Thursday, December 1, 2011

So many things to discover!

I've just spent my lunch hour browsing my reader to skim some abstracts and see what's new in the world of science. One article that caught my eye in particular was this one in Nature (hopefully it's not behind a paywall).

It's a short news brief, but basically talks about how much we still don't know about the inner workings of the cell. You might have got the impression from your basic biology textbooks that we had pretty much figured out all of the bits that make up the cell, but in reality, we've just hit the big, obvious things. Nucleus, check. Mitochondria, check. Golgi apparatus, check. This article talks about recently discovered (or re-discovered) structures that are likely playing very important roles in cell-cell communication, and in controlling production processes within the cell. Using a combination of old and new technologies (go electron microscopy!) we are learning more and more about how cells work. And as someone who is interested in how development takes a single cell and turns it into a complex, multi-cellular organism, understanding how cells communicate is an important step!

Although the purpose and importance of some of these emerging structures is not yet clear, the research illustrates that the act of simply observing cells and their contents is alive and well. “A key aspect of doing great science is exploration,” says Davis. “I think that there's a tremendous amount that we learn just by watching.”

When it seems like everyone is pushing to publish the next "sexy" finding, it's good to know that there's still a place for exploring, observing and watching. And that while our knowledge of the living world might seem substantial, there are still so many things that we don't know. And that's the most exciting prospect of all!

As a special bonus, here is a great video of what we do know about how a cell works. One of my absolute favourite biology videos.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Let me know what you REALLY think...