Epigenetics: phenotype inheritance beyond DNA

By Sabino Méndez Pastor In 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick proposed the double helix model for the structure of DNA. This discovery allowed Dr Crick to define the central dogma of molecular biology as the two-step process by which the information in genes flows into proteins. This implies that phenotypes are the result ofContinue reading “Epigenetics: phenotype inheritance beyond DNA”

Introduction to Cell Respiration

By Yujean Kim When we run a marathon, our leg muscles contract to keep our legs moving. When we eat dinner, our intestines contract to undergo peristalsis. All of these fundamental processes that occur in our body are able to function due to this one metabolic reaction: cellular respiration. Cell respiration is the controlled releaseContinue reading “Introduction to Cell Respiration”

Alternative Start Codons: Non-AUG Translation

By Jessica Lu Although the most common start codon is AUG, translation initiation can also occur at other codons with a much lower efficiency. Usually, alternative start codons only differ from AUG by one nucleotide (e.g. CUG, GUG and UUG) (Kearse & Wilusz, 2017). Alternative start codons are used by both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, thoughContinue reading “Alternative Start Codons: Non-AUG Translation”

The origins of viruses

By Ella Knüpling Not only the year 2020, but the entire evolutionary course of life has been shaped by viruses. These microscopic, intracellular parasites are the most abundant biological units on earth and are found in almost all cells. As an understanding of the origins of viruses could provide information on the development of cellularContinue reading “The origins of viruses”

Nature vs Nurture; the effect of genetics on personality

By Nitya Gupta Since the early 90s, studies have observed that identical twins (that share the same DNA), when raised apart, in separate households by different parents, have incredibly similar personalities. This equivalence is observed to a lesser extent between fraternal twins (whose DNA though similar, are not identical), providing compelling evidence that there isContinue reading “Nature vs Nurture; the effect of genetics on personality”

Exploiting the relationship of telomeres, telomerases and cancer for therapeutic uses

By Yun Son Cancer has long been one of the biggest challenges in the medical and scientific fields. Although not always so, in many cases cancer is an age-related genetic disease, and is expressed only once genomic instability in cells is increased and the ability of replicative immortality is obtained. Telomeres are cap-like structures foundContinue reading “Exploiting the relationship of telomeres, telomerases and cancer for therapeutic uses”

Life beyond four bases

By Sashini Ranawana For over 3.8 billion years, Life has evolved within the constraints of four bases. Four seemingly unremarkable  nucleotides, which have succeeded in giving rise to every single organism currently known to man. Together they constitute the genetic code: a language system which plays a critical role in the  fundamental mechanisms of transcriptionContinue reading “Life beyond four bases”

The Power of a Single Cell

By Aarushi Bellani One of the turning points in molecular biology research emerged with the discovery of Sanger sequencing in the 1970s. This technique enabled scientists to accurately determine the contents of the genome of any organism from a microscopic virus (Sanger et al., 1977) to human beings themselves (Lander et al., 2001). After itsContinue reading “The Power of a Single Cell”

Myonuclei’s survival through atrophy

By Safiya Aldris Many people fear that if they begin working out and are unable to maintain their programme, all their previously gained strength and stamina will vanish, making their efforts a waste of time. The “myonuclear domain hypothesis” backs this up, stating that a nucleus controls a defined volume of cytoplasm; when muscles experienceContinue reading “Myonuclei’s survival through atrophy”

The Biology of Taste: Insights into Flavour Perception

By Ethan Sim “Taste” is a deceptively simple label for a complex biological phenomenon. Strictly speaking, taste (gustation) refers only to what the tongue can detect – sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and savoury (umami) (Sherman, 2019). Yet, the phrase “tasting food” is commonly used to describe the process of flavour perception. Flavour perception involves moreContinue reading “The Biology of Taste: Insights into Flavour Perception”