Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Death turns a near-blind eye to the Greenland shark:

According to marine biologists Peter Bushnell, the Greenland shark seems to be almost ageless.  Living in the deep Arctic ocean where they can thrive for decades, they mostly feed upon fish and the remains of other dead animals such as polar bears and even moose. The reason why scientists believe these sharks live for so long is the fact that they grow less than one centimeter a year. Based off of their growth rate, scientists were able to discover that female Greenland sharks do not reach sexual maturity until the old age of 152. Male sharks on the other hand can grow to be 6 meters long and live to the age of 500 according to some estimates.
Previously finding the age was more of a guessing game than anything else. The first method used in finding the age of these sharks was similar to finding the age of a tree. Scientists would count the calcified layers on the shark’s fins and scale to try and determine their age. This method didn’t work very well for the Greenland sharks due to the fact that they have spineless fins and too soft of vertebrae. The answer was in plain sight, for sharks of course. Scientist used radioactive carbon - 14 in the center of the shark’s eye lens in order to measure their ages.

I found this article to be very interesting because who would've thought that a shark of all creatures could live to be 500 years old or more. I want to know more about the ecosystem in which they live and how it may benefit them to live for so many years. Due to the fact that females don’t reach sexual maturity for many years, fishing and climate changes could have a massive impact on the number of Greenland sharks in the Arctic ocean.  Knowing that there is another animal out there that can out live the famous “long living turtle” is pretty good. ;) I would love to know more about these amazing creatures of the deep blue.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

A cure for cancer? Say what?

             Cancer has alway been in the forefront of medical news. With that being said, a cure has also come into the minds of people all across the world. I for one thought that it would take many years past my time for there to be a possible cure for cancer. After reading this article it brought the thought into my mind that a possible cure was not so far away. In this article it mentioned that within the year there could clinical trials set up in the United States.  Highly educated scientist in China have recently discovered with a few DNA modification they could develop a cure for cancer. This development has allowed these scientists to use immune cells or T cells, as noted by Lu You, to fight the disease from the inside.
This type of gene editing is known as CRISPR, which is used to cut genes at certain points in order to modify them.  This done by using enzymes to trim out specific parts of a piece of the T cell’s DNA.  From here, the scientist change the cell's internal code then add it back into the patient's bloodstream, which will hopefully help the other immune cells multiply to fight of the cancer.
Sophomore year in biology we spent a large some of the class learning about how genes worked as well as how chromosomes split at different points. Chromosomes splitting in different areas causes children to have different features just like how gene editing cause cells to have different features. After reading this article and being informed of a possible cure it made me think of all of the advancements and education that lead up  to this development. Our world is constantly discovering new things about genetics and  DNA slowly unravelling the mystery that is the human body.