References and Basic Biology


To help you find information about the basic biology concepts that I have written about on the blog, I have compiled them all here. They are separated by category so that you can easily find what you are looking for.

DNA  |  RNA | Proteins

About DNA

Blog Posts

What is DNA?

There's so much to know about science and biology that requires background information. This may be tedious to read, but ...
Read More

What does DNA look like? Like, really?

Everyone talks about DNA. And shows those lovely double helix cartoon images of DNA. But when you're a researcher in ...
Read More

Is love part of your DNA?

Happy Valentine's Day! On a day where people are overdosing on chocolate and champagne and whispering sweet nothings into each ...
Read More

What is my genome? And does size matter?

I would be interested in knowing how often the popular press has used the word "genome" in the past year ...
Read More

Why does everyone, including me, like astronomy so much? OR – how I became a biologist.

I LOVED SPACE. I loved space so much that in the sixth grade I spent most of my time at ...
Read More

What is a gene and what does it do?

Genome - it has the word "gene" built into it. But what exactly is a gene? You may remember that ...
Read More

Book Club – The Genome

Our second book club book is The Genome The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters written by the fabulous ...
Read More

How does a gene make a protein? Introducing RNA!

Genes are pieces of DNA that code for a protein. That sounds great...but how does it do this? DNA is ...
Read More

Remind me how to make a protein?

You JUST HEARD about the central dogma last week, but it's so important, that I think it's worth a reminder ...
Read More

What is heredity?

All the time, people say that I look more like my Dad and my sister looks more like my Mom ...
Read More

How do genes affect traits? It’s just like “50 Shades of Grey”

In "50 Shades of Grey", there isn't any mention of molecular biology or genetics, but maybe there should be, because ...
Read More

What is a mutation?

X-Men are mutants. So is Dr. David Banner, who turns into the Incredible Hulk. And the Joker in Batman is ...
Read More

How do mutations change proteins?

We've talked about mutations and how they can be good, bad or neutral, but how does that work exactly? This ...
Read More

What are examples of diseases caused by one gene?

Mutations. We know what they are. Mutations change a gene, which can change the protein. And this change in the ...
Read More

What is risk? Absolute versus Relative

My mom and I were talking this afternoon - we talk every day on my drive home from work (I ...
Read More

What happens when chromosomes rearrange? Sometimes cancer.

There are so many different kinds of genetic mutations. So far, we've only discussed small single nucleotide changes and insertions ...
Read More

What happens when there are too many chromosomes?

Twenty three. That's how many pairs of chromosomes each of us has. They are numbered from 1 to 22 with ...
Read More

What does it mean if I’m a “carrier”?

What does it mean when someone "carries" anything? The definition of "carry"is to hold or support something while moving somewhere ...
Read More

What can you do if you’re a genetic carrier?

In my last post, I talked all about what is means when you are a genetic carrier of a recessive ...
Read More

What does it mean when I have genes that increase my “risk” of disease? Like Alzheimer’s?

The last few posts (here and here) have been about people who have carrier mutations. These people have one recessive ...
Read More

What are all the “-omes” in science?

If you're into yoga, you may be very familiar with "OM" or if you're an electrician with "ohms", but in ...
Read More

How and why do cells divide? The cell cycle!

You started off as one cell: one tiny little zygote containing a full set of DNA (23 pairs of chromosomes) ...
Read More

How do you find a biomarker? A needle in the haystack.

Biomarkers are biological substances that can be measured to indicate some state of disease. They can be used to detect ...
Read More

Does the media sensationalize terrible science? Oh, yes.

The other day, I was drinking a glass of wine with a friend of mine, and she mentioned a story ...
Read More

What is a cell? Based on a conversation with my husband

I was at an awesome brewery in Flagstaff over the weekend (shout out to Historic Brewing Company) with my husband ...
Read More

Book Club – A Short History of Nearly Everything

Thanks to Amazon for the image A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson is a brilliant book. Bill ...
Read More

What is a sunburn? Featuring Olympic Gold Medalist Misty Hyman

Misty (left) and me getting ready to swim In this two part series, I partner with my friend, Olympic Gold ...
Read More

Can your body contain DNA that isn’t yours? Yes! Chimerism

There was a House episode (Season 3 Episode 2 Cane an Abel) about a young boy who was convinced that ...
Read More

Five Ways for You to Participate in Science – Citizen Science

The Bunsen burner I didn't have. Thanks Wikipedia for the image I had a chemistry set growing up. It was ...
Read More

What is that? A beautiful image of deadly tumor cells

Thanks to Dr. Roberto Fiorelli of Barrow Neurological Institute for sharing this stunning image It looks like an eye. Perhaps ...
Read More

What is that? A pipette!

Most of the time, biologist in the lab aren't working with things that they can see. You need to look ...
Read More

Journal Club: The Microbiome Autism Connection

As I've mentioned in other posts, scientists have to read about and understand the current scientific literature. Lots of the ...
Read More

What is Personalized Medicine?

A few years ago I was asked to teach a course to adults at the ASU Osher School of Lifelong ...
Read More

How scientists “cured” melanoma

When talking about Personalized Medicine, one of the recent shining examples of this concept in practice is in the treatment ...
Read More

The best week ever – Nobel Prize week!

Last week was one of my favorite weeks of the year - Nobel Prize week. Some people wait for the ...
Read More

Growing tumors outside the body to kill the tumor still inside

To understand how to kill a tumor, you have to study the tumor. Historically, much of how scientists understand tumors ...
Read More

Book Club: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Thanks to Wikipedia for the image In 2002, one of my first set of experiments in graduate school was treating ...
Read More

Personalized Medicine: A Cure for HIV

Personalized Medicine - finding the right treatment for the right patient at the right time - is quickly becoming a ...
Read More

How do we know the genome sequence?

Imagine someone asked you to explain how a car works. Even if you knew nothing about cars, you could take ...
Read More

The Cancer Genome Atlas Project (TCGA): Understanding Glioblastoma

In 2003, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) and researchers around the world celebrated the 50th Anniversary of the discovery of ...
Read More

Journal Club – A mutation in mice to study ALS

Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) is a debilitating neurodegenerative disease that affects neurons in the brain, brain stem, and spinal cord ...
Read More

Other Resources

Wikipedia page about DNA
What is DNA page created by the National Institutes of Health National Human Genome Research Institute
18 Things That you should know about Genetics – YouTube Video

BBC Explainer of DNA Vimeo

 

About RNA

Blog Posts

How does a gene make a protein? Introducing RNA!

Genes are pieces of DNA that code for a protein. That sounds great...but how does it do this? DNA is ...
Read More

Remind me how to make a protein?

You JUST HEARD about the central dogma last week, but it's so important, that I think it's worth a reminder ...
Read More

What are all the “-omes” in science?

If you're into yoga, you may be very familiar with "OM" or if you're an electrician with "ohms", but in ...
Read More

Did your steak sit on the counter overnight? What experiments I did at work last week

I was at a party last night telling my non-scientist friends about my week at work. For the first time ...
Read More

What is that? A pipette!

Most of the time, biologist in the lab aren't working with things that they can see. You need to look ...
Read More

About Proteins

Blog Posts

What is a protein?

I keep mentioning proteins. When I use this word, are you thinking of steak? or eggs? or protein shakes? I ...
Read More

How does a gene make a protein? Introducing RNA!

Genes are pieces of DNA that code for a protein. That sounds great...but how does it do this? DNA is ...
Read More

Remind me how to make a protein?

You JUST HEARD about the central dogma last week, but it's so important, that I think it's worth a reminder ...
Read More

How do mutations change proteins?

We've talked about mutations and how they can be good, bad or neutral, but how does that work exactly? This ...
Read More

What happens when chromosomes rearrange? Sometimes cancer.

There are so many different kinds of genetic mutations. So far, we've only discussed small single nucleotide changes and insertions ...
Read More

What are all the “-omes” in science?

If you're into yoga, you may be very familiar with "OM" or if you're an electrician with "ohms", but in ...
Read More

What is a biomarker? A cornerstone of personalized medicine.

What is a biomarker? Biomarkers are biological measures of health or disease and are a cornerstone for personalized medicine.Historically, diagnosing ...
Read More

Why is the specificity of a biomarker important? PSA for prostate cancer as an example.

I've described what biomakers are here and how they are discovered here. I've spent so much time discussing biomarkers because ...
Read More

Does the media sensationalize terrible science? Oh, yes.

The other day, I was drinking a glass of wine with a friend of mine, and she mentioned a story ...
Read More

What are vaccines and how do they work?

Vaccines are a hot topic. Vaccines bring up lots of discussion, lots of false information, and a vitriolic passion rarely ...
Read More

What are eye boogers?

Indy doing the "thinking man" My dog Indy is a boxer mastiff mix. We named him after the scene in ...
Read More