January 2013 Archives

Week Three: Drosophilia and Other Embryo in Development

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In the first two weeks of developmental biology lab, we have been able to use a Leica DMLB research scope. Although it was intimidating at first with many more knobs, buttons, and value than I am used, I soon learned that it was much less complicated than I anticipated. Featured below are two of the images that I captured using the a camera connected to the camera tube on the scope. Subsequently, the links below the two images are photoshop-edited versions in which I enhanced by adjusting contrast and sharpness, as well as adding a scale bar. The objective lens used was 5x/ 0.12.


The first image (above) is an illustration of an embryo in situ (in position). Unfortunately, the label of the slide did not identify an of the specificity of the embryo type or time of development. However, you are able to see a pattern of cells that. hopefully, I will be able to identify more specifically as the course progresses. The second image (link) is a more clear representation of the development of the embryo. With the help of photoshop and the ability to adjust the contrast and sharpness, I was able to create a better quality picture.


The second image (above) is an illustration of a drosophilia embryo. However, the specifics of development are minimal. On the slide information, it stated 'Drosophilia development.' The link below the image is an edited version using a photoshop program. I edited it by adjusting the contrast and sharpness of the image, as well as adding a scale bar. Although the Leica DMLB scope produces fantastic images, the camera seemed to decrease the quality of the image. Therefore, the ability to edit the images using a photoshop program has great advantages.

Week Two: Epigenesis- Nature and Nurture

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As a student with a large psychology and biology background, I am continuously fascinated with how much the two subjects overlap and complement one another. Recently, I have been interested in the topic of epigenesis,which occurs when events change how our genes are expressed. Differing from my previous understanding, the presence of a gene does not necessarily determine a particular trait, rather, the trait only occurs if the expression of that gene takes place. Therefore, environmental events, such as diet, stress, and drugs, can actually result in phenotypic and behavioral changes. Although many individuals now agree that both environment and biology play critical roles in determinism, this process further supports the relationship.

Specifically relating to psychology and biology is the topic of neurobehavioral epigenesis. This subject may be an explanation for the differences in development of mental disorders and other behaviors in individuals with similar backgrounds and experiences. Even though the two individuals have experienced virtually the same events, one may exhibit significant stress or trauma related to an event. Also, it is helpful in the prevention of mental disorders. If a person has a lower genetic threshold for developing an abnormal behavior such as alcoholism or depression, it may be useful to educate the individual and, possibly, decrease the chances of a particular gene from being expressed.

Week One: Introduction

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After the first week of developmental biology, I am eager to dive into the specifics of the subject. In class, we have been discussing the history and growth within the field. Initially, theories of developmental biology were formed by scientists through movement from general to specific ideas. As stated in von Baer's Laws, general characters of an embryo appear earlier than specific. Currently in the field, scientists are continuing to gain knowledge through this very approach.

In a recent news story, "Sea Urchins Reveal Medical Mysteries", scientists have looked to sea urchins for answers to human diseases such as Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, and cancer. As a result of a common ancestor of humans and sea urchins (as well as other organisms), the two species share more than 7,000 genes. With the advantage of a fast reproduction rate, common genetics, and perfect matches to certain amino acids, sea urchins make for a great research tool. The capability to map out the DNA of the organisms allows scientists to understand the complexity of shared genetics of humans, which could be extremely advantageous for the comprehension of many diseases, as well as the prevention or treatment of such.

Although we are only starting with the history of developmental biology, the implications of such a simple statement, general characters of an embryo appear earlier than specific, are magnificent. Sea urchins serve as a simple basis for the understanding of developmental biology of other organisms, including humans.

Link to News Story: http://www.sciencedaily.com/videos/2007/0304-sea_urchins_reveal_medical_mysteries.htm

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