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Things I have learned tonight:

- Lazarus, the form saver app for Chrome, doesn't seem to work with Rich Text DW text boxes. So the three or four paragraphs I had here before are now lost to the ether. Which...kind of sucks given that what I had written here pertains strongly to...

- The fact that I am all out of fucks for the foreseeable future. Especially with regards to  school, which can go eat a dick as far as I'm concerned. I'm just burnt out, and though I'm more than halfway through the semester, I'm still a long way from being done with it. I want to say that this is proof that maybe higher education isn't for me, but I'm doing surprisingly well in the class.

Like...entirely too surprisingly well given the agita I've been giving myself over the assignments and readings. 
It's almost like I'm too hard on myself and am not entirely an idiot. 

- Which has made me more strongly consider yet another tattoo. One to go on my forearm after the one on my left shoulder (rat), and the one going around my left upper arm (LEGO dark mark). I'm thinking asking friends who calligraphy to help me with a font and then having someone ink: The prefect is the enemy of the good.
Because if there's one message I could really stand to have indelibly inked into my flesh, it's that one.

But let's get back to this topic of school, shall we?
I had one whole week to make a rough, yet detailed, outline of my final project. As of the writing of this post I've got all zero of that done. It's due Wednesday. 
Well let's be honest, I had a couple of paragraphs typed out, but then Chrome decided to eat them. 
Eat a dick, Chrome.


The whole point of the class is to prepare us for the rest of the program, with the final project being a research proposal. We can write about any topic we want, but there has to be a level of RNA Inhibition to it. 
I decided I wanted to write my paper on turtles. More specifically species that have their gonadal sex determined by the ambient temperature of their gestational nests. 
Why?
Because I think it's kind of cool that sex is determined not by genetics, but by environment. 
When I worked at the zoo we'd get a clutch of red-belly cooters hatchlings every fall. They're an endangered species, and so rather than leave them to the wild over the winter, different institutions around MA would take them in and feed them all winter long so that in the spring they could be released and they'd be way larger. The larger the turtle the fewer predators they have...for the most part. So the idea was that we'd be helping to ensure the population by over-wintering the babies.

Only there was a problem. Red-bellies, like a lot of turtles, have temperature sex determination, and while the properties of this phenomenon vary, in the reptiles that exhibit it, the cooler the temperature of the nest, the more males there are vs. females. So since the hatchlings we were taking in were coming from late summer/early fall clutches, the chances are good that we were really raising a whole lot of males and nothing else. 
Which...yeah, not going to do much to bump the population that way.

Not a whole lot is known about how this process works. Er...temperature sex determination, that is. Scientists are still trying to figure out the molecular biology behind it. They have some ideas, but nothing conclusive. While we can get incubating eggs to be male for a while, then female, then male again all by adjusting the temperature...we have no idea why. 

So here's where my idea comes in. We  use RNA Inhibition on pre-determined gonadal cells to see if we can't figure out what happens when. At least in a laboratory setting. My species of interest is common snapping turtles, because they're kind of the opposite of endangered. And hopefully what we learn, if anything, could be used to help repopulate areas with actual endangered reptiles. 

We continue to learn a lot about our own evolution by studying turtles and crocodilians. They predated the dinosaurs and for some reason are still here.So they've got to be doing something right.

I don't think I've done nearly enough research on this topic, because...I'm not a master of herpetology, and my grasp of molecular biology is tenuous at absolute best, but...I am pretty pleased I came up with a topic mostly on my own. And the benefit of this particular proposal is that I don't have to do the actual experiment, which would involve a whole lot of cutting turtles apart. I'm kind of all set with that, thanks.
 

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