Showing posts from 2020

Avatar's Pandorian Botany in Reality

James Cameron's sci-fi classic Avatar was a long-waited one for movie fans and for me. The first time I watched it was a sophomore of Biochemistry major. On a personal note, this is one of the few movies I watched several times with my dad on TV. Not exactly from the beginning to end  every time, but from a various starting point to the end. Fast forwarded a decade or slightly more than that, I became a plant biologist in the meantime and re-watching the movie brings completely different perspective. 

Pandorian Botany
The plot starts with the human race to obtain the mineral Unobtanium, which is available in the Pandora. Humans are inclined to have this mineral to solve the energy crisis of earth. But, the native Navi is the obstacle on their way. To conquer the Pandora and their mineral, humans made a base camp to observe them and even created a hybrid combining human and Navi's DNA. 
Jake and Neytiri in the Pandorian forest. Movie: Avatar
That's the plot. But, watching that …

Arabidopsis — a model plant for artists

Arabidopsis, a model plant, I prefer to call it road side superstar for plant biologist. It grows in every continent and even if you do not want to grow it at all, you will see it on your walkway. Much of our known genetic circuits were possible due to its generous contribution. A smaller genome with a wide range of gene sets to study every possible pathway. 
I think myself as an ambassador of Arabidopsis. My doctorate research was entirely dependent on that tiny un-edible plant. My friends used to mock me as I do not have to go to field and entire experiments were going inside the lab. I took that insult and turned it into a sarcastic one. I named my blog Aribidopsis (Arif + Arabidopsis)! Ever since, it is Aribidopsis. Not only my blog, the Twitter handle is also @aribidopsis! Now, it became a brand and sort of my pseudo name as well. No more insult sticks with it, rather a sense of pride. 
That's not the point I was planning to write in this blog post. I got distracted, because I …

Mutant Series: SOSEKI

Like a sailor uses a compass to find the direction to navigate the ship, how does a cell navigate itself without a compass? or do they have their own compass? Let me break the question into a simpler version. Cells need to know where they will make their next cell or in which direction? Cell does their stuffs through proteins. Is it possible that cell uses some proteins to act as compass? If so, what should be function of those proteins? Similar to compass, they will direct the cell to a certain direction, exactly as compass. We can imagine, rather than roaming here and there inside the cell, those proteins will localize into a certain part of the cell. You are right - they will hang out in one corner of the cell to show the direction, in general term. 
I am a plant biologist, assuming that most of the readers already know that. I love to think about the direction of the cell, more precisely plant cell. There are already a substantial amount of plant proteins we already know, who local…