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My friends and family always give me odd looks when I hear of an injury and my first question is "Do you have an x-ray?"   During the skeleton unit, I love showing images to students and asking them to identify the bones.   Can you find the fracture on the image below?

*Image donated by a friend
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Shiva K
 
leg:tibia,fibula,tarsals I think fibula is broken
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Pathology remains one of my favorite units and I love the projects students put together to showcase their  "favorite" pathogen.  I'm always amazed at how they tend to gravitate toward the grossest and meanest pathogens.   I was disappointed this year that no one covered Ebola, as it had been a popular topic in the past.  

The recent outbreak of a new strain of Ebola in New Guinea  ( http://reut.rs/1nuapi3 )reminds me that I should perhaps discuss Ebola and why it is such a frightening pathogen.   The mortality rate of the affected is disturbingly high and hemorrhagic fever is a nasty symptom.  

If you're interested in doing a pathogen project in your class, here are some guidelines:
http://www.biologycorner.com/projects/outbreak/

Here is my favorite of the year, a website created to warn the world of the dangers of monkeypox:  http://mp4d.weebly.com/ 
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Most of the images I have for #transcription and translation are textbook images and under copyright, the few that are available from free open sources just aren't very good, so I spent a few hours making my own.  I used Google drive (drawing) to make this one showing the Central Dogma which shows how DNA is used to make messenger RNA (transcription) which is then used to make an amino acid chain (translation).  The diagram is intended to be labeled by students.   Suggestions welcome, sometimes what is clear to me is not clear to everyone else and the image is easy to adjust in drive. 

Answers:
1.  DNA
2.  Messenger RNA
3.  Codon
4.  Transfer RNA
5.  Anticodon
6.  Amino Acid
7.  Ribosome
8.  Protein (polypeptide)

Also, this is a good assessment to do after students have done the transcription and translation coloring:  http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/transcription_translation_coloring.html
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The method of formation of specific proteins by DNA ,by making mRNA.
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I've created a presentation on Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium that is intended to read like a story, like some of the clicker cases I've used in the past. This one explains HW Equilibrium and how to use the equation to calculate allele frequencies. Feel free to comment or post suggestions, I haven't tried this in my class yet, scheduled for next week so there's still time to fix any problems!

Google Docs Presentation at: http://bit.ly/1g5floq
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I did change the title page from "species" to "population."    It's a minor distinction, but I think more accurate considering the definition of evolution.  
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My first gut reaction to this story of whales stranding themselves on beaches is that we definitely should do something to halt the tests that may be causing the behavior.  I have to remind myself that correlation does not equal causation and perhaps more study is needed.  Questions I'd ask:

Why is this species of whales the only one to be affected?
Is similar behavior observed in other areas of the world where navy tests are being conducted?
Do the whales beach themselves any other times?
Are there other potential causative agents, such as temperature, weather patterns...earthquakes?

These are things I try to teach students when dealing with news sources, they aren't always focused on the science and this one is an opinion piece.   That doesn't mean it's wrong, it just means that before taking action, we want to investigate the situation scientifically.
This week's whale deaths are further support for declaring certain waters off-limits to naval sonar exercises.
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I finally worked up the courage to watch Blackfish, a documentary I was certain I would find upsetting.   It was definitely upsetting, but I'd already had a fairly negative opinion about whales in captivity before seeing this film.  

 This month, the courts upheld a verdict that required trainers to be protected by a barrier and they could no longer swim with the whales.    Legislation in both California and Florida is moving toward the banning of these large mammals in shows at all.  

Sea World argues that the trainers are safe and that keeping the trainers out of the water detracts from the show.I wouldn't disagree with that, but I think this is a good step toward making Sea World evaluate its practices.  They could do a lot of good, if they would embrace the conservation side of the industry and become leaders in marine preservation and education.  They can't do this while maintaining that whales in captivity are just fine when all the evidence shows otherwise. 

Here's a worksheet and other reading resources to go with the film if you want to show it to your students.  It's probably too disturbing for younger kids, but definitely is a good place to start a conversation about bioethics.  

http://biologycorner.com/worksheets/videos/blackfish.html

I had to search on flickr for a photo of orcas that weren't in captivity, as I'd much rather show them in their natural habitat looking healthy and happy:  

Image from  https://www.flickr.com/photos/hometowninvasion/
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There is definitely a "spin" in this program, and the worker safety did not concern me as much, as you say there are dangers in all jobs.  Though, the way I see it,  these are extremely large and intelligent animals that are living in too small of a space.  That comes down to economics.   I think some day we might look at these places they way we now look at historical roadside circuses, where lions were kept in boxcar cages.   Zoos have taken major steps toward providing habitats for animals that take their well-being into consideration, I'm not sure Sea World is doing the same. 
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For something a little more whimsical, the answer to the question of how zebras get their stripes.   http://n.pr/1tmhTI0
The pink on a flamingo? Stripes on a zebra? Spots on a giraffe? All explained. Simply. Elegantly. Oddly.
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An article in Sciencemag ( http://bit.ly/1gB5jf3 ) discusses the evolutionary advantage of beards and introduced a term that was new to me:  *negative frequency-dependent selection.*    Basically, it means that predators may be less likely to target an individual that has a unique phenotype and gives that individual an advantage (for the time being).  

The same effect may come into play with sexual selection, where women might be more likely to find a bearded man attractive, but that's dependent on how rare beards are.  In a sea of bearded mean, the clean-shaven one stands out and is rated as more attractive.

I noticed a similar phenomenon when I volunteered at the humane society. It always seemed like the kittens that stood out were the ones that were selected for adoption.  The one orange kitten in a litter of gray ones would be picked, but the next week, the gray kitten in a litter of orange cats would be the first picked.   I wonder if animal shelters could benefit from this psychology by grouping animals in such a way as to give one a boost with its adoption chances. 

What do you think?  Would you pick this orange kitten over the other ones?

Source:  http://news.sciencemag.org/biology/2014/04/are-beards-about-die-out

Kitten photo by Marg https://www.flickr.com/photos/play4smee/
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The second lab in our molecular genetics unit involves learning how to use gel electrophoresis to diagnose a genetic disorder.    If you don't have the equipment for this lab, check with nearby colleges, I got mine on loan from Washington University.  

Activity:   Detecting Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy  (http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/detecting_duchenne.html)
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 Strawberries are a great source for DNA because they have multiple sets of chromosomes. In this lab, students crush a strawberry and use detergent and salt to release the DNA from the cells.  A cold alcohol solution is layered on top and DNA will rise into the alcohol.  On the photo,  it appears as a white, stringy mass.    

Complete instructions at:  http://www.biologycorner.com/worksheets/DNA_extraction.html
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Resources for students and teachers of biology and the life sciences.
Introduction
The Biology Corner is a website I started in 2000, over the years I have added content and resources I have used in my biology classes.  Teachers and students alike can find help with concepts, images, and practice quizzes for all major biological topics.  I also include photos of anatomy, mainly from classroom dissections and human models I have in the classroom.