Proposal Methods

Submitted by ncarbone on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:12

We conducted a survey for students at UMass Amherst to collect their thoughts about how gene editing should be used and regulated in the medical field pertaining to the ethics. Survey options consisted of 4 options: strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, and strongly disagree. We used a Likert-scale for the data to be easily analyzed via a median or mode and displayed in a bar graph. It is the most widely used approach in survey research. A survey pertaining to 3 different scenarios regarding germline gene editing was sent out to 40 UMass students. Each scenario included 3 survey questions. We analyzed how students believe gene editing should be controlled and therefore what regulations need to be executed. Visual representations of data from surveys demonstrated these conclusions. The data collected regarding the ethics of the 3 scenarios will be pooled together as a consensus overview of germline gene editing and displayed via a pie chart.


Proposal Intro

Submitted by ncarbone on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 19:12

Modern gene editing tools have the potential to treat diseases from a new perspective. A commonly popular technique used frequently to achieve gene editing is a CRISPR-Cas9 protein complex. With the use of CRISPR-Cas9, specific genes are targeted and the DNA sequence is then modified. Researchers are currently practicing gene editing in various subjects and performing the techniques in experimental research. On the other hand, scientists are delaying the use of gene editing for safety concerns and regulations. For our project, we will be discussing the ethics and various applications of germline gene editing. Germline editing changes the human embryo genome at an early stage. Germline editing also can have an affect on every cell including sperm and egg cells and also may potentially be passed onto future generations.


Week13 Draft2

Submitted by mqpham on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 17:41

Evolutionary development is a branch of study that began about 20 years go. Since then, two lines of research have diverged. One focuses on typological, focusing on descrete and qualitative changes in phenotype. The other is research done through investigating complex phenotypes by quantitative developmental phenomena. However, there is potential for the two to be used in explaining processes and mechanisms for evolutionary development over time. In recent years, evolutionary development offers insight on specific molecular connections between genotype and morphology. Still, the importance of how the morphology interacts with the environment will make the final determination on the fitness of the genotype. Therefore, evolutionary development has a greater potential if it is broadened from the fine details of the genotype all the way to how those genotypes affect resource use (Irschick, Albertson et al, 2013).

Disease versus Culturally Bound Syndrome

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 16:58
When comparing a disease versus a culturally bound syndrome, it’s imperative to note that a disease has an actual biological/genetic basis. A culturally bound syndrome results from widespread cultural values and institutional factors. Try comparing cancer to the falling out. Cancer is a disease that results from unregulated, rapid cell proliferation in the body and a failure in the function of tumor suppressor genes. It is a genetic disease that has a biological basis. Falling out is a culturally bound syndrome that particularly affects those living in the Caribbean and the southern United States. It is experiencing seizure-like symptoms, like a sudden collapse, dizziness, and being able to hear and understand what’s going on around them. Falling out is a psychological response to certain stressors and it can be a response to anxiety. It’s not a disease because it’s basically manifested psychosomatic effects due to their culture. Culturally bound syndromes seem to occur more in other countries, I think, due to religious beliefs held and superstitions that our society doesn’t really believe in.


Submitted by lgarneau on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 16:11

I could help them figure out whether or not it was typical "middle age forgetfulness" by suggesting they should have a neuropsychological evaluation. They are the most common way to diagnose major NCDs. The tests are extensive clinical reviews which assess learning and memory. I could even adopt my own version of this if my family member is unwilling to get evaluated. I could ask questions about their day or questions about things that they definitely should remember. Although this is not as reliable, it is a good indicator if they should actually get professionally evaluated or not.

Why Neoantigens?

Submitted by sditelberg on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 15:43

Although both antigen types present as attractive targets for the development of cancer-eradicating immunotherapies, expression of TAAs in normal cells can trigger central and peripheral tolerance mechanisms that ultimately lead to selection of T cells with low-affinity receptors. Attempts to combat this effect through targeting of TAAs via high-affinity T cell receptors have been found to result in severe toxicities due to normal tissue destruction (Parkhurst et al. 2011). Unlike TAAs, tumor-specific neoantigens are not subject to central or peripheral tolerance and lack the ability to destroy normal tissues since their mutations arose from the tumor itself (Lu et al. 2016). Due to this key difference in the development of these antigens, the researchers will use tumor-specific neoantigens for the identification and subsequent targeting of pancreatic cancer cells through immunotherapy.

Mind-reading Neurons

Submitted by alanhu on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:35

Researches had found neurons in the amygdala which are known as “stimulation neurons”. The stimulation neurons allows animals to stimulate and predict decision making processes of others. Researchers hypothesized that the dysfunction of the neurons would lead to a disrupted social cognition. Meaning that people with autism would have likely have less active neurons. While people with overactive neurons would have social anxiety. With this knowledge, researchers have a more specific direction for studying how the stimulation of neurons have an effect on people.



Submitted by cynthiaguzma on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 14:02

The hypothesis that body temperature stays constant after exercise was not supported due to the differences found in the mean and the data that wwas shown on the graph. The graph shows for the majority of the time that at rest the body temperature is higher than after a minute of exercise. This is consistent with what others have found in published papers (1.) Body temperature is higher at rest and tends to cool down during exercise since sweat is being produced in order to cool the body. Which means that the temperature reading after exercise will be lower than before it. There could have been errors with the way people were taking their temperature, there could have been inconsistencies on where they were positioning the thermometer. For a clearer picture of thermoregulation, a better thermometer would be use that would be better at picking up the exact temperatures to create more accurate and consistent data.

Draft: Regulation via Hormones

Submitted by aspark on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 13:42

The activity of regulatory enzymes is controlled by internal signals that reflect the conditions in a particular cell. Internal signals include substrate availability, cofactor availability, activators/inhibitors, and feedback inhibition. On the other hand, the activity of regulatory enzymes are also controlled by external signals that provide information about conditions in the organism. External signals include activators/inhibitors and hormones, which usually mediate the phosphorylation or dephosphorylation of pathway components. Hormones are chemical signals produced in response to specific conditions and distributed throughout an organism via the bloodstream. They are the primary method of regulation used to control metabolic reactions. Hormones interact with target cell receptors in order to alter the behavior of the cell. Only cells with receptors for a hormone response, and receptor proteins are specific, interacting with one or a few hormones. The same hormone can cause different responses in different cells, even if it interacts with the same receptor. Hormones binding to cell membrane receptor proteins function via a amplification mechanism.

marine diving adaptations

Submitted by jhussaini on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 13:32

When marine mammals dive into deep, high pressurized waters, they experience an increase in dissolved nitrogen gas in their bloodstreams. The dissolved gas poses a threat because if the divers ascend too fast, they experience a phenomenon known as the “bends,” whereby gas bubbles form inside the body and increase the risk of contracting decompression sickness. Fortunately, marine mammals have a special lung architecture that creates two different pulmonary regions to combat high-pressure depths. They have a compressible chest that limits the amount of nitrogen gas that can be absorbed. The authors of the review article suggest that the physiology of diving mammals is poorly understood, and that there are other cardiorespiratory mechanisms that provide a better explanation for their ability to dive deeply. The results of the paper showed that many marine mammals can withstand high levels of nitrogen gas that would normally cause decompression sickness 50% of the time. The authors also hypothesized that parasympathetic stimulation helps limit lung perfusion, which is a necessary for diving to great depths. They propose that high amounts of stress can interfere with this process and might explain the failure of a normal dive response. Overall, these findings are significant because they offer a new perspective on the physiological and respiratory adaptations that enable cetaceans to dive at great depths. 


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