It’s Not All Mary Poppins

You Go, Brigitte!!

My quote of the month:

It is sad to grow old, but nice to ripen.
Brigitte Bardot

I love this. This is my new goal. Watch me now, ripening gracefully!!


August 29, 2005 Posted by | random and odd | 7 Comments

Let’s State the Obvious

From the book cited in the last post.

Fact: Animals with the fewest predators seem to survive the longest.” (p. 32)

Well, duh. Yeah, you’d tend to survive longer if when you’re not someone’s breakfast!! And this has what to do with genetics?

August 29, 2005 Posted by | random and odd | Leave a comment

It’s DNA’d confusing…

I’ve been reading “The Genomics Age: How DNA Technology is Transforming the Way We Live and Who We Are”, by Gina Smith.

It’s a rather grandiose title for the contents, really. It’s science for the masses, and as a result, I’m sure there is some tremendous over-simplification going on. That’s okay. If it weren’t really simple, I’d be too lost to enjoy it. But as a result of the simplification, I’m awash in questions provoked by the text, to which the text does not provide answers.


Any geneticists out there who care to try to reduce their subject to kindergarten level for me, just for two questions??

Question 1:

“There turns out to be no such thing as race at the DNA level…In other words, you cannot tell simply by looking at someone’s DNA whether they are black or white. Genotype (the description of a person’s DNA) should not be confused with phenotype (what they actually look like).” P. 58-59

All right. I knew that there is only one “Human Race”. This is not news to me. I can also see that phenotype doesn’t mesh exactly with genotype, because even clones (identical twins) have differences. Though their DNA is identical, you can, if you know them well, tell them apart. But, come on now, the differences are subtle!

We do get hair colour, height, shape of nose, etc, from our genes. If ethnic differences don’t show up in our genes and chromosomes, then why do we, unless intermarriage occurs, breed true to type? Why don’t the occasional white couple produce – surprise! – a baby with “oriental” eyes, or an oriental couple produce a child with super-curly afro hair?

Question 2:

Mitochrondrial DNA. This stuff has me flummoxed and intrigued in equal measure. Mitochrondrial DNA is not found in the nucleus of the cell with the other DNA, but outside, in the rest of the cell. “Because [it] doesn’t recombine with the father’s’s DNA every time a couple has children, it stays pure. That means the mitochrondrial DNA you have in your cells is exactly the same as the mitochondria in your mother’s cells, your mother’s mother’s cells, and so on. It is a perfect line of descent. That makes it theoretically possible to trace back the DNA in all our mitochondria to a handful or original females.” p. 86

An argument for Eve! How cool!

Okay. So if it stays pure down the matrilineal line, do men have it? And if it’s outside the nucleus and doesn’t recombine with the father’s contribution, how does it get passed on? I’m baffled.

And if there are no geneticists reading this, it’s back to the books and the googling for me. This is interesting stuff!

August 29, 2005 Posted by | books, random and odd | 10 Comments