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Monster DNA

In the tiny world of DNA, we might call genomes monsters. These huge sets of information include all the codes for all the genes present in an organism. From genomes, we can learn about the traits, diseases, and evolution of a species, and that’s just a start. What might such a monster set of data do for us if it was about our very own North American monster – the Gila monster? Computational biologist Melissa Wilson Sayres tells Dr. Biology about the Gila monster, the life-saving venom in its saliva, and what we might learn from the monster genome.

Content Info | Transcript


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Topic Time
Introduction [DNA Day] 00:00
What is a genome? 01:23
When was the human genome sequence completed? 03:27
The Monster DNA project. 03:54
What is a Gila monster? 04:35
Gila monster genome and the Animal Superpower Challenge. 06:19
Why are we interested in the genome of a Gila monster? 08:15
Gila monster spit. 08:58
Gila monster unique features. 10:43
Loss of Gila monster habitat.. 11:27
The problem with relocating Gila monsters 11:57
How much and often do Gila monsters eat and drink? 13:16
The unusual thing about the Gila monster sex chromosomes 15:01
What do you do with the genome information? 16:53
Who would use information from the Gila monster genome? 18:19
DNA is amazingly efficient for storing information. 18:38
Who is involved with reading the genome? 19:06
What do you do with 400 million tiny pieces of DNA in it? 20:20
The undergraduate researcher. 20:52
Three Questions. 22:14
When did you first know you wanted to be a biologist? 22:23
Did you always like math? 25:12
What would you do if you could not be biologist? 26:44
Advice for future biologists. 28:34
Sign-off.
[learn/play - DNA Basics - Decode a Monster Genome - DNA Day]
30:23

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Monster DNA

Audio editor: CJ Kazilek

Gila Monster

Learn more about the Gila monster Animal Superpower Challenge.

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Gila Monster

Learn more about the Gila monster Animal Superpower Challenge.

Share to Google Classroom

Be part of Ask A Biologist

by volunteering, or simply sending us feedback on the site. Scientists, teachers, writers, illustrators, and translators are all important to the program. If you are interested in helping with the website we have a Volunteer page to get the process started.