On “duons” and cargo cult science

ResearchBlogging.orgYesterday a paper (Exonic Transcription Factor Binding Directs Codon Choice and Affects Protein Evolution) from John Stam’s lab at University of Washington was published in Science. They claim that „We found that ~15% of human codons are dual-use codons (“duons”) that simultaneously specify both amino acids and TF recognition sites. Duons are highly conserved and have shaped protein evolution, and TF-imposed constraint appears to be a major driver of codon usage bias.” For the non-scientists reader, this means they claim that a some portion of the human genome, which has a function (to code for proteins), also has a second, unrelated function (to be bound by a special class of proteins, called transcription factors (TFs), which control which regions of the genome are activated). They call these regions with double function „duons”, and also claim that the second function imposes constraints on how the first function is achieved and can evolve. When I read the paper, my gut reaction was this:duons_email

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Science for students by students: The Eötvös College Science Summer Camp

Do you remember that terrible week of your summer holidays when you were little, and your parents didn’t know what to do with you? When they would sign you up for a… Summer Camp? Without fail they would get everything wrong: your interests, which summer camp your friends attended, and when they wanted to send you to the cool-and-trendy camp, they were normally lagging behind the actual trends by about a year (or sometimes even a decade). This is a post about a different kind of summer camp, a summer camp that kids can choose to attend and actually enjoy: the Eötvös College Science Summer Camp, which was held this summer for the second year running. Continue reading