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Category Archive: biology

Jun 16 2012

My research part 2: MicroRNA evolution

Like I said previously, microRNA is typically highly conserved (have the same sequence) across animals because it’s involved in such important biological processes. But some microRNA isn’t conserved, which makes it particularly interesting. Is it not conserved because it just doesn’t have an important function? Is it not conserved because the divergent microRNA confers a …

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Jun 16 2012

My research part 1: MicroRNA

My research studies a molecule called microRNA. Don’t feel bad if you’ve never heard of it, since microRNA is a fairly new discovery. The first microRNA was discovered in 1993, and the second one wasn’t discovered until 2000. We’ve discovered thousands of microRNAs by now, but they’re still not something all biologists are familiar with, …

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Jun 16 2012

The fear of getting scooped & the lack of communication within science

The fear of getting scooped really points to a larger issue within academia. Science is based upon the ability to test hypotheses and falsify data, which is why the open sharing of knowledge is so important. But fears about getting scooped lead to less open communication about methods and results. You don’t want to blab …

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Jun 16 2012

On blogging about my research

The most frequent topic request I get for my blog is to talk more about my research. Usually the extent I talk about what I do is limited to vague tweets like “Yay, my code actually worked!” and “Why am I in grad school?” But people expect that a blogger who loves talking about science …

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Jun 05 2012

You’re invited: Genomics of Non-model Organisms

I’m on the student/postdoc-lead organizing committee for the following symposium. If the topic sounds appealing and you’re near Seattle, come check it out! As a warning, the talks won’t be tailored for a totally layman audience, but if you have some biology background or just passionate interest, it should be really great! 2012 Genome Training …

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Mar 30 2012

Another academic accomplishment!

A new paper that I’m an author on has just been published in DNA and Cell Biology! It’s a slightly atypical paper, though. When I was a senior undergraduate at Purdue, the Department of Biology staff nominated me to help develop the curriculum of a new NSF-funded, research-based, freshman honors biology laboratory course called CASPiE …

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Mar 23 2012

Guest Post: Skeptical dog training

The following is a guest post by Julie Lada, a veterinary student and skeptic who blogs at My DVM Vacation. Dog training is a hot button issue right now. Dozens of TV, magazine and book personalities are dying to tell you the best way to get your dog to stop jumping up on your guests …

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Mar 15 2012

Another thing fruit flies and humans have in common

I’m kind of loving this research published in the latest issue of Science, titled “Sexual Deprivation Increases Ethanol Intake in Drosophila.” Science NOW has a good general summary of the paper: Offer a male fruit fly a choice between food soaked in alcohol and its nonalcoholic equivalent, and his decision will depend on whether he’s mated …

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Jan 31 2012

Scientific publication title of the day

“Desperately Seeking Stable 50-Year-Old Landscapes with Patches and Long, Wide Corridors” in PLoS Biology. I’m not sure if the authors purposefully came up with a title reminiscent of a personal ad, or if it’s just my overactive imagination. Either way, it makes me giggle. I mean, “long, wide corridors”? What a size queen. For anyone …

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Dec 28 2011

INJUSTICE

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I was playing Cranium with my family, and as luck would have it, my team got an evolutionary question. My dad and grandma turned to me, since, you know, I’m an evolutionary biologist and stuff. This was the question: “True or False: Dogs are more closely related to cats than they are to bears.” I …

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