Thursday, March 4, 2010

Surprising Discovery - Mitochodrial DNA Exhibits Great Diversity

New Finding! - A recent article said that mitochondrial DNA exhibits great diversity even in the same individual. This is a big surprise and has great significance in making of genetic markers as well as in the field of forensics.

The article says that different tissues are observed to have different mitochondrial DNA. They are not sure yet when this diversity become manifest.

Here is the link to this article.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Dear Everyone,
May you have a blessed Christmas and may the New Year bring you joy and peace!
Love you!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Teaching Teachers About Cells

Two weeks ago I taught a group of high school teachers from Caloocan (a city here in Metro Manila). Our topics were Cell Biology and Cell Reproduction. I truly enjoyed my 2 hour session with them and I hope they did too.
I always enjoy teaching about cells. Cells really inspire me and I never run out of stories to tell about them. Sometimes it's so frustrating though to discover that there are so many misconceptions about cells written in textbooks. I always try my best to point out and correct these misconceptions.

I have talked about some of these misconceptions in some of my earliest post in this blog. Do check them out. Here are some of them:

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My 100th post!

Sorry, I have not updated this blog for a long time. I have not been receiving feedback or comments so I thought that nobody is interested. Well, I was wrong. Just today, I received some comments in one of my post. So, some people are actually reading this! Imagine!

Ok, so what can I say about cells today just to celebrate my 100th post?

I think I will repeat here what I said before about cells - "God put life in a little cell to remind us that big things come from little ones".

I was inspired to write that line after I got to know more and more about cells especially when I started teaching Cell Biology.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

I know it's been a while since I last posted in this blog. However, I wish to greet all the mothers in the world today with a card I specially made for you. I hope you like it.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Greetings

Hello Everyone,

May the miracle of Easter bring you blessings and happiness!

Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Hydrophobic interaction and cell design

One concept that students usually find hard to understand is the concept of hydrophobic interaction and its role in cell design.

The fact that the term itself is really a misnomer probably contributes to this difficulty.

Why a misnomer? Well, the energy that is used during the interaction between hydrophobic molecules actually comes from the hydrophilic molecules. Huh? Ok, let’s put it this way.

Some molecules are hydrophilic or “water loving”. “Hydro-“ means water and “philia” means love. Other molecules like oil on the other hand are hydrophobic or “water fearing”. “Phobia” means fear. However, these terms can be misleading because the molecules do not really fear water. What happens is ... in the presence of water, these molecules tend to join together. Why?

Well, water molecules actually have a greater affinity or greater attraction for each other as compared with any attraction between water and other molecules like oil. Thus, when we place drops of oil in water, the water molecules tend to go together and push or squeeze the oil droplets as far away from the water molecules as possible. This therefore results in the oil droplets joining together to form a bigger drop of oil. This joining together of oil droplets in the presence of water is what is called hydrophobic interaction. This is the reason why oil and water do not mix.

So what is the importance of hydrophobic interaction in cell design?

Let’s go back to what cells are made of. Cells consist primarily of water, proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and traces of some minerals. Cells are separated from their environment by membranes that are basically phospholipid in nature. Because phospholipids have hydrophobic ends and hydrophilic ends, through hydrophobic interaction they therefore naturally form a double membrane in the presence of water.

Thus we can see that hydrophobic interaction contributes very much to the design of cells. Without membranes, we will never have cells.

The picture I used for my banner in this blog is actually a picture of oil droplets in water. Notice how the droplets naturally form "cell membranes".
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