I'm quite obviously new to the whole "blog-o-sphere" but decided that now was the time to get involved.
So where do I begin?
For some, the best place to start is the beginning. I however will start at the middle, and we'll see how things go from there. RNAworld is a place where I hope to share the wonders of the scientific world with all the rest of you, and chronicle my adventures in uncovering the mysteries of our past. Exciting, huh?
If you haven't already guessed, I'm a bit of a science freak (I prefer biology and chemistry but I'm down for anything) and evolution is a major hobby of mine. I know, most people will tell you how they like to go hiking, back-packing, walking on the beach at sunset, etc... but I figured I might as well be honest with you all. I do all those things, but evolution is still my hobby.
I find that far too many people have a misconception as to what evolution ACTUALLY is. They seem to think that when a species evolves it means that individual organisms become something else. That is as far from reality as Tom Cruise! (no hard feelings Tom, I love your movies and everyone has the right to believe whatever they want... but you just act really crazy sometimes) Anyway, evolution in a broad sense is a change in allelic frequency in a population over time.
Basically, lets pretend there is a population of 100 flowers, 1/2 red and 1/2 white. When those flowers reproduce lets say that only 25 red flowers are produced while 75 white flowers are produced. (we're going to assume that red v. white is controlled by one gene and that the gene follows simple dominance patterns) then the new population of flowers would have a different frequency of red genes and white genes... right?
We'll assume that it does. So the population has evolved. Over time this population might evolve to a point where there are no longer ANY red flowers at all... or other events might occur that drive the evolution in the other direction. It can all get very exciting!
But to tell you the truth, my real love is genetics. That's why I'm so interested in evolution, because you can study it by studying the genetics of organisms. And when you combine evolution with genetics you undoubtedly get RNA (ribonucleic acid), the first form of genetic material to evolve on the planet... at least, we think it is.
We use DNA (essentially just modified RNA) for our genetic material now (primarily because it is loads more stable than RNA) but if something needs doing, its the RNA that gets it done. There is even RNA that has the properties of enzymes, referred to as enzymatic RNA or sometimes as ribozymes.
I guess I'm a little bit like RNA, slightly unstable but that's what helps me do my job.
Well this has been fun. Check back in for the next installment of RNAworld!