Sunday, January 31, 2016

January 25 - 29, 2016

Last week in Dr. Jone's Honors Biology class, we learned about Meiosis. I was very interested about this topic because it seemed very similar to Mitosis. Everything is starting to make sense... when I learned that two haploid cells combine to create a diploid zygote, I realized why we had been learning everything so far; everything just 'clicked' for me. I hope that we learn more interesting things in Biology this semester and hope that I can start applying what we learn outside of class. Even though we had to do corrections and retake a quiz, I really enjoyed this past week in Bio class.

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Article of the Week

Mark Grove
Dr. Jones
Honors Bio
January 29
This article is very interesting, and talks about certain organisms that can survive on Mars. Because Mars has a very extreme environment, these microorganisms can only be found in the most extreme environments on Earth. The lichens and fungi that were tested in the "EXPOSE-E" project,  in which specimens were taken into space to be examined, were from Sierra de Gredos (Avila, Spain) and the Alps (Austria). Some were also from extreme environments on Antarctica. The results of this project concluded that around 60% of the cells remained in tact after being exposed to Martian conditions, and most DNA was unaltered.

In my opinion, this is a very amazing discovery, that organisms can survive on Mars, a planet that we know little about. I think that we should invest in sending some of these specimens to Mars to see how they react, and if they can survive and or adapt in Martian conditions. It would be very interesting to see if we could put life on Mars.

One quote that I found interesting was about conditions on Mars or "extreme space environment (with temperature fluctuations of between -21.5 and +59.6 ÂșC, galactic-cosmic radiation of up to 190 megagrays, and a vacuum of between 10-7 to 10-4 pascals)." This makes me wonder how much different Earth is from Mars and how different environments could affect organisms. Another quote that interested me was this: "The most relevant outcome was that more than 60% of the cells of the endolithic communities studied remained intact after 'exposure to Mars', or rather, the stability of their cellular DNA was still high," This makes me wonder how much data was collected and what it all means.

In conclusion, I thought that this was a very good article because it invoked my interest, and I only have one question: what does this discovery do for us and what exactly could we use it for?

Sunday, January 24, 2016

January 19 - 22, 2016

This week in Dr. Jones' Honors Biology class, we reviewed Mitosis and then took a quiz. Unfortunately, the scores were not that high so the rest of the week we studied so that we could retake it on Friday. It was a good experience for me because it finalized my knowledge about this unit involving Mitosis.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Article of the Week

Mark Grove
Dr. Jones
Honors Bio
21 Jan 2016
This article is about a new type of dinosaur that was discovered. Researchers have classified it as a meat-eating dinosaur from the Theropod group. It was discovered in south Wales and might be the "oldest known Jurassic dinosaur from the UK." It is thought that this dinosaur lived over 200 million years ago, during the beginning of the Jurassic Period. As a distant relative of the T-Rex, it was thought to have been about 70 cm tall and 200 cm long.

I believe this to be a very interesting scientific find. I want to know how exactly it was discovered and what it means to us. Obviously, it is important to science, but how can it help specifically? I liked how the article was concise, short and sweet, with a lot of information. It makes me wonder how all of the information was collected, and what steps were taken to ensure credible data?

One quote that intrigued me was this: "The new specimen represents the most complete theropod from Wales, and may possibly represent one of the oldest known Jurassic dinosaurs in the UK or even in the world." I wonder how these dinosaur fossils can be so complete if they are some of the oldest in the world? Wouldn't that make them less in-tact? Another quote that I found is this: "Compared to its distant relative the T. rex, it appears to be a small, agile animal, probably only about 70 cm tall and about 200 cm long, with a long tail, likely to help it balance." How can so much information be drawn from a few fossils? Also, why is this information important to the scientific community?

This article leaves me with two questions, how much data is needed to conclude something in the scientific field, and what do the discovery of these fossils in particular contribute to society?

Friday, January 15, 2016

January 11 - 15

This week (January 11 - 15) in Dr. Brande Jones' Honors Biology class, we finished our notes on Mitosis and also worked on a lab. In the lab, we were tasked with identifying current stages of Mitosis in onion and worm cells to see how they were similar and how they were different. Although it was a challenge, it prepared us for a quiz on Friday.

Monday, January 11, 2016

Article of the Week (January 11 - 15)

Mark Grove
Article of the Week
Honors Biology 4
January 5, 2016

This article talks about how the blue eye gene first came to be. According to their theories, scientists believe that everyone with blue eyes received that gene from one ancestor; thus, all blue-eyed people are distantly related. This unique mutation turns off the pigment of melanin, which gives color to your eyes, hair, and skin. The pigment is not completely missing, which would create an albino person; it is only decreased so that not as much melanin is produced.

I thought that this article was very interesting because of the pigment variation in different people. I liked when it talked about how the variation between brown and green eyes could be explained with the amount of melanin produced, and how it explained the cause of blue eyes so clearly. I also liked how the article told that blue eyes were a useless mutation that had no effect on survival of the human species.

In fact, one quote that interested me was this; as Professor Eiberg says, "it simply shows that nature is constantly shuffling the human genome, creating a genetic cocktail of human chromosomes and trying out different changes as it does so." This provokes my interest in human nature and how it affects so many other things that surround it. A second quote derives a conclusion from the melanin variation in blue-eyed people; "From this we can conclude that all blue-eyed individuals are linked to the same ancestor," says Professor Eiberg. "They have all inherited the same switch at exactly the same spot in their DNA."

This last quote leaves me with two questions in particular, how can a scientific conclusion be drawn from so little information, and what can we use this discovery to accomplish?

January 4 - 8, 2016

This week, we went over the syllabus again for the start of Semester 2 and also started a new unit of notes. We will continue to take notes and hopefully do a lab next week.