Sunday, July 31, 2016

Summer Scavenger Hunt Part I

 Free music event at the farmer's market at Dartmouth College for the summer scavenger hunt.
Moose at the Montshire Museum in VT near Hanover, NH. Got in for free so I don't have a ticket stub and don't know if it will count towards the summer scavenger hunt, but still an interesting picture.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

CRISPR Genetic Research

Personally, I think this week's article was the most interesting and intriguing of the four articles so far. The CRISPR research shows a clear relationship between biology and healthcare, something I'm very interested in. One overall part of the article I did find the most interesting was the part where it said the results can be extremely beneficial for patients compared to chemo.While chemo is quite harmful to the body it sounds as if CRISPR can be just as harmful as chemo if done incorrectly. If the modified cells aren't properly examined and given back to the patient the result of CRISPR would be on par with any chemo treatment. An autoimmune response would be triggered and the body's healthy cells would be attacked, slowly killing the patient just as chemo does.

This article did make me think about some previous things have learned, mostly in the past week at Dartmouth. While at DHMC I learned a bit about one of the most advanced cancer treatments possible outside of genetics. Using an MRI doctors are essentially able to target only cancer cells and heat them up with the MRI, killing the cancer cells. This is much safer than chemo as it doesn't attack all the cells in your body. Another cool snippet of information I learned at Dartmouth related to genetics and overall health. Doctors and research have found that extreme stress can actually shorten telomeres on our chromosomes increasing the risk cellular mutation and thus cancer. On the other hand, relaxation and happiness can lengthen shortened telomeres, decreasing the risk of cellular mutation and cancer.

I can see CRISPR as having great potential in the future if the current tests with lung cancer go well. CRISPR could eliminate the need for chemo in cancer treatment, possibly be the cure for cancer, may allow us to treat autoimmune disease such as type I diabetes, and allow us to treat incurable diseases such as FOP (Fibrodysplasia ossificans progressiva).

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Hybrids: Not Actually a Thing of the Future

After recently seeing an article about how hybrid animals were becoming a result of climate change I was intrigued and read the article. The results shown in the article were overall not too shocking to me. It was found that birds will have the highest chance of hybrid possibilities, not shocking considering most birds can easily move to different geographical locations. Mammals and amphibians had a much lower chance of hybrid possibilities. Considering how hard it would be for many mammals and amphibians to move to a suitable climate and the competition they would face with the native species the results seem plausible.

Looking at the full article I did find surprising things from what I could understand. The graph showing where all the overlapping species would meet and concentration of the overlapping species only depicted the Americas. Species overlapping can't only occur in the Americas so I was curious to why the graphic representation only showed the Americas. Another thing that caught my attention was that all most all of the projected overlapping pairs were in South America and very little in North or Central America. I thought this might be due to the fact that the Amazon Rainforest is in South America, but I'm not completely sure.

Going back to the shortened article I realized that the only hybrid talked about was the grolar bear and decided to do some more research on hybrid animals. My search yielded a plethora of different hybrids including the famous Liger, a combination between a male lion and female tiger. I also found the Tigon, a combination between a male tiger and female lion. This I found interesting because the same two species were bred, but just by switching the gender of the animals being bred changed the outcome. I'm wondering if the gender of the two species breeding plays any role in different hybrids or if the Tigon and Liger are actually the same species of animal. One final thing that caught my attention was the Litigon hybrid, a rare second generation hybrid from a female tigon and male lion. I was curious to know if the Litigon could exist and if it ever has existed and if any hybrids could be bred to make other hybrids. I'm only wondering this because of the fact the mules, a very common hybrid, can't be bred.