stick back together like a giant thing of straws
    • made from cow/pig hooves, bones, connective tisssuew
    • gelatin, water, sugar, glavorings, good coloring
      • gelatin: processed collagen (animals)
      • collagen: protein (amino acid building blocks)
      • gelatin proteings made up of glycine, proline, etc.