Biotechnology and religious beliefs

I just came across a fascinating article in the New York Times about biotechnology and religion. (via onegoodmove) Are Scientists playing God? It Depends on your Religion. What Princeton University’s Dr. Lee Silver found was that cultural perspectives on plant, animal, and human biotechnology varied from country to country, and correlated with religious beliefs. (Human biotechnology being primarily stem cell research.)
Here’s the breakdown: Continue reading Biotechnology and religious beliefs


A fun-filled Wednesday

On the recently passed Wednesday the 14th, I had a pretty busy, fun-filled day. I was so busy coming up to it that I forgot to blog about it being one year since I visited Madison before I had applied.

As you may know, besides my research on the Sugary Enhancer gene in maize, I’m working on some video projects. At first, the idea was to create a series of videos on pollination methods, mostly for college courses on plant breeding. Then, videos interviewing plant breeders were added in, and when I arrived in Madison in June we got ready to start filming for these two projects. And while we were out in the field, we thought, why don’t we film some grad students about the PBPG program and make a promo?

One, then two, then three projects – and they’re reproducing fast! I told my adviser Shawn that this is how it starts, and that it will never end. “Oh it’ll end for me,” he said. Uh oh. Continue reading A fun-filled Wednesday

I’m a Warrior!

Check out this article in the New York Times, that calls hobby beekeepers “Warriors Against a Plague.” As I have argued (and got quoted in The Aggie) before, genetic diversity of honeybees may be important in diseases such as CCD. Glad to know that keeping a few honeybee colonies makes me a repository for local genetic varieties, and therefore, a warrior against current and future bee maladies. Here’s the article. I also have a thought about future beekeeping. Continue reading I’m a Warrior!

Mmmm… bioinformatics

Today I begin to dig into the wonderful world of bioinformatics. Bio (life) + information, the discipline concerned with organizing, annotating, compiling and comparing the hordes of genetic and genomic and proteomic data that we’ve unraveled so far. With whole genomes and bits of DNA from around the world at my fingertips, oh what will I be doing? Continue reading Mmmm… bioinformatics

DICER: More than just an enzyme.

It slices, it dices, it’s found in quinces. Well actually, it has been found ubiquitously in eukaryotes – from plants to animals, fungi, and protists. Dicer is an enzyme that cleaves double-stranded RNA, which may sounds boring to you, but it is my favorite enzyme in the world. Why? It defends against viruses, particpates in a gene regulation system, and it is the basis for a process called RNAi, a promising tool for genetic research and crop biotechnology. But that’s not quite enough to qualify as a truly awesome macromolecule in my book, Continue reading DICER: More than just an enzyme.