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Elected moderator on Unix & Linux. Feel free to @ping me in chat if there's anything I can help you with.

I am a computational biologist with a background in biology, not computers. My PhD work was on gene prediction and comparative genomics but my current research is in systems biology, specifically protein-protein interaction networks.

profile for terdon on Stack Exchange, a network of free, community-driven Q&A sites


Oct
28
comment What is Luc Montagnier's research on electromagnetic signals from DNA about?
@TomD Karry Mullis is a Nobel laureate who believes in astrology and James Watson is a Nobel laureate who believes that black people are less intelligent than white. Having a Nobel just means you had at least one idea that a group of people considered good. It does not make you an infallible genius. Silly claims are silly claims Nobel notwithstanding.
Oct
28
revised What is Luc Montagnier's research on electromagnetic signals from DNA about?
deleted 1 characters in body
Oct
26
comment Who was the first to talk about evolvability?
You can probably trace he concept back to the dawn of mankind, it is such an obvious idea (not as it applies to life and evolution, just the idea of adaptive change). For example, you could even claim Heraclitus' Everything flows as an early example though adaptability is not implied.
Oct
25
comment Bioinformatics tool for “pairwise alignment” of complementary sequences?
@WYSIWYG indeed, I am just very used to translated blast searches and it was the first thing I thought of because they will also show weaker complimentarity. Since most homonymous codons change only in the wobble position, you might be able to spot complimentarity more easily precisely because of the code's redundancy. In any case, exonerate was my first suggestion, and I agree that your simple nucleotide blast is probably better than translations.
Oct
25
comment Is cell membrane living
@fileunderwater it comes down to semantics. Living is not the same as alive and the opposite of living tissue is not dead tissue. Teeth are not dead and neither are rocks, they are simply not living. The point is that life needs metabolism and reproduction, things that cannot do both are not alive. The cell's membrane is not alive, the cell itself is. Your hand is not alive, despite being made of "living tissue", you are. "Living" tissue consists of cells, each of which is indeed alive, the tissue itself is not.
Oct
24
comment Is cell membrane living
@fileunderwater membrane lipids are also quite essential (if anything, more so than membrane prots since there is no membrane and no cell without them) and dynamically synthesized, it's just that they are not coded for by genes. Nevertheless, the enzymes needed for their production are, so lipid production is as dynamic as anything else. The cell can produce more when needed. I don't really see any difference in 'aliveness' between lipids and proteins.
Oct
24
revised Large scale reverse transcription?
Added some paragraphs to improve legibility. Welcome to the site!
Oct
24
comment Bioinformatics tool for “pairwise alignment” of complementary sequences?
@WYSIWYG I recommended tBLASTx. tBLASTx will translate input sequences in all 6 frames which includes the - strand which is the reverse complement of the + strand. Therefore, it can be used to find complementary sequences since the 5'->3' translation of the plus strand will be the 3'->5' translation of the - strand.
Oct
24
revised Henrietta Lacks Cell Line - Immortality
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Oct
24
answered Is cell membrane living
Oct
24
comment Is cell membrane living
Woah, @fileunderwater how are proteins living?
Oct
24
answered Henrietta Lacks Cell Line - Immortality
Oct
24
comment Evolutionary Cell Structuring
@ChrisCooney Well, it's not a single cell that produces the morphogens but various groups of cells. You might want to look up Spemann's organiser for example. The rest of your analysis is pretty much correct, as for binding, that's a different issue but that too will be affected by morphogens, yes. It is the morphogens' concentration that causes one group of cells to form an index finger and another to a pinky for example.
Oct
24
awarded  Quorum
Oct
24
comment How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems?
@Jim no worries, you're not, I'm just saying that it would make a good question and could be answered better that way. It was not an attempt to shut you up but to get you to speak up :).
Oct
24
comment How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems?
@Jim 1) there is variation even in the fossil record 2) the fossil record is incredibly spotty as you called it. Consider that we have, say, a few tens (in the best cases) of fossils that are supposed to represent the various millions of individuals of a given species that existed over a period of, at the very least, thousands of years. For example, how much of the variety existing in today's dogs would you be able to infer from 5 random fossils? These are great topics for questions by the way, hint, hint :).
Oct
24
comment How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems?
@Jim I already have, that's why I said "10 cells whose genome is passed on". Also, new species are not created within the same generation, that was Lamarck's idea and has been discredited for 200 years. You might be interested in the answers here. Also note that I am not giving any measure of likelihood, I gave an (extremely conservative) estimate of "opportunities for mutation". Finally, as I say in my answer, mutations are random(ish), evolution is not.
Oct
24
revised How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems?
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Oct
23
comment how to close a severed artery/vein?
Sorry, no idea, I'm a biologist not an MD which is why I only posted an answer. Perhaps someone else here has knowledge of surgical techniques but they are not a part of biology so I wouldn't get my hopes up. Also bear in mind that this will only happen if the vessel is severed during an operation. If this happens anywhere else the chances are that the patient will be dead long before a doctor can get anywhere near them.
Oct
23
comment how to close a severed artery/vein?
They use clamps and act very very quickly.