Learning why cells behave this way with Dr Jasmine Hue

15 April 2019

The human body may look like a simple clump of flesh from the outside but if viewed under a microscope, the entire human body is actually made up of 37.2 trillion living cells. Yes, they are alive and they are the reason why our bodies are able to heal by itself after an injury.

To understand exactly why cells behave in such a way, we have to look deeper into the cells. This subject area is called Molecular Biology. This subject allows us to learn about the structures and functions of macromolecules such as proteins and nucleic acids that are essential to life.

In a DNA workshop which involves three schools namely SMK Lutong, SMK St Columba and SMK Chung Hwa, Dr. Jasmine Hue introduced Form 4 and 5 science stream students to the concept of gene expression which is the core concept in Molecular Biology.

Gene expression is the process in which the information from a gene is used to synthesis a functional gene product. In simpler words, this process lets us know how genes are converted into proteins in a particular cell and how gene expression may change.

The process of gene expression is used by all known living organisms including multicellular eukaryotes, prokaryotes (bacteria and archaea) and even viruses to generate the molecular machineries that are essential for life. The knowledge of gene expression will be useful for mankind to develop effective medicines, improve quality of life and increase knowledge on how living things live.

Dr. Jasmine continues by saying that personalised genetic information would eventually help us produce a ‘health forecast’ which allows us to have more control over health and able to take early prevention.

Of course, treating diseases is not the only reason this subject is being taken seriously. She explains that other areas such as forensic investigation also values the importance of Molecular Biology. Molecular Biology and particularly Genetics has helped immensely in solving murders and assaults since no two individuals have the same DNA.