Wednesday, July 1, 2009

My Research Explained: Working Backward

I know in my last post I said I would discuss the basics of the Biology that I am working on, but I figured that I should do a little overview and then start at the basics. While my next post will be about DNA, this post will provide a broad look at what I hope to accomplish over the next 2-3 years.

Without going into specifics, DNA is the essence of life. Everything that controls our body is because of DNA. If your DNA changed, you would change. Some of those changes are harmful while others are not so much (like the gene that gives me super blogging abilities). These changes can come from physical changes to the DNA sequence, organizational changes, chemical modifications, etc.

Using an optical tweezer, we can detect these changes. More importantly we can map DNA. We can map an ordinary normal sequence and compare a non-normal sequence to it. There are loads of other things too, but this is the main goal. What exactly do I mean when I say map?

Well, when you (or I, I should say) unzip DNA the data you collect is a force profile. Each sequence requires a different force to separate two strands. Think of it like a fingerprint. Any given force curve for a particular DNA sequence is different than any other. It might even be unique, but that is unproven.

Anyways, in the upcoming Research Explained posts, I will detail everything I know on the subject and provide some possible applications to our experiments. Stay tuned...

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