Thursday, December 20, 2012

she blinded me with science!

Hey guys,

So the science topic today is from a CNN article that I saw through a Facebook page. It was a picture of a mouse with the link I attached saying how two female mouse eggs were used to create a female mouse that is healthy and fertile. After being extremely annoyed by the focus on social issues by all the comments attached, I was hoping to be enlightened if I posted the same article here (you should have heard my rant to my mother about how either the science minded are bashing the religious views or vice versa and how depressing it is, etc). I assume anyone who actually reads this blog is an intellectual who can put personal views aside and dive into the science aspects of what is posted on news articles such as these. I was taught in class to never just read and accept but to look into statements made, so I assume my lovely, smart, and open minded/scientific readers will do the same in a polite manner (hint, hint...otherwise I will delete your comment if I see anything that is just bashing one another).

Now granted, I understand the entire article is about social issues, and I'm not saying to not take these things into consideration when we go about our expeditions in science...but unless you watch the video, the article is nothing about the mouse experiment despite the title (really? Got to love media). In fact, the genetic aspects of this video I found lacking ("genetic locks" as she said....stop, rewind, explain please). Basically, and feel free to comment and disagree, I saw this entire thing as a woman who is interpreting someone else's work and blowing out of proportion in her book and then CNN making it even more blown out of proportion. When I first saw this video my questions spread like wildfire as the focus shifted away from what I was looking for: How does this affect the mitochondrial genes, if at all? What are the ramifications for genetic disorders if two eggs are used? What's the success rate with these mice? The list goes on and on. So let's get into the main issues here:

First issue: "...Generate eggs from the body, from the genetic complement of that person..." This was relating using a sperm from one male and using the genetic complement of the other male to make an egg. Gathering what I could from the video without looking more into it, we were told of a successful egg/egg fetus... Based on her assumptions earlier stated, then one sperm that is premature could act as an egg couldn't it? (I'm asking you folks, I am no expert in this area... I work with algae, not humans, so help me out here).Then she jumped to an artificial incubation for this particular example of a fetus (which is not possible yet). I didn't see any scientific evidence behind anything she was saying but more of a sci-fi "wouldn't this be cool" scenario. What do you think?

Second issue: Where is this paper or data or anything relating to what they did?? I love how unless you buy her book and/or search for this paper (whose title or author were never given) you have the potential to be completely misinformed.

I did some digging and found a ton of blogs, news articles, etc... but finally, I found the actual paper:

Birth of Parthenogenetic Mice that can Develop to Adulthood
(Please let me know if you can't open the pdf through this link!)

So what does the actual paper have to say?

Well, I am reading the paper right now, so here's the deal:

I would love feedback first. I plan on posting a later blurb on the paper itself, so if you can, focus on how you would interpret the article/video scientifically without being able to look at the paper. How would the general audience understand the science? Is it fully explained to you or lacking? What questions do you have (this will help me for the next post)? I'm really looking forward to your thoughts and remember, this isn't about the social impacts, this is about how science is being portrayed by the media so try your best to keep to that.

Read, view, and enjoy!

Monday, December 3, 2012

she's back!

Hey guys,

Well, I appreciate your patience immensely. It's the last week before final exams and I managed to survive mono, GREs, two grant proposals for the NSF and EPA, my classes, holidays, and having some sort of a life. Now I can come back with a vengeance and write my arm off for you. I am actually going to kill a couple birds with a few stones this week... due to final exams starting next Tues, I have a few papers I have to re-read and understand the concepts behind them. Therefore you are now my study buddy people, congratulations and god help you.

Today is biochemistry lab however, so you get out of this one. I have the practical and final exam tomorrow evening so thats the focus for the next 24hrs along with reading classmates' proposals for a different class that has us act as a review panel. So while I am checking these off my planner, I have a gift for you.

I saw Gotye in Oct with my boyfriend, Ethan, at Mohegn Sun. I am proud to say that this was not due to mainstream influence... I listened to him prior to his "Somebody that I Used to Know" hitting the radio and my favorite songs of his are actually "Save Me", "Bronte", and "Dig Your Own Hole". "Somebody that I Used to Know" did expose me to Kimbra however when I had first heard it and I absolutely love this girl. Amazing artist, weird as hell, but such a sense of class and confidence (listen to her stuff). Anyway, I was listening to her "Posse" today and I saw on the side bar of youtube a music video for "Somebody that I Used to Know" that used a short film as the footage. I thought the film was intriguing so I looked it up and found the link here.

This short film, is one, very short; however, how it was directed and shot had such movement of emotions. I recommend you watch this. The actress's words stuck with me "That with every goodbye, you learn". Not to get all deep and girly, but it was an interesting perspective, actually, a very good perspective to say the least. It holds a sadness but also an inner peace if you look at your life that way. Anyway what I really liked about this film was that until the end there was very little dialoge between the two characters (a picture is worth a thousand words holds true to this film).

So FYI, I need comments! If you scroll under the comment section you can find "anonymous" - meaning you do not need to log into a blog, or facebook, or w/e. At least that's what I thought I set the settings to. I do not want to talk to a screen people. Show me that there is some bored soul who has nothing better to do but read this and comment!!

Enjoy!