Lecture 1 Summary.docx

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University of Toronto St. George
Human Biology
Maria Papaconstantinou

Lecture One – Sydney Brenner  Born in South Africa  Learned to read a young age  Completed grade 4 at the age of 6  Conducted his own experiments in high school  Entered the university of Witwatersrand at age 15 to study medicine  Was too young to start medical school, so he spent a year in a medical BSc program in anatomy and physiology  Continued to research in Joseph Gillman’s lab, who was a histologist  Completed an honours BSc and MSc in cytogenetics (Study of structure and function of chromosomes)  Received his medical degree, but did not enjoy all of med school, wanted to be a researcher  Entered Oxford University to pursue a PhD in physical chemistry in the lab of Cyril Hinshelwood  Worked on bacteriophage (virus that affects bacteria) resistance in bacteria  One of the first people to see DNA structure; became close friends with Watson and Crick  Travelled with Watson across the U.S. visiting labs  Post-doc training in a bacteriophage biology lab at Berkeley under the supervision of Gunther Stent  Returned to South Africa to set up a lab in the medical school  Wanted to move back to England, so Crick helped him acquire a lab in Cambridge University  Proved that all over-lapping DNA codes are impossible which led Crick to propose tRNA o Led to the unidirectional flow of information model (central dogma)  Proposed concept of mRNA  Helped demonstrate the triplet nature of the code of protein translation, which led to the discovery of framshift mutations  Began working on establishing C. elegans as a model organism C. elegans  Key organism for studying: o Behaviour o Ageing o Nerves and muscle o Development  Are either hermaphrodites (XX) or males (XO); males are smaller  Natural habitat: soil  Length: 1mm  Food: E. coli  Life span: 3 days  Cellular structure: 1000 eukaryotic cells, 300 neurons  First multicellular organism to have its genome sequenced  Transparent – can study developmental processes; can screen large populations for mutations  Low number of body cells (fate of each cell known)  Ability to self (quickly produce homozygotes  Diploid organism with 6 pairs of chromosomes  Techniques for genetic modification: o Standard mutagenesis – EMS (causes point mutation) and radiation o Targeted gene knockouts – transposons; RNAi o Transgenesis  In the wild, self-fertilizing hermaphrodites tend to homozygosity  Males are rare, but important because it allows for genetic diversity  Males are produced due to non-disjunction events  Male sperm has an advantage over hermaphrodite sperm  Mutations should be induced after sperm has matured and before ova
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