AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Author: dagambella

CRISPR Gene and what it’s about

The CRISPR gene isn’t something that everyone in the world knows about. So what is it? CRISPR stands for  – clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats. This obviously still won’t help to make sense onto what this is. This gene is used in gene editing. Gene editing is used to make new DNA for any organism. According to the article, it helps with adding, removing, or altering genetic material. CRISPR is a new and more efficient way for gene editing. CRISPR has been used in bacteria when fighting against viruses. When the viruses attacks the first time, the bacteria captures the viruses DNA and creates CRISPR arrays which will then remember the virus the second time and fight it off. Researchers then use the CRISPR as RNA to cut off pieces of DNA with the help of the CAS-9 enzyme. Gene editing and the CRISPR gene help with treatment and help prevent diseases to spread in organisms.

According to this article, there are three ways for the CRISPR gene to work. It can disrupt the DNA sequencing. Then it can also delete a fragment of DNA. The last thing it can do is correct/insert. It can add new DNA or it can make edits to the DNA.

According to this article, the CRISPR gene might be able to be used in things beyond the gene editing world. It might be able to help with quick research and findings for things like cancer and other diseases. Feng Zhang is trying to spread this technology across the world so that they can use this new technology to help with things like this.

This also relates to what we are learning in class this year because we are also talking about gene expression and how it works. We learned about transcription and translation. Transcription is the synthesis of RNA with the use of DNA. Then Translation is the synthesis of the protein by the RNA. All of this ties to the gene editing with the CRISPR gene because the CRISPR gene is another wya that the DNA is edited/corrected. It is a much quicker and more efficient way that might be really helpful going forward.

CRISPR-Cas9 mode of action

Bird Diving can Lead to Extinction

In this article, it talks about birds that are able to dive underwater what it does to them. There are three types of diving birds – foot propelled, wing propelled, and plunge divers. It talks about how these birds adapt to the environment and are able to get food by diving. This actually hurts some species of birds because they aren’t fully suited for it. Some birds that dive or plunge underwater aren’t meant to do this and could cause damage to the neck and bones in the chest. This is causing these birds to go extinct. This hurts the penguins the most because they are specialized in diving compared to other species of birds and the environments change which make it hard for them to adapt. The environments changes are caused by marine heat waves which affects the birds adaptation to the environment.

In an article similar to the main one, it talks about how when penguins are on land they are at a disadvantage compared to other species of birds even though they are the best at diving. Then there are other bird species like gulls that can adapt to eating food in the water and out.


In another article, it also talks about how body size matters when it comes to diving of bird species. Penguins use their wings to dive for food but can’t fly obviously. Cormorants for example use their feet to kick and swim underwater. The birds that use their wings have a large body and this helps them develop a larger body. So depending on what kind of diving the bird does. All these different traits make the biggest difference into why penguins and wing propelled divers are going extinct.


This connects to what we have learned this year in AP Bio because of the adaptions. When we studied plants this year, we understood what kind of things they needed to survive. For example we saw that the plants we grew in class this year needed a certain amount of light and water. It also connects with plants will use certain things for example their roots being able to pull the water throughout the rope that goes through the dirt.

Penguin in Antarctica jumping out of the water





Researchers Find Ways To Combat COVID-19

Ever since COVID-19 was discovered scientists had no idea how to stop this virus. After lots of research we were able to know that there were many different variants of  COVID-19. We understood that some variants were stronger than others according to research. There is an article that talks about how they can be able to stop all kinds of COVID-19 viruses and the different variants. In the article, Professor Seung Soo Oh had an idea on how to stop all kinds of variants in one go. He says that the virus can change its structure whenever. It will then bind to the angiotensin-converting enzyme receptor which is a receptor protein. His team developed a hybrid neutralizer that is able to bind to the virus which then cause the virus to not interact with the protein receptor. This neutralizer was able to be about 5 times more effective then what they first had when COVID-19 was discovered.

According to this article, Omicron which was found in November of 2021 in South Africa, is the most dangerous variant of COVID-19. It is a variant of COVID-19 and is one of the strongest variants. In December of 2019, sub-variants of Omicron began to appear. Some of the sub-variants include BA.5, BQ.1, and BQ.1.1. According to the article, the Omicron sub-variants were very effective and was more transmissible then the Delta variant. The neutralizer should be able to stop Omicron and the sub-variants.

According to another article, variants aren’t weakened by covid vaccines that were had a while ago. In order to help stop COVID-19, the article says that getting boosters will be more effective for any new variants that are discovered. This doesn’t mean they will 100% work. With this knowledge, the new neutralizer that was developed should be able to stop all these viruses from mutating and from entering the cell.

This relates to what we have learned in class this year because we have learned cell structure. When COVID enters the cell, it must bind to a receptor. Once it enters the cell the RNA or DNA would then reproduce. This is similar to what we have learned about how other things enter the cell such as glucose and amino acids. In receptor mediated endocytosis, the ligands must bind to the receptor and then enter the cell. This relates to what we have learned in class because we have learned how molecules are able to enter the cell and how receptors work.


SARS-CoV-2 without background


Heat Waves in U.S Rivers Rise

Heat Waves in U.S Rivers have been rising. Why have they been rising and what are the effects of this? According to research in the article, heat waves in rivers have been occurring more recently and more frequently due to the warm weather. Scientists studied different Rivers in the U.S and found that rivers that are upstream from reservoirs cause extreme heat while rivers downstream from reservoirs don’t cause heat because the dam is able to cool off the water. They also said that where these rivers are located there are warmer winters then usual. Another key thing that they also found is that less precipitation will also have an effect because there is less water in the river therefore making it warmer. Another bad thing about this is that it is affecting the organisms that live in the rivers. In the research, they said that animals like salmon and trout like cold water and need it in order to obtain oxygen and regulate their body temperature. Scientists say that dams are looking promising in order to stop this rise in heat.


According to another article, a similarity between the two articles is the worry about wildlife and how this heat will affect them going forward.


According to a third article, another worry that relates to all of this is that a rise in heat will cause more evaporation meaning there will be less water. If there is also less precipitation that means that there will be little water in the river and everything will get worse.


This ties into what we have learned so far in class because of the way organisms need certain things in order to survive. During our pill bug lab we were able to understand where pills bug lived and how we would find them in order to bring to class. They live under rocks usually and like damp soil. Without this they can die quickly. In the research from the articles we see how the organisms need certain things in order for them to live too. The fish need cold water so they can retrieve oxygen and regulate their internal temperature. So we see how organisms need certain necessities in order to live.

Riviere river




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