Posts Tagged ‘dna’
For some reason I had the book Rosalind Franklin: The Dark Lady of DNA, by Brenda Maddox, unread on my bookshelf, I’m not exactly sure how it got to be there. I had heard of Rosalind Franklin, and the opinion that she had been robbed of a Nobel Prize. I gladly took the chance to discover much more about her.
The book is a biography of a woman best known for her enormously important contributions to the discovery of the structure of DNA and RNA. A woman struggling with institutionalized sexism in post war Great Britain, yet highly regarded in the UK and overseas for her work with coal, graphite and X-ray crystallographer. A woman with a brilliant mind, who was apparently not even annoyed after Crick and Watson so obviously borrowed her work, leaving her to play second fiddle to them with a discovery which was entirely hers.
The book is divided into three parts, the first covering her family’s roots from Breslau (Wrocław, Poland) and their establishment in the UK. This establishes a context for Rosalind’s life and breakthrough into the male dominated scientific world. It proceeds to tell Rosalind’s story from birth, school, into academia through-out the Second World War, up to the point that she has made a success of herself in the UK and France, in her coal and graphite research, and decides to re-establishes herself in London at King’s College.
Part two mostly covers her work on DNA and her troubled times at King’s. And although not a highly scientific look at the process in which DNA was discovered, most informative to a layperson.
The final part starts with her move to Birkbeck College, her work on RNA and plant viruses, and travels round Europe and the United States for lectures, research and to make contacts. Maddox does explain that Rosalind’s untimely death was almost certainly the reason she didn’t get the Nobel Prize, as the rules of the Nobel Prize forbid posthumous nominations.
A sad tale, and fantastic read.
So all that knowledge I learned when I was writing the article on DNA sequencing finally has its use, I just read DNA sewing machine: “Japanese scientists have made a micro-sized sewing machine to sew long threads of DNA into shape.”
It’s not really sewing, it’s unravelling a coiled DNA strand to make it possible to see the genetic markers or probes. The PCR primers which I was using to find genetic defects on the strand in a previous article, straightening the DNA strand makes viewing it easier.
You know how it goes, you’re working on a project and are stuck on a problem. How do I perform this task? It’s often a knowledge gap, and that was true for me which working on Happy News and Genes. Usually it resolves itself when someone fills in the blanks, in this case the article 10 Tips For Designing PCR Primers That Work.
Some handy links to help me further:
- Primer Design
- Guidelines on the primer design for PCR cloning
- Molecular Biology : PCR : PCR Primer
- PCR Primer Design and Reaction Optimization
Happy news, good friends of mine are the proud new parents or a baby girl. They had a shock when the doctors told them many of the indicators for Down Syndrome, which they are now checking. I hope it all goes well for them.
Naturally hearing this made me wonder about myself, Wired recently posted Check Yourself for Genetic Abnormalities. Naturally I don’t really want it done by an expert, it’s more fun to do it yourself so I skipped right done to Perform Lab Tests at Home.
I’ll take you through the steps: Read the rest of this entry »