6,856 reputation
13166
bio website blahah.net
location Cambridge, UK
age 29
visits member for 2 years, 11 months
seen Dec 16 at 16:59

PhD student in Plant Sciences at Cambridge working on dissecting the molecular basis of C4 photosynthesis. Formerly plant biologist, data analyst, bioinformatician and programmer at the Millennium Seed Bank.

My expertise is in plant biology, genomics, transcriptomics and computational biology.

I write software in Objective-C, C++, Ruby, Python, Javascript and R.

Solvers.io is my attempt to help highly skilled developers use their skills to benefit the world's poorest, or to help solve crucial scientific problems.


Feb
6
comment How long will a vegetable live for after being harvested?
To continue.. Because plants grow iteratively, by repeatedly generating similar parts, there is no individual organ which is essential to the functioning of the rest. Contrast that with the determined growth of animals, where there is one head and if the head is removed, nothing else can happen. The growth pattern and the control system are interrelated.
Feb
6
comment How long will a vegetable live for after being harvested?
@Hector That's exactly right: animals generally rely on the coordination of their processes by a central system, involving for example the nervous system and the circulatory system. Those systems are vulnerable to interruption, and that's what we call death in animals. Plants on the other hand do not have their essential processes coordinated centrally; they are controlled by environmental forces (gravity, thermodynamics, etc.) which generally are not subject to sudden termination.
Feb
6
revised Why does so much variation exist within species?
corrected fact
Feb
6
comment Height and natural selection in humans?
Excellent answer (you did a simulation!). Marta is right: mutation generates variation, but also human mate selection is not driven by height.
Feb
6
revised Why does so much variation exist within species?
added 235 characters in body
Feb
6
answered Why does so much variation exist within species?
Feb
6
awarded  Enlightened
Feb
6
accepted Why do some plant species have lobed leaves, while similar species in the same habitat don't?
Feb
6
comment Are there any plants that fix their own nitrogen?
Well, by definition a food plant can't be a noxious weed, because they aren't noxious. But you raise a valid concern - mostly engineered traits such as vitamin A synthesis or herbicide tolerance are maladaptive and so they pose little risk of surviving outside deliberate cultivation for long. N fixation would be an adaptive trait in many habitats. Still, I don't think that's a reason not to do it, it's a reason to address the problem with a solution.
Feb
5
comment If I put a cup over a spider, and leave it there for a day, will the spider survive?
+1 for a referenced and evidence-based answer
Feb
4
revised Do insects' muscles become stronger with exercise?
spelling and grammar corrections
Feb
4
comment Is Behe's experiment (evolving the bacterial flagellum) plausible in the lab?
It's true that directed evolution, by definition, is supposed to take a shortcut. But the likelihood of achieving the desired outcome is miniscule in this case, precisely because of the complexity of the organ. And whilst we might skip some of the non-contributory generations, we are talking many orders of magnitude difference between a human lifetime and evolutionary time. Previous directed evolution experiments have never achieved this. By a random evolutionary walk, we might see a simpler solution or none at all in human timescales in the lab.
Feb
4
suggested approved edit on Do insects' muscles become stronger with exercise?
Feb
3
awarded  Nice Answer
Feb
3
comment How do I clean phenol contaminated RNA without losing any of the sample?
I did clean with isopropanol and Ethanol, and then Nanodropped afterwards. I take full responsibility!
Feb
3
comment Why do we age? or Do we have a theory of senescence?
That doesn't explain why we don't just reach sexual maturity and then stop aging - it can't be the primary explanation, although it would be a selective pressure once aging existed in the first place.
Feb
3
comment How do I clean phenol contaminated RNA without losing any of the sample?
I must not be as good at pipetting as I thought! Thanks very much for your answer. I'll make sure I get better at pipetting and in the meantime I'll leave a safe amount of the aqueous phase behind.
Feb
3
awarded  Scholar
Feb
3
awarded  Commentator
Feb
3
comment How do I clean phenol contaminated RNA without losing any of the sample?
Which bit of pipetting is the crucial part? Is it the removal of the clear upper phase after centrifugation? If so - do most people leave a bit of the upper phase behind so as to avoid contamination? I was trying to get every last drop!