Blast into Biology

                         Do you wonder if life exists on other planets? How would we know? How do we define life on Earth? What signs do we look for to decide if something is alive? Do we expect life on another planet to follow the same basic rules of life as they do on Earth? These are some of the great questions that you can ask your class during the first introductory discussion of biology. It should…

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Bringing First Nations experience into CWD research

There is knowledge lurking inside First Nations culture that is waiting to be applied across many disciplines. One of Genome Alberta's projects has already involved First Nations' communities in its work and is hope to add another voice to the research. Our University of Alberta based study on Chronic Wasting Disease may have found a new ally in Kim Tall Bear as she looks at ways to incorporate the science into her summer internship. Chronic…

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Tackling Climate Change

Globally 11 of the last 12 years rank among the 12 warmest since 1850. Greenhouse gas emissions from human activity has led to substantial changes in weather patterns. This temperature increase is being felt around the globe but is greater at higher northern latitudes. These changes will affect ecosystems, the global food supply and ultimately, human health. Genome BC put out a call for research projects which can help us understand climate change impacts and…

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There are sparrows in my yard! What can I do? Part 2

                         In the previous blog, I indicated that the house sparrow is an introduced species that has had some unintended consequences. We do have many other local sparrows contributing to Alberta’s biodiversity. I admitted earlier I am not a birder, but I am keen on natural history. By consulting a Birds of Alberta guidebook I learned that there are at least five native species of sparrows that range throughout the entire province of Alberta. Perhaps…

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There are sparrows in my yard! What can I do? Part 1

                          I am not a birder. Yes, I can identify some of the unique birds that we see like robins, Canada geese, maybe some nuthatches and chickadees. But for the most part, I don't have the eye or the quickness to see the distinguishing features of some of the most common birds that fly about our neighborhood. When it comes to photographing them, well forget about it! I was shocked recently when one of my…

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Indigenous culture and genomics

This summer 20 Indigenous students from across Canada have been part of a genomics science internship at Simon Fraser University. The program has been around for 7 years but this is the first time we have seen it in Canada and Kim TallBear plans on bringing it to Edmonton in 2019.  She is an associate professor at the University of Alberta and the Canada Research Chair in Indigenous Peoples, Technoscience & Environment. She helped start…

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Going Global Makes World of Difference for Dairy Research

Despite the rhetoric from many parts of the globe, cooperating with other countries is a good thing. For proof, look no further than the “Efficient Dairy Genome Project” and its approach to data collection. In targeting feed efficiency and methane emission traits in dairy cattle using genomics, researchers knew that to construct a proper database, they first had to build bridges with partners around the world. “In order to successfully implement genomic selection for improved…

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Museumifying a student project

                    Summer is a great time to take on new challenges both physical and intellectual. The weather is great, and the longer daylight hours provide opportunities for sports and fitness activities. The summer break also provides educators with time to develop new skills and interests. If you don’t wish to actively attend university classes and lectures, have you thought about an online course? This summer I participated in a FutureLearn MOOC to learn about ‘Museums…

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Breakthrough discovery for U of L researchers

Congratulations to Alberta Epigenetic Network members Olga and Igor Kovalchuk! Drs. Olga and Igor Kovalchuk at the University of Lethbridge, in collaboration with researchers at Qiqihar Medical University in China, the University of Michigan and Boston University, have shown for the first time that interactions between microRNAs, which are very small ribonucleic acid molecules, and transfer RNA (tRNA) can affect cell reproduction and cell death. “This is the first time that anybody has shown such…

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CREATE grant funding to support development of RNA Bioengineering and Innovation Network

Congratulations to Alberta Epigenetics Network member Dr. Hans-Joachim Wieden. The Government of Canada announced Monday that the University of Lethbridge, in partnership with the Université de Sherbrooke, has been awarded $1.65 million over the span of six years to develop the RNA Bioengineering and Innovation Network Collaborative Research and Training Experience (CREATE). The Honourable Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and Minister of Sport and Persons with Disabilities, announced $29.7 million in CREATE grants to 18…

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