Rosalind Franklin

When people talk about the discovery of the DNA double helix structure the names that normally pop up are James Watson and Frances Crick.  Every once in awhile you will hear a third name.  That being Maurice Wilkins.  But there is one name that is almost always…  and I really mean almost always, left out. Rosalind Franklin. It’s safe to say, and very few would disagree, that without her the double helix structure would not have been discovered when it was, nor perhaps by the same team of discoverers.

Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “Oral History of British Science.” Wilkins, Maurice (12 of 12). National Life Stories: Leaders of National Life. Accessed February 05, 2016. http://sounds.bl.uk/Oral-history/Science/021M-C0408X0017XX-1200V0.
  • “Rosalind Franklin Couldn’t Deal With People.” YouTube. Accessed February 05, 2016. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fBWPzdyyPic.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com and Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

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Are We Still Evolving?

There are some who say that evolution by natural selection, at least when it applies to you and I, is no longer a driving force. The argument is that we’ve pushed natural selection aside and taken the reign of our own development.  That we are no longer evolving as a species.

Perhaps the way we should look at it is that every advance we make, every thing we do to extend human lives, is natural selection at work. It doesn’t have to be tied to a mutation in our genes, it can be also be tied to the amazing things we create and accomplish.

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Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “1950’s Commercials Borden’s Dairy Products, 1950s.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oabXQrbRU1o.
  • “Bill Gates: Mosquitos, Malaria and Education.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tsgvhP07BC8.
  • “Fighting Malaria – News Desk (22-4-15).” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1eZna4SAX0Y.
  • “Lecture on the Evolutionary Impact of Malaria on Humans.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BnQF2DRjIkg.
  • “Life Finds a Way – Jeff Goldblum – Jurassic Park (1993) Movie Scene.” YouTube. Accessed November 20, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SkWeMvrNiOM.
  • “Michio Kaku: Mankind Has Stopped Evolving.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UkuCtIko798.
  • “MilkDoesABodyGood-Milk Commercial from the 1980s – Pre-dates “Got Milk” Commercials.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-hJHbYrmyb4.
  • “News Report: Scientists “create” Malaria Resistant Mosquito.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LCV-JN5GRhU.
  • “PT 2 The Three Stooges In Busy Buddies.” YouTube. Accessed November 15, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mwdnYHL4A7U.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear at soundofpicture.com and Kevin MacLeod at incompetech.com. Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0

 

Radiation and DNA

What does radiation do to us exactly and why do we care? The American geneticist Hermann Joseph Muller worried about it back in the 1920s. At the time we had no idea what radiation could do, if it could do anything at all. X-rays were of particular interest.  For his tests Muller turned to everyone’s favorite test subject… the fruit fly.  By 1926 Muller saw a definite connection between radiation and mutation in his flies. He prepared a paper titled the ‘Problem of Genetic Modification’ and delivered it to the Fifth International Congress of Genetics in 1927.

For his work on the link between x-rays and mutations, Muller was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1946.

Muller’s Morphs PDF

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Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “The Incredible Hulk Opening Theme.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed September 25, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yoxpkuu6pug+bryanshulkpage.
  • “Incredible Hulk Ending Theme Music (Lonely Man).” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed September 25, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tzmsfanxyzg+voldo12434.
  • “Joe Harnell’s Music Score from THE INCREDIBLE HULK, The TV: Series (1977) Suite.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed September 27, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a4ho89xctvw.
  • “Stan Lee On the ‘Science’ of Comic Book Superheroes | SUPERHEROES | PBS.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed September 26, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzkau07ozww.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear @ soundofpicture.com

 

Mendel and His Peas

Gregor Mendel was born as Johann Mendel in Austria in 1822. While living as an Augustinian Friar at the St. Thomas monastery, Mendel began to spend more and more time studying heredity. The monastery’s nursery was the perfect spot for Mendel to conduct his research.  He focused on peas.  They had easily observable traits that express themselves in one of two ways.  For example –  the pea plants in the nursery were either tall or short, had purple or white flowers, and produced seeds that were either yellow or green, round or wrinkled.  It wasn’t a blend of traits.  By focusing on one trait at a time he could track the appearance of that trait over generations.

In 1865 he pulled it all together and produced a paper which he read to a group of his peers.  The paper was all about his peas and his heredity experiments.  Unfortunately for Mendel, the world would’t be ready to listen until decades after his death.

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Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear @ soundofpicture.com

 

Master Switches

Nestled comfortably within our DNA are a set of switches. Like the light switches you casually flip on and off in your home, they are responsible for making you who you are. These are our genes. Turn some on and you have blue eyes and blonde hair. Flip some off and you might be a little bit shorter than you would have been had they not been flipped on at all. Genes control how we look and even how we act. How much they affect our behaviour is matter of debate but the fact remains that our genes, our light switches, are the keys to the kingdom when it comes to understanding the many shapes and sizes of all living things.

And just like that one regulating switch which controls the current of electricity to your home, you have one which controls certain sets of genes.

It’s called the PAX gene.

 

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Sound Clip Bibliography

  • “The Evolution Of the Eye (2010) – Richard Dawkins.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed August 15, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mb9_x1wgm7e.
  • “The Fly (1958) Full Movie | Watch Vincent Price’s Full Horror Movies.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed August 16, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g-v6n0uvwtm.
  • “Lecture By Professor Richard Dawkins at Culham Science Centre.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed August 15, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pj9ogl2dt84.
  • “Walter Gehring (Homeobox And Eye Development).” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed August 15, 2015. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytpyyk-acco.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear @ soundofpicture.com

 

Epigenetics

In 2005 biologist Michael Skinner witnessed something that shouldn’t have happened.  His mice were exposed to a toxin.  A toxin which caused the children of these mice to experience birth defects.  This wasn’t the surprise since the mice could easily have been exposed while in their mother’s womb.  This could explain the defects.

What it couldn’t explain was the fact that the next generation also had this defect.

Introducing epigenetics. You can almost look at epigenetics as being a sort of cellular memory. Once nature begins playing with genetic switches, the status of those switches become part of the organism’s developmental blueprint.

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Episode Bibliography

  • “03 – Understanding Epigenetics – Interview With Dr. Jean-Pierre Issa.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rhjblhl9aj0&list=plth3xgpgtnkswkv6kvq9i-h0k0jlwyoz9&index=8.
  • “Epigenetics And Transgenerational Inheritance with Dr Michael Skinner.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=necrvk6dg7k&list=plth3xgpgtnkswkv6kvq9i-h0k0jlwyoz9&index=6.
  • “Jurassic Park – Mr. DNA Sequence.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 27, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quafyzffbbu.
  • “Mice Can Inherit Learned Sensitivity To Smell.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fvkyvnfiwp8&list=plth3xgpgtnkswkv6kvq9i-h0k0jlwyoz9&index=7.
  • “Mice Can Inherit Learned Sensitivity to a Smell.” Mice Can Inherit Learned Sensitivity to a Smell. Accessed July 22, 2015. http://news.emory.edu/stories/2013/12/smell_epigenetics_ressler/campus.html.
  • “Michio Kaku: Can We Resurrect The Dinosaurs? Neanderthal Man?” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8c-ewsmogdc&index=5&list=plth3xgpgtnkswkv6kvq9i-h0k0jlwyoz9.
  • “Mike Skinner Epigenetics.Wmv.” YouTube. YouTube. Accessed July 21, 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qvj79p6m8bq&index=9&list=plth3xgpgtnkswkv6kvq9i-h0k0jlwyoz9.
  • Q, by Charles. “Chicken Embryos With Dinosaur Snouts Created In Lab.” LiveScience. TechMedia Network, December 2015. http://www.livescience.com/50802-chicken-embryos-with-dinosaur-snouts-created.html.

Music in the Episode

The music in this episode was provided by Podington Bear @ soundofpicture.com