Thursday, October 29, 2015

This week in Dr. Jones' 4th Period Biology Class, we learned about the process of Osmosis and reviewed organelles that we had previously learned.

Faster Evolution

Mark Grove
Dr. Jones
Biology H
29 October 2015
This article talks about how evolution may occur faster than we originally thought.  After an experiment in which scientists monitored and watched chickens for about 50 years, two mutations have been spotted.  However, fossils records have told us that the maximum evolution rate was 2% in one million years.  If this was true, less than one mutation would have occurred in 50 years, but instead two did.  In my opinion, this is a very important discovery.  If two mutations were spotted in only 50 years, then the what we know about evolution could be completely wrong.  Maybe our estimates of how old the world is are wrong, which would affect the age of fossils that were found.  If this is true, we need to do something about it.  One quote that interested me was when author Dr Michelle Alexander from the University of York said: "The one thing everyone knew about mitochondria is that it is almost exclusively passed down the maternal line, but we identified chicks who inherited their mitochondria from their father, meaning so-called 'paternal leakage'."  If this 50 year study disproved something we knew to be factual, what else have we done wrong?  Another author, Professor Larson, said: "Our observations reveal that evolution is always moving quickly but we tend not to see it because we typically measure it over longer time periods."  He is saying that we have overlooked some aspects of evolution and that we need to measure shorter timelines to observe more in depth.  So, my one question is this: How will this affect organisms living in today's world and what have we made false assumptions on?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Article of the Week (October 19 - 23)

Mark Grove
Dr. Jones
Honors Biology
23 October 2015
Article of the Week
This article talks about how litter is growing worse and spreading farther across the globe.  Even remote areas, such as the Arctic, are experiencing pollution.  The article talks about how pollution is accidentally (or not) released into the ocean.  It is hurting the environment and the animals who live in certain areas.  In my opinion, we should find a way to prevent pollution from spreading or find a way to stop it completely.  Even though there isn't a lot of pollution in the Arctic, it's still there.  That means that it is still hurting living things that are affected by pollution.  One quote that stood out to me was when Melanie Bergmann says that "On the deep Arctic seafloor, we found an average of 2.2 to 18.4 pieces of litter per kilometre of our route."  Oceanic pollution is very common, as much as 18 pieces of plastic can be found in a single kilometer of the sea floor.  Another quote was when Bergmann said that some of the information he found was from another study with a completely different objective.  He said that it is good to receive unbiased data to make your results more accurate.  One question that I have is this: How much does pollution affect sea life and what can we do to prevent it?

Friday, October 23, 2015

This week in Dr. Jones' Honors Biology (period 4), we learned more about organelles inside the cell and then had a quiz on microscopes and cell theory.  After the quiz, we made candy models of cells using twizzlers, gummy worms, and nerds.  It was a fun way to learn more about organelles, review, and have fun.

Friday, October 16, 2015

This week in class, we read about a case study called "Little Girl Lost."  The study is about a baby, Nicole with Leigh disease.  We learned about the possible causes of the disease and also that it is uncureable.  Unfortunately, Nicole died at the age of only 3.
Mark Grove
Dr. Jones
Honors Biology
16 October 2015
This article talks about how over 200 new species were found in the Himalayas.  These include 133 plants, 39 invertebrates, 26 fish, 10 amphibians, one reptile, one bird and one mammal.  One new type of fish that was found in this area can breathe air and can survive out of water for up to four days.  Also mentioned in my article was how some species in the Himalayas are becoming endangered and some have become extinct.  The most significant danger to these species is climate change, along with population growth, deforestation, overgrazing, poaching, the wildlife trade, mining, pollution and hydropower development.  I think that these new discoveries can help us learn new things about biology.  The air-breathing fish could be studied to find out why it is able to survive in air and in water.  Because of the threats to these animals, we should act to prevent climate change and also help the endangered animals to survive.  One quote that stood out to me was when they said that over 200 species have been discovered in 5 years.  If this is true, we can probably discover even more new species that are in the same area.  The more species, the more we can learn about different things.  Another quote that interested me was when the article told about a fish that could breath air.  I wonder how the process works and why it is different than other fish.  What happened to it that may have triggered the evolution and what is the new ability used for.  My one question is this: what is the process to determining if a species has already been discovered and can scientists really tell how long the species has existed before its discovery?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Mark Grove
October 8, 2015


This article is about different mutations that might cause blindness in certain animals.  Although many mutations affect organisms in different ways, this article talks about two new mutations that were discovered by scientists researching possible causes for blindness in dogs.  When different organizations or universities conducted studies, these mutations were found and later identified in human genes.  This article talks about which genes can cause blindness because of how they are involved in the seeing process.  For example, the CNGA3 gene plays a key part in converting visual signals into actual objects.  "Nearly 100 different mutations have been identified in the CNGA3 gene, including the very same one identified in the German shepherd in this study" (University of Pennsylvania).  When reading this article, I was shocked by the number of different mutations that could occur in a single gene, knowing that there are millions of different genes in every human body.  I think that scientists should definitely look into using gene therapy to find a cure for Achromatopsia.  I also think that scientists should do more tests on dogs and other animals with Achromatopsia so that their results will be more accurate.  MacDermaid, assistant professor of research at Temple's Institute for Computational Molecular Science, said that "The computational approach allows us to model, right down to the atomic level, how small changes in protein sequence can have a major impact on signaling."  He talks about advanced computers that are very useful in replicating gene mutations.  These machines can create digital models of microscopic changes that could not be seen by the untrained eye.  Another scientist, Karina Guziewicz, senior author on the study and a senior research investigator at Pennsylvania's School of Veterinary Medicine, says that "Everything we found suggests that gene therapy will be the best approach to treating this disease, and we are looking forward to taking that next step."  If Karina Guziewicz, a trained scientist, believes that gene therapy is the best approach for treating Achromatopsia, a rare disease that confuses vision, then we should definitely start testing more about it.  My one question is: how long will it take to develop a usable cure for this rare disease and how rare is the disease (1 in ______)?