Monday, September 24, 2012

DNA - RNA- Protein!

Cracking the genetic code! You know? Your DNA is made up of A,T,G,C (adenine, guanine, cytosine, thymine) These four letter are repeated through out the sequence. This DNA codes for Protein to be specific amino acids.

How your DNA is decoded?
Your DNA undergoes translation, that is, it gets converted as RNA and further this RNA is converted into proteins by transcription.

Translation? How it happens? DNA is a double helix as we all know. This double helix unwinds and now it has two trands, right? one strand is called a codon strand and the other is anti codon.

The codon strand is the coding strand. So, you think that you mut translate this codon strand? But, it is not certainly. The RNA is formed "complementary" to the anticodon strand!

You think, why? Here we go with the explanation. The word "complementary" has the importance here. Both the DNA strands are complementary to each other. As we know, the DNA has four nucleotide repeated through out namely ATGC.

Example of a complementary DNA strand:

ATGCTTGCGACT ---> Coding strand
TACGAACGCTGA ---> Anticodon strand

The coding strand has the exact details. But, the RNA is going to be formed in the complementary basis, so, the anti codon strand must be translated as follows.

ATGCTTGCGACT ---> Coding strand
AUGCUUGCGACU ---> RNA formed from anticodon by RNA polymerase enzyme.
TACGAACGCTGA ---> Anticodon strand

Note the imilarity between the coding trand and the RNA formed. RNA don't have "T", but, "U" instead. Here, by translating the anti codon strand we get the exact copy like the coding strand.

Further this RNA is trancribed as proteins. Each 3 letter set of the RNA codes for an amino acid of the protein.

This table describes the three letter coding format.

In this way your genetic code is cracked and information is extracted out. If there is any error in the code, then there will be error in the amino acid synthesis leading to Genetic diseases!

:) I hope you can understand this with little basics of biology. I tried my best to explain it simple. Doubts? Then comment! :)

Have a good time!

Monday, September 3, 2012

Improved Rice variety

You know, Phosphorous is very important for the better growth of many crops. Rice too needs phosphorous for its better growth. But, the major problem in our country (India) as well as the whole world is poor availability of Phosphorous in soil. We use different fertilizers because of this.

The disadvantages of using fertilizers:
  • Decreased soil fertility on long run
  • Leeching of the fertilizer into water bodies leads to pollution.
  • Alkalinity / acidity of the soil.

We can even extend this list of disadvantages further. What’s the solution for this problem?

Scientists had found a good solution for this problem. Kasalath, a variety of rice has a gene called PSTOL1 which gives the tolerance for the plant to survive even in soil with low phosphorus.

Highlights of this gene:
  • It gets expressed in roots thereby increasing the root proliferation
  • Helps in producing roots of good length and surface area
  • This improves yield about 60%

When we introduce this gene into our plant of interest and experiment I hope we can develop tolerant varieties of various food crops, not just only the rice.

Woohoo.. We can enjoy dosas and idlies with happiness.

This was written based on my understanding over the research paper, there may be mistakes, if you find any, kindly comment it.

Malaria and Sickle cell anaemia

Malaria is one of the well known diseases caused by mosquito bite (the female anopheles mosquito) Malaria is generally caused by four different Plasmodium species:
  1. P.vivax
  2. P.falciparum
  3. P.ovale
  4. P.malariae

Mosquitoes act only as carriers, as we all know .We have to suffer badly if we are affected by malaria. But, you need not suffer from malaria, else we can say, you will not get affected with malaria at all, if you have sickle cell anaemia!
Image: Google

“Hey, you, don’t you have sense, for getting away from a disease you ask us to catch hold of other?”, is this the question peeping out from your mind right now?

If yes, go ahead and read. Yes, as I said already, you won’t be affected by malaria if you are a person with sickle cell anaemia. But, don’t worry; there is another possible way too, to avoid malaria.

When you have the genes responsible for sickle cell anaemia (is a genetic disorder in which the Red Blood Cells will be sickle shaped instead of disc shape, the patient suffers from anaemia because of this), just the genes are enough from any one of your parent i.e., you need not suffer from the sickle cell anaemia but just you need to be a carrier of the gene responsible for the disease – carrier. (You carry a receive gene responsible for sickle cell anaemia which is not sufficient to cause disease)

If you are a carrier of the gene responsible for sickle cell anaemia, then your micro RNA will have the ability to suppress the Plasmodium species, thus protecting you from the deadly malaria.

Disclaimer: I wrote this article based on my understanding after reading a paper. There may me mistakes. If you find any, kindly let me know with your valuable comments.