If you are nearing the end of your PhD program in biology — or even just starting to consider graduate school — it’s a good idea to think about what you will do after obtaining your PhD. Luckily there are a variety of different career paths open to biology PhD graduates, both inside and outside… Continue reading What are some good Biology PhD jobs?
How to get into a Biology PhD program
You love biology and the thrill of scientific discovery, so you’ve decided to commit and join a PhD program in Biology (or you’re actively considering it). Figuring out how to apply to a PhD program can be confusing and stressful — this post provides a simple overview of everything you should have in place before… Continue reading How to get into a Biology PhD program
How to make a Drosophila chromosome map
The sequencing of genomes — human genomes as well as those of model organisms, like the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster — has given us deep insight into the structure of chromosomes and their nucleotide sequences. But long before DNA sequencing technology existed, researchers were able to use mutant genes to create high-quality chromosome maps for… Continue reading How to make a Drosophila chromosome map
How to make the best fruit fly trap
In the research lab I was surrounded by tens of thousands of fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster for the uninitiated) which were kept carefully stored in plastic test tubes. Not surprisingly, even the most careful maintenance couldn’t keep them all locked away without a few flies escaping. So we had to create our own fruit fly… Continue reading How to make the best fruit fly trap
Intro to Mendelian genetics
Most students of biology have heard the phrase “Mendelian genetics,” owing to Gregor Mendel’s famous pea plant breeding experiments in the mid-19th century. In 1915, Mendel’s principles of heredity were first applied to the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster when “The Mechanism of Mendelian Heredity” was published by the original dream team of fly researchers (partly… Continue reading Intro to Mendelian genetics
What is a balancer chromosome?
Drosophila melanogaster is a great model system for studying mutations, many of which are recessive lethal. You might be wondering: How is it possible to stably maintain a recessive lethal mutation in a fly stock? Wouldn’t the mutant allele be lost over time, as it is gradually bred out with each successive generation? Not to… Continue reading What is a balancer chromosome?
Necessary vs Sufficient: What’s the difference?
Laboratory researchers work to uncover the causes of events, whether the events in question are planetary motions, the movement of proteins within a cell, or the development of an animal tissue over time. In biology research papers, you will often see genes or proteins described as necessary or sufficient for a particular event to occur.… Continue reading Necessary vs Sufficient: What’s the difference?
The curious case of ectopic eyes in Drosophila
The model organism Drosophila melanogaster is famous for its elaborate genetic experiments. Scientists have learned a great deal about animal development — even human development — by creating countless mutations in D. melanogaster and observing their effects on fly development. One such famous experiment is the case of ectopic eyes in Drosophila melanogaster, which taught… Continue reading The curious case of ectopic eyes in Drosophila
Correlation vs Causation in Biology
Scientists are always warning the public — and each other — not to confuse correlation with causation. When a study is published linking our favorite food to cancer, heart attacks, or other health problems, we’re cautioned to take these findings with a grain of salt because identifying causes in a complex sea of correlations is… Continue reading Correlation vs Causation in Biology
The Gal4-UAS system: Drosophila research tool
The Gal4-UAS system is one of the most famous and useful genetic tools available in Drosophila melanogaster. This technology was first developed in yeast1,2 in the late 1980s and subsequently adapted to allow tissue-specific gene expression in flies.3 Researchers around the globe now use Gal4-UAS to turn genes on or off in almost any Drosophila… Continue reading The Gal4-UAS system: Drosophila research tool