Category Archive: genetics

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 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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Apr 30 2012

Want to learn more about the future of genomics?

My department is hosting a panel on “The Future of Genome Sciences” that is free and open to the public. Here are the details: Panel Discussion: The Future of Genome Sciences Monday, May 7th 7:00 pm, Kane Hall EDIT: 120 University of Washington Seattle, WA free, no registration required The speakers will be: Dr. Bruce …

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Mar 12 2012

The genetic “proof” for ancient aliens


I have a new, horrible obsession – the History Channel’s show Ancient Aliens. On Saturday I found myself drinking with a group of my boyfriend Sean’s friends, when one of them announced that we must play an Ancient Aliens drinking game. I had no idea what the show was, but became intrigued when they started …

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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



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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Nov 30 2011

My Skepticon talk: Skeptical Genetics

My talk from Skepticon is now online! If you ever wanted a quick and dirty summary of basic genetic concepts, now’s your chance. I try to address a lot of common misconceptions about genetics and address some of the shoddy ways genetics is portrayed by the media: That was my first time giving that talk. …

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Oct 20 2011

This gives a whole new meaning to high-throughput sequencing

The marijuana genome has been sequenced by researchers at the University of Toronto and University of Saskatchewan. It’s actually a pretty neat study. They compared two strains of Cannabis sativa: Purple Kush (a “potent” strain used for getting high) and Finola (a hemp cultivar). From looking at the genome alone, researchers weren’t really able to …

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Jul 23 2011

A new religious type of RNA discovered?

The backstory, from reader Arctic Ape, a Finnish graduate student: Adjacent pic is from a whiteboard in a student clubroom at the University of Helsinki, Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (or, as we call it, “Wood & Weed Science”). Someone had drawn a crude chart of plant floral induction pathway and another(?) person had made …

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