Archive for October, 2010

DNA Primer (part 2)

Apologies for the delay in getting part 2 ready. I’ve had an insanely busy couple of weeks and, sadly, other things fell by the wayside.

So, in the first part of this post, we covered what DNA actually is. We explored what nucleotides are, and how they join together to form sequences. We then looked at how a second, complementary, strand forms. This gives double-stranded DNA which can then coil up into the double helix (so called because there are two strands).

In this post we’re going to look at what genes really are, and what a chromosome really is.

Continue reading ‘DNA Primer (part 2)’

DNA Primer (part 1)

If you already know something DNA and molecular biology techniques, I’m sure that you too will be laughing your knockers off about the pun in this post’s title. You see? An understanding of science really does make the world a brighter place!

However, if you’re one of the normal people, you almost certainly won’t get the joke. And this makes me sad. I want this blog to appeal to people across the spectrum. So occassionally I’m going to write about a broad topic that is crucial to science, and try and de-mystify it. Today I want to tackle some of the basics of DNA. It’s a big topic, so I will do this over a couple of posts I think.

We are living in a world where it is becoming increasingly important to have some understanding of DNA. There seems to be a more or less endless stream of stories in the papers talking about scientists finding the gene for this and that. In terms of the challenges that the increasing global population poses to sustainable food production, we’re going to have to start facing the reality of more and more GM foods. You don’t have to be a molecular biologist to be in a position where some understanding of genetics is necessary and/or assumed.

Continue reading ‘DNA Primer (part 1)’

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