Saturday, July 21, 2007

Hardly a day goes by...

... without thinking about DNA. I still get a laugh out of the local "science" columnist's lead for a story about genetics.

This morning I checked out what Nanook and Pooka, two adorable Newfs, were up to. Evidently they dug up some dirt on Nike's history with promoting dog fighting. So disgusting.

Anyhow, this post really is going to be about genetics! I promise.

So, Nanook and Pooka are so cute and Katy is a wonderful dog, and I could imagine us living in the country ... gulp... outside of Yuckima. If that comes to pass, you'd better believe I will be lobbying for another Newf! In order to get a Newf you've got to work with a breeder at least a year in advance because puppies get reserved before they are born. There is often a waiting list and you may have to wait for the next litter. Next time we get a Newf I'd like to get a classically big and hairy one. Katy is slender and shorter coated.

Anyhow, in the effort to locate Newf dealers in the PNW I stumbled on the Columbia River Newf Club. Their page contained lots of links including one of which led me to a very well done series of articles about genetics to help a lay audience understand what chromosomes are, where they're located, and how they work.

The articles are written by Mark Martin, a Ph.D. molecular biologist who uses Newfs to illustrate how mutations and dominant/recessive genes work.

The articles, and especially the illustrations, are delightful. Check them out! Seriously good (and cute). I love the ones explaining mutations. The beer analogy is wonderful for explaining phenocopy mutation.

If I were a high school science teacher teaching life science, I would certainly introduce genetics through Newfys. It would be way more fun and relevant than learning about pea genetics. Kids these days are a lot more likely to own a dog than grow peas.

Speaking of dog ownership - Her Royal Newfsance just climbed up on the other couch cushion to sit with me. I really don't know why she bothers. She never stays long enough to make it worthwhile. Right now she's got her back end curled up on the couch with her front paws standing on the floor. She does this sort of half sit/half lie all the time. Cracks me up.

No comments: