Friday, February 10, 2017

Weekly Reflection for Week of 02/06/17

This week, I continued my exploration of Domain Four: Information. Looking into standard 4.1, I completed a POGIL about Translation. Here, I looked into which mRNA nucleotides code for amino acids, and learned that to cope with mutations, multiple sequences of bases result in the same amino acids, not disrupting the polypeptide chain. Because mutations do happen (as seen in standard 4.2), I completed another packet about the Belgian Blue Mound of Beef. This is a breed of cattle with mutated DNA, causing it to not be able to develop the myostatin protein. The loss of this protein makes it so the animal cannot regulate cell development, growth, and division. This packet also tested my knowledge on translating DNA to RNA, and RNA to amino acids. I have gotten quite good at this!
The greater part of my week was spent completing a Play-Doh activity on making polypeptide chains. I was paired with Eric, a new partner. We worked very well together, and used our time very wisely. We are almost finished creating a slideshow about how a double helix and code for a polypeptide chain. This hit standard 4.1. It was really fun being able to “play” with Play-Doh while learning information and reviewing ideas for the quiz on Friday.
For homework this week, I had to complete a vodcast divided up into three parts about biotechnology. It focused largely on the tools and techniques used in biology, as well as their applications and the ethics of the field. Though it was very interesting to see “behind the scenes,” I will have to work very hard to completely understand all of the tools and techniques of biotechnology. For me, it was very difficult separating vectors, labeling, PCR, and microarray in my head.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

Weekly Reflection for Week of 01/31/2017

This week was spent introducing Domain 4: Information. For homework, I took notes and answered WSQ questions on a Vodcast. It was based around the basics of DNA, including Frederick Griffith’s discovery while trying to find a vaccine for pneumonia. It showed that DNA can be transferred from one bacteria cell to another, even if it is dead. This turned into another experiment about twenty-five years later pertaining to bacteriophages and how viruses can infect bacteria. Hershey and Chase used this to their advantage and solidified that DNA, not protein, is the source of hereditary information in organisms (4.3). This set the stage for DNA, and brought in some background information to help future information make sense.
           In class, I was presented with three theories from the 1950’s based on how DNA is replicated. To figure out which was the true theory, Sophie and I looked into the Mendelson and Stahl experiment with light and heavy DNA. Using this BioInteractive packet, we were able to figure out the way in which DNA is replicated: semiconservatively. This was the basis that we needed to understand all of the information for this week. We then explored two POGILs on how DNA is replicated and transcribed. This was a lot easier to understand after the BioInteractive packet because it gave reason to why DNA replicates the way that it does (4.1).
           I also had to take notes on a Prezi this week that talked about DNA replication, transcription, and translation. Looking at these POGILs and Prezis have triggered knowledge I learned from biology my freshman year, and it has been a lot easier to grasp so far this week that it was my freshman year. Reading The Central Dogma helped me understand three and five prime strands on DNA, and how that relates to the replication of DNA. I also learned about point and frame-shift mutations can alter the polypeptide that is produced (4.2).
         The last few days were spent analyzing how genetics can solve problems pertaining to family trees. Sophie and I were able to determine a person’s relatedness to a family from a few genetic markers based on information we learned over the course of the week (4.1). This was then pushed further by exercising our skills to create a scientific argument.