Showing posts with the label genetics

Familial traits, disease risks and now, Faces!

How very often do we see forensic experts on TV, nab the killer using trace amounts of DNA that were found on the carpet or victim’s clothing? While these actors convincingly make the process seem very simple and quick, it is only the people who work in the area of forensics know how difficult and tedious the entire process is. The trick is not only in getting that little amount of blood/ saliva/ skin sample from the crime scene but also having a sturdy database of DNA markers such as CODIS to compare the results against. Without a database (which, not to forget, takes years of data gathering to make), even with bucket loads of DNA to test, a forensic expert would not be able to link the the suspect to the crime scene.
But what if we told you that one could now simply get a 3D sketch of the person whose DNA was found at the crime scene. Wouldn’t that make the job of forensic experts and the cops much easier. Well, recent study published under the guidance of Dr. Mark Shriver of the Pe…

Are you in sync with your microbes?

Bacteria, fungi and viruses are better known for the harm they cause and are usually associated with the words such as infections, fever and at times, even cancer.  The pharmaceutical industry spends billions of dollars every year in attempts to develop new antibiotics, new methods of treatment for ailments caused by infections of these micro-organisms while health care providers spend resources to prevent such infections from occurring in first place.  But what if, the microbes are not meant to be kept away? What if we are looking at the problem the wrong way? What if the microbes are not the problem at all? Confused? Let us explain!
Why micro-organisms?

Although we first became aware of micro organisms in the year 1675, microbes are estimated to have occupied Earth almost 4 billion years ago. Not only are they the earliest inhabitants, they are also the most versatile and the most ubiquitous of all life forms. The total number of micro organisms on our Earth is estimated to be 50000…

Cell: “I’m not ruled by my genes”

One often comes across the phrase “It’s in my genes” in our day-to-day life. Less than a century after their discovery, the words 'DNA' and 'genes' are commonly used by all and are also a common topic of speculation in the academic as well as the non-academic world. Some scientists believe that "the living body/cell is just a mere vehicle produced and used by the genome to carry on information ahead in time generation after generation”.
Readers with a biology background are aware of the “Central Dogma of Molecular Biology”; for others let me just brief it. It proposes that DNA in genes produces RNA which in turn produces proteins that give a phenotype to  an individual. It also states that the transfer of information is unidirectional  (DNA to cell ) and not the other way round. This is considered to be the basis of molecular biology.
I would like to discuss a few implications of crediting DNA /genes with life in a cell.
Is Inheritance a property of just the DNA?
It i…