Monday, November 19, 2007

Crystal Tells Us about the Human Genome

According to the YouTube profile ...
Crystal is graduated from Texas A&M University w/ a degree in agricultural leadership and development with an emphasis on genetics and bio-chemistry. She is currently a professional model.
Here's her website [crystalnicole.com]. There's not much on her website about DNA or genomes. On the other hand, there's a lot of Crystal. I suspect science isn't her main interest in life.

This is a video about the human genome. Crystal tells us lots of interesting things about the size of our genome, number of genes, junk DNA, whether the DNA of different races is the same etc. etc.

It makes my blood boil. A lot of the information is basically correct but there's no explanations. For example, we know why the rice genome has more genes than the human genome—it's not a mystery. Some of the information is wrong (e.g., similarities between different species). Some of it is misleading (e.g., the definition of a gene).

I assume that this is just a regurgitation of things that Crystal learned in class. Rather than detail all of the errors I'll leave it up to you. You can list them in the comments.

The question I want answered is whether this sort of video serves a useful purpose or not. Is it better to have such a thing on YouTube than nothing at all? (I think we can all agree that the ideal situation would be to have a similar video that was accurate.)



[Hat Tip: Curious Cat and ScienceRoll]

10 comments :

  1. I couldn't sit through the whole thing.

    "a degree in agricultural leadership and development"

    I can guarantee that that's a rigorous major.
    Reminds me of when I was teaching at a land-grant prairie university with a huge and dominant Ag school. Two of my students asked to be excused from an exam because they had to travel with their team to an out-of-state competition. "Oh yeah?," sez I, "what sport do you guys play?" "Uh, well, not really a sport so much. We're on the competitive Meat Judging team."
    Maybe Crystal was a meat-judging cheerleader?

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  2. - Texas A&M University w/ a degree in agricultural leadership -

    You need this degree to be a cow-girl?

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  3. Hey, Crystal can sit on my lap and "explain" genetics to me any time she wants. ;)

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  4. That's a nice set of uhhh... Encyclopedia Britannica's.

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  5. I suspect that this series will lead to some Intelligent Design followup on the part of Crystal. Why? Scientists "have never been able to, from an evolutionary standpoint, account for why 115 human genes are unique;" "never been able to link a genetic foundation for ADHD," etc.

    I think it sounds achingly familiar.

    In answer to your question, Larry, I think it hurts the understanding of science, unless some young farmers are inspired to study genetics so they can try to impress young Cheryl, and stumble upon how genetics really work.

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  6. Although there were lots of inaccuracies the worrying thing is that Crystals explanations were actually better than that of the average 'science journalist'. Carl Zimmer excepted, most of them show less understanding of the matter at hand than Crystal does.

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  7. What's all the fuss about? She seems to be spreading less misinformation than John Mattick. But those aren't pufferfish! ;)

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  8. Makes your blood boil? Well yes I suppose I started to feel a bit hot under the collar myself. Does she do talks on other molecular subjects like 'Crystal cleavage'?... perhaps I ought to try google...

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  9. Yeah, I won't indulge in the, at best, irrelevant male-bonding passive-aggressive propositions. Why not focus on the science?

    Anyway, the big one that stuck out was this: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/292/5523/1903

    There were a few others, but I still have work to do :|

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  10. 7 years late on it, I know - but before you all go bashing Crystal (real name, Crystal N Davis) around in some male-chauvinist manner, taking her for a dumb cow-girl wannabe, maybe you should look at her Linked-in profile first:

    www.linkedin.com/pub/crystal-n-davis/20/b55/b36

    And maybe her profile on her new employer's website, the Association of Biomolecular Research Facilities (ABRF):

    www.abrf.org/index.cfm/news.annDetails/1415.htm

    "Ms. Davis has previously served in the capacity of project and program management for the past eight years, specializing in strategic communications and coordination of highly complex ventures. She has managed outreach, research, and workflow efforts for Crystal Nichole Limited Marketing & Event Services, American Red Cross Biomedical Services Southwest Region, Texas A&M Forest Service, Congressional Research Service, and Texas A&M University's Department of Chemistry for the journal Organometallics."

    Impressive resume for somebody you're all happy to write off as a dumb bimbo.

    Maybe dig a little deeper, next time, before you go making asinine comments that make you all look like chauvinistic slobbering pigs.

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