Daily Bio Activities

Climate Change from NASA

posted May 12, 2017, 5:35 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated May 12, 2017, 9:04 AM ]

Check out the following links on climate change from NASA, and answer the questions.
  1. What is the EVIDENCE for climate change?
  2. What are the EFFECTS of climate change?
  3. What do the VITAL SIGNS (carbon dioxide, temperature, sea ice, land ice, sea level) indicate about climate change?

Variation, Selection, and Time

posted Mar 22, 2017, 5:25 AM by Jerrid Johansen

Explore the following links from the LEARN GENETICS site from the University of Utah.
  1. Compare and contrast Artificial and Natural Selection.
  2. What does Artificial Selection tell us about Natural Selection?
  3. What is necessary for natural selection to occur?
  4. How is variation like an insurance policy for a species of organism?
  5. What is the goal of natural selection?

GMO Mosquitoes

posted Mar 2, 2017, 5:41 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Mar 2, 2017, 9:31 AM ]

Check out the articles on GMO Mosquitoes and answer the following question:  

Inside the Mosquito Factory and Bacteria Genes Offer New Strategy
  1. The articles describe two different types of GMO mosquitoes.  How do they work?

Check out the article on getting approval for the use of GMO mosquitoes and answer the following question.

  1. What concerns do people have with using GMO mosquitoes?

Zika Virus Update

posted Feb 27, 2017, 5:31 AM by Jerrid Johansen

Yay Science!!!

posted Feb 23, 2017, 5:42 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Feb 23, 2017, 8:44 AM ]


(CNN)Astronomers have found at least seven Earth-sized planets orbiting the same star 40 light-years away, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Nature. The findings were also announced at a news conference at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

This discovery outside of our solar system is rare because the planets have the winning combination of being similar in size to Earth and being all temperate, meaning they could have water on their surfaces and potentially support life.
"This is the first time that so many planets of this kind are found around the same star," said Michaël Gillon, lead study author and astronomer at the University of Liège in Belgium.
The seven exoplanets were all found in tight formation around an ultracool dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1. Estimates of their mass also indicate that they are rocky planets, rather than being gaseous like Jupiter. Three planets are in the habitable zone of the star, known as TRAPPIST-1e, f and g, and may even have oceans on the surface.
    The TRAPPIST-1 star, an ultracool dwarf, has seven Earth-size planets orbiting it.
    The researchers believe that TRAPPIST-1f in particular is the best candidate for supporting 
    life. It's a bit cooler than Earth, but could be suitable with the right atmosphere and enough 
    greenhouse gases.
    What we know
    The planets are so close to each other and the star that there are seven of them within a space five times smaller than the distance from Mercury to our sun. This proximity allows the researchers to study the planets in depth as well, gaining insight about planetary systems other than our own.
    The seven planets of TRAPPIST-1 compared with Mercury, Venus, Earth and Mars.
    Starting closest to the star and moving out, the planets have respective orbits from one
    and a half to nearly 13 Earth days. The orbit of the farthest planet is still unknown.
    Standing on the surface of one of the planets, you would receive 200 times less light than you get from the sun, but you would still receive just as much energy to keep you warm since the star is so close. It would also afford some picturesque views, as the other planets would appear in the sky as big as the moon (or even twice as big).
    On TRAPPIST-1f, the star would appear three times as big as the sun in our sky. And because of the red nature of the star, the light would be a salmon hue, the researchers speculate.
    The researchers believe the planets formed together further from the star. Then, they moved into their current lineup. This is incredibly similar Jupiter and its Galilean moons.
    Like the moon, the researchers believe the planets closest to the star are tidally locked. This means that the planets always face one way to the star. One side of the planet is perpetually night, while the other is always day.
    Based on preliminary climate modeling, the researchers believe that the three planets 
    closest to the star may be too warm to support liquid water, while the outermost planet, 
    TRAPPIST-1h, is probably too distant and cold to support water on the surface. But further 
    observation is needed to know for sure.

    What's next

    Over the next decade, the researchers want to define the atmosphere of each planet, as well as to determine whether they truly do have liquid water on the surface and search for signs of life.
    Although 40 light-years away doesn't sound too far, it would take us millions of years to reach this star system. But from a research perspective, it's a close opportunity and the best target to search for life beyond our solar system.  If we learn something now, it can determine if we looked in the right place," Gillon said.
    In 2018, the James Webb Space Telescope will launch and be positioned 1 million miles from Earth with an unprecedented view of the universe. It can observe large exoplanets and detect starlight filtered through their atmosphere.
    This star system will probably outlive us because this type of star evolves so slowly. When our sun dies, TRAPPIST-1 will still be a young star and will live for another trillion years, Gillon said. After we are gone, if there is another part of the universe for life to carry on, it may be in the TRAPPIST-1 system.
    "This is the most exciting result I have seen in the 14 years of Spitzer operations," said Sean Carey, manager of NASA's Spitzer Science Center at Caltech/IPAC in Pasadena, California. "Spitzer will follow up in the fall to further refine our understanding of these planets so that the James Webb Space Telescope can follow up. More observations of the system are sure to reveal more secrets."

    Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells

    posted Feb 14, 2017, 5:57 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Feb 16, 2017, 8:03 AM ]

    Video on Stem Cell Breakthrough:  Watch from 25:55 to about 40:15

    Read the article:

    Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells: 10 Years After the Breakthrough

    Then look for stem cell research breakthroughs from the last two years, meaning nothing from 2014 or before. Make sure the sources are reputable (colleges, universities, science journals, and major publications).  Find and summarize at least 3 breakthroughs.

    Introduction to Stem Cells

    posted Feb 10, 2017, 5:33 AM by Jerrid Johansen

    Check out the following links on Stem Cells:
    Be able to answer the following questions:
    1. What are stem cells?
    2. How does a stem cell become specialized, or differentiated?
    3. How are embryonic stem cells different from adult (or somatic) stem cells?
    4. How do we obtain embryonic stem cells?
    5. Where do we find adult (or somatic) stem cells?
    6. What are Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells (iPS)?
    7. What is so potentially exciting about iPS cells?

    Fruit Fly Genetics

    posted Jan 31, 2017, 6:51 AM by Jerrid Johansen   [ updated Jan 31, 2017, 10:26 AM ]

    Here is the link for the FRUIT FLY GENETICS WEBSITE

    ABO and Rh Blood Groups

    posted Jan 31, 2017, 5:32 AM by Jerrid Johansen

    Spend some time with the Blood Typing Game:  Play the quick game with Random Patients, and read the Tutorials under the MAIN MENU tag.

    Also check out the section on the Rh Blood Group.  Understand why a "mother-fetus incompatibility" is a concern for mother and baby.

    Answer the following:
    1. Why is it important to understand blood typing and blood groups?
    2. Describe blood types in terms of Antigens and Antibodies.
    3. What type of blood is the Universal Donor and can be given to everybody?  Explain why.
    4. Describe the Mother-Fetus Incompatibility of the Rh Blood Group.  Why is it a concern, and what can be done to overcome it?

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