just doing the day-before-we-leave things like:
making an address list for cards
running an electrophoresis gel
printing out christmas songs for the ukulele
refilling the mp3 player
making a stab at text on my research poster for january's pag (plant & animal genome) conference in san diego
ya know, stuff like that.
my scientist auntie (Rachel) sent me a birthday email this morning with a lovely encoded message:
"Have a CAC GCG CCC CCC UAC day !!!!!!"
can you figure out what she's saying? hint: see if you can get your code on and solve the mystery...
looks like the firestorm of responses must be answered! so, my auntie was using the nucleotide (the bases from which our DNA is made, A, C, G, T) triplets that code for the 20 amino acids found in our bodies. these triplets are translated into amino acid chains that then are jumbled together to make the proteins that make our bodies work. various combinations of DNA bases code for amino acids. the first triplet (called a codon) in my auntie's message, CAC, tells the body's protein-making machinery to grab the amino acid histidine whose one-letter abbreviation is H. the GCG codon is a signal for alanine, A and so on. the complete "protein" message aunt rachel made was: histidine-alanine-proline-proline-tyrosine which, using the one-letter abbreviations, spells H-A-P-P-Y. good job, jay
, for guessing correctly.
if you're intrigued, check out a codon table.
p.s. a note on the U in the message from my aunt: DNA is first copied into a message (transcript) called RNA before being translated into the protein. the T (thymine) in DNA gets changed to a U (uracil) in RNA.
Ah, the beginning of a new semester. My developmental biology textbook has already given me reason to chuckle. Like my biochemistry book of past entry fame, the eighth edition of Gilbert's Developmental Biology book tries (and succeeds) to make the subject exciting with lots of fun anecdotes and silly things in the footnotes. Being a nerd, I appreciate these efforts.
Also like the biochem book, each new chapter features quotes from all parts of culture that somehow correspond with the new topic at hand. The quotes combo from chapter two, however, was much too silly.
Chapter 2: Life Cycles and the Evolution of Developmental Patterns
"The view taken here is that the life cycle is the central unit in biology...Evolution then becomes the alternation of life cycles through time, genetics the inheritance mechanisms between cycles, and development all the changes in structure that take place during one life cycle" JT Bonner (1965)
(Pretty much what you'd expect, a quote from a scientist...then this followed:)
"It's the circle of life
And it moves us all"
Tim Rice (1994)
Rice's work has helped me to understand life cycles: the birth of a new lion king, the estrangement of said lion due to extreme guilt, the romance between the lion and his childhood sweetheart and then later the reconciliation of the lion king to his kingdom after numerous trials. Thanks, Tim.
i coined the phrase "ethnically plastic" to describe david's
features since he can mold, with slight modifications, into a handful of ethnicities. sure, white male is usually what describes him but he's been known to pull off a mean Prince impersonation (couple hours with a flat iron plus pencil thin facial hair did the trick). if you've seen his driver's license his mexican look is solid. a future photo project is to recreate late 1800s Japanese samurai folk art using david as the samurai (complete with his flaring nostril and 45 degree angle eyebrow warrior pose).
so you can imagine how proud i felt today in my office when, for the second time now, david has been described as looking indian. not native american indian. but india indian. the first indian identification credit david received was from my indian officemate who even thinks the way david talks is somewhat indian in tone. i added two pics to the bulletin board above my desk the other day. my other, newer indian officemate took one look and said david looks indian.
"he has dark hair...and that moustache..." my officemate said as he preened his 'stache.
"he looks northern indian not southern indian," he added.
chaats off to you, honey.
- blooming African violet bud in my office
- charged MP3 player
- electrophoretic gel (hopefully with good results from this afternoon's PCR)
- PLEONAST v3.0, of course!
I wear my pleonast t-shirt in honor of you