Sunday, September 09, 2007

Mendel's garden at Balancing life

Welcome to the September 10, 2007 edition of Mendel's garden, and apologies for the late posting. Mendel's garden #18, hosted here at Balancing life. Mendel's garden is a blog carnival devoted to genetics, featuring some of the best science blogging focused on genetics, from the past month.

Speaking of Mendel, one of the "founding fathers" of modern genetics, too many people think Mendel was just a simple monk pottering about in his garden, where he accidentally observed the inheritance of traits in peas, from which the laws of inheritance (classical Mendelian genetics) were formed. Little could be farther from the truth. Mendel was a very well trained scientist, and systematically applied statistical methods (more typical of the physical science then) to biology. After his schooling (gymnasium) he went on to study for two years at the Philosophical Institute in Olmutz, as preparation for University. Since he was too poor to go on to University, he joined the monastry of St. Thomas in Brunn, and the abbot, an enlightened man who wanted to create an intellectual center at Brunn, strongly supported Mendel's research and education. He even sent Mendel to the University of Vienna to study for two years, where Mendel studied as much physics, statistics, probability, chemistry and biology as he could. His subsequent work with peas, which laid the foundations for the understanding of how attributes of parents are inherited by their offspring, took over seven years of meticulous research.

Anyway, that was a little aside. One with the carnival!

Larry Moran has an excellent post titled Identity of the Product of Mendel's Green Cotyledon Gene posted at Sandwalk.

Hsien-Hsien Lei, PhD takes some time off to visit the Wellcome collection exhibits, and writes about Genomes at the Wellcome Collection at Eye on DNA. This looks like a must see exhibit, if you are in the neighborhood.


I had a running joke with some of my friends in grad school (who used to study the wnt signaling pathway) that wnts were responsible for everything. Chris Patil now writes A hazy shade of Wnt over at Ouroboros.

Evolutionary genetics

CAD writes about Evolutionary Solutions to the Hairy Back Problem posted at VWXYNot?, mostly describing primarily evolutionary genetics, with a touch of development and gene expression! This post summarizes recent research that explicity links multiple microevolutionary changes to a novel morphology in the larvae of a Drosophila species."

Luigi Guarino has a few posts on iron, and writes a little more on iron at Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog> at the Agricultural Biodiversity Weblog, saying, "We've had a couple of posts on the human genetics of iron metabolism and the role of agricultural biodiversity in fighting iron malnutrition"

RPM has an excellent post titled "Promoting Intelligence" over at evolgen, describing promoter differences between humans and chimps which reveal that brain genes and nutrition genes may have changes in expression.

Gene expression

Eric Michael Johnson has a well written post called Shamanic Visions of Selective Sweep at The Primate Diaries where he discusses the evolution of schizophrenia and the nature of contingency.

Fun stuff

Sandra Porter has a little DNA puzzle for us to solve over at Discovering Biology in a Digital World, and it should be quick, enjoyable and entertaining for most biochemists to figure out.

More fun stuff

Andrew Fox has some DNA you can wear! posted at Sexy Secularist!, blogging about a jewelry maker who is fashioning custom Double Helix bracelets with messages spelled out in genetic code.

GrrlScientist says why Pretty Boys Have All the Chicks at Living the Scientific Life. She says "Everyone is familiar with sexual dichromatism in birds; you know, the gorgeous, colorful male who is paired with the drab female or two. It has been observed in birds that, when males and females differ dramatically in appearance, the females are preferentially mating with a few "pretty boys"; those that have elaborate plumage colors or ornamentation. As a direct result of female breeding preferences, these "pretty boys" sire more offspring than those males with less colorful plumage, thus driving the evolution of sexual dichromatism in the population. This behavior concurrently drives evolution of a polygynous breeding system in the population. But what about those birds that are monogamous yet still show strong sexual dichromatism? How did they get to be that way?"

Finally, in case you need some good reading material, and are looking for good general science history, I have a review of John Gribbin's "The Scientists", which I quite enjoyed reading.

That concludes this edition. Apologies if I missed any submissions, but do send that post over to the next Mendel's garden next month. Submit your blog article to the next edition of Mendel's garden using our carnival submission form. Past posts and future hosts can be found on our blog carnival index page.
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Sandra Porter said...

Nice work!

Paul D. said...

A great set of articles this month!


Wavefunction said...

Great collection. Will make for some sustained fun reading.

Madhuri Sinha said...

Thanks a lot. Very interesting and informative.

Sunil said...

thanks was fun hosting the garden. Keep participating in future editions.

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James said...

Welcome to the 29th edition of Mendel’s Garden, the monthly one-stop-shop for the best the blogosphere has on Genetics. I have hosted the Garden a couple times before on my personal blog, but this month we find ourselves on Biofortified.