Saturday, November 8, 2008

The DNA Network

The DNA Network

George W Bush in pictures [the skeptical alchemist]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 06:19 PM CST

These were originally posted by the Telegraph, and were sent to me by a very good friend. Check 'em out!

On a different note, the Carnival of the Godless is up, and the Molecular and Cell Biology Carnival will be published here tomorrow morning.

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God Bless Michael Crichton, Here Comes Google. [The Gene Sherpa: Personalized Medicine and You]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 01:14 PM CST

I want to take today and Sunday to reflect on the vision of a fantastic writer a true futurist and a wonderful physician. His Name is Michael Crichton MD. Yes true, he did write some fantastic...

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Remembering C.C. Tan [On Genetics]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 01:09 PM CST

I read this morning (link) that Tan Jiazhen, better known in the U.S. as C. C. Tan, passed away Nov. 1, at age 99. I suspect that his influence on genetics probably much greater than most Americans appreciate. He goes back to he first flowering of Drosophila genetics, when he was Dobzhansky's first Ph.D. student at Cal Tech, yet many of the young Chinese scientists coming to the United States now have met him. It's impossible for me to evaluate how much he is responsible for the intellectual "silk road" that contributes so much vitality to twenty first century genetics, but I suspect that without C.C. Tan it would be much less traveled. Interested readers should consult Jim Crow's commentary in genetics (Vol. 164, pg. 1 *) to see how he managed to bring Chinese genetics into the modern era, past the Lysenko years and the Cultural Revolution.

* This page, like most at, does not load properly in Firefox. I'm sure that the GSA will fix that. For now, I just use another browser when I visit the GSA.

Fun with molecular structures: it looks like a holiday wreath... [Discovering Biology in a Digital World]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 12:21 PM CST

but the red berries are RNA.

Picture below the fold.

Read the rest of this post... | Read the comments on this post...

Singapore Company DNA Dynasty Will (Not) Tell Your Children’s Future [Eye on DNA]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 09:34 AM CST

No matter what they say, DNA Dynasty will not and cannot tell you what your “kids (sic) innate talent” is via “DNA discovery.”

National Society of Genetic Counselors President Angela Trepanier would agree. From her interview with Karen Kaplan of the Los Angeles Times:

Should DNA tests be used to test for traits like intelligence, athletic aptitude or artistic talent?

I would not use DNA tests for any of those reasons. All of these traits develop as a result of genetic and environmental factors. So for instance, even if a person has a low genetic aptitude for music, if her parents routinely play music in the house, send her to lessons, take her to concerts, and she is a highly motivated person who does what it takes to accomplish her goals, she may become a concert pianist despite her genetic makeup.

I would not want to use information in any way that could pigeonhole a person’s potential or desires or prevent them from having the same opportunities that others have, and I think that genetic tests for these types of traits could do that.

By the way, doesn’t their company logo look awfully familiar? That’s right, it’s the same “DNA in a test tube” design that Ricardo Vidal made especially for The DNA Network.

dna dynasty stolen logo

For more opinions on DNA Dynasty, see:

Medicine 2.0 University Credit Course: Medicine in Second Life [ScienceRoll]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 07:35 AM CST

DNA Dynasty "Company" - Stealing and Lying [The Tree of Life]

Posted: 08 Nov 2008 02:07 AM CST

Well, just adding my two cents to the pissed off blogosphere regarding a company in Singapore called DNA Dynasty.  Not only are they purveying complete crap in terms of genetics/genomics (e.g., they say they have a genetic test to determine the innate abilities of your children) but they have apparently stolen the logo of the DNA Network of which I am a member.  Lovely.  I figure, if we make enough blogging noise, then when people search for them with google they will at least also see some of our postings.  So here is mine.  See also

Pellionisz Google Tech presentation. [Genomicron]

Posted: 07 Nov 2008 11:08 AM CST

Those of you who read this blog or others that discuss non-coding DNA will, for better or worse, be familiar with regular commenter Andras Pellionisz. Many people have concluded that Dr. Pellionisz is essentially a "crank", though I believe I have tried to give him a fair hearing on this blog (before asking him to stop repeating the same arguments over and over). Whether he has managed to convince anyone of his view that all non-coding DNA is functional is another issue, however. Readers should judge this for themselves. Thus, here are links to his website, a recent article, and a recent Google Tech presentation. (home of the "avant-garde society that formally abandoned 'junk DNA'")

Pellionisz, A. 2008. The principle of recursive genome function. Cerebellum 7: 348-359.

Mister Doctor Prof. [Genomicron]

Posted: 06 Nov 2008 08:43 PM CST

I don't get too concerned about things such as titles, but I have noticed that this year a more substantial number of students has been sending emails addressed to "Mr. Gregory". I don't know if the students this year are unaware that most professors hold a Ph.D. and therefore are "Dr." and not "Mr." (or "Ms." as the case may be), but this seems to be much more common lately. Has anyone else noticed this?

I know this can get a bit confusing, so let me try to explain it, at least as the terms are used in North America.

The title "Doctor" and the abbreviated prefix "Dr." come from the Latin for "teacher", and are traditionally bestowed on those who have earned the highest academic degree attainable. The suffix Ph.D. is an abbreviation for PhilosophiƦ Doctor (L. "Teacher of philosophy"), with "philosophy" from the Greek for "love or pursuit of wisdom". The Ph.D. is awarded in most academic disciplines, including science. Medical professionals may also hold the title "Doctor" even though they may do little or no teaching, with common degrees being M.D. (Medicinae Doctor, or Doctor of Medicine), D.V.M. (Doctor of Veterinary Medicine), D.D.S. (Doctor of Dental Surgery), and so on.

As a noun rather than a prefix, "Doctor" is usually reserved for medical doctors ("I'm not a doctor but I play one on TV"). Usually, the person teaching your course at a major university is a "Professor" and not a "Doctor" (noun) ("Are you really a mad scientist, professor?"). He or she does, however, use the prefix "Dr.". Get it?

To make it more complex and Monty Python-ish, the prefix "Prof." is not used by all professors. "Professor" (noun) is the position, but there are also ranks. In North America, these would be "Assistant Professor", "Associate Professor", and "Professor" (or "Full Professor"). In many cases, only full professors use the prefix "Prof." in situations outside the university. I don't use "Prof. Gregory" in non-university settings because I am not a full professor. However, I am a professor, not a doctor, although I use Dr. Gregory instead of Prof. Gregory. Right.

Perhaps that's all too complicated to bother about. Here is the short version: When addressing a professor, just go with "Dear Dr. So-and-so" unless he or she asks you to call him or her something different.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The standard of singapore medical clinics is very good now. But of course everyone is entitled to their own opinion.