This week, we began domain 5, Regulation, which I think will be a very interesting unit, once I get a handle on the info (little overwhelmed currently). So far, we have looked into the regulation of genes and development (5.1-5.2), and how organisms maintain homeostasis in a variety of areas (5.3-5.5). All of these topics are super fascinating, albeit it complex. I definitely could happily take an entire course on either of these topics studied so far.
The week began with a look at stickleback fish, which I found intriguing and felt pretty good on. The only mutations we had discussed up until now are those that affect an expressed gene and create a new allele. This packet looked at what can happen if a gene that isn’t directly expressed is mutated: a regulatory gene. Here, the proteins that binds to the regulatory gene will no longer be able to do so, and then the regulatory gene will no longer be able to go and “turn on” the coding gene. A major point the packet made was that there are different regulatory genes to turn on a coding gene in different parts of an organism, and therefore a gene may be expressed in one part of an organism but not another. Through this packet, I also learned that a gene can be expressed in two different parts of the body but through different proteins, due to intron editing. We had learned that this was possible earlier in Unit 4, but this really brought the idea together for me. This packet, and this unit so far, has been really doing that for me: bringing together bits and pieces of other units that I didn’t understand the reasoning behind and answering all my questions.
Wednesday through Friday we worked on a cooperative handout on physiology of animals and plants. My group researched gas exchange, which, as it turns out, is pretty interesting. Not going to lie, I wasn’t super enthused when I first started. I feel very solid on the parts I researched, but I definitely need to read over and solidify the rest of the the presentation. Friday, we all looked over other groups’ handouts. This is where the whole, “I can’t read and listen to and talk to people at the same time” and “I process things rather slowly” thing became incredibly evident. I read the first handout pretty thoroughly and feel well versed on nutrition, but the rest of them, wellllllll...Basically I had to blast through those and make some comments, but I didn’t get to take things in. So yeah, gotta go back and look those over, especially circulation, so that, even if I pass out or throw up later this week, I will at least theoretically understand everything I was supposed to be learning through dissection before I hit my head off the counter/find solace in the toilet. (To be clear, I’m planning on neither of those things happening, but I also want to acknowledge the worse, and very possible, case scenarios.)
Lastly, we had several vodcasts to do this week, and wow, these threw me for a loop. I didn’t reeeeeally understand large portions of Vodcast 4.12, and then Vodcast 5.1 hit. 5.1 built upon Vodcast 4.12, so it was like, DOUBLE WHAMMY, you didn’t really understand the first one, well here’s another one, haha! But that’s my fault for not clarifying parts of 4.12 that I didn’t understand, and I know that looking these two lessons over and asking questions will get me right back on track, so I'm not majorly worried. Vodcast 5.2 explored how both plants and animals go from being two gametes to a zygote to a fully developed organism, and I actually feel pretty good on these ideas overall. Sure, I need to focus a little more on the details and fully understanding them, but I feel that I have a pretty good start, because I took the time to process the vodcast as I was doing it, rather than rushing through like I had to with 4.12 and 5.1, due to a time crunch. I will take the time to go back and revisit those two over vacation, for sure, and hopefully sooner, but probably not, because I will be focusing on studying for our test Thursday.
As I mentioned earlier, the information we have been learning in this unit has really been some of the missing puzzle pieces from other units, and I think it fits seamlessly. In the stickleback packet, we went back to unit one and evolution, this time learning the "why" behind the "what." This idea of regulatory genes wraps into units four, when talking about genetics, and unit two, when talking about the proteins that are both needed to turn on the regulatory genes and that are produced when regulatory genes activate coding genes. Our work with homeostatic regulatory systems also ties in closely with all of these units, as well as unit three. Nutrition is a regulatory system that is especially closely aligned with unit three. And development, as discussed in 5.2, also wraps into all of the units, with evolution being a result of differences in development, often times caused by genes, and not enough of a life molecule, like a protein, being present. All of this needs energy.