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Life Science 15, Week 1 Notes

by: Zara Ma'ayan

Life Science 15, Week 1 Notes 23L

Zara Ma'ayan
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About this Document

Slides are not recorded here since these are all free on the class website, but these notes elaborate on what the professor was saying about the main points, and emphasizes what is important for th...
Introduction to Laboratory & Scientific Methodology
Dr. Pfluegl
Class Notes
life, Science, Biology, scientific method




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This 7 page Class Notes was uploaded by Zara Ma'ayan on Sunday September 18, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 23L at University of California - Los Angeles taught by Dr. Pfluegl in Fall 2015. Since its upload, it has received 70 views. For similar materials see Introduction to Laboratory & Scientific Methodology in Life Science at University of California - Los Angeles.


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Date Created: 09/18/16
Life Science 15 Week 1 Lecture 1 - 9/22 ● Some of the subjects taught in this class ○ Evolution ○ Kindness to family/friends ○ Biotechnology ■ The ways technology is applied for practical benefit, e.g. medicine, criminal justice, etc. ○ Technology ■ Does our ability to alter our environment so much to our benefit hinder our evolution as a species? ○ Drugs ■ Anything addictive and/or mind-altering (caffeine, alcohol) ■ Are all drugs bad for us? ○ Money ○ Food ■ Most people believe they weigh too much. Who makes them believe that? Themselves? Family? Society? ○ Fidelity ■ "Once a cheater, always a cheater" <-- True statement? Are we naturally monogamous? ○ If we have more time... ■ Beauty ■ Are there biological reasons that we see some people as more attractive/beautiful than others? How much of it is a cultural construct? ● Tips for Success ○ Go to lecture. You could pass the class just by paying close attention to each lecture. ○ Go to section, so that you can get points on quizzes. ○ Don't read the textbook ahead of time. When you read before lecture, you don't know what you're supposed to be focusing on, so you can end up taking notes on material that will be unimportant to the class, and that takes up your time. Get introduced to the topics in lecture, read afterwards. ● Scientific Method ○ Organized ○ Empirical: based on observations ○ Methodical ○ Formal way of finding information by rejecting what we might think about something until we narrow down to the only possible explanation. ○ People believe that science is separate from the rest of the world, when really the scientific method is just a more structured version of what we do every day. We're always making hypotheses, testing them, making observations, and concluding based on our findings, even if we don't realize it. ● Professor's Version: Scientific Thinking (since Method implies rigidity, as if it is not applicable to your own life) ○ Make observations (be a human, we do this all the time) ■ My friend who took steroids looks huge. ○ Formulate hypotheses ■ Taking steroids makes you muscular. ■ Can you test it? Can you refute it? ○ Make a prediction ■ When subjects take steroids, they will become more muscular. ○ Conduct an experiment ■ Ideas ■ 2-way between-subjects design with an exercise group, an exercise and steroids group, a steroids group, and a group with neither exercise or steroids. ■ placebo group, inject with fake steroids that do nothing ■ randomized? double-blind? ■ Remember to question yourself. Think of how others might constructively criticize your idea. Is there a better version of your idea that you maybe haven't thought of? ● Examples of scientific process ○ How reliable is eyewitness testimony? ■ Hypothesis: infallible. Victims of a crime know their attacker and can point them out in a line-up. ■ How do we test this? ■ Test peoples' accuracy in pointing out their attacker from a line-up and from seeing each suspect one at a time. ■ 30% incorrect ID's in standard line-up, 10% incorrect ID's in sequential viewing (seeing suspects one after the other) ■ Conclusion: Eyewitness testimony really not that reliable, since there were a lot of errors and it seems that it depends on the way suspects are presented. ○ London headline: "One in seven fathers 'not the real parent'" ■ Cellmark Labs received more than 10,000 requests a year for paternity testing. One in five has not been ordered by a court or child support agency. Of these, in one case of every seven, the father is the wrong man. ■ Not a very reliable experiment, and not a necessarily true headline ■ How would you design a better experiment? Lecture 2 - 9/27 ● Launchpad is not required, but it is recommended as an excellent way to study for the exam ● Review ○ Scientific Thinking ■ Make observations ■ Formulate hypotheses ■ Make predictions (based on hypotheses) ■ Devise and carry out experiments (to test hypotheses and alternatives) ■ Draw conclusions, modify hypotheses (continue the process) ○ Example: Does it rain more on weekends? ■ How do we test this? Record rainfall every day, take averages for every weekday, compare ■ Actual data: rains 22% more on Saturdays than Mondays! ■ Why? Maybe because people drive more on the weekdays. Particulate matter from the cars gets into the air, moisture clings to it, building up more and more with more traffic and eventually falling, on the weekends. ■ Compare areas where there are no cars (rural area or even open ocean), compare with original data (taken from east coast highway) ■ Science can be used to change minds. It can change our minds. ○ Remember: Scientific thinking illuminates situations in which we should change what we think. ● The "Critical Experiment" ○ Putting a hypothesis to the test ■ The results can decisively determine whether a hypothesis is correct. ■ Vitamin C does not decrease symptoms or duration of illness. This has been tested over and over again, even by famous scientist Linus Pauling. ■ Antibacterial hand soap kills microbes with triclosin. Triclosin takes 2-3 minutes to come into effect. We don't wash our hands for that long. But even if we did, even a 1-second touch with something with those microbes on it gives enough time for them to come and live on you, so when you touch the sink before and after washing your hands, you're just reinfecting yourself all over again. Antibacterial soap = not a good idea. ■ Cell phones emit some radiation. Is this enough to cause mutations, cancer? Very hard to test. You'd have to test hundreds of people for years. Cell phone companies are rich enough to conduct these studies, but they of course wouldn't want to tell us that cell phones cause brain tumors. ■ Alternative study: People usually only hold their phone on one side, so brain tumors that people get should be on the same side as where they hold their phone. When this study was conducted, they actually did find that brain tumors are slightly more frequent on the side of the head where people hold their phones. ■ Is maze running ability in mice genetic? ■ Take mice who are the worst at maze running and breed them over and over again. Meanwhile, take mice who are the best at it and breed them as well. You should end up with two groups of mice, mice who are amazing maze runners and mice who are absolutely horrible. ■ Maze running ability is genetic. Dull mice became duller over generations, and bright mice became brighter. ○ How can you increase your experiment's power? ■ Randomize subjects across control and experimental groups. ■ Control your study. ■ Use a double-blind design. ○ Observation ■ Which experimental tests are better? Are you looking for an experiment with higher internal validity or higher external validity? In a lab or in the "real world"? ● Beware of pseudoscience ○ Scientific thinking is powerful but can be constantly, time-consuming, and difficult ○ Anecdotal observations? ■ Autism is diagnosed right around the time children were getting vaccines for mumps, measles, malaria, etc. ● Take home: Testable Predictions o the "Vaccines cause Autism" theory Discussion 1 - 9/28 ● scientific thinking - more creative ● technology - applying of science to solve a particular problem ● physicians diagnose and help heal physical illness or injury, which is an application of science. They use discoveries of science to treat disease. ● Scientific Method ○ observation, hypothesis, prediction, experiment, analysis <-- will be on midterm ● Apply scientific thinking: some women with mutations in the BRCA genes choose to undergo prophylactic double mastectomy ○ hypothesis: PDM is effective in preventing breast cancer. ○ prediction: People with mutations in the BRCA genes will have lower rates of breast cancer when they get the surgery vs. when they choose not to get the surgery. ○ design: take 2 groups of people, experimental and control, experimental to get surgery, control to not get surgery, track for next 10-15 years ○ conclusion: prophylactic masectomy substantially reduces cancer risk ● Pseudoscience ○ vitamin C helps you not get sick ○ actually research shows that vitamin C decreases neither the severity nor the duration of the sickness ● Remember: scientific method, be skeptical. Lecture 3 - 9/29 ● Evolution: gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form, or, change in allele frequencies within a population ○ Fruit flies ■ how long can a fly survive without food? ■ what if.. you only let best flies reproduce? ■ how long do top flies live? ■ let 80% of flies die of starvation, give food to the rest ■ 20 hours on average originally, 21 hours in 2nd generation ■ fruit fly lifespan is ~2 weeks ■ after 10 generations... ~28 hours until death ■ laborious with all the test tube processes and such ■ after 60 generations... 160 hours ■ selective breeding - we can control how traits evolve in species ○ Turkeys ■ we've altered them to have massive breast muscles ■ we've tampered so much that all turkeys in the U.S. in farms to sell turkey breast cannot physically mate ■ females are artificially inseminated to solve this problem ● Genes and Alleles ​ ● Is natural selection always directional? No. ○ Directional: population evolves in one way, like becoming increasingly faster at running away from predators over generations ○ Stabilizing: population narrows in variability with organisms becoming more similar to each other ○ Disruptive: population splits and evolves into separate populations, creating new species


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