Written By: Austin Szubryt
It seems that the older I become, the more I appreciate life. Maybe it’s simply a part of getting older and more mature, or maybe it’s the more I learn. To give context, my biology class has been covering a ton of molecular info and DNA concepts and things like that. For the last… while, I guess (I don’t really know how long it’s been, admittedly…) we’ve studied pretty much just molecular things. My teacher apparently likes microbiology the best of all the sciences, but I didn’t really understand until today.
When I was sitting down in class, half zoning out, I thought about how crazy it is that life is a thing. (Truthfully, I’m using my bio book to cheat a little bit on this next part.) We’re made up of organs, our heart, brain, skin, et cetera, that are made up of cells. Those cells are made of different stuff and emphasize different smaller organs called “organelles”. But our cells do different things (liver cells filter blood, heart cells adjust our pulse, and so on) partly because the cells talk to each other and have certain genes expressed. Genetics also happens to be a monster in itself.
The cells have all their tiny little organelles that operate in all these crazy ways, and they’ve got to be super organized. They divide in really complex and really precise ways, and they get to deal with chromosomes. Chromosomes are tighter than a badly shrunken shirt or a pickle jar fresh from Antarctica. They’re super-condensed, neatly structured “looped domains” that are condensed fibers made up of “nucleosomes” (which are these little things that DNA wraps around) that are made up of tightly condensed DNA that’s made up of Phosphate molecules, multiple nitrogenous bases, and sugars. To be honest, I’ve got no clue how so little goes wrong.
Somehow the DNA doesn’t get messed up; the chromosomes don’t divide improperly; each cell does almost everything perfectly right; it’s really astounding. To me, that’s amazing. I feel like the more I understand the world, and all the tiny things I can’t sense, the more I appreciate it simply because it works. It’s really miraculous how much goes right that we don’t even notice. I guess that means that I believe in miracles… really, really nerdy miracles.
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