Author Archives: jchoigt

About jchoigt

I'm an Associate Professor in the School of Biology at Georgia Tech, and Faculty Coordinator of the Professional MS Bioinformatics degree program.

What might geology be telling us about the fossil record?

One of the themes of our evolution module is that the geosphere and biosphere co-evolved throughout Earth history. Evolution of life profoundly affected the geochemistry of the planet, and changing geological conditions in turn repeatedly stirred the pot of evolution. … Continue reading

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An idea for an untextbook for intro biology

Having reviewed significant parts of both standard textbooks and the recent on-line texts by Nature and OpenStax, I’m convinced that we need a radical departure. I call it the “untextbook”. I even have a title: An Evolutionary Framework for Biology. … Continue reading

Posted in Teaching and learning biology | 4 Comments

Working with 23andMe exome data: my CF allele and the need for verification

In my previous post, I described the summary report that accompanied my 23andMe exome sequence data, with summary statistics and the filtering scheme used to arrive at a list of 21 rare, moderate-to-high predicted impact variants. Here I will show … Continue reading

Posted in human genetics | 2 Comments

A first look at my exome variants from 23andMe

About 5 months after I sent my saliva to 23andMe, I received an email that my exome results were ready. The data were in a large (4.2 GB) encrypted file folder, that could be opened only after I had downloaded … Continue reading

Posted in human genetics | 23 Comments

Did Life Begin with “RNA on Steroids”?

The “RNA world” hypothesis posits that life, and biological evolution, began with self-replicating RNA molecules. Before DNA, before protein enzymes, RNA molecules both stored hereditary information, and performed the catalytic functions required for replication. All cells today still depend on … Continue reading

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Cell Membrane Permeability – a Teaching Tidbit from SERSI12

This summer I was privileged to be the facilitator for the Cell/Development group at the Southeast Regional Summer Institute (SERSI), one of 7 replicate progeny of the National Academies/HHMI Summer Institute for advancing undergraduate biology teaching in the nation’s research … Continue reading

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The Lac Operetta – can Monty Python and Richard Wagner help students grasp gene regulation?

The E. coli lac operon is featured as the paradigm for prokaryotic gene regulation in our Biology 1510 Introduction to Biological Principles course. I want my students to learn the following key concepts): gene expression is regulated by proteins (transcription … Continue reading

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