December 2012

On the Wild Types blog

Show tunes as part of a teaching strategy?
Love and heartache are well-established inspirations for songs. But Kevin Ahern at Oregon State University turns to another source: biochemistry. Take, for instance, the song “Translation,” sung to the tune of “Maria” from “West Side Story”: Translation! / I just learned the steps of translation. / And all the things they say, / About tRNA, / Are true. It gives you a new appreciation for and interest in the subject, doesn’t it? That is Ahern’s goal.

Fluorescent protein controls enzyme activity
These days, we can’t imagine doing molecular biology experiments without green fluorescent protein and other fluorescent tags. In a paper in Science, researchers have made one do more than just work as a tracker. This engineered fluorescent protein can control a protein’s activity.

Which cellular organelle would get your vote?
Brad Graba, a biology teacher at William Fremd High School in Palatine, Ill., took advantage of the election-season hype and engaged his students on campus and on Twitter in a campaign that pitted organelles against organelles.

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