Wednesday, 15 September 2010

S366: TMA-5

TMA 5 - the final one! Three questions - but as usual, big questions with lots of sub parts.

The first question covers quite a few basic definitions of evolution, and what causes genetic variation. You are presented with various scenarios and asked to hypothesis what is going on to give the resulting diversity. It also contains a part where a mutual relationship between plants and ants is considered, and the hybridisation of two species. Finally it finishes up with a bit on Bats and the genes that have probably changed to give them their ability with questions about these concepts.

Question 2 gives you a list of scenarios a) - k) and then a list of possible answers and asked to match them up. There is not necessarily a one to one relationship between questions and answers, and also there is the additional option of "none of the above" and you can insert your own answer into the question. Its reasonably tricky, as in some cases you could easily use more than one explanation for a given event. I got most of them right, with one or two exceptions, and some of my explanatory notes were a little off the mark.

Question 3 you are given a paper to read, in this case one about the origination of dogs in the new world. Did dogs come with the settlers that  had already been domesticated before, and then came across the bearing straits, or did they come over and domesticate wolves in the Americas? So lots of questions on the paper. Interpreting their cladograms, looking at the stats, trying to find out the conclusions and the supporting data.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

S377: TMA-4

TMA-4  - the last one.

Question 1 - and we're back to ICAMs. This time interaction with other molecules and cells such as T-lymphocytes. It also goes into signalling with chemokines and things like that.

Question 2 - we;re into differentiation starting with embryos. This includes going through the different mechanisms and drawing a picture for asymmetric division. Then some discussion of how possible antibodies could distort the division and what its effect might be.

Question 3  looks at the enzyme G3PDH, two versions of it. One human the other lobster. First it has to be displayed with its active site visible and showing the interactions.
Then there is a list of comparisons to be done, to compare the amino acids between the two different forms, and show how much conservation there is in the structure. You also have to predict what effect changing some of the AA might do to the activity of the protein.

Question 4 and you have to write a report based on some virtual experiments. Its not quite the normal scientific paper I've come to know that they are asking for, but something similar. There are quite tight constraints on it though. Only 4 pages, a max of 800 word, max 1 table and 1-2 figures. So emphasis on conciseness.

Slightly better marks for this one - but overall lower than I'd hoped across the whole course.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

S366: The book - part 2

The rest of the book contains the following chapters:

Section K - Genetic drift: Evolution at random
This is one of the few random bits of evolution, where mutations and other characteristics which aren;t strongly selected for settle out at random. Like blue eyes/brown eyes. Eventually they would settle out just by chance.

Section L - Natural selection and adaptation

Section M - The genetical theory of natural selection
Onto the genetics and the cellular level of natural selection.

Section N - Evolution under domestication and its relevance to the origins of natural phenotypic traits.
This is about artificial selection and what changes and traits can be preserved.

Section O - Conflict and cooperation
Symbiotic relationships, predator prey and paracitism.

Section P - Species
The rise of species.

Section Q - Speciation
Different models of how species can come about - through isolation mostly, but also through other ways such as behavioural isolation

Section R - How to be fit: reproductive success
Looking into the metric that is fitness, and how to measure it.

Section S - Coevolution: evolving interactions among species
How one species can affect another in its evolution.

Section T - Evolution and development
The whole evo/devo debate. I regret not being able to quote ontology recapitulates phylogeny in my TMA's and exam.

Section U - Macroevolution: evolution above the species level
How big changes happen - mostly small changes and lots of time.

Section V- Contemporary evolution
All about recent changes to humans, domestication and so o.n.