Science is a Process, not an Object.

Biotechnology and Genetic Engineering

Blog Entries

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This is an electrophoresis gel showing some DNA we synthesized last year by PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction). See the blog for more details.

Gel Electrophoresis

Once DNA is cut into smaller pieces, how do you know if you have cut them? How do you know if the pieces are the size you expect? The answer was "gel electrophoresis," which is a way to separate and identify DNA sequences based on size.
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Protein blog

As I said earlier, a common theme in biology is how large "macromolecules" from subunits, usually known as monomers.
Proteins are arguably the most important and, inarguably, the most diverse of all the macromolecules.
Each protein begins as a long strand of hundreds (or thousands) of amino acids. Since there are 20 different amino acids commonly used, 100 amino acids would have 20100 possible sequences.
In practice, you won't see all possible ones and they are not randomly put together. Instead, the information in the DNA is used to specify what sequence is made (through a process we will learn about).
These chains then fold into complex structures you have seen.
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Enolase detail

I Thought I would take a minute to talk about a reaction mechanism. This is not something on which I would test you. However, I thought getting into the mechanism…even just the idea of a mechanism…would be useful.
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Restriction Enzymes

This serves as a good example of the pattern I described: something is discovered; half the people try to figure out how it works; the other half try to figure out what they can do with it. This is the initial discovery that made all of biotechnology possible in the first place.
The image above comes from Wikipedia's entry on the enzyme EcoRI. The DNA is in orange at the top. The rest is the protein.
Please also check out a blog written by a friend and colleague of mine, David Goodsell. The blog is called "molecule of the month" and there is a link to it above. Here is the restriction enzyme blog.

Molecules and Basic Bonding

I want to refresh you somewhat concerning the chemistry you will need to know to understand biology. Also, we use a "short-hand" notation when drawing organic molecules (molecules including carbon and hydrogen). This blog introduces you to that system, and some of the functional groups we will use consistently.
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