The Key to the Senses: Transduction

Here’s probably the most basic question in all of sensory neuroscience (the study of the senses). How does a ray of light enter our nervous system, to eventually become something that we see? How in fact does anything external (anything we touch, smell, taste, hear or see) get turned into something internal (some kind of signal in the brain that tells us to sense something).

The answer is simple, so simple in fact that it is one word: (more…)

The Future of Medicine – DNA and Pharmacogenomics

This will be the last DNA dedicated post.

Modern Medicine has done a lot in the last couple of centuries. We found penicillin and antibiotics, vaccines have become more effective and anaesthetics became more widely used. Even things like modern pharmacology were born, giving thousands of life saving drugs. In short millions, probably billions, of lives have been saved. But there are still a lot of problems. (more…)

The Uselessness of DNA

Several of the greatest ever scientific projects and discoveries over the last 100 years have been to do with DNA.

  1. First there was the discovery that DNA is the code for life.
  2. Next there was the discovery of the structure of DNA, allowing us to interpret the code.
  3. This carried on, we learnt about transcription and translation.
  4. Then eventually there was the Human Genome Project (HGP), which mapped out every single codon in all of our DNA.  And it was the HGP that gave us all a big shock.

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Life: DNA – Translating Life

This is probably all the basic understanding of DNA that you will ever need (especially if you are a non-scientist). If you are a molecular biologist, than this is just the beginning!

Turning DNA into proteins (and thus creating life) is split into two distinct steps:

  1. Transcribing. (Meaning to write out)
  2. Translating. (So translating the written out code into proteins)

Lets start.
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Life: DNA – Breaking The Code

To start off on this massive topic I would like to note a couple of key concepts: (more…)

Life: “It’s all in the DNA'”

Before I get started I want to start with the reasons why DNA is so important.

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Life: What We’re Made of Part 2 (The Molecules)

I could have gone on to bigger things after the cell, but I thought it would be worth covering this bit first. I mentioned that the cells control molecules which in turn control atoms. I want to quickly explain what those molecules are. (more…)

Life: The World is Made of Lego Bricks

These first few posts are going to be pretty factual just so I can get some of the basic principles out of the way. A lot of these posts might be turned into pages when I start to cover more niché topics!

This first concept is a bit abstract, but important: I’m going to explain what atoms are and how they make up our world on a really tiny scale, using Lego as an example. (more…)