Are identical twins really identical?

Tuesday 18 December, 2007

To many of you who come and ask about identical twins and how genetically identical they are, this is an interesting documentary movie (less than 15 minutes) about the effect of epigenetic factors on gene expression.

The movie can be viewed here.

So, away from Shakesperian plays where two twins are separated since their birth, even in similar geographical environmental conditions, there are other factors that can make identical genes behave differently: what a pregnant woman eats can not only affect her baby’s phenotype, but also his or her genotype and even the grandchildren genotype.

Enjoy the show while it lasts (I don’t know how long it will be available online)…

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Now all Part I lectures are on the e-learning site!

Saturday 27 October, 2007

Finally, all Part I lectures (Chapters 2-7) are now on the e-learning platform (click here).

The site is relatively easy to use and browse; however, it is a bit different from forums and blogs, that’s why some of you may not find it familiar. Below are some tips to help you find your way between the courses:

  • When you go to the site, you have to create a username and a password. These are general for the whole system and not for a particular course. There are many courses and there will be more as time progresses. Only few courses are directed to you (for now, it’s the Basic Microbiology and Immunology, and the Practical Micro courses). You can be a member of each course by enrolling to it. Even if you already have a username and password for the whole site, you might need to enroll to each course independently.
  • Some courses are open for guest access but others are only for those enrolled to it. Sometimes enrollment is open to every user, and sometimes it requires an “enrollment key.” If so, request an enrollment key from the teacher. Why all this? Because some courses may be special workshops directed only to some participants and because in some courses, there is a grading system, so only enrolled students can get grades.
  • Why enroll if you can access as a guest? Even when guest access is available, enrollment will offer you additional privileges:
    • you can chat online with other students or with teachers.
    • you can post discussions to forums.
    • you can submit assignments and participate in online quizzes (if any).
    • you can create groups of students and do some group activities.

Below are the steps to register to the e-learning site (copied from the site’s welcome page) and to start enjoying it:

  1. Fill out the New Account form with your details.
  2. An email will be immediately sent to your email address.
  3. Read your email, and click on the web link it contains.
  4. Your account will be confirmed and you will be logged in.
  5. Now, select the course you want to participate in.
  6. If you are prompted for an “enrollment key” – use the one that your teacher has given you. This will “enroll” you in the course.
  7. You can now access the full course. From now on you will only need to enter your personal username and password to log in and access any course you have enrolled in.

خطوات التسجيل في موقع التعلّم الإلكتروني واستخدام المقررات:

١) املأ نموذج حساب جديد.
٢) على الفور تصلك رسالة على عنوانك البريدي.
٣) قم بقراءة البريد واضغط على الرابطة الموجودة به.
٤) سيتم تأكيد اشتراكك ويسمح لك بالدخول.
٥) والآن قم باختيار المقرر الدراسي الذي ترغب المشاركة فيه.
٦) من الآن فصاعدا يمكنك الدخول عن طريق إدخال اسم المستخدم وكلمة المرور ، وتستطيع الاتصال الكامل المقرر الدراسي ، وتصل إلى أي مقرر دراسي تريد التسجيل به.
٧) إذا طلب منك ”مفتاح التسجيل” – استخدم المفتاح الذي أعطاه لك المدرس. هذا سيجعلك ”تشارك” في المقرر الدراسي. لا حظ أن كل مقرر دراسي قد يكون له أيضا “مفتاح تسجيل” ستحتاج إليه لاحقا.

Fall2007 Competition: More Winners at Stage II

Saturday 27 October, 2007

Here are the winners of stage II of the competition:

Group A:

The winners are those (top FIVE) who found the largest number of bacteria where quorum sensing and biofilm formation have been discovered. Any spelling mistake negatively affected the score. Those who listed the references got extra points.

  1. Radwa Raed Sharaf رضوى رائد شرف (second fastest, more than 40 strains + 5 references)
  2. Sarah Atef Amin سارة عاطف أمين (fastest, got 20 strains, but mentioned no references)
  3. Eman Adel إيمان عادل (got 18 strains but 2 spelling mistakes, listed 8 references)
  4. Aya Ali Elhusseiny آية علي الحسيني (got 20 strains, with 7 capitalization errors, listed 9 references
  5. Ahmed Said أحمد سعيد (got 16 strains, no references)
  6. Gehad Mahmoud جهاد محمود علي الصوفاني (got 7 strains)
  7. Mariam Medhat مريم مدحت تكلا (got 8 strains but all the genus names were not capitalized – corrected them in a second email)

Group B:

Question: If the generation time of M. tuberculosis is 15 hours, approximately how long it takes 100 actively dividing cells of this bacterium to form a 3 km-long line? (length of 1 cell is 3 microns)

Answer: 346.5 h (approximately 345 h or

The winners are those the first four who solved the problem:

  1. Mohammed Hassan Ahmed محمد حسن أحمد (Wed 17 Oct, 11:10 AM)
  2. Nada Essam El Din Mohammed Radwan ندا عصام الدين محمد رضوان (Wed 17 Oct, 11:15 AM)
  3. Yasmeen Saad ياسمين سعد (Wed 17 Oct, 2:00 PM)
  4. Nehal Adel Mohamed Fahmy نهال عادل محمد فهمي (Thur 18 Oct, 5:00 PM)
  5. Noha El Shamy نهى الشامي (Fri 19 Oct, 4:00 PM)

Many winners… and many thanks to all participants!

Tuesday 16 October, 2007

I am really impressed with the number of correct answers to the group A and B competitions, not that it was hard to find the correct answers, but because you took time to search, find, and send the answers rapidly in the middle of all the study load you have in college.

This time I overlooked تغاضيت عن spelling mistakes in writing the organism names; but next time, please follow the rules in writing any binomial name. Also, any answer should be supported by the references used.

Below is a list of all who sent the correct answers from both groups. Initially, only the first three winners per group were supposed to get the awards, but because many of you reported the answers on the same day, small prizes will be given to the first seven in each group. Thanks to all participants. Wait for competitions to come!

Group A:

1. Hossam Khaled Mohammed (answered at 12:35 PM on 9 Oct 2007, only 90 minutes after the lecture!)

2. Hossam Allam (9 Oct, 5:07 PM)

3. Abdel Rahman Medhat Mahmoud (9 Oct, 6:04 PM)

4. Rania Abou Zeid (9 Oct, 8:41 PM)

5. Radwa Raed (9 Oct, 10 PM)

6. Soha Gamal (9 Oct, 10:18 PM)

7. Ahmed Said (10 Oct, 1:18 AM)

8. Reem Belal Saber (10 Oct, 12:00 PM)

9. Gehad Essam Mohammed (11 Oct, 2:05 PM)

10. AbdulRahman Ibrahim (12 Oct, 7:03 PM)

11. Bishoy Saad (15 Oct, 1:43 AM)

12. Eman Adel (15 Oct, 8:43 PM- answered both questions!)

and…

  • Ola Amr (12 Oct, 1:43 AM): provided answer but source is missing
  • Aya ElSayed Mounib (9 Oct, 10:55 PM): provided sources but no answer yet

Group B:

1. Noha El Shami (10 Oct, 2:11 PM)

2. Mariam Reyad (10 Oct, 4:14 PM- Very well written answer!)

3. Yasmin Mostafa (10 Oct, 6:18 PM)

4. Motaz Taher (10 Oct, 7:53 PM)

5. Marco Azmy (10 Oct, 10:19 PM)

6. Marwa Mohamed Hamam (10 Oct, 11:26 PM)

7. Christina George (10 Oct, 11:34 PM)

8. Mohammed Saber (11 Oct, 12:38 AM)

9. Mariam Medhat Aziz (11 Oct, 1:30 AM)

10. Linah Hatem (11 Oct, 11:40 AM)

11. Somayya Hussein Hassan #1423 (11 Oct, 2:05 PM)

12. Nehal Abaza (11 Oct, 8:27 PM)

13. Nada Taha (12 Oct, 3:22 AM)

Competition! QuestionI/GroupB: The Dead Sea halophiles

Wednesday 10 October, 2007

Here is a question to group B third-year students, since students from group A have already answered yesterday’s question:

Find the name of a halophilic microorganism (a bacterium or preferably an archaeon) that has been isolated from the Dead Sea (البحر الميّت)…

Send the answer (name + source of information) by email or bring it in person. The fastest three will have prizes (of course, if the answer is correct!)

Competition! QuestionI/GroupA: What’s the microbe that withstands high radiation dose?

Tuesday 9 October, 2007

Find the name of a bacterium that can live in high radiation and is currently studied to be used for radioactive waste cleaning.

Send the answer (name + source of information) by email or bring it in person. The fastest three will have prizes (only if the answer is correct!)


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