Distal and Proximal – Today’s Science Word

Have you ever had difficulty describing where something is in relation to others? When scientists discuss where things are on a person or other animal, they also need words to compare.  Two such words are DISTAL and PROXIMAL. Distal means that something is further from either the center of the body or a point of attachment.     Proximal means that something is nearer to either the center of the body or a point of…

The Building Blocks – Today’s Science Word

The most common product of a genetic instruction is the protein.  Proteins are workhorses of the cell, helping reactions to occur and transporting things from one place to another. The building blocks of proteins are AMINO ACIDS.  Amino acids are molecules that can link together like a chain.  On one end is an NH2 (also known as an amine), and on the other end is COOH (a carboxyl). In between is where the interesting stuff…

Your Genetic Code Book – Today’s Science Word

Your codebook of DNA holds all the instructions needed to make your cells function.  Each unit of instruction comes in the form of a GENE, a sequence of DNA that encodes for a trait. A given location (also called a locus) on a chromosome is home to a particular gene, which encodes for a particular trait.  But traits aren’t always controlled by just one gene.  Many traits have more than one gene that controls them….

Chromosome – Today’s Science Word

You have 3 billion bases in your DNA on 46 chromosomes (and 2 sex chromosomes), and if you stretched out, it would be 2m long!  So how can it fit into your cells? Your cells package the DNA, allowing it to access the pieces that it needs to read the instructions needs.  The rest is compressed by creating coils upon coils. The most intense compression occurs when a cell is ready to divide.  At this…

Atoms and Molecules – Today’s Science Word

Would you believe it if I told you that you and I, the ground we walk on, the sun, and everything else is made of the same things?  We are all composed of atoms.  Atoms are the smallest thing that exists that gives a substance its chemical properties.  Atoms are made of two main parts. The NUCLEUS of the atom holds almost all of its mass.  This is where positively charged protons and uncharged neutrons sit. …