Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 1817

Search results for: molecular biology

1817 Assessment of DNA Degradation Using Comet Assay: A Versatile Technique for Forensic Application

Authors: Ritesh K. Shukla

Abstract:

Degradation of biological samples in terms of macromolecules (DNA, RNA, and protein) are the major challenges in the forensic investigation which misleads the result interpretation. Currently, there are no precise methods available to circumvent this problem. Therefore, at the preliminary level, some methods are urgently needed to solve this issue. In this order, Comet assay is one of the most versatile, rapid and sensitive molecular biology technique to assess the DNA degradation. This technique helps to assess DNA degradation even at very low amount of sample. Moreover, the expedient part of this method does not require any additional process of DNA extraction and isolation during DNA degradation assessment. Samples directly embedded on agarose pre-coated microscopic slide and electrophoresis perform on the same slide after lysis step. After electrophoresis microscopic slide stained by DNA binding dye and observed under fluorescent microscope equipped with Komet software. With the help of this technique extent of DNA degradation can be assessed which can help to screen the sample before DNA fingerprinting, whether it is appropriate for DNA analysis or not. This technique not only helps to assess degradation of DNA but many other challenges in forensic investigation such as time since deposition estimation of biological fluids, repair of genetic material from degraded biological sample and early time since death estimation could also be resolved. With the help of this study, an attempt was made to explore the application of well-known molecular biology technique that is Comet assay in the field of forensic science. This assay will open avenue in the field of forensic research and development.

Keywords: comet assay, DNA degradation, forensic, molecular biology

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1816 Implementation of an Undergraduate Integrated Biology and Chemistry Course

Authors: Jayson G. Balansag

Abstract:

An integrated biology and chemistry (iBC) course for freshmen college students was developed in University of Delaware. This course will prepare students to (1) become interdisciplinary thinkers in the field of biology and (2) collaboratively work with others from multiple disciplines in the future. This paper documents and describes the implementation of the course. The information gathered from reading literature, classroom observations, and interviews were used to carry out the purpose of this paper. The major goal of the iBC course is to align the concepts between Biology and Chemistry, so that students can draw science concepts from both disciplines which they can apply in their interdisciplinary researches. This course is offered every fall and spring semesters of each school year. Students enrolled in Biology are also enrolled in Chemistry during the same semester. The iBC is composed of lectures, laboratories, studio sessions, and workshops and is taught by the faculty from the biology and chemistry departments. In addition, the preceptors, graduate teaching assistants, and studio fellows facilitate the laboratory and studio sessions. These roles are interdependent with each other. The iBC can be used as a model for higher education institutions who wish to implement an integrated biology course.

Keywords: integrated biology and chemistry, integration, interdisciplinary research, new biology, undergraduate science education

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1815 Exploring and Evaluating the Current Style of Teaching Biology in Saudi Universities from Teachers' Points of View

Authors: Ibraheem Alzahrani

Abstract:

The Saudi Arabia ministry of higher education has established 24 universities across various cities in the kingdom. The universities have the mandate of sustaining technological progress in both teaching and learning. The present study explores the statues of teaching in Saudi universities, focusing on biology, a critical curriculum. The paper explores biology teachers’ points of view is several Saudi higher education institutions through questionnaires disseminated via emails. According to the findings, the current teaching methods are traditional and the teachers believe that it is critical to change it. This study also, reviews how biology has been taught in the kingdom over the past, as well as how it is undertaken presently. In addition, some aspects of biology teaching are considered, including the biology curriculum and learning objectives in higher education biology.

Keywords: higher education, teaching style, traditional learning, electronic learning, web 2.0 applications, blended learning

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1814 Gender Differences in Biology Academic Performances among Foundation Students of PERMATApintar® National Gifted Center

Authors: N. Nor Azman, M. F. Kamarudin, S. I. Ong, N. Maaulot

Abstract:

PERMATApintar® National Gifted Center is, to the author’s best of knowledge, the first center in Malaysia that provides a platform for Malaysian talented students with high ability in thinking. This center has built a teaching and learning biology curriculum that suits the ability of these gifted students. The level of PERMATApintar® biology curriculum is basically higher than the national biology curriculum. Here, the foundation students are exposed to the PERMATApintar® biology curriculum at the age of as early as 11 years old. This center practices a 4-time-a-year examination system to monitor the academic performances of the students. Generally, most of the time, male students show no or low interest towards biology subject compared to female students. This study is to investigate the association of students’ gender and their academic performances in biology examination. A total of 39 students’ scores in twelve sets of biology examinations in 3 years have been collected and analyzed by using the statistical analysis. Based on the analysis, there are no significant differences between male and female students against the biology academic performances with a significant level of p = 0.05. This indicates that gender is not associated with the scores of biology examinations among the students. Another result showed that the average score for male studenta was higher than the female students. Future research can be done by comparing the biology academic achievement in Malaysian National Examination (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, SPM) between the Foundation 3 students (Grade 9) and Level 2 students (Grade 11) with similar PERMATApintar® biology curriculum.

Keywords: academic performances, biology, gender differences, gifted students,

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1813 Environmental Variables as Determinants of Students Achievement in Biology Secondary Schools in South West Nigeria

Authors: Ayeni Margaret Foluso, K. A. Omotayo

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This study investigated the impact of selected environmental variables as determinants of students’ achievements in biology in secondary schools. The selected environmental variables are class size and laboratory adequacy. The purpose was to find out whether these environmental variables can bring about improvement in the learning of biology by Senior Secondary School Students. The study design used was descriptive research of the survey type. Two instruments were used that is, Biology Achievement Test and School Environment Questionnaire .The population of the study consisted of all Biology students in both public and private Senior Secondary Schools class III (SSIII) in all the three selected states in South West Nigeria. A sample of 900 Biology students and 45 Biology Teachers from both public and private Senior Secondary Schools Class III were used. Two research hypotheses were generated for the study. The data collected were subjected to both descriptive statistics of mean and standard deviation; and the inferential statistics of regression Analyses was employed to test the hypotheses formulated. From the results, it was revealed that the selected environmental variables had influence on the students’ achievement in biology.

Keywords: environmental variables, determinants, students’ achievement, school science

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1812 Characterization of Some Bread Wheat Genotypes for Drought Tolerance Using Molecular Markers

Authors: Begüm Terzi, Özlem Ateş Sönmezoğlu, Ahmet Yildirim

Abstract:

Drought is the most important factor that limiting the production and productivity of wheat in the world. The yield of wheat, which is one of the most important crop in the world, reduced depend on drought. Researches to minimize effects of drought are one of the most important about breeding of drought resistant varieties. In recent years, benefiting from the drought resistance wild species and rapid advances in molecular biology studies, researches about drought have been accelerated and number of studies were made on molecular plant breeding which included the molecular mechanisms related to drought resistance. The aim of the present study was characterization of some bread wheat lines for drought tolerance which commonly cultivated in different location of Turkey. In this study, registered 9 bread wheat varieties which on the physiological tests about drought tolerance and 10 bread wheat line has been developed by Transitional Zone Agricultural Research Institute were used. SSR, STS, RAPD and SNP markers that associated with drought tolerance were used. The polymorphisms of the markers were determined by screening of two control varieties. For these purpose 40 molecular markers were used and 12 markers of them were polymorphic among the drought tolerance and the drought sensitive varieties. Control varieties were screened using polymorphic markers. All the DNAs on the genotypes will be searched for the presence of QTLs mapped to different chromosomes. Result of the research, the studied genotypes will be grouped according to drought tolerance and will be detected drought tolerance varieties by molecular markers. In addition, the results will be compared also with physiological tests. The drought tolerant wheat genotypes may be used in breeding studies related to drought stress.

Keywords: bread wheat, drought, molecular marker, Triticum aestivum

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1811 Attitude towards Biology among Academic Talented Students in Term of Gender: Case Study of ASASIpintar Pre–University Programme

Authors: Sy Ing Ong, N. Norazman, H. W. You, A. Zahidi, R. Ahmad Faisal

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The decline in students’ involvement in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) worldwide is alarming. In Malaysia, this scenario also draws the attention of Ministry of Education due to the high demand for professionals in STEM industries and for the sake of country development. Intensive researches have been done worldwide to identify the best solution to improve the enrolment of students in science studies. Attitude is being identified as one of the key factors that will influence students’ interest and achievement in academic. Male students are always associated with negative attitudes compared to female students towards the study of Biological science. Hence, this study investigates the attitudes of students towards Biology in the setting of an academic talented institution in Malaysia namely ASASIpintar Pre-University Programme. A total of 84 students were randomly selected from 127 students as the samples of this study. The instrument of Biology Attitude Scale (BAS) from Russell and Hollander (1975) was used to identify the attitudes of samples. Based on the analysis, there was no significant difference in the students’ mean attitude towards Biology subject in this institution between genders with a significant level of p = 0.05. This indicated that gender is not a key factor that influences students’ attitude towards Biology in this study. Future research can be done on other factors that will contribute to the attitude of students towards biology in Malaysia, especially for academically talented students.

Keywords: academic talented, attitude, biology, gender

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1810 Thick Disc Molecular Gas Fraction in NGC 6946

Authors: Narendra Nath Patra

Abstract:

Several recent studies reinforce the existence of a thick molecular disc in galaxies along with the dynamically cold thin disc. Assuming a two-component molecular disc, we model the disc of NGC 6946 as a four-component system consists of stars, HI, thin disc molecular gas, and thick disc molecular gas in vertical hydrostatic equilibrium. Following, we set up the joint Poisson-Boltzmann equation of hydrostatic equilibrium and solve it numerically to obtain a three-dimensional density distribution of different baryonic components. Using the density solutions and the observed rotation curve, we further build a three-dimensional dynamical model of the molecular disc and consecutively produce simulated CO spectral cube and spectral width profile. We find that the simulated spectral width profiles distinguishably differs for different assumed thick disc molecular gas fraction. Several CO spectral width profiles are then produced for different assumed thick disc molecular gas fractions and compared with the observed one to obtain the best fit thick disc molecular gas fraction profile. We find that the thick disc molecular gas fraction in NGC 6946 largely remains constant across its molecular disc with a mean value of 0.70 +/- 0.09. We also estimate the amount of extra-planar molecular gas in NGC 6946. We find 60% of the total molecular gas is extra-planar at the central region, whereas this fraction reduces to ~ 35% at the edge of the molecular disc. With our method, for the first time, we estimate the thick disc molecular gas fraction as a function of radius in an external galaxy with sub-kpc resolution.

Keywords: galaxies: kinematics and dynamic, galaxies: spiral, galaxies: structure , ISM: molecules, molecular data

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1809 Bioinformatics High Performance Computation and Big Data

Authors: Javed Mohammed

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Right now, bio-medical infrastructure lags well behind the curve. Our healthcare system is dispersed and disjointed; medical records are a bit of a mess; and we do not yet have the capacity to store and process the crazy amounts of data coming our way from widespread whole-genome sequencing. And then there are privacy issues. Despite these infrastructure challenges, some researchers are plunging into bio medical Big Data now, in hopes of extracting new and actionable knowledge. They are doing delving into molecular-level data to discover bio markers that help classify patients based on their response to existing treatments; and pushing their results out to physicians in novel and creative ways. Computer scientists and bio medical researchers are able to transform data into models and simulations that will enable scientists for the first time to gain a profound under-standing of the deepest biological functions. Solving biological problems may require High-Performance Computing HPC due either to the massive parallel computation required to solve a particular problem or to algorithmic complexity that may range from difficult to intractable. Many problems involve seemingly well-behaved polynomial time algorithms (such as all-to-all comparisons) but have massive computational requirements due to the large data sets that must be analyzed. High-throughput techniques for DNA sequencing and analysis of gene expression have led to exponential growth in the amount of publicly available genomic data. With the increased availability of genomic data traditional database approaches are no longer sufficient for rapidly performing life science queries involving the fusion of data types. Computing systems are now so powerful it is possible for researchers to consider modeling the folding of a protein or even the simulation of an entire human body. This research paper emphasizes the computational biology's growing need for high-performance computing and Big Data. It illustrates this article’s indispensability in meeting the scientific and engineering challenges of the twenty-first century, and how Protein Folding (the structure and function of proteins) and Phylogeny Reconstruction (evolutionary history of a group of genes) can use HPC that provides sufficient capability for evaluating or solving more limited but meaningful instances. This article also indicates solutions to optimization problems, and benefits Big Data and Computational Biology. The article illustrates the Current State-of-the-Art and Future-Generation Biology of HPC Computing with Big Data.

Keywords: high performance, big data, parallel computation, molecular data, computational biology

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1808 Molecular Clustering and Velocity Increase in Converging-Diverging Nozzle in Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Authors: Jeoungsu Na, Jaehawn Lee, Changil Hong, Suhee Kim

Abstract:

A molecular dynamics simulation in a converging-diverging nozzle was performed to study molecular collisions and their influence to average flow velocity according to a variety of vacuum levels. The static pressures and the dynamic pressure exerted by the molecule collision on the selected walls were compared to figure out the intensity variances of the directional flows. With pressure differences constant between the entrance and the exit of the nozzle, the numerical experiment was performed for molecular velocities and directional flows. The result shows that the velocities increased at the nozzle exit as the vacuum level gets higher in that area because less molecular collisions.

Keywords: cavitation, molecular collision, nozzle, vacuum, velocity increase

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1807 Integrative Biology Teaching and Learning Model Based on STEM Education

Authors: Narupot Putwattana

Abstract:

Changes in global situation such as environmental and economic crisis brought the new perspective for science education called integrative biology. STEM has been increasingly mentioned for several educational researches as the approach which combines the concept in Science (S), Technology (T), Engineering (E) and Mathematics (M) to apply in teaching and learning process so as to strengthen the 21st-century skills such as creativity and critical thinking. Recent studies demonstrated STEM as the pedagogy which described the engineering process along with the science classroom activities. So far, pedagogical contents for STEM explaining the content in biology have been scarce. A qualitative literature review was conducted so as to gather the articles based on electronic databases (google scholar). STEM education, engineering design, teaching and learning of biology were used as main keywords to find out researches involving with the application of STEM in biology teaching and learning process. All articles were analyzed to obtain appropriate teaching and learning model that unify the core concept of biology. The synthesized model comprised of engineering design, inquiry-based learning, biological prototype and biologically-inspired design (BID). STEM content and context integration were used as the theoretical framework to create the integrative biology instructional model for STEM education. Several disciplines contents such as biology, engineering, and technology were regarded for inquiry-based learning to build biological prototype. Direct and indirect integrations were used to provide the knowledge into the biology related STEM strategy. Meanwhile, engineering design and BID showed the occupational context for engineer and biologist. Technological and mathematical aspects were required to be inspected in terms of co-teaching method. Lastly, other variables such as critical thinking and problem-solving skills should be more considered in the further researches.

Keywords: biomimicry, engineering approach, STEM education, teaching and learning model

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1806 The Molecular Bases of Δβ T-Cell Mediated Antigen Recognition

Authors: Eric Chabrol, Sidonia B.G. Eckle, Renate de Boer, James McCluskey, Jamie Rossjohn, Mirjam H.M. Heemskerk, Stephanie Gras

Abstract:

αβ and γδ T-cells are disparate T-cell lineages that, via their use of either αβ or γδ T-cell antigen receptors (TCRs) respectively, can respond to distinct antigens. Here we characterise a new population of human T-cells, term δβ T-cells, that express TCRs comprising a TCR-δ variable gene fused to a Joining-α/Constant-α domain, paired with an array of TCR-β chains. We characterised the cellular, functional, biophysical and structural characteristic feature of this new T-cells population that reveal some new insight into TCR diversity. We provide molecular bases of how δβ T-cells can recognise viral peptide presented by Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) molecule. Our findings highlight how components from αβ and γδTCR gene loci can recombine to confer antigen specificity thus expanding our understanding of T-cell biology and TCR diversity.

Keywords: new delta-beta TCR, HLA, viral peptide, structural immunology

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1805 Effect of Question Answer Relationship (QARs) in Science Reading on the Academic Achievement of Students in Biology

Authors: Helen Ngozi Ibe, Chimmuanya Ezere

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The study investigated the effect of Question Answer Relationships (QARs) in science reading on secondary school students’ achievement in Biology in Owerri Education Zone II of Imo State. The study adopted a quasi-experimental design and was guided by two research questions and two hypotheses. The sample comprised of 67 SS2 Biology students. The sample was drawn using random sampling technique. One researcher made instrument titled: Biology Achievement Test (BAT) was used for collecting the data of the study. The reliability of the instrument was established using Kuder Richardson formula (KR-20) which yielded a reliability index of 0.85 and Cronbach alpha for the BSIRS with an index of 0.71. Research questions were answered using mean and standard deviation. T-test statistics was used to test the hypotheses at 0.05 level of significance. The major findings are that students exposed to QARs strategy in science reading had higher achievement mean scores in biology than students in the control group; there is no significant difference between the achievement mean scores of male and female students exposed to QARs. The researchers recommended that science teachers should teach students the Question Answer Relationship reading strategy and that science students should endeavour to use the question - answer relationship reading strategy in classroom and individual science reading in order to enhance high academic achievement in the subjects being read.

Keywords: academic achievement, biology, science reading, question-answer relationship

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1804 The Systems Biology Verification Endeavor: Harness the Power of the Crowd to Address Computational and Biological Challenges

Authors: Stephanie Boue, Nicolas Sierro, Julia Hoeng, Manuel C. Peitsch

Abstract:

Systems biology relies on large numbers of data points and sophisticated methods to extract biologically meaningful signal and mechanistic understanding. For example, analyses of transcriptomics and proteomics data enable to gain insights into the molecular differences in tissues exposed to diverse stimuli or test items. Whereas the interpretation of endpoints specifically measuring a mechanism is relatively straightforward, the interpretation of big data is more complex and would benefit from comparing results obtained with diverse analysis methods. The sbv IMPROVER project was created to implement solutions to verify systems biology data, methods, and conclusions. Computational challenges leveraging the wisdom of the crowd allow benchmarking methods for specific tasks, such as signature extraction and/or samples classification. Four challenges have already been successfully conducted and confirmed that the aggregation of predictions often leads to better results than individual predictions and that methods perform best in specific contexts. Whenever the scientific question of interest does not have a gold standard, but may greatly benefit from the scientific community to come together and discuss their approaches and results, datathons are set up. The inaugural sbv IMPROVER datathon was held in Singapore on 23-24 September 2016. It allowed bioinformaticians and data scientists to consolidate their ideas and work on the most promising methods as teams, after having initially reflected on the problem on their own. The outcome is a set of visualization and analysis methods that will be shared with the scientific community via the Garuda platform, an open connectivity platform that provides a framework to navigate through different applications, databases and services in biology and medicine. We will present the results we obtained when analyzing data with our network-based method, and introduce a datathon that will take place in Japan to encourage the analysis of the same datasets with other methods to allow for the consolidation of conclusions.

Keywords: big data interpretation, datathon, systems toxicology, verification

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1803 Integrative Omics-Portrayal Disentangles Molecular Heterogeneity and Progression Mechanisms of Cancer

Authors: Binder Hans

Abstract:

Cancer is no longer seen as solely a genetic disease where genetic defects such as mutations and copy number variations affect gene regulation and eventually lead to aberrant cell functioning which can be monitored by transcriptome analysis. It has become obvious that epigenetic alterations represent a further important layer of (de-)regulation of gene activity. For example, aberrant DNA methylation is a hallmark of many cancer types, and methylation patterns were successfully used to subtype cancer heterogeneity. Hence, unraveling the interplay between different omics levels such as genome, transcriptome and epigenome is inevitable for a mechanistic understanding of molecular deregulation causing complex diseases such as cancer. This objective requires powerful downstream integrative bioinformatics methods as an essential prerequisite to discover the whole genome mutational, transcriptome and epigenome landscapes of cancer specimen and to discover cancer genesis, progression and heterogeneity. Basic challenges and tasks arise ‘beyond sequencing’ because of the big size of the data, their complexity, the need to search for hidden structures in the data, for knowledge mining to discover biological function and also systems biology conceptual models to deduce developmental interrelations between different cancer states. These tasks are tightly related to cancer biology as an (epi-)genetic disease giving rise to aberrant genomic regulation under micro-environmental control and clonal evolution which leads to heterogeneous cellular states. Machine learning algorithms such as self organizing maps (SOM) represent one interesting option to tackle these bioinformatics tasks. The SOMmethod enables recognizing complex patterns in large-scale data generated by highthroughput omics technologies. It portrays molecular phenotypes by generating individualized, easy to interpret images of the data landscape in combination with comprehensive analysis options. Our image-based, reductionist machine learning methods provide one interesting perspective how to deal with massive data in the discovery of complex diseases, gliomas, melanomas and colon cancer on molecular level. As an important new challenge, we address the combined portrayal of different omics data such as genome-wide genomic, transcriptomic and methylomic ones. The integrative-omics portrayal approach is based on the joint training of the data and it provides separate personalized data portraits for each patient and data type which can be analyzed by visual inspection as one option. The new method enables an integrative genome-wide view on the omics data types and the underlying regulatory modes. It is applied to high and low-grade gliomas and to melanomas where it disentangles transversal and longitudinal molecular heterogeneity in terms of distinct molecular subtypes and progression paths with prognostic impact.

Keywords: integrative bioinformatics, machine learning, molecular mechanisms of cancer, gliomas and melanomas

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1802 Molecular Docking Assessment of Pesticides Binding to Bacterial Chitinases

Authors: Diana Larisa Vladoiu, Vasile Ostafe, Adriana Isvoran

Abstract:

Molecular docking calculations reveal that pesticides provide favorable interactions with the bacterial chitinases. Pesticides interact with both hydrophilic and aromatic residues involved in the active site of the enzymes, their positions partially overlapping the substrate and the inhibitors locations. Molecular docking outcomes, in correlation with experimental literature data, suggest that the pesticides may be degraded or having an inhibitor effect on the activity of these enzymes, depending of the application dose and rate.

Keywords: chitinases, inhibition, molecular docking, pesticides

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1801 Graphic Calculator Effectiveness in Biology Teaching and Learning

Authors: Nik Azmah Nik Yusuff, Faridah Hassan Basri, Rosnidar Mansor

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The purpose of the study is to find out the effectiveness of using Graphic calculators (GC) with Calculator Based Laboratory 2 (CBL2) in teaching and learning of form four biology for these topics: Nutrition, Respiration and Dynamic Ecosystem. Sixty form four science stream students were the participants of this study. The participants were divided equally into the treatment and control groups. The treatment group used GC with CBL2 during experiments while the control group used the ordinary conventional laboratory apparatus without using GC with CBL2. Instruments in this study were a set of pre-test and post-test and a questionnaire. T-Test was used to compare the student’s biology achievement while a descriptive statistic was used to analyze the outcome of the questionnaire. The findings of this study indicated the use of GC with CBL2 in biology had significant positive effect. The highest mean was 4.43 for item stating the use of GC with CBL2 had saved collecting experiment result’s time. The second highest mean was 4.10 for item stating GC with CBL2 had saved drawing and labelling graphs. The outcome from the questionnaire also showed that GC with CBL2 were easy to use and save time. Thus, teachers should use GC with CBL2 in support of efforts by Malaysia Ministry of Education in encouraging technology-enhanced lessons.

Keywords: biology experiments, Calculator-Based Laboratory 2 (CBL2), graphic calculators, Malaysia Secondary School, teaching/learning

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1800 Effect of Plasticizer Additives on the Mechanical Properties of Cement Composite: A Molecular Dynamics Analysis

Authors: R. Mohan, V. Jadhav, A. Ahmed, J. Rivas, A. Kelkar

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Cementitious materials are an excellent example of a composite material with complex hierarchical features and random features that range from nanometer (nm) to millimeter (mm) scale. Multi-scale modeling of complex material systems requires starting from fundamental building blocks to capture the scale relevant features through associated computational models. In this paper, molecular dynamics (MD) modeling is employed to predict the effect of plasticizer additive on the mechanical properties of key hydrated cement constituent calcium-silicate-hydrate (CSH) at the molecular, nanometer scale level. Due to complexity, still unknown molecular configuration of CSH, a representative configuration widely accepted in the field of mineral Jennite is employed. The effectiveness of the Molecular Dynamics modeling to understand the predictive influence of material chemistry changes based on molecular/nanoscale models is demonstrated.

Keywords: cement composite, mechanical properties, molecular dynamics, plasticizer additives

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1799 Application of Molecular Markers for Crop Improvement

Authors: Monisha Isaac

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Use of molecular markers for selecting plants with desired traits has been started long back. Due to their heritable characteristics, they are useful for identification and characterization of specific genotypes. The study involves various types of molecular markers used to select multiple desired characters in plants, their properties, and advantages to improve crop productivity in adverse climatological conditions for the purpose of providing food security to fast-growing global population. The study shows that genetic similarities obtained from molecular markers provide more accurate information and the genetic diversity can be better estimated from the genetic relationship obtained from the dendrogram. The information obtained from markers assisted characterization is more suitable for the crops of economic importance like sugarcane.

Keywords: molecular markers, crop productivity, genetic diversity, genotype

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1798 Topological Analysis of Hydrogen Bonds in Pyruvic Acid-Water Mixtures

Authors: Ferid Hammami

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The molecular geometries of the possible conformations of pyruvic acid-water complexes (PA-(H₂O)ₙ = 1- 4) have been fully optimized at DFT/B3LYP/6-311G ++ (d, p) levels of calculation. Among several optimized molecular clusters, the most stable molecular arrangements obtained when one, two, three, and four water molecules are hydrogen-bonded to a central pyruvic acid molecule are presented in this paper. Apposite topological and geometrical parameters are considered as primary indicators of H-bond strength. Atoms in molecules (AIM) analysis shows that pyruvic acid can form a ring structure with water, and the molecular structures are stabilized by both strong O-H...O and C-H...O hydrogen bonds. In large clusters, classical O-H...O hydrogen bonds still exist between water molecules, and a cage-like structure is built around some parts of the central molecule of pyruvic acid. The electrostatic potential energy map (MEP) and the HOMO-LUMO molecular orbital (highest occupied molecular orbital-lowest unoccupied molecular orbital) analysis has been performed for all considered complexes.

Keywords: pyruvic acid, PA-water complex, hydrogen bonding, DFT, AIM, MEP, HOMO-LUMO

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1797 Efficient Sampling of Probabilistic Program for Biological Systems

Authors: Keerthi S. Shetty, Annappa Basava

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In recent years, modelling of biological systems represented by biochemical reactions has become increasingly important in Systems Biology. Biological systems represented by biochemical reactions are highly stochastic in nature. Probabilistic model is often used to describe such systems. One of the main challenges in Systems biology is to combine absolute experimental data into probabilistic model. This challenge arises because (1) some molecules may be present in relatively small quantities, (2) there is a switching between individual elements present in the system, and (3) the process is inherently stochastic on the level at which observations are made. In this paper, we describe a novel idea of combining absolute experimental data into probabilistic model using tool R2. Through a case study of the Transcription Process in Prokaryotes we explain how biological systems can be written as probabilistic program to combine experimental data into the model. The model developed is then analysed in terms of intrinsic noise and exact sampling of switching times between individual elements in the system. We have mainly concentrated on inferring number of genes in ON and OFF states from experimental data.

Keywords: systems biology, probabilistic model, inference, biology, model

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1796 Applying Computer Simulation Methods to a Molecular Understanding of Flaviviruses Proteins towards Differential Serological Diagnostics and Therapeutic Intervention

Authors: Sergio Alejandro Cuevas, Catherine Etchebest, Fernando Luis Barroso Da Silva

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The flavivirus genus has several organisms responsible for generating various diseases in humans. Special in Brazil, Zika (ZIKV), Dengue (DENV) and Yellow Fever (YFV) viruses have raised great health concerns due to the high number of cases affecting the area during the last years. Diagnostic is still a difficult issue since the clinical symptoms are highly similar. The understanding of their common structural/dynamical and biomolecular interactions features and differences might suggest alternative strategies towards differential serological diagnostics and therapeutic intervention. Due to their immunogenicity, the primary focus of this study was on the ZIKV, DENV and YFV non-structural proteins 1 (NS1) protein. By means of computational studies, we calculated the main physical chemical properties of this protein from different strains that are directly responsible for the biomolecular interactions and, therefore, can be related to the differential infectivity of the strains. We also mapped the electrostatic differences at both the sequence and structural levels for the strains from Uganda to Brazil that could suggest possible molecular mechanisms for the increase of the virulence of ZIKV. It is interesting to note that despite the small changes in the protein sequence due to the high sequence identity among the studied strains, the electrostatic properties are strongly impacted by the pH which also impact on their biomolecular interactions with partners and, consequently, the molecular viral biology. African and Asian strains are distinguishable. Exploring the interfaces used by NS1 to self-associate in different oligomeric states, and to interact with membranes and the antibody, we could map the strategy used by the ZIKV during its evolutionary process. This indicates possible molecular mechanisms that can explain the different immunological response. By the comparison with the known antibody structure available for the West Nile virus, we demonstrated that the antibody would have difficulties to neutralize the NS1 from the Brazilian strain. The present study also opens up perspectives to computationally design high specificity antibodies.

Keywords: zika, biomolecular interactions, electrostatic interactions, molecular mechanisms

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1795 Molecular Modeling of 17-Picolyl and 17-Picolinylidene Androstane Derivatives with Anticancer Activity

Authors: Sanja Podunavac-Kuzmanović, Strahinja Kovačević, Lidija Jevrić, Evgenija Djurendić, Jovana Ajduković

Abstract:

In the present study, the molecular modeling of a series of 24 17-picolyl and 17-picolinylidene androstane derivatives whit significant anticancer activity was carried out. Modelling of studied compounds was performed by CS ChemBioDraw Ultra v12.0 program for drawing 2D molecular structures and CS ChemBio3D Ultra v12.0 for 3D molecular modelling. The obtained 3D structures were subjected to energy minimization using molecular mechanics force field method (MM2). The cutoff for structure optimization was set at a gradient of 0.1 kcal/Åmol. Full geometry optimization was done by the Austin Model 1 (AM1) until the root mean square (RMS) gradient reached a value smaller than 0.0001 kcal/Åmol using Molecular Orbital Package (MOPAC) program. The obtained physicochemical, lipophilicity and topological descriptors were used for analysis of molecular similarities and dissimilarities applying suitable chemometric methods (principal component analysis and cluster analysis). These results are the part of the project No. 114-451-347/2015-02, financially supported by the Provincial Secretariat for Science and Technological Development of Vojvodina and CMST COST Action CM1306.

Keywords: androstane derivatives, anticancer activity, chemometrics, molecular descriptors

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1794 Attitudes of Secondary School Students towards Biology in Birnin Kebbi Metropolis, Kebbi State, Nigeria

Authors: I. A. Libata

Abstract:

The present study was carried out to determine the attitudes of Secondary School Students towards Biology in Birnin Kebbi metropolis. The population of the study is 2680 SS 2 Secondary School Students in Birnin Kebbi metropolis. Proportionate random sampling was used in selecting the samples. Oppinnionnaire was the only instrument used in the study. The instrument was subjected to test-retest reliability. The reliability index of the instrument was 0.69. Overall scores of the Students were analyzed and a mean score was determined, the mean score of students was 85. There were no significant differences between the attitudes of male and female students. The results also revealed that there was significant difference between the attitude of science and art students. The results also revealed that there was significant difference between the attitude of public and private school students. The study also reveals that majority of students in Birnin Kebbi Metropolis have positive attitudes towards biology. Based on the findings of this study, the researcher recommended that teachers should motivate students, which they can do through their teaching styles and by showing them the relevance of the learning topics to their everyday lives. Government and the school management should create the learning environment that helps motivate students not only to come to classes but also want to learn and enjoy learning Biology.

Keywords: attitudes, students, Birnin-Kebbi, metropolis

Procedia PDF Downloads 287
1793 Facilitating Written Biology Assessment in Large-Enrollment Courses Using Machine Learning

Authors: Luanna B. Prevost, Kelli Carter, Margaurete Romero, Kirsti Martinez

Abstract:

Writing is an essential scientific practice, yet, in several countries, the increasing university science class-size limits the use of written assessments. Written assessments allow students to demonstrate their learning in their own words and permit the faculty to evaluate students’ understanding. However, the time and resources required to grade written assessments prohibit their use in large-enrollment science courses. This study examined the use of machine learning algorithms to automatically analyze student writing and provide timely feedback to the faculty about students' writing in biology. Written responses to questions about matter and energy transformation were collected from large-enrollment undergraduate introductory biology classrooms. Responses were analyzed using the LightSide text mining and classification software. Cohen’s Kappa was used to measure agreement between the LightSide models and human raters. Predictive models achieved agreement with human coding of 0.7 Cohen’s Kappa or greater. Models captured that when writing about matter-energy transformation at the ecosystem level, students focused on primarily on the concepts of heat loss, recycling of matter, and conservation of matter and energy. Models were also produced to capture writing about processes such as decomposition and biochemical cycling. The models created in this study can be used to provide automatic feedback about students understanding of these concepts to biology faculty who desire to use formative written assessments in larger enrollment biology classes, but do not have the time or personnel for manual grading.

Keywords: machine learning, written assessment, biology education, text mining

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1792 The Response of Adaptive Mechanism of Fluorescent Proteins from Coral Species and Target Cell Properties on Signalling Capacity as Biosensor

Authors: Elif Tugce Aksun Tumerkan

Abstract:

Fluorescent proteins (FPs) have become very popular since green fluorescent protein discovered from crystal jellyfish. It is known that Anthozoa species have a wide range of chromophore organisms, and the initial crystal structure for non-fluorescent chromophores obtained from the reef-building coral has been determined. There are also differently coloured pigments in non-bioluminescent Anthozoa zooxanthellate and azooxanthellate which are frequently members of the GFP-like protein family. The development of fluorescent proteins (FPs) and their applications is an outstanding example of basic science leading to practical biotechnological and medical applications. Fluorescent proteins have several applications in science and are used as important indicators in molecular biology and cell-based research. With rising interest in cell biology, FPs have used as biosensor indicators and probes in pharmacology and cell biology. Using fluorescent proteins in genetically encoded metabolite sensors has many advantages than chemical probes for metabolites such as easily introduced into any cell or organism in any sub-cellular localization and giving chance to fixing to fluoresce of different colours or characteristics. There are different factors effects to signalling mechanism when they used as a biosensor. While there are wide ranges of research have been done on the significance and applications of fluorescent proteins, the cell signalling response of FPs and target cell are less well understood. In this study, it was aimed to clarify the response of adaptive mechanisms of coral species such as pH, temperature and symbiotic relationship and target cells properties on the signalling capacity. Corals are a rich natural source of fluorescent proteins that change with environmental conditions such as light, heat stress and injury. Adaptation mechanism of coral species to these types of environmental variations is important factor due to FPs properties have affected by this mechanism. Since fluorescent proteins obtained from nature, their own ecological property like the symbiotic relationship is observed very commonly in coral species and living conditions have the impact on FPs efficiency. Target cell properties also have an effect on signalling and visualization. The dynamicity of detector that used for reading fluorescence and the level of background fluorescence are key parameters for the quality of the fluorescent signal. Among the factors, it can be concluded that coral species adaptive characteristics have the strongest effect on FPs signalling capacity.

Keywords: biosensor, cell biology, environmental conditions, fluorescent protein, sea anemone

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1791 An Insight into the Conformational Dynamics of Glycan through Molecular Dynamics Simulation

Authors: K. Veluraja

Abstract:

Glycan of glycolipids and glycoproteins is playing a significant role in living systems particularly in molecular recognition processes. Molecular recognition processes are attributed to their occurrence on the surface of the cell, sequential arrangement and type of sugar molecules present in the oligosaccharide structure and glyosidic linkage diversity (glycoinformatics) and conformational diversity (glycoconformatics). Molecular Dynamics Simulation study is a theoretical-cum-computational tool successfully utilized to establish glycoconformatics of glycan. The study on various oligosaccharides of glycan clearly indicates that oligosaccharides do exist in multiple conformational states and these conformational states arise due to the flexibility associated with a glycosidic torsional angle (φ,ψ) . As an example: a single disaccharide structure NeuNacα(2-3) Gal exists in three different conformational states due to the differences in the preferential value of glycosidic torsional angles (φ,ψ). Hence establishing three dimensional structural and conformational models for glycan (cartesian coordinates of every individual atoms of an oligosaccharide structure in a preferred conformation) is quite crucial to understand various molecular recognition processes such as glycan-toxin interaction and glycan-virus interaction. The gycoconformatics models obtained for various glycan through Molecular Dynamics Simulation stored in our 3DSDSCAR (3DSDSCAR.ORG) a public domain database and its utility value in understanding the molecular recognition processes and in drug design venture will be discussed.

Keywords: glycan, glycoconformatics, molecular dynamics simulation, oligosaccharide

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1790 Computing Some Topological Descriptors of Single-Walled Carbon Nanotubes

Authors: Amir Bahrami

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In the fields of chemical graph theory, molecular topology, and mathematical chemistry, a topological index or a descriptor index also known as a connectivity index is a type of a molecular descriptor that is calculated based on the molecular graph of a chemical compound. Topological indices are numerical parameters of a graph which characterize its topology and are usually graph invariant. Topological indices are used for example in the development of quantitative structure-activity relationships (QSARs) in which the biological activity or other properties of molecules are correlated with their chemical structure. In this paper some descriptor index (descriptor index) of single-walled carbon nanotubes, is determined.

Keywords: chemical graph theory, molecular topology, molecular descriptor, single-walled carbon nanotubes

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1789 Breeding Biology and Induced Breeding Status of Freshwater Mud Eel, Monopterus cuchia

Authors: Faruque Miah, Hafij Ali, Enaya Jannat, Tanmoy Modok Shuvra, M. Niamul Naser

Abstract:

In this study, breeding biology and induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was observed during the experimental period from February to June, 2013. Breeding biology of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was considered in terms of gonadosomatic index, length-weight relationship of gonad, ova diameter and fecundity. The ova diameter was recorded from 0.3 mm to 4.30 mm and the individual fecundity was recorded from 155 to 1495 while relative fecundity was found from 2.64 to 12.45. The fecundity related to body weight and length of fish was also discussed. A peak of GSI was observed 2.14±0.2 in male and 5.1 ±1.09 in female. Induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was also practiced with different doses of different inducing agents like pituitary gland (PG), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and Ovuline-a synthetic hormone in different environmental conditions. However, it was observed that the artificial breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was not yet succeeded through inducing agents in captive conditions, rather the inducing agent showed negative impacts on fecundity and ovarian tissues. It was seen that mature eggs in the oviduct were reduced, absorbed and some eggs were found in spoiled condition.

Keywords: breeding biology, induced breeding, Monopterus cuchia, human chorionic gonadotropin

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1788 lncRNA Gene Expression Profiling Analysis by TCGA RNA-Seq Data of Breast Cancer

Authors: Xiaoping Su, Gabriel G. Malouf

Abstract:

Introduction: Breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease that can be classified in 4 subgroups using transcriptional profiling. The role of lncRNA expression in human breast cancer biology, prognosis, and molecular classification remains unknown. Methods and results: Using an integrative comprehensive analysis of lncRNA, mRNA and DNA methylation in 900 breast cancer patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) project, we unraveled the molecular portraits of 1,700 expressed lncRNA. Some of those lncRNAs (i.e, HOTAIR) are previously reported and others are novel (i.e, HOTAIRM1, MAPT-AS1). The lncRNA classification correlated well with the PAM50 classification for basal-like, Her-2 enriched and luminal B subgroups, in contrast to the luminal A subgroup which behaved differently. Importantly, estrogen receptor (ESR1) expression was associated with distinct lncRNA networks in lncRNA clusters III and IV. Gene set enrichment analysis for cis- and trans-acting lncRNA showed enrichment for breast cancer signatures driven by breast cancer master regulators. Almost two third of those lncRNA were marked by enhancer chromatin modifications (i.e., H3K27ac), suggesting that lncRNA expression may result in increased activity of neighboring genes. Differential analysis of gene expression profiling data showed that lncRNA HOTAIRM1 was significantly down-regulated in basal-like subtype, and DNA methylation profiling data showed that lncRNA HOTAIRM1 was highly methylated in basal-like subtype. Thus, our integrative analysis of gene expression and DNA methylation strongly suggested that lncRNA HOTAIRM1 should be a tumor suppressor in basal-like subtype. Conclusion and significance: Our study depicts the first lncRNA molecular portrait of breast cancer and shows that lncRNA HOTAIRM1 might be a novel tumor suppressor.

Keywords: lncRNA profiling, breast cancer, HOTAIRM1, tumor suppressor

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