Debunking myths on genetics and DNA

Monday, January 2, 2012

What better way to start the new year than... with a carnival?

...and not just any carnival: the Molecular Biology Carnival!

Happy New Year, everyone! I'm starting off the new year by hosting the January edition of the Molecular Biology Carnival -- what a great honor! And a very special edition indeed, with lots of my favorite things: vaccines, viruses, proteins, bacteria, and more!

Let's start off with James Byrne's holiday-themed post (Merry) Christmas Disease, where the ailment is not some kind of viral disease you might catch on Christmas eve, but a rare form of hemophilia named after a patient diagnosed with it, Mr. Stephen Christmas.

We all know vaccines are delivered through viral vectors, but what about... parasites? Zoonotica explains how a group of researchers genetically modified a trypanosome parasite to vaccinate cattle from redwater fever.

Talking about parasites, did you know that viruses have their own share, too? These "viral" parasites are called virophages, and they can only reproduce in cells that have already been infected by a helper virus. In his post Virophages and the evolution of transposable elements, Habib Maroon discusses a new virophage recently discovered, called Mavirus, which amazingly sheds light on the origin of an intriguing DNA element, the transposons (yes, the "jumping genes" I've covered in an earlier post).

Let's stick with viruses and ask the following question: how come some viruses are degraded by our immune system's sentinels, the T-cells and B-cells, and others, like measles and HIV instead have developed a mechanism to infect those very same cells that are supposed to destroy them? Connor Bamford, in his post Viruses at the crossroads of infection looks at a paper that suggests the answer may be hidden in the virus's sugar coating.

And in another great post from his Rule of 6ix blog, Connor talks about the influenza virus and dendritic cells: immune response or Trojan horse?

From viruses to bacteria and, in particular, bacterial genes: Gemma Atkinson, in her post Bacterial genes in eukaryotes - function and phylogeny presents two papers that look at bacterial genes in eukaryotes.

Still from the amazing world of bacteria, S. E. Gould reports of a new group of magnetic bacteria, better known as magnetotactic bacteria. As S.E. Gould explains, these organisms "contain small nanoparticles of magnetic material which allow them to swim along magnetic field lines." How cool is that?

And yet another bacteria marvel: off the coast of Costa Rica, white and hairy crabs known as Yeti crabs farm bacteria on their claws, as Lucas Brouwers explains in his post Yeti Crabs grow bacteria on their hairy claws.

Finally, DNA Testing presents DNA Paternity Testing on the Rise posted at DNA Testing Blog - DNA Paternity, Sibling, & Biological Family Testing.

That's all for this edition. Don't forget to submit your entry for the next edition of the molbio carnival using the carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on the blog carnival index page.

Photo: "Beam me up, Spock!" A.K.A.: a "zoom blur" (zoom while the shutter's open) of a decorated tree in downtown.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comments are moderated. Comments with spam links will be deleted and never published. So, if your intention is to leave a comment just to post a bogus link, please spare your time and mine. To all others: thank you for leaving a comment, I will respond as soon as possible.