And I call myself a [future(?)] developmental cell biologist. Heh.
You see, it's not that I ever intend to hang out for hours on end aligning sequences and building trees. I'm a proud microscopist, and will not stoop to dealing with mere gene fragments of organisms =P But...but...I'm getting tainted. My previously pure spirit is being contaminated by this...this interest...in evolution and phylogenetic thinking! For that I blame some of my friends. And also some of my instructors. And also the medically-oriented teaching on the 'other' side (eg developmental biology).
In the end, I figured that a 'good' (for my taste) phylogenetics course might actually be a better, and more useful, experience than a mediocre (again, for my taste) course in development or cell biology or genetics, even though those fields are more relevant. And considering that it becomes harder and harder to just stick to a single organism when learning about various cellular processes, I might as well just study those subjects on my own, as I prefer. It's very difficult when a course approaches a subject in a very different way from what you're looking for; eg. stressing the biomedical applications while ignoring greater diversity. I understand that pretty much every single other student in the class could care less about diversity and is perhaps utterly fascinated by biomed (and being employable), but I'm not one of them. Thus, I should probably avoid studying with them. Besides, actually knowing how to interpret phylogenies properly would never harm. Especially since few people outside evolutionary biology actually bother to learn about it...
Besides, skipping out on the opportunity to learn phylogenetics from one of its gods would be kind of stupid.
Also, I have cruel friends:
Brainwashing by evolutionary biologists, exhibit A: Opisthokont's contribution. Un-nice person sent me phylo software to play with. For fun. Did you know I had a biochem final to study for at that time? Furthermore, did you know that the biochem final randomly featured a sequence alignment question meant to 'stump' the
There MUST be some cosmic connection there!
Evolutionary cell biology. That's a field with like, what, 4 labs, if that? Unemployment, here I come!
Goddammit, why can't I just become fascinated with cancer or something? Grrr.
Apologies for the slow posting lately -- kind of swamped with stuff. Real LifeTM tends to happen at the most inopportune moments, like when you've got a few weeks of blogging to catch up on. And delinquent posting obligations...
Less-crappy blogging to follow soon...