Standards 4.1 and 4.2
This week was all about the introduction of the role that information plays in life. Domain 4, Information, deals with DNA, RNA, protein synthesis, expression of genes based on genotype, and how mutations affect this, and this first week gave me a taste of everything.
We started the week Vodcast 4.1 as homework. This dealt mainly with the history of DNA and how experiments built off one another, as they do in the scientific community, to get us to understanding of genetics that we have today. I feel that I understand these experiments, such as Griffith’s vaccine gone wrong and Hershey Chase’s exceptional use of radioactive tagging. I think I understand them well because I learned about them in sophomore year and also wrote about them in my essay arguing for the creativity of science. The one experiment that I didn’t feel completely comfortable with was TH Morgan and company’s contribution to the understanding of inheritance.
My favorite parts of the week were some of the packets we did. I liked the Meselson and Stahl packet where we followed the scientists' line of thinking to determine that DNA replicates semiconservatively. I always like when we do a packet that has us reason out why something is the way it is, because I am less likely to forget the concept. My favorite packet this week was the one where we used genetic markers to determine whether Jeff could be related to the H. family, because who doesn’t love a good mystery?
I had a hard time with Prezi 4.2, largely, I think, because I felt rushed when I was doing it. This meant that when I didn’t fully understand something, I didn’t take the time I should have to look it up, or at least look at the slide for a little longer. I get the broad idea of replication, transcription, and translations, and the POGILs helped with this, but am shaky on some of the specifics, such as the proteins involved in replication, what transcription factors are exactly, and the sequence of events in these processes. Also, I do not really understand Beadle and Tatum’s experiment.
This shakiness, I am sure, will get better once I have a chance to sit down with the material for a while. That will be my starting point in bettering my understanding, but I will also look at other sources, such as the Adv. Bio vodcasts (I like the combined visual and audio, and I also feel that I don’t really understand these Prezis very well), the textbook, and the videos by Mr. Anderson and Crash Course Biology. Lastly, I will, of course, interrogate Mrs. Cole with all my remaining questions! :)
DNA is the blueprint for life, and so is obviously a very important part of the course. This unit basically explains the how and why of the cell’s workings: how and why DNA, mRNA, and tRNA are structured the way they are, and how this dictates the way the cell operates, that sort of thing. DNA’s ability to replicate, be transcribed and be translated is the reason that the cell operates the way it does, the reason that we can inherit information from our parents, the reason that proteins are produced, and why certain proteins are produced in certain cells. This unit connects to our first unit on evolution, because evolution is based in genetics, our second unit on matter, especially the organelles section, and our third unit on energy, because many of these processes require energy. In regards to unit two, it has been fun for me to remember how some of the organelles that we learned about in unit two function together to accomplish what needs to be done by the cell. For example, how the ribosome, when it creates a special “signal peptide,” goes the RER and creates the rest of the polypeptide there. I’m not exactly sure why or how that happens, so I guess that’s another thing I need to clarify!