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Our Country's Good

Aug. 4th, 2007 | 12:47 am

Play Critique written by Andrea Calabrese on July 16th, 2005

Play Critique of Our Country's Good
written by Andrea Calabrese on July 16, 2005
Professor Campbell
Santa Monica College

Lashings, hangings, chains, ropes, whips and plenty of screams kept the audience on the edge of their seats during Our Country's Good, Santa Monica College's premiere theatre production on July 14, 2005 by Theatre Arts 54 on the Hangar Stage at Santa Monica Airport.

Our Country's Good is the true story of the first theatrical performance in Australia. When performed on June 4, 1789 it was called The Recruiting Officer, and directed by Ralph Clark. Then, in 1987, Thomas Keneally wrote a novel about the story called, The Playmaker. Today, in Our Country's Good, playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker and director Janie Jones reincarnate the cast of marines, officers, seamen and convicts destined to settle in Botany Bay, Australia in 1788.

Our Country's Good is developed from real historical accounts, as well as from letters and journals of First Fleet Officers who wrote about what happened on the ships that were sent to settle in Australia by King George III in the 28th year of his reign. Most of the convicts aboard the ships had been guilty of stealing and instead of being sentenced to hanging, they were sentenced to seven years transportation or exile for life.

Our Country's Good is a story about the philosophies of convict reform by presenting and teaching the opposition of punishment versus rehabilitation through a play, for the King, on his birthday. The cast of the play tells the story of real convicts from England sentenced to exile who populated the new Australian settlements.

Due to budget cuts at Santa Monica College, the Theatre Arts department was forced to give their student play on the Hangar Stage at Santa Monica Airport. This did cause slight technical interference which may not have effected the performance had the new theatre on campus been completed by the expected date of January 2005.

Some of the technical difficulties that I noticed having an effect on the play due to the inadequate theatre staging were things like a very small floor plan to work with. There were twelve actors crammed to perform on a stage approximately twenty square feet in size on a ground floor suitable for rehearsals but not beautiful costumes and tremendously great monologues.

The faulty stage may also contribute to the reason why the lighting seemed to be slow to key. Actors on stage were being spoken to while they were being lit. Was this bad response time by the person in charge of lighting, or bad wire connections to the lights due to improper stage lighting? There were other distractions to the audience like bugs flying around the lighting equipment on the stage. Also, if you go to see this play at the Hangar Stage, be sure to take your own personal fan or other handheld cooling device with you. Many people in the audience were waving their home-made fans at themselves due to lack of good circulation in the airport theatre.

Despite the disappointment at the incompletion of the new theatre, the Hangar Stage did provide for an excellent audio sound system. I had no problem hearing the actors or music, which included Beethoven's 5th at the plays end. The director, Janie Jones, did a very good job bringing to life the truth of what happened and the spirit of the characters. Considering the circumstances, she was able to deliver a successful production on the Hangar Stage at the airport.

The best part of Our Country's Good is the acting. This play of two acts was cast with seven men and five women with doubling of the same actors to play different characters for a total cast of twenty-two. This play teaches to the audience, while metaphorically selling to the King, the benefit to the development of society by teaching to the audience good behavior, morals, proper language and dialect, as well as advanced thinking that law abiding citizens are good and worthy people in society.

Several outstanding performances come to mind like that of Captain Arthur Philip played by Gable McManus. His height, character and personality were perfect for setting the tone and the mood of the 18th century. I also enjoyed Radoslav Cembrzynski in both of his doubling as Captain Watkin Trench and Black Cesar. His Madagascar dialect as the wretched, bland convict in rags was very believable and crafty. It was interesting to watch the same man change into the colorful and demanding intelligence Captain right before your eyes. The excellent makeup proved its expertise in the flesh of Brad Nummers's character, Robert Sideway. The portrayal of lashings through makeup and acting were so real that the audience may quiver at the perfection of the players. The portrayal of the Australian aborigine played by Munetaka Kurosu was a very cool and artsy way of reminding the audience of the 18th century reality in Australia when the land was used as a confinement for prisoners until it became colonized. It was the production and development of the theatre in Australia that had the King to see a greater purpose in Australia besides just housing for convicts.

If you're interested in watching real actors portray characters with excellence, giving spirit to the words and life to the cast straight from the pages of Wertenbaker's script right into beautiful costumes and outstanding makeup, then go to Santa Monica College's rendition of Our Country's Good. It is worth the eleven dollars just to witness and learn an understanding of what great acting is, and how it is done. There is also a discount price offered to students for eight dollars.

The budget cuts have had an enormous effect on everyone at Santa Monica College and the cuts reflect poorly in the perspectives of young people today. What is the worth of the effort and hard work put on by the students compared to the lack of respect by government leaders who cut the funding for their projects? If the performance is important, the actors are important, the portrayal of history important, the education and development of student perspective important, then so should be the funding for the theatre department. Afterall, how can we write good reviews of the plays if they are not satisfactory due to harsh budget cuts by the government on the college?

Although I would give a "Thumbs Down" to the budget cuts, I give a "Thumps Up" to Our Country's Good. It's a great little performance put on by excellent actors and proven to be worthy of a good show.

Visa/Mastercard orders accepted at 310/434-3000 otherwise tickets for Our Country's Good may be purchased at the door. Play runs July 15th-24th at the Hangar Stage, Santa Monica Airport, 2800 Airport Ave., Santa Monica. Call for the specific dates and times of available tickets.

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May. 12th, 2007 | 08:41 am

A Day at Beltaine

written by
Andrea Calabrese

Santa Monica College
Spring 2007

It is Sunday, May 6, 2007. The directions on the website, http://www.witchvox.com, say to gather by the Merry-go-round at Griffith Park in Los Angeles at noon.

It is a hot day, approximately 80 degrees, and very sunny. The leader, Kenneth Finegan, 37, announces, “We are here to celebrate the holiday, Beltaine.”

Beltaine is recognized as one of the brightest days of the year and is honored as a day to celebrate the fundamentals of Paganism. Finegan continues, “We give thanks on Beltaine to those that give life: the Sun, the Earth and our ancestors. These things give us life and allow us to be alive. These things are literally a matter of fact, based on scientific truth. We have come here to celebrate Beltaine: the beginning of the time on Earth of maximum sunlight on our hemisphere.”

He begins the ceremony in a large open space, and with his arms extended outward, he closes his eyes and prays—defined as: “harnessing personal energy and sending it.” With his long dark hair, green eyes, and Irish Gaelic descent he looks like he’s a character right out of “Harry Potter.” Suddenly, he throws his arms towards the sky and says, “I am sending energy to the sun, to the Earth, to the trees and to the sky.”

His followers listen and learn respectfully. “We take from the Earth, therefore we must give back to it to show our appreciation. Gather your energy and send it to the sun. Send thanks for all that is given to us.”

Beltaine (also known as "May Eve," "May Day," and "Walpurgis Night" according to http://www.circlesanctuary.org) is celebrated once a year, at the beginning of May. Beltaine was originally formed by ancient Celtics (people of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales) and was carried into holiday tradition by the Druids—the learned class of high priests implementing Druid law. Throughout history, “offerings were made to Bona Dea (Mother Earth), the Lares (household guardian spirits), and Maia (Goddess of Increase) from whom May gets its name.”

In ancient times, “the entire month of May was dedicated to the union of the Goddess and God (to awaken the fertility of the land), and it was considered very unlucky to marry during the month of May. Thus, there came to be a flourish of weddings in the month of June,” as noted on (http://www.Malewitch.com)

Beltaine is one of the four Celtic Fire Festivals and is recognized as the midpoint between Spring Equinox and Summer Solstice. A complement to Samhain (a celebration of the darkest days on Earth, six weeks prior to the winter solstice on Dec. 20th, hence: Halloween), Beltaine is celebrated six weeks prior to the summer solstice on June 21st in recognition of the brightest days on Earth.

According to Kenneth Finegan, leader of the Neo Pagans of Los Angeles (formed in 2005), many current traditions and holidays have Pagan roots dating back to the cave paintings and to the beginnings of the first civilizations when the Egyptians worshipped the sun.

When asked about his Pagan religion Finegan says, “My parents were Catholic and they tried to raise me Catholic, but I lost my faith in Christianity when I went to college.” He first attended Iowa State University and then Antioch College in Ohio. The more educated he became, the less faith he had in religions based on beliefs and myths. He explains, “even the Christmas tree is derived from the ancient Pagan worship of the evergreen tree which is decorated with lights for the original purpose of lighting up the Earth’s darkest days.”

Beltaine is a time of divination and communion with Fairy Folklore and Nature Spirits. Today, even “in Christianized Ireland the May dance of the Maypole has remained as did the giving of flowers to those you loved or cared for as friends,” notes(http://www.witchway.net).

Finegan says: “Religion is the most important thing in my life.” He doesn’t like the idea of an “invisible man in the sky who condemns people that He supposedly loves.” He is not into Paganism for profit, but merely to worship the fundamentals of science. He has learned well from historians such as Michael Hart, a scientist. Finegan also gives credit to “World Folklore” by LaRousse.

“Are we going to be doing any naked rituals in the nude?” asks one of the members. The leader kindly responds, “We’ll see what happens as the group develops.”

Love for Earth Science, respect for nature, and concern for environmentalism is the order of the afternoon. “It is the holiday of free love. It is said that a child conceived on Beltaine will grow up to wield great power and knowledge and to be healthier than upon any other," (http://www.witchway.net)

For more information, contact: Kenneth Finegan, Neo Pagans of Los Angeles, at specialkfinland@yahoo.com

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A History of Genes

Feb. 25th, 2007 | 09:12 am
mood: creative
music: FRNK Radio

October 2006
A History of Genes
written by Andrea Calabrese
Dr. Hodson
Santa Monica College



Gregor Mendel described how traits were inherited. Mendel proved that the views of the French Naturalist, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck views (influence of environment upon species) to be not nearly as effective as Mendel’s own theories on hereditary traits. Mendel experimented on peas, mice, and plants. (See essay) It took seven years of cross-sectioning and planting genes and families of plants to the thousand to prove his theory. Mendel’s work became the foundation for modern genetics and has helped to understand the mystery of millions of diseases and medicines.


What he studied: Organic chemistry and physiology
What he discovered: The nucleic acid
How this discovery related to cell structure: Relevant to CO2 concentration in the blood as well as the first ever concept of a single celled fertilization process called nuclein.


His experiments: Frederick Griffith and his discovery of Transformation
The organisms used in his experiments: Bacteria and mice
The reason for doing the experiments: He was trying to find a vaccine for pneumonia
What happened in his experiment: He discovered two strains of endoplasmic reticulum, and that only one of them was responsible for the death of injected mice. This lead him to discover the process of Transformation.
Define the term transformation as used in these experiments: When one strain of bacterium absorbs another strain, and turns into the type of material it absorbed.
How his experiment supported the conclusion that genes were made of DNA: DNA is made up of two strains intertwined to form a double helix. It was Griffith that discovered that there was a difference of activity between two different strains in the prokaryote bacteria.


Oswald T. Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. Provide the information in the following ordered list and include this in your story.
What organism did he work with? He was a bacteriologist, research physician, and one of the founders of immunochemistry.
What did he discover? Avery discovered that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) serves as genetic material.
Why scientists say that he provided the historical platform of modern DNA research: He was favorably honored by the Noble laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg and “betokened the molecular revolution in genetics and biomedical science.” Dr. Lederberg regularly collected the materials from Avery and provided them to the National Library of Medicine.

{GTC 5} “Hershey-Chase Experiment” of 1952

Name the organisms used in this experiment: E Coli and a T2 virus
Which of these two organisms was a prokaryote? T2 is a bacteriophage, therefore prokaryote
Describe this experiment: The hypothesis Hershey—Chase sought questioned, “Is it the viral DNA or viral protein coat (capsid) that is the viral genetic code material which gets injected into a host bacterium cell?”
Explain how/why the data forced everyone to begin thinking that genes are made of DNA: The results that Hershey and Chase obtained indicated that the viral DNA, not the protein, is its genetic code material. After their hypothesis was proven, and people finally acknowledged that DNA was the genetic material, there was a lot of competition to be the first to discover the chemical structure of DNA.


a.) What genes are: The study of nucleic acids, such as DNA, using chromatographic techniques for the first time.
b.) What they are made of: Chargaff discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helical structure of DNA.
c.) How they work: The number of Guanine units matches the number of Cytosine units, and adenine matches with Thymine in DNA.


Name the organisms used in this experiment
i. Exposed spores of neurospora crassa to x-rays or UV radiation
Describe this experiment.
ii. Single gene mutations that required enzyme material
Explain what they said genes do
iii. Capable of having one-one relationships between gene and enzyme
Explain how their data demonstrated this.
iv. They exposed spores of Neurospora crassa to X-rays or UV radiation. The mutant molds had a variety of nutritional needs i.e.Thiamine
v. They went on to create single gene mutations that incapacitated specific enzymes

{GTC 8}

Name the people in the three groups that were in the race:
i. JD Watson and Crick
ii. Pauley-Corey Model
iii. Rosalind Franklin
iv. Linus Pauley

Describe the data that was used to find the structure:
v. an X-ray crystallographer provided the data

Describe the model, including nucleotides, how the bases fit together in the helix:
vi. Paul-Corey model—three strands and the bases on the outside
vii. Watson-Crick model—two helical chains each coiled around the same axis, organic chemistry composed of 5 carbons, a ribose that’s missing an oxygen—hence, deoxyribose, connected to a phosphate in the middle, and the two strands are anti-parallel, also complimentary

Describe how DNA is replicated:
viii. Replication was discovered five years later by Miselson and Stahl. They developed the experiments that tested whether DNA was compiled by “semi-conservative” or “conservative” replication. The results, published in 1958, supported the “semi-conservative” mechanism.



a.) mission
b.) techniques
c.) purpose

{GTC 11}

First answer the following in sequence as an ordered list. Then separately begin your description of gene history. You may wish to include some of the information in the ordered list. You will also need to supplement with other information that you find.

Describe what was accomplished by the human genome project:
i. an understanding of what each chromosome in the human body is made of.
ii. what each chromosome does and what it means
iii. what a persons DNA consists of
Include the cost of the human genome project:
i. In 20 years cost estimates have gone down from $3billion to $2million today
Describe how the genome scientists stored the human genes that they were studying?
i.there is discussion of formatting a human genome--a personalized DNA report, to a 1GB computer chip

d.) Name some benefits provided by the human genome project:
i.personalizing one's own healthcare
ii. cost-efficient, truly effective medicines for the right purpose

e.) What is junk DNA and what has been found in it?
i. 4% of regulatory elements within DNA other than coding for proteins

f.) Describe/discuss the intelligent subset of human genome. What is this intelligent subset and how is it used?
i.what doctors can make use of

g.)What is a gene?
i. Now: Parts that code for proteins
ii. Back then: the common definition has been that genes contain DNA coding--simple instructions for proteins.

h.)Give functions of proteins:
i. transport nutrients
ii. communication between cells
iii. recognizing foreign invaders, i.e. viruses, bacteria


GTC 1}. Now you tell the rest of the story about how this monk changed the world's view of inheritance of traits.

Gregor Mendel changed the world’s view of inheritance traits. Many others before him such as Darwin and LaMarck tried to get the answer but were unsuccessful because predictions could not be made from their theories. Mendel used higher math to support his reasoning and to prove what has become the foundation for modern genetics.

Mendel proved that by planting atypical variety of an ornamental plant next to atypical variety that their respective offspring retained the essential traits of their parents and therefore were not influenced by the environment. This allowed proof to Mendel for the existence of heredity. He experimented by crossing different varieties of peas and mice. He saw that traits were inherited in numerical values. Then, he set out to test the ideas of dominance and segregation in peas. After seven years, Mendel proved the laws of inheritance. He proved that each member of the parental generation transmits only half of its hereditary factors to each offspring and that different offspring of the same parents receive different sets of hereditary factors.

{GTC 2}. Before scientists rediscovered and took Monks concept of inheritable factors seriously another important discovery was made by Miescher.

Johann Friedrich Miescher is famous for discovering the nucleic acid in 1869. Miescher also proved that the existence of CO2-concentration in the blood is necessary for the regular breathing process.

Throughout his life, Miescher studied organic chemistry as well as physiology. He proved that the previously undiscovered substance he found in cells came from the nucleus of the cell alone, tentatively naming the substance, ‘nuclein.’ By the time he published his newly discovered knowledge, he had realized the presence of a non-protein phosphorus molecule in the nuclei of a large number of cells.

{GTC 3} In 1900 the importance of the monks work was discovered.  Three different scientists separately collected data that also suggested that inheritable factors existed.  To make certain this was a new discovery, they all searched the scientific literature and found Mendel's work. They gave Mendel full credit when they published their data.  Find the data that shows genes are located in chromosomes.

"The processes of mitosis and meiosis were discovered in the 1870s and 1890s. It was observed that, as cells divided, chromosomes moved around in a cell, and people began to wonder what their function was. It was determined that chromosomes were made of protein and DNA, about which people knew almost nothing. People began to suspect that chromosomes had something to do with genetics, but couldn’t explain what/how. When enough evidence was accumulated to confirm that chromosomes did, indeed, have something to do with genetics, most people thought that in some way the protein in the chromosomes served as the genetic material.” --http://www.biology.clc.uc.edu

After the data was published that genes did exist, the next big question was in regards to whether genes were made of nucleic acid or protein. Chemists had already published that chromosomes were approximate half nucleic acid and half protein. Most scientists were thinking protein because nucleic was much too simple. More hereditary information could be stored by making strains of twenty amino acids than strains of four nucleotides, or so they thought. Griffith changed all that when working with two strains of prokaryotes that caused pneumonia. He was working on a vaccine for pneumonia and accidentally learned something else, Transformation. Now you tell the rest of the story.

Frederick Griffith was working to develop a vaccine for pneumonia when he discovered something more specific to the foundation of genetic make-up: the foundational structure and components for the chromosome containing DNA molecules. DNA is a long molecule composed of a double helix intertwined strand of hundreds of thousands of nucleotides.

It was Frederick Griffith that tested experiments on bacteria and mice to discover that there was another protein in the bacteria that affected the life of the mice besides the one he was injecting into them. The opposing strain of bacteria either caused the mice to live, or to die depending upon Griffith’s tests. This evidence pointed to DNA and led Griffith to discover, Transformation—the process where one strain of bacterium absorbs genetic material from another strain and turns into the type of bacteria it absorbed.

{GTC 4} Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. Provide the information in the following ordered list and include this.

Oswald Theodore Avery (1877-1955) was a bacteriologist, research physician, and one of the founders of immunochemistry. Avery is best known for his discovery that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) serves as genetic material. Scientists say that Avery provided the historical platform of modern DNA research. He was honored by the Noble laureate, Dr. Joshua Lederberg, and “betokened the molecular revolution in genetics and biomedical science.” Dr. Lederberg regularly collected the materials from Avery and provided them to the National Library of Medicine. There has recently been an online Exhibit of Oswald T. Avery’s work collaborated with the Tennessee State Library and Archives to digitize and make available on the internet a selection of Oswald T. Avery Collection for use by educators and researchers.

{GTC 5} In 1952, Alfred Hershey and Martha Chase did an experiment which is so significant, it has been nicknamed the “Hershey-Chase Experiment”. This experiment directly addressed the question, are genes made of DNA or are they made of protein?

The organisms used in this experiment are E Coli and a T2 virus , bacteriophage—a virus which infects a bacterium, because the host bacterium is killed as the new virus particles leave the bacterial cell. In order to do this, the virus must inject whatever is the viral genetic code into the host cell. The people realized the viral genetic code had to be either its DNA or the protein, capsid. The hypothesis Hershey-Chase sought questioned, “Is it the viral DNA or viral protein coat (capsid) that is the viral genetic code material which gets injected into a host bacterium cell?” Isolated T2, like other viruses, is just a crystal of DNA and protein, so it must live inside E. coli in order to replicate itself. When the new T2 viruses are ready to leave the host E. coli cell, they burst the E. coli cell open, killing it. Thereby, confirming the results to Hershey & Chase indicating that the viral DNA, not the protein, is the genetic code material.
The results that Hershey and Chase obtained indicated that the viral DNA, not the protein, is its genetic code material. After their hypothesis was proven, and people final acknowledged that DNA was the genetic material, there was a lot of competition to be the first to discover the chemical structure of DNA.

{GTC 6} Be certain to include the very important rules about nucleic acid that Chargaff made.

Erwin Chargaff, a biochemist, discovered two rules that helped lead to the discovery of the double helix in DNA.

1.) The first rule Chargaff is known for was that in natural DNA the number of guanine units equals the number of cytosine units and the number of adenine equals the number of thymine units. This gave great insight into the nitrogen base pair makeup of DNA. By proving this, he disproved Pheobus Levene’s hypothesis that DNA was composed of a large number of repeating nitrogen bases. Chargaff was able to do this with the new technology he had available to him called, paper chromatography and ultraviolet spectrophotometer. Chargaff met Crick and Watson in 1952, and explained his understandings of the nitrogen based pair in the DNA to them.

2.) The second rule Chargaff is recognized for is that the composition of DNA varies from one species to another. Specifically, in the amounts of nitrogen bases, eliminating the previous notions of protein based DNA.

Chargaff’s lab also developed research on the metabolism of amino acids and inositol, lipids and lipoproteins, and the biosynthesis of phosphotransferas. Chargaff studied nucleic acids such as DNA using chromatographic techniques for the first time, leading the fields of science with revolutionary new thinking, and Watson and Crick right behind

{GTC 7} In 1909, Archibald Garrod, an English physician, suggested that genes dictate phenotypes through enzymes. It wasn’t until the 1940s when two scientists at Cal Tech and Stanford collected the data that supported what Garrod had predicted. Now the one gene and one enzyme theory was proposed....with data.

Archibald Garrod, an English physician, suggested the concept that a gene is responsible for the production of a specific protein. Beadle and Tatum, however, set out to provide proof of the connection between genes and enzymes. They hypothesized that if there really was a one-to-one relationship between genes and enzymes, that it should be possible to create genetic mutants that are unable to carry out specific enzymatic reations.

As Beadle and Tatum had predicted, they were able to create single gene mutations that incapacitated specific enzymes, so that the mutations required an extra substance of the enzyme normally produced. These results led them to the one gene/one enzyme hypothesis, which declares that each gene directs the building of one ezyme.
We now know that all genes code for enzymes and that many peptides are made up of more than one polypeptide chains. Beadle and Tatum’s result is, one gene—one polypeptide.

{GTC 8} Now you tell the rest of the story.

JD Watson and Crick publish a structure for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid (DNA) in 1953. The lead sentence stated, “We wish to suggest a structure for the salt of deoxyribose nucleic acid (DNA). Watson-Crick model suggested two helical chains each coiled around the same axis, organic chemistry composed of 5 carbons, and a ribose that’s missing an oxygen—deoxyribose, all connected to a phosphate in the middle. They also proposed that the two strands are anti-parallel, and that DNA is complementary—knowing what one strand is, will tell you what another is. The Hydrogen bonding between A (adenine) & T (thymine), and C (cytosine) & G (guanine) prove the nitrogen based pairing, explaining Chargaff’s rules. In 1962, Francis Crick, James Watson, and Maurice Wilkins receive the Nobel Prize for determining the molecular structure of DNA.
DNA Replication was discovered five years later by Miselson and Stahl. They developed the experiments that tested whether DNA was copied by “semi-conservative”or
"conservative” replication. The results, published in 1958, supported the “semi-conservative” mechanism.

The Paul-Corey Model consisted of three interwined chains, with the phosphates near the fibre-axis. They believed there to be three strands and believed the nitrogen bases on the outside.

Linus Pauling (1920-1958)—invented an ingenious way of elucidating the structure of crystals. He utilized the methods of X-ray crystallography to determine the structures of organic molecules. He was also the first to describe how atoms bonded to form a molecule. He pursued the biological manifestations of chemical bonding. His group at CalTech was the first to determine the structure of such a huge molecule and describe its characteristics, such as the very important mechanics of bonding to oxygen. His work also provided the foundation for understanding the molecular basis for sickle-cell anemia. Paulings achievement in science ranged from physical chemistry to molecular medicine to genetics. He used in expertise in chemistry to help halt nuclear testing! Linus Pauling won the Nobel Prize twice. The first time was in Chemistry, and the second Nobel Prize he won was for his achievements in seeking world peace.

Rosalind Franklin was chemistry expert whose knowledge of the X-ray crystallographer provided the data and made the results. She graduated from Cambridge University, and went to work for John Randall at King’s College. She made many original and essential contributions to the understanding of the structure of graphite and other carbon compound even before her appointment to King’s college. It had been Franklin that was given the task by Randall of elucidating DNA’s structure. Afterwards, James Watson came out with a book called, the “Double Helix” depicting Franklin as an underling of Maurice Wilkins—who ended up walking the finish line with Watson and Crick. Franklin wasn’t an underling of Wilkins. They were peers in the Randall laboratory.

Rosalind Franklin applied her chemist’s expertise to the unwieldly DNA molecule. She was the first to state that the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA lies on the outside of the molecule. She also elucidated the basic helical structure of the molecule.
In the end, the guy that hired her—John Randall, sold her out by presenting her data to her competitors, and the competitors stole the credit. She died an early age of 37 due to cancer.

{GTC 9} (REPEAT #7)

{GTC 10} You decide what you wish to include about this project in your story.

The mission of the Human Genome Project is to identify the full set of genetic instructions contained inside our cells and to gain the ability and comprehension necessary to better understand the complete text written in the language of the hereditary DNA. This will help everyone to better define, understand, and communicate information necessary regarding the physical traits of a human being. Knowledge and insight of further understanding DNA completely will provide new strategies to diagnose, treat, and possibly prevent human diseases. It will also help to explain the mysteries and unanswered questions about science and medicine.
There have been many advances made in technology and scientific technique to better understand DNA in the past twenty years. One of these techniques is known as, “gene-splicing.” Gene splicing allows scientists to map out genetic molecules—genes, that control life processes in microorganisms. “Biotechniques” like these are what has allowed researchers to develop maps of human chromosomes. These maps have led to the discovery of important information about genes, chromosomes, and traits of the human body.

Further knowledge and understanding of human DNA has led researchers and scientists to the Human Genome Project. The HGP has brought about scientific interest from around the world. The purpose is to take a closer look at each individual chromosome to better understand the microscopic material thereof. There are many reasons for doing this. Most importantly, it will help scientists find and study the genes involved in hereditary diseases. The HGP consists of two major components. The first, consists of close-up detailed maps of the 23 pairs of chromosomes. The second is to further understand the sequencing of DNA contained in all chromosomes. Currently, the machines needed to improve greater insight and better understanding of DNA sequencing are still being developed. More specifically, the primary purpose of the HGP is to help doctors and scientists better understand the structure and characterization of the mutations in genetic DNA that are responsible for the potential hereditary diseases of a person. Right now, there are over 3000 disorders known to result from a single altered gene. The goal of the Human Genome Project is to provide scientists with new tools to help them understand the microorganisms that have ‘cause and effect’ involved with illnesses in humans, such as: Alzheimer’s Disease, Heart Disease, Diabetes, MS, Parkinson’s Disease, etc.

Scientists, doctors, and researchers are hoping that one day it may be possible to treat genetic and/or hereditary diseases by correcting errors in the gene itself. They believe the Human Genome Project will help them to achieve these goals.

{GTC 11}Describe what was accomplished by the human genome project.

One of the primary goals of the Genome Project was to help people better understand what it is exactly that is in the gene(s) that signifies the difference's between people. More specifically, the human genome project has helped to bring forth studies regarding human toxic reactions to medications, as well as a better understanding of how humans will genetically react to certain kinds of medicines depending upon their medical condition, one that may possibly be predetermined by their genes. Meaning, their medical condition and therefore the prescriptions they are given may possibly be better configured chemically for faster, better results on a person’s health and well-being. All this due simply to the knowledge and format being configured of a persons personal genome/report. The purpose is to better suit a person with a diagnosis/prescription that could possibly prevent potential diseases. A persons personal human genome analysis could provide a warning to that person of potential disease that he/she may be at risk of due to their DNA structure. The goal is to further help people in the field of medicine by using their genome.

What is the cost of the human genome project.

The goal is to get the sale of an individual's personal genome to apx. $1000./per person. When the first map came out in 1985, the estimated cost for a human genome was about three billion dollars. In the early 90's that price was adjusted to a bit more realistic quote of twenty million/per person. Most recently, the cost estimates have been adjusted to a much more realistic view of two million dollars/per person. Scientists are estimating that ten years from now, it may be much closer to $1000/per person. However, they are trying to quicken that drop in cost to about one hundred thousand dollars per person four years from now. When at the same time, they are hoping to sell pieces of individual genome(s) for about ten thousand a piece in about four years. This could save a person hundreds of thousands of dollars in surgery and medicines. Scientists and doctors are trying to make it affordable for health-care providers to purchase the human genome information necessary that may provide specific information regarding prescription, and predicted/preventable medicines/diagnosis necessary.

Currently, testing DNA for diseases directly, can be done online for about $200-3000. More and more internet services are being made available to the public to help them personalize their own healthcare.

Describe how the genome scientists stored the human genes that they were studying?
There is the discussion of the knowledge and the ability to format a personal human genome into a one gigabyte chip of information, small enough to put on a computer chip, or in a cell phone.

Name some benefits provided by the human genome project.
Many people who have become personally interested in the genome project, or DNA research are people that have had family members that have died from a medical condition, and they want questions answered. What can they learn from a genetic test? Will it help their children live longer? Is there something that can be done to prevent hereditary diseases? Can these diseases be predicted by diagnosis of one's personal genome? One of the great benefits personalizing research on one's own DNA would be to personalize one's own healthcare, helping them, their families, and their doctors to make better decisions regarding his/her medical condition.

Another benefit would be that if Doctors discover that it is possible to diagnose a human genome, then would it be possible to prescribe better medicines more suitable to cure that particular person or person's Genome? This could save lives, by saving time and money in prescribing the right medicines needed/predicted, the first time. Rather than, prescribing several medicines for something that might be the cause, or that could possibly do something to prevent, or cure, a disease--something the person may or may not even have. Or, it may be a different disease, and by use of the genome project--information in the chromosomes can help to detect a more exact diagnosis providing the exact prescription the first time.

No drugs can be sold to a deceased person, right? We have to keep the patient alive in order to do anything for them. According to the NPR recording, 100,000 illnesses occur every year because of inaccurate medicines prescribed to a patient, as well as over two million deaths per year.

What is junk DNA and what has been found in it?
The one percent makeup of DNA that we are sure of is called genes, the code for proteins. The other four percent of regulatory elements within DNA that do other things besides coding for proteins is still known to many as undiscovered terrain. One of the purposes involved with the Genome Project is to find out in full detail what is going on with this four percent of DNA that is considered non-gene element. What is its purpose? Why is it there? Doctors suggest that mutations (diseases) are discovered frequently within this four percent non-gene range of DNA. Is there information there that they are overlooking that might hold answers to cures or prevention? Scientists and Doctors agree that we do not know enough about this four percent of DNA to fully define the purpose of this non-gene area of DNA. There are many unanswered questions. Such as: Are there new kinds of DNA, like RNA--recently discovered in 2001, that we don't know about?

Describe/discuss the intelligent subset of human genome. What is this intelligent subset and how is it used?
One aspect of the “intelligent subset” is what “doctors can make use of,” and how further knowledge of a patient's personal Genome can help the doctor help the patient. Are there genes that control other genes?
This leads to many other issues, such as: Technology issue vs. Social issue, as well as moral and ethical views. There are many issues regarding concerns as to what could happen based on what doctors and scientists might find. For example, what about the idea that if the human genome were to become a household name, the "norm" in society, how would it effect different groups of people and the vast diversity we have here in America? If it was proven to be vastly significant to a human's health diagnosis and genetic makeup, could this possibly lead to people using their own Genome as a form of identification? Is it possible then that the genome could be required of people to be carried with them, as say, a Drivers License? What about that? What about a persons right to their privacy and their right of their human bodies to be free of government interference as long as an individual is a law-abiding citizen? How could that possibly heighten tensions in society? Would there be rioting because people refuse to give up their human rights of freedom and privacy? What if it became law that every US citizen were required to have their human genome with them at all times, for example? Well, what if someone couldn't afford the price the government required people to pay for their own personal human genome? Could an individual be penalized for not abiding by these new rules? What about discrimination? Who has the right to know what another person’s medical file is? Will there come a day when we have to show our medical files to the police just to identify ourselves? What about the right to not have to share that information with anyone? Just because someone likes the color of your eyes, or the color of your hair, why should anyone have to share that information with another person? It is their human right to not have to be forced to share anything.

Throughout history, the common definition has been that genes contain DNA coding--simple instructions for proteins. Proteins have many functions. Some of these include: transporting nutrients, communication between cells, recognizing foreign invaders, i.e. viruses, bacteria. It is in further studying areas like genetics, and it is in doing further DNA research that will allow doctors, and therefore everyone, to gain a better understanding of the human body and the genetic DNA code.

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The Meaning of Algae

Feb. 25th, 2007 | 05:49 am


written by Andrea Calabrese
September 2006
Dr. Hodson
Santa Monica College

Webster's Third Addition describes algae as, "Any of several divisions of simple organisms: thallophytes, various one-celled, colonial, or filamentous, containing chlorophyll and other pigments (red and brown) and having no true root, stem, or leaf. Algae are found in water or damp places, and include seaweeds and pond scum." This is a very clear definition of what algae, or alga, is. Algae can also be defined as any group of chiefly aquatic nonvascular plants (as seaweeds, pond scums, and stonewarts) with chlorophyll often masked as brown or red pigment. Along with chloroplasts, algae may also possess photosynthetic storage materials and cell walls.

Algae is a general name used for the single-celled plant plankton, seaweeds, and other freshwater plants. Plankton consists of plants and animals occurring at any depth in bodies of water, often microscopic in size. All algae are of the kingdom Protista, except for the blue-green algae known as cyanobacteria, which is of the kingdom, Bacteria. Therefore, algae may be either prokaryote--organisms belonging to the domains Bacteria and Archaea that lack a membrane-bound nucleus, or eukaryote--organisms whose cells have their DNA contained within a membrane-bound nucleus.

There are eleven different divisions of algae. One of these is the scientific division, Heterokontophyta. Heterokonts, such as algae, produce cells having two stucturally distinct flagella. The heterokonts are a major line of eukaryotes. Most range from the giant multicellular kelp to unicellular diatoms, which are a component of plankton. Heterokont algae have chloroplasts surrounded by four membranes, the last being the endoplasmic reticulum. The chloroplasts characteristically contain chlorophyll. Originally, the heterokont algae were treated as two divisions, first with the kingdom Plantae and later the Protista.

There are eleven divisions of different types of algae. Each division of algae varies from one another, containing different pigments (colors), characteristics, origins, habitats, and classifications. Only one of these divisions of algae, classified as the cyanophyceae of the division cyanophyta (also known as blue-green algae) is prokaryote. The other ten divisions of algae are eukaryote. The ten types of eukaryote algae divisions are:

  • Rhodophyta (red algae)

  • Chlorophyta (green algae)

  • Euglenophyta (Euglenoids)

  • Chloromonadophyta (Chloromonads)

  • Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae)

  • Bacillariophyta (diatoms)

  • Chrysophyta (golden-brown algae)

  • Phaeophyta (brown algae)

  • Pyrrhophyta (dinoflagellates)

  • Cryptophyta (Cryptomonads)

Each of these divisions has one or more classes of different types of algae, and each classification has one or more different pigmentations. However, color does not necessarily categorize algae to a specific class, but the morphology of the algae does. Meaning, some algaes are colorless due to loss of chloroplasts over time, but are still classified in the same division as algaes with color.

  1. Rhodophyta (red algae) –The majority of red algae consists of red seaweeds of the seashore. The pigment in red algae is phycoerythrin, which reflects red light and absorbs blue light, allowing photosynthesis to occur at greater depths of water. In Asia, Europe, and Japan Dulce and Nori have been popular sources of high vitamin human food for almost three hundred years. Some red algae can be found in tropical reefs, known as coralline algae, because they secrete a hard shell of carbonate around themselves, like coral. Unlike other algae, no cells with flagellum are found in any member of the group. There are around 4100 known species of red algae, almost all of them marine, and only about 200 that live in freshwater.

  1. Chlorophyta (green algae) –Almost all forms of green algae have chloroplasts. However, there are many different types of chlorophyll pigments including: carotene, lutein, violaxanthin, and neoxanthin, causing many different shades of color to occur. Green algae also produce/produced embyophytes, known as “higher plants” and usually include unicellular & colonial flagellate with two flagella per cell. All green algae have mitochondria with flat cristae. Some of the first land plants evolved from green algae. The location of green algae varies depending upon classification. Some may be found on rock surfaces near high water marks, whereas other genera of green algae may be found occurring in small bodies of water, in sewage oxidation lakes, and in the soil.

  1. Euglenophyta (Euglenoids) –This division of algae is known for unicellular flagellates of varying shapes. They are lacking a cell wall and many are colorless. Those that are not colorless possess discoid chloroplasts distributed throughout the cytoplasm. The Euglenophyceae possess an unusual form of nuclear division, and there is no evidence of a mitotic spindle. Euglenoids occur in both salt and fresh water where they are found in a variety of habitats.

  1. Chloromonadophyta (Chloromonads) –A very small division of little known flagellates. They exist in freshwater bogs and ponds. The cells are pear shaped, having two flagella. The pigmented organisms possess numerous yellow-green chloroplasts. The algae of this Division have not been known to store starch, but oils instead.

  1. Xanthophyta (yellow-green algae) –Usually possess two unequal flagella, the short one being simple, and the long one being pleuronematic. Yellow-green chloroplasts are derived from carotenoids, which mask the chlorophyll. There are many different genera of this division to be found. Some are free-floating, tree, soil, or rock dwellers, but most are freshwater inhabitants. Some of these may also be found attached to aquatic phanerogams. One genus, the tribonemataceae, can be found in sheets covering ponds and pools.

  1. Bacillariophyta (diatoms) –A characteristic feature of these plants is their cell wall, which is composed of silica and pectin. Each cell contains golden-brown chloroplasts. Diatoms are unicellular, but often occur in colonial forms. They can be found in marine or freshwater plankton, and also as epiphytes on other algae and higher plants. Diatoms are also found on the bottoms of lakes, ponds, and in soil. As well as in rainforests of the tropics, on the leaves of the trees. The chloroplasts are olive green to brown in color and possess chlorophylls with fucoxanthin and acetylenic carotenoids. There is estimated to be apx. 100,000 species, and 200 genera of living diatoms.

  1. Chrysophyta (golden-brown algae) –Unicellular organisms, lacking a cellulose wall, having pigments of chlorophyll and fucoxanthin. There are many different genera and many different families in this division. One example is the phaeodermatium, brown small discs found on stones in cold, quickly flowing waters. Most chrysophyta, however, are both marine and fresh water. Many form a major component of the nannoplankton.

  1. Phaeophyta (brown algae) –Common brown algae of the seashore are mostly marine algae. Only a few fresh water species exist. The brown color is due to the fucoxanthin protein, which masks chlorophylls. Most of the species is confined to colder waters, many being restricted to the North Pacific. However, there are many different genera of brown algae having many different families with many different qualities. Phaeophytes are a large group of multicellular algae, including many seaweeds. The macrocystis kelp may reach 60 meters in length, forming underwater forests of algae. The upper part of the plant floats on the water surface, kept there by the blades of the leaves. One distinctive characteristic of this class of brown algae is the rate of growth, which averages 7 centimeters per day on the Pacific Coast of N. America, which equals apx. 1-1 ¼ blades per day. At a depth of 20 meters, whole fronds can grow as much as 45 cm per day, the most rapid plant growth known. Brown algae lack plasmodesmata and starch production of land plants and relatives. The colored flagellates develop into multicellular forms with differentiated tissues, reproducing flagellate spores. Many of the brown algae species are and have been used as food by the Russians, Chinese, and Japanese people. They were also valuable as a source of iodine, and as a potassium fertilizer.

  1. Pyrrhophyta (dinoflagellates) –Most of the members of this algae division are unicells and are most noted for their large nucleus, containing distinct moniliform chromatin threads, even at resting stage. The products of photosynthesis are starch or fat. Characteristic resting cysts are also produced by many of these forms of algae. The majority possess flagella and get their class name of dinoflagellates because of the characteristic spiral motion of the motile cells. The chloroplast is a brownish color due to the carotenoid peridinin. Some dinoflagellates are also characterized by the ability to luminesce, and by the presence of potent neurotoxins. Although the majority of this Division are free-swimming or attached, marine or fresh water forms, they are also quite common as sand dwellers and parasites in fish and invertebrates.

  1. Cryptophyta (Cryptomonads) –This division is interesting in that it is the only group that possesses chlorophylls and biliproteins. It is one of the few algal groups that synthesize a-carotene instead of b-carotene. The color varies from reddish-brown through olive green to blue green due to the presence of chlorophylls a & c, carotenoids, and biliproteins. The cells have a tetrahedral shape. Both marine and freshwater species are known of this class. One of this species, Tetragonidium verrucatum is a rarely found organism that has been recorded from freshwater ponds in Europe, the United States, and New Zealand.

There is also another important form of algae known to mankind as fossil algae. Fossil algaes have been claimed to appear in deserts, on other planets, and evidence of algae existence as far back as 3.5 billion years ago. The facts have yet to be determined or classified on many of these types of fossil algaes. However, “in 2002, William Schopf of UCLA published a controversial paper in the scientific journal Nature arguing that geological formations possess 3.5 billion year old fossilized algae microbes. If true, they would be the earliest known life on earth.” There have also been recent discoveries of green algaes and cyanobacteria found amongst 30 desert lineages, and further evidence has been studied regarding hypolithic algae. Hypolithic algaes grow on lower surfaces of translucent stones, existing on quartzite rocks that are translucent—allowing photosynthesis to occur, and have also been found embedded in soil.

The eleventh Division of algae is Cyanobacteria (blue-green algae, may also look reddish brown or bright green/blue) –Cyanobacteria differ from the other divisions of algae in that it is the only division of algae from the kingdom: Bacteria, and also the only algae to be considered prokaryote. Cyanobacteria is found in almost every habitat: oceans, fresh water, bare rock, and soil; and include unicellular, colonial, and filamentous forms.

Cyanobacteria produces one of three toxic metabolites: neurotoxic, hepatotoxic and non-specific (mostly cytotoxic effects). Cyanobacteria have lipopolysaccharides (LPS, similar to compounds found in the cell walls of harmful bacteria such as Escherichia coli), which can be harmful to the health of the human immune system. However, the mortality rate from cyanobacteria is most commonly heard of in veterinary reports of pets and livestock that have consumed of waters densely packed with algae. In humans, exposure to airborne components of cyanobacteria algae can result in irritant and allergic symptoms and are likely mediated by non-toxic cellular components of the algae. “The mouse bioassay is a method used to determine presence of toxic substrates in algae, and there are numerous laboratory methods for elucidating chemical structures from algae-tainted water.”—http://www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/hab/bgahh.html

Blue-green algae in small numbers are a natural part of the water system. In large numbers, algae will multiply rapidly, causing a “bloom” to occur, possibly turning the water a different color or causing a bad smell. Chemical changes in the water may offset an imbalance to the water’s ecosystem causing an unusual rapid bloom of algae to occur. This intense increase of algae on the water surface may affect many or all of the other elements in the algae’s surrounding ecology. Blooms are not always caused by only one species of algae, but may consist of several species. However, cyanobacteria can usually be identified. The rapidly multiplying algae, known as “algae bloom” may form a densely thick coating of foam or scum on the water’s surface. This will cause many changes to occur. For example, algae blooms cause a greater consumption of oxygen in the water due to a greater number of algae decaying and further stimulating growth of higher increased levels of bacteria. This de-oxygenation of the aquatic system will not only cause the immediate aquatic life and plant forms to die as a result of oxygen deprivation, but may also cause chemical changes in the mud at the bottom, lowering the oxygen value of the sediment, releasing chemicals and toxic gases. A thick algal bloom floating on the surface of the water may also alter or damage the community underneath by over-shading the aquatic life that is normally prone to nourishment by the sun. Algae blooms also disrupt bigger parts of the food chain because the entire ecology will need to adjust to the loss and inaccessibility of the previously existing aquatic life. i.e.birds, forest animals, and other seashore plant life.

Four decades ago, in the 1960s, there was a sudden burst of algae blooms rapidly occurring along the Great Lake shorelines. These drastic increases in algae blooms made human inhabitants miserable due to the outrageous size, smell, and drastic effect the algae blooms had upon the populated waters. This rapid increase in algae blooms caused policy makers to change the rules regarding elements of phosphorus pollution and industry requirements. One lb. of phosphorus can stimulate growth of up to 500 pounds of algae. To reduce the number of occurrences of algae buildup, legislatures in Michigan and some neighboring states imposed limits on phosphate laundry detergents in the 1970s. However, phosphorus continued flowing into the lakes from other sources.  These new rules contributed to reducing further dramatic increases in the algae blooms occurring there.

Today, further suggestions are being made to reduce the current number of algae blooms in Michigan to also limit the amount of phosphate produced and used in dishwashing machine detergents as well.

Another cause of the increase in algae blooms since the 1980’s is the arrival of two exotic species: the zebra mussel and its cousin, the quagga mussel. Mussels filter the water, allowing sunlight to penetrate deeper into the lakes, enabling algae to thrive at greater depths than before. This would contribute to greater levels of redox in the soils on the floors of the aquatic systems.

Other known disruptions in the normal ecology of algae are:

(The following reasons for increased algae blooms were taken directly from various lists from several different websites)

  • Runoff into waterways with nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) from sewage, agriculture fertilizers, industrial effluent, etc.

  • Poor water flow, Algae blooms generally do not occur in steadily moving water.

  • Alteration of lake and river ecosystems through land clearing, agriculture and settlement, and water management systems (locks, dams, etc.).

  • Eutrophication of surface water from industrial and agricultural activities has been cited as the stimuli for blooms.

  • Temperature affects the oxygen concentration since warmer water cannot dissolve as much oxygen as colder water.

  • Most of the Chesapeake Bays' more visible living resources will not survive exposure to waters of less than 1 mg/l for more than a few hours. Supersaturation (over 100% DO saturation) can occur when there is a large algal bloom. During the daylight, when the algae are photosynthesizing, they can produce oxygen so rapidly that it is not able to escape into the atmosphere, thus leading to short-term saturation levels of greater than 100%.

  • The amount of oxygen dissolved in Bay waters is probably the single most important measure of habitat quality; without oxygen, all of the living resources familiar to us perish.

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