Featured learning activity
Participants in the Human Genetic Uniqueness Project join in the search for genes that account for the genetic differences between humans and our closest relatives. Activities center on accessing genome databases and analysis of differences between human genes and the genes of other species. Background learning topics include learning about genes, and genome sequencing projects.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2006 was awarded to Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello for their research on RNA interference. RNA interference is a mechanism for control of gene expression inside cells. This diagram shows how an anti-sense RNA (the yellow strand in this diagram) targets destruction of complementary mRNA (orange strand). The active site of the enzyme that cuts the mRNA has the amino acid sequence amino acids Asp-Asp-His (DDH) at the active site.
Medical interventions that activate the RNA interference are being studied as possible future treatments of Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and other neurodegenerative diseases.
Featured research project
Participants in the Bloom clock project track and report the bloom times of wildflowers and other plants. Bloom clocks are kept by gardeners, ecologists, and others who record the time of year different plants are in bloom. This project attempts to reduce the effects of anomalous data in an attempt to generate maps of geographical "zones" that can eventually be used when describing a plant's expected bloom time in a particular region.
Participants at the Wikiversity Science Journalism Center develop learning resources about science journalism. The 2006 journal article RNA Silencing Sheds Light on the RNA World by Rachel Jones explored the implications of RNA interference for the molecular origins of life. See also: RNA World.
Did you know?
Is the retina backwards? In the diagram, light enters from the left. The cells in the retina that detect light are at the deepest layer of the retina, to the right in the diagram. See human eye development.
"...any variation, however slight and from whatever cause proceeding, if it be in any degree profitable to an individual of any species, in its infinitely complex relationship to other organic beings and to external nature, will tend to the preservation of that individual, and will generally be inherited by its offspring." - Charles Darwin
"Every college student should be able to answer the following question: What is the relation between science and the humanities, and how is it important for human welfare?" Edward O. Wilson.
Featured learning projects
- Nobel Prize Report - short podcast about the Nobel Prize in Chemistry and Physiology
- The 2006 Nobel Prize in Chemistry was awarded to Roger D. Kornberg for his studies of the molecular basis of eukaryotic transcription.
- Getting to know pathogens - introduction to the concept of microbial disease
- Telemedicine in French-speaking Africa - RAFT, a network of educational television and telemedicine in French-speaking Africa
- Allelopathy is the chemical property of a given plant that allows it to suppress the growth of other plants, similar to herbicides.
- Darwinism as religion - is evolution taught as religion in public schools?
- Cell Biology - Exploring cell biology. Independent study with projects.