This week has been one of my favorite weeks, because it was HEART week!! First off we got to watch a really cool BBC documentary series about surgery, specifically the heart, which was so interesting. I’m looking forward to watching the other episodes. Then of course the next couple of days we got to cut into a deer heart, and understand how all the little valves and arteries come together. I learned so much about the heart this week, and I find it so fascinating how structured the heart is, blood comes in one way and goes out another a specific way. Of course to finish off the week, and make things even better the mouse had her babies!! And a big thanks to Mrs. Cole’s husband for getting all those deer hearts for us!
Friday, April 14, 2017
Our week was kicked off by a quiz on inheritance, and then followed by a group project focusing on maintenance physiology, my group was given gas exchange. So for the next couple of days we worked together to figure out why gas exchange is so important and how it works in different organisms. I thought this project was really cool, in the end we had to squeeze all our information onto two pages (we used three), and share it with the class. I thought all the other groups did a really good job, and I learned a lot about different maintenance mechanisms.
This week we did a really cool lab focusing on different Drosophila (fruit fly) genetics. This was a virtual lab where we were able to pick out the traits of our fruit flies, and mate them. We were then able to see the following generations to figure out if the trait we picked was dominant, recessive, sex-linked or co-dominant. This was a super fun lab, and really helped me better understand all the different kinds of inheritance patterns.
This week we focused on understanding genetics, and some mutations that can happen by doing a giant cancer activity. In this activity we were all given cards with different kinds of cancer on them, and a description of the kind of gene and its location. We got together in groups and talked about similarities and differences we had. One of the big similarities, which I talk about in my previous post is that the more genes on a chromosome the more common that chromosome will be involved in a mutation. We also did a lot of practice this week with punnett squares, and chi-squares which has really helped me understand the statistical element of genetics. We also did an activity about crossing over, which just showed how much variation can be caused by the event of crossing over.
Monday, March 20, 2017
Three Things I Learned From This Activity:
- I learned that a certain kind of cancer doesn’t just occur from a mutation in one chromosome, the mutations happen at random spots.
- The different mutations don’t effect any one kind of gene, like tumor suppressors, or oncogenes, there’s usually an even mix.
- The different mutations don’t effect any one kind gene function, like genome maintenance, genome survival, or genome function. This is random, but it may favor one more than another.
Two Things That Surprised, or Interested Me:
- Cancer is a lot more random than I had thought, I figured that one kind of cancer would share a majority of the same mutations, but that wasn't the case. Although there was some shared gene mutations, there weren’t an overwhelming amount to draw conclusions from.
- A lot of the mutations took place on chromosomes, 12, 17, and 14. This makes sense because there are a lot of genes on those chromosomes, but there are also a lot of genes on chromosomes 3 and 4, yet hardly any mutations were found on those chromosomes, so I wonder why that is.
One Question I Still Have:
- How many mutations does it take for cancer to appear, does it vary depending on the cancer, or the person?
Sunday, March 12, 2017
This week we focused on the cell cycle, and how mutations during the cell cycle can result in cancer. We learned about this process through a series of vodcasts, and POGILS. I find the cell cycle very interesting and important. It’s so cool that that the cell cycle goes through a series of “checkpoints” to try to avoid any mutations, but when one of the two important proteins like proto-oncogenes, or tumor-suppressor genes become mutated it could lead to cancer. Causing too much cell division, or too little.
Sunday, March 5, 2017
This week we focused on putting biotechnology to use in a PCR lab. This hands on lab helped clarify the complicated process of replicating DNA. The first step of this lab was to rinse our mouths with saline and spit in a tube. This was then centrifuged with gene matrix.We had to heat our spit mix in a couple of different water baths. We then carefully transferred the supernatant into a PCR tube, as well as some mastermix. This concoction was then put into the thermal cycler, for about three hours. The next day we were able to add loading dye to our PCR tube, and carefully load it into the gel for electrophoresis.This would run for a half hour, and then be placed in a dye to reveal any of our DNA.
During the process we learned how sensitive this process is, and how easy it is to contaminate a sample. Luckily a band of my DNA showed up, showing that I was homozygous negative for the gene we tested. After doing more research on the genome website my result makes sense because of my european heritage. Unsurprisingly most of the kids in my class showed up as homozygous negative, but a few were heterozygous, which was really cool. I found this lab to be a lot of fun, and hopefully I will get to do more labs like this to see my results for other genes.