And in case, you’re wondering what a hairless wookiee looks like…
Full details (including full text and/or pdf of the scientific paper) can be found at The Science Creative Quarterly.
In which we compare the common Wookiee with a newly discovered cave dwelling (pseudo albino) Wookiee species, and note a number of interesting gene expression differences.
From the Journal of Praetachoral Mechanics/Science Creative Quarterly. Link to full text and full pdf article here.
Superheroes possess exceptional characteristics that far exceed the scope of human capabilities, such as the tremendous strength and pigmentation observed in The Incredible Hulk following his exposure to γ-radiation. Here, we explore the underlying molecular mechanisms for the “superhuman” abilities seen in the Hulk, as compared to semi-superheroes Papa Smurf and Popeye the Sailor. In particular, we examine the role of epigenetic mechanisms, principally DNA methylation, in the genotypic expression of “super” genes and their phenotypic manifestation.
Whole Transcriptome Shotgun Sequencing (WTSS) was conducted on The Incredible Hulk, Popeye the Sailor, and Papa Smurf to identify “super” genes. Whole Genome Shotgun Sequencing (WGSS) was subsequently performed on the Hulk, from which chromosome γ was assembled and Bacterial Artificial Chromosomes (BAC) were created. FISH-karyotyping was then employed for chromosome examination before and after treatment with γ-radiation. Methylation assays were conducted on CpG islands upstream of “super” genes to assess gene expression following treatment with activator substances spinach and smurf berries.
See the data and the full paper (pdf and full text copy) at the Science Creative Quarterly.
T-shirt now available in honour of my lab’s Molecular Biology 5 day professional workshop (next one held in Vancouver from Feb 17th to 21st, 2014 – more details here). Note that all revenues go towards my lab’s outreach programming, which can be surveyed here.
Anyway, if you’re a scientist in need of a quick refresher in these techniques, or someone in a parallel field and want to learn more about the various methodologies that keep infiltrating your research discipline, then take a peek and consider signing up (or pass along to a colleague).
Also, if you’ve got a friendly neighbourhood bulletin board nearby, it would be AWESOME if you could put this poster (pdf) up somewhere.
T-shirt available for purchase here.
Note: eventually, some of these (I suspect) will be published in full at the Science Creative Quarterly.
By DAVID NG
It’s hard to believe that the Human Gnome Project formally began in 1990s. It was quite frankly a great time for all of us gnomes as we thought we had finally gained the attention and respect we deserved as a community. But decades later, we as a community are disappointed, angry, full of resentment, and still addicted to nicotine.
To our knowledge, of the billions of research funds given to human gnome initiatives, none of it ever actually went to fund “gnome” research. Instead, a sizable portion went to human human research, and in an apparent slap in the face to my kindred, significant amounts also went towards research looking at bacterial, yeast, worm, fugu, fly, and mouse genetics. Suffice to say, that with the exception of humans, these are all organisms that do not smoke pipes. To say that this has been hard on my community is an understatement of vast proportions. Apart from the soaring lung-cancer rates, I find I am continually aware of other lost opportunities the money could have been used towards.
For instance, for whatever reason, we as a race are forever doomed by our incessant need to wear pointy hats. I hate my stupid hat—loath it with a passion. And yet I have to wear it. We all do. Why this is so has been mystery for many an age. Maybe that’s why I go through 70 grams of tobacco each day. And whilst pointy hats are fine for garden work (one of our main sources of economic recovery), they are hardly advantageous in the current global market—especially when first impressions play a key role. Surely, there is an underlying neurological basis for this behavior—a basis that science could have elucidated.
And what about our facial hair? Believe me, it is not because we are particularly fond of our beards. It’s not even because tobacco pipes look cooler in this context. Our beards just happen to grow at amazingly fast rates! This is not such a huge issue with me and the other male gnomes, but my poor wife actually has to shave every 45 minutes or else deal with social harassment. This is also compounded by the fact that services, like laser hair removal or electrolysis, are just too expensive, especially on a gardener’s income. Ironically, the only gnomes who could possibly afford these high tech solutions are the few who have made it into Hollywood where maintaining the typecast “bearded” look is required anyway. Furthermore, even when a hairless gnome is needed on a movie set (e.g., Mini Me in the Austin Powers franchise), we still get passed over because of our goddamn pointy hats! I bet billions could have sorted this problem out a long time ago.
But if there was ever a strong case for gnome research, you only need to look at my poor Uncle Bill. This unlucky bastard of a gnome must have some bladder problem or something, since he is (no exaggeration) urinating constantly. Seriously, I don’t think he’s even had a chance to put his penis away since he started 14 years ago! And the truth of the matter is that this particular problem is relatively rampant in my circles. Most start off fishing, and then they feel the urge and then whammo! It’s like a disease. I don’t think it’s too difficult to appreciate the magnitude of this medical condition. Aside from the psychological pain endured, imagine how uncomfortable it must be to leave it “out” constantly in all manner of weather conditions. I don’t care if you are the gardener type— when it’s cold, it’s cold! Plus, it makes smoking a pipe tricky.
Anyway, I’m not here to preach endlessly about our problems. I just here to say I want a fair piece of the action. If the project is called the Human Gnome Project, then it only makes sense that at least some of the money should go towards gnome research—right?
O.K., I’ve said my piece. I really have to go outside now to smoke my pipe—stupid human nicotine patch, piece-of-crap waste of money …
The figure legend reads:
Figure 4: Six-way Venn diagram showing the distribution of shared gene families (sequence clusters) among M. acuminata, P. dactylifera, Arabidopsis thaliana, Oryza sativa, Sorghum bicolor and Brachypodium distachyon genomes.
In case it wasn’t obvious, M. acuminata is the banana plant.
Full paper on the draft genomic sequence of the banana, and the info this divulged regarding its evolution is available for free downloading at Nature.
REF: The banana (Musa acuminata) genome and the evolution of monocotyledonous plants. Angélique D’Hont, France Denoeud, et al. Nature (2012) doi:10.1038 / nature11241 (published online July 11, 2012)