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Of turtles and shells

I went to the American Society for Cell Biology's annual meeting yesterday. I managed to get a colleague (English teacher) of mine as well as a large group of students to accompany me. We attended the convention and saw many jaw-dropping pieces of equipment, cutting-edge optics and the like.

We attended a lecture given by Scott Gilbert of Swarthmore College. His unbelievable research involves turtle shell development and evolution. YES, he is an EVO-DEVO guy and he was brilliant. I LEARNED that the turtle's ribs grow into the skin (embryologically) and the ribs signal the skin cells (using paracrine proteins) and, through a signal transduction pathway, induce the skin cells to turn on genes that make them into bone.

The details and research techniques took my breath away and on the train ride home we all chattered enthusiastically about how awesome his talk was. My question to all here:

What have you learned most recently that "lit you up"?

TAGGED: BIOLOGY, EDUCATION


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