The study of the molecular processes of the nucleus and cell function.

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28
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4answers
610 views

Why are amino acids in biology homochiral?

Why are nearly all amino acids in organisms left-handed (exception is glycine which has no isomer) when abiotic samples typical have an even mix of left- and right-handed molecules?
23
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4answers
574 views

How are the boundaries of a gene determined?

What statistical processes and methods are used by geneticists/molecular biologists to know where one gene starts and one ends?
21
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1answer
565 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi ...
20
votes
1answer
531 views

Regulation of chromatin structure

Recently, I reviewed the different levels of chromatin structure. The primary level is nucleosomes, where DNA is bound to histones, and has structural similarity to "beads on a string." The secondary ...
19
votes
4answers
1k views

How and where, in the human brain, are memories stored?

Background I am a computer programmer who is fascinated by artificial intelligence and artificial neural networks, and I am becoming more curious about how biological neural networks work. Context ...
17
votes
1answer
805 views

ATP cost for gene expression

How would you estimate the number of ATPs required to transcribe, export and translate a single eukariotic protein?
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How long can I store extracted RNA?

If I extract RNA from a (leaf tissue) sample using a one-step phenol:chloroform extraction, how long can those samples be stored at -80°C? And how many times can I defrost and refreeze them before ...
14
votes
6answers
1k views

Online Molecular and Cellular Biology Video Lectures?

I am looking for video lectures to go through to guide my reading in intro molecular and cellular biology. I've had intro bio and I study evolutionary theory, but my molecule- and cell-level knowledge ...
13
votes
5answers
2k views

Why are some genes dominant over others? What is the mechanism behind it?

If I have a brown eye gene which encodes the protein that is responsible for the brown color and have a blue eye gene as well, what is the reason that my eye color is brown? How does one gene maintain ...
13
votes
2answers
515 views

Intrinsically disordered proteins as potential drug targets

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are a class of proteins that do not adopt a stable secondary or tertiary structure under physiological conditions in vitro, but still have biological ...
13
votes
1answer
967 views

What did Richard Feynman contribute to molecular biology?

Some time ago, I read James Gleick's "Genius: The Life and Science of Richard Feynman", a wonderful biography of Feynman and, by extension, most of modern physics. In this book, the author mentions ...
13
votes
1answer
206 views

What is the prehistory of amino acids in cells?

As a followup to Why 20 amino acids instead of 64? and What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?, I am trying to understand the prehistory of amino acids in cells. All living ...
12
votes
1answer
1k views

How is Taq polymerase produced?

I've seen Taq polymerase being marketed as either "native" or "recombinant". I understand that the recombinant version is produced by specially modified Escherichia coli strains that have the gene for ...
11
votes
3answers
3k views

How long can E. coli stocks be stored at -20°C?

I'm volunteering for a biohacker lab - biocurious in Sunnyvale. The have a pretty good set of equipment - gel boxes, incubators, but they don't have a -80°C freezer yet. I'd like to set up some ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

How do I clean phenol contaminated RNA without losing any of the sample?

I recently extracted RNA from developing plant leaves for the first time, as part of a very long and intensive experiment. The samples were extremely precious because of the amount of effort that went ...
11
votes
2answers
415 views

How do antioxidants affect human metabolism?

I'd like to know how antioxidants affect human metabolism and which ones are essential for metabolic processes.
11
votes
1answer
2k views

How does translational coupling work in prokaryotes?

Today I heard about a phenomenon called "translational coupling", where the translation of one protein influences the translation of another protein. The messenger RNA levels don't seem influenced. ...
10
votes
2answers
958 views

Why are restriction enzymes not frozen?

We all know restriction enzymes are proteins, but we never freeze them. They are instead provided in high glycerol containing solutions by companies and stored at -20C. Is there a reason why this is ...
10
votes
1answer
25k views

Why do we add salt when precipitating DNA?

All the DNA extraction protocols I have seen involve adding salts to the extraction buffer. What is the purpose of the salts? What happens if they aren't included?
10
votes
2answers
451 views

What is the highest competency possible for E coli?

I am looking to find a highly competent E coli strain. I am making a library of a ~6.6kb plasmid and I am not getting high enough efficiency. Does anyone have a suggestion of a strain/protocol with ...
10
votes
2answers
164 views

What is the least costly method to generate sequential amino acid deletions?

I'm looking to generation sequential deletions from a gene of interest. The total size of this region is 8 amino acids. I'm trying to determine which portion of this region is necessary within the ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

Is the eukaryotic nucleus composed of a single or double membrane?

I know that it is usually considered a double membrane like those surrounding mitochondria and chloroplasts, but I read a review that stated "according to topological details it is actually a single ...
10
votes
1answer
482 views

What is the functional and structural distinction between core (H2A, H2B, H3,H4) and linker(H1/H5) histones?

Many explanations of histone biochemistry isn't quite elucidating for the undergraduate student. How does histone structure (dimers, octomers) relate to their specific functions as core or linker ...
10
votes
1answer
900 views

Can I elute my GFP-tagged protein off anti-GFP antibody using a peptide?

I would like to perform a modified co-immunoprecipitation assay using a GFP-tagged protein. We are going to bind the tagged protein to anti-GFP antibody then bind that to protein A/G beads, however ...
10
votes
1answer
108 views

When running a gel, what could cause a standard to run “faster” than usual?

We are running a gel on the products of a restriction digest to determine the size of an insert. We know the vector backbone size should be ~2.9kb; however, the standard appears to be running too ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Does a man contain all the genes needed to make a woman?

This question is brought on by a Sci Fi novel I am thinking about writing. The plot device involves a colonist in charge of building a population on a new planet who loses his supply of embryos and so ...
9
votes
4answers
3k views

Why we have no enzyme to digest cellulose?

As we know, cellulose is the most abundant polysaccharide in nature. Why don't we have any enzyme to digest cellulose?
9
votes
2answers
19k views

Why is SOC medium recommended for transformations?

In pretty much every transformation protocol I've seen SOC medium is used to grow the bacteria for a short while after the tranformation and before plating. I've usually substituted LB medium for ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

How do I clean and calibrate pipettes, and how often should I do it?

I work in a lab where all the pipettes are shared. We often have visiting students who come and use the pipettes for a short project. So when I work with them, they might have been handled by other ...
9
votes
4answers
225 views

How can I avoid digesting protein-bound DNA?

I'm interested in sequencing and analyzing the bound DNA, and minimizing the amount of unbound DNA that gets sequenced through digestion. When digesting protein-bound DNA, is all of the unbound DNA ...
9
votes
1answer
329 views

How are there alternative initiation codons?

According to wikipedia and the original complete sequence of the K-12 genome, there are multiple non-AUG start codons such as GUG and UUG. How is this possible? I'm particularly curious about the ...
9
votes
1answer
28k views

Absorption ratios 260/280 and 260/230 for RNA

I extracted RNA from different cell lines, an I want to perform reverse transcription and then PCR. To get good results, in which range should the absorption ratios 260/280 nm and 260/230 nm be? And ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

What is the difference between SOLiD, 454, and Illumina next-gen sequencing?

I've started teaching myself about next-generation sequencing in preparation for a new job, and I'm wondering what the main differences are between the 454, SOLiD, and Illumina/Solexa machines, in ...
9
votes
2answers
619 views

What is causing my problem with very low yields when isolating a 42kb yeast plasmid?

I have to isolate a large plasmid from yeast and transform it in E. coli. After transformation, I often get no colonies. One reason for that is the yeast mini prep hasn't worked or the DNA ...
9
votes
2answers
194 views

bi-directional transcription experiment

We suspect a bi-directional transcription event is happening at a locus in our organism where two genes are directly adjacent to each other. The annotation data is not well established. The intergenic ...
9
votes
1answer
81 views

RNA migrating slower than DNA on Formaldehyde Gel?

So I ran into an interesting problem. I'm getting a linear DNA band that is twice as long (4x bases, but as denatured probably only 2x) as an RNA band running at the same size in a formaldehyde gel. ...
9
votes
1answer
170 views

When did CRISPR/Cas9 evolve and what is the likelihood that a superior system for live cell genome editing has already evolved on earth since then?

I've read that CRISPR/Cas9 is currently being implemented and tested for its ability to edit genomes in live cells, and that it is supplanting other genome editing tools in labs, such as TALENs and ...
9
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is PEG important for efficient yeast transformation?

One way to do an yeast transformation is by using lithium acetate, a single-stranded carrier DNA, and PEG (1). I was wondering why is the polyethylene glycol important for the efficient ...
9
votes
1answer
120 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material (Big genome size)? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and ...
9
votes
1answer
121 views

E. coli values for [enzymes], [metabolites] and kinetic rates

In my attempt to create a metabolic model of E. coli, I have found a comprehensive list of metabolic reactions and their stoichiometry. The one I am currently using is E. coli model iJO1366 (more ...
8
votes
1answer
181 views

Is there a program that simulates biology on a molecular level?

Is there a computer program that simulates biology on a molecular level? Software that has rules that simulates the rules of molecular-biology?
8
votes
2answers
8k views

Agarose vs agar? Why do DNA gels use agarose only and how do you obtain agarose from agar?

Agar is a relatively cheap substance from red algae. And it contains a saccharide agarose as well as a small amount of pectin. Agar is used for culture plates as is, but for DNA gels a grade of ...
8
votes
2answers
519 views

What is it about the housekeeping genes that makes them almost immune to gene regulation?

When it comes to eukaryotes, including ourselves, we have all different kinds of specialized cells and tissues that are so different, yet originally all came from the same single cell. And apparently ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is the number of PCR cycles limited?

I've been told that the maximum number of cycles in PCR is between 20 and 30. Is this true, and what are the reasons for this limitation?
8
votes
2answers
471 views

More variation in proteins than genes. Why?

The Genome of a cell or organism is the same as that of the entire organism. However, the proteome of an organism is much greater than that of each cell (unless the organism is unicellular). How do ...
8
votes
1answer
89 views

How to validate the regulatory interactions inferred from gene expression data?

My algorithm learns regulatory interaction between genes using Bayesian Network approach from gene expression data. After the algorithm has converged to a network of interacting genes, how to validate ...
8
votes
1answer
115 views

Why is propanoic acid often added to the diet of C. elegans?

And what are its effects on C. elegans? The paper is Burnett C, Valentini S, Cabreiro F, Goss M, Somogyvári M, Piper MD, Hoddinott M, Sutphin GL, Leko V, McElwee JJ, et al.. 2011. Absence of effects ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

why is AUG the initiation codon?

Is there any reason why AUG is the initiation codon ? Why is there a need for an initiation codon ? Can't translation start with different codons?
8
votes
1answer
108 views

Can a human cell live indefinetely in a controlled environment?

How long can a human cell live in a controlled environment, given all necessary nutrients, temperatures, mechanisms for waste removal, and other requirements are provided for? Put differently: Can a ...
8
votes
2answers
500 views

Has anyone tried Gibson Assembly Optimizations?

Has anyone tried the chew back-anneal in vitro DNA assembly method (known as Gibson Assembly) for difficult sequences, like GC-rich sequences? How big constructs could you efficiently assemble? Did ...