Ode to Complementation

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By Angelica Degnan, Genetics ’15 Oh complementation testing whatever do you do? How does thee help me explain the mutants true? Begin with two recessive strains Cross, observe, unearth the ones that are the same What does this mean? How do you explain the ones that function redundantly through? Complementation, complementation alas I see the light That alleles that are mutants a like, when united, cannot avoid their destined plight But mutants in two different genes stand a fighting chance They work independently, and can lend a helping hand If one should fail, be lost forevermore another can step in a lead expression forth Complementation testing, you are a godsend for sure I can now see the wonders that you produce in scores! This poem appears in the video “Complementation Test” by Angelica Degnan and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology major Ngoc Pham.

Photography: DNA

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By Riley Galton, Genetics ’14 Deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, encodes all of the instructions necessary for the beautiful figures and forms that can be found in the biological world. All plants, animals, and humans— subjects that are so familiar to the photographer—share the same underlying, four-letter genetic code. It is this simple molecular code that gives rise to the incredible diversity of living things, which in turn makes them so rewarding to photograph. My goal for this project was to investigate the form of the DNA itself—a form that is seldom seen, but always there. To do this, I isolated DNA from strawberries and photographed it using a macro lens.

Population Vector

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By Jennifer Jahncke, Psychology ’14 Something we talk about a lot in neuroscience in terms of topics like visual perception and locomotion is population vectors. A population vector is the sum of each component vector. In this image, with the trees converging to a vanishing point, the population vector would be the vector in the center of the cluster (though not quite to scale; in reality it would have a larger magnitude).

“The Eukaryotic Ribosome”

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This is a submission from UC Davis CBS Professor Sean Burgess. It comes from a future publication that relates the human quest to visualize the inner workings of the cell, molecular biology, with the quest to visualize the interior of the mind, art. Title: The Eukaryotic Ribosome Caption: The basic mechanism of ribosome­based protein synthesis is conserved among all domains of life. The ribosome comes in two parts. The small subunit  interacts with the mRNA and decodes the interaction with the aminoacyl tRNAs. The large subunit contains the active site of peptidyl transferase. The two subunits together form three pockets for three forms of tRNA. The A site is where the aminoacyl tRNA binds, the P site holds that peptidyl tRNA when the A­site is occupied. The E site contains the deacylated tRNA following peptidyl transferase. The ribosome is a huge conglomeration of RNA and proteins. The RNA appears to do all the heavy lifting for the main catalytic event of protein synthesis.  So what came first, the protein or the ribosome? Obtaining the crystal structure of the ribosome was a tour de force effort. The Nobel Prize for solving its structure was awarded in 2009. Top: Willi Baumeister: Mortaruru with Red Overhead (1953), The Art Book, Phaidon Press Limited, 1994. Bottom: The 60S (PDB: 305H) and 40S (PDB: 1S1H) subunits of the eukaryotic ribosome. Ben­Shem et al. (2010) Science, 330 (6008): 1203­1209. The image was generated by S.M.B. using MacPymol using coordinates from the Protein Databank (http://helixweb.nih.gov/cgi­bin/pdb).  MacPyMOL is product of Schrodinger, LLC. Copyright (C) 2009­2010.