Today was focused on life at a slightly larger level than nano — fungi and microbes. I am incredibly excited for the mycelium project, and will definitely be documenting the growth of my kit. However, in this blog I will be more focused on the microbial theater activity we did and presented in class.

At first I didn’t really know what to do, so I just fiddled around with the microscope, and examined different things. When I went to wash the petri dish, I noticed the water swirling around, and decided to analyze it. Since my desk is white, I held the petri dish up to where the background was my wall (which is yellow). Once my microscope focused, I thought the picture was really interesting and looked quite nice. Next, I thought I could compare water with saliva since they were both liquids, so I decided to examine my saliva against the microscope. Interestingly, the saliva looked slightly different. One major thing I noticed was that the saliva was filled in in spots where the water was not, and vice versa.


(left: microscope image of tap water / right: microscope image of my saliva)

A conjecture I had, which is probably not very scientific, is that the saliva and water have this “opposite” image due to the fact that one comes from us (living organisms) and the other doesn’t (nonliving). I think this further expands upon the point that we are extremely unique in comparison to our surrounding environment.

My instructor, Gamma leader Zeynep, mentioned that if you had an aquarium and placed some of its water under a microscope, you could actually see tiny creatures. I actually have a fish tank, so I will definitely try this! It will definitely add another perspective by comparing us with nonhuman living things.

Gene Control,

The Epigenome at a Glance,

“What Is Epigenetics? – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,

Today in class we had a lecture about CRISPR and genetics in general, and one point that was mentioned regarded epigenetics, which I found interesting. I learned a little bit about this subject in freshman biology, and it’s enthralling that our genome can be change just based on how we live our lives.

I decided to do some research on epigenetics, and found out that what causes “epigenetic changes” are certain compounds are added to certain parts of the genome, and these compounds inhibit/regulate these parts. The epigenome (everything added to the genome) does this by utilizing several chemical groups to either tightly coil or unravel certain parts of the genome. The tightly coiled sequences are harder to read, thus inhibiting protein production for that specific area. The looser sequences are easier to read, allowing that protein to be actively produced. DNA methylation is the process of placing methyl groups (one type of chemical group) along the specific gene to inhibit it.

Examples of how our environment/lifestyle affects our epigenome is through diet. If you were vegetarian, for example, you would probably have a harder time digesting meat due to the fact you rarely eat it. In this case, the epigenome responds to your diet and inhibits a part of the genome that processes meat. The epigenome can also cause genetic disorders, for example, cancer. Cancer cells can be too active (less methyl groups) and cause high cell growth and more instable DNA processes. They can also be too tightly coiled leading to genes that inhibit cell growth regulation, DNA repair, and cell death. Our epigenome can be passed down through generations, affecting your children and beyond.

(visualization of a gene loosely coiled, allowing the gene to produce proteins)

(visualization of a gene tightly coiled, inhibiting the gene’s protein production)

I feel that epigenetics illustrate that it’s always important to live a healthy and satisfying life. Being stressed and making bad decisions actually takes a toll on not only your genetic code, but your family as well.

Works Cited Gene Control, The Epigenome at a Glance, “What Is Epigenetics? – Genetics Home Reference – NIH.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health,