Boxing Day Boredom and Monkey Proteins

Monkey proteinsIt’s Boxing Day and you’re probably seriously bored playing the “normal” game of Pick-up Monkeys. Rather than heading for the Wii or the PS3, how about adding a little monkey magic, or more seriously some wire binders and following Dr N. Michael Green, Division of Mathematical Biology, of the UK’s prestigious Medical Research Council (MRC) National Institute for Medical Research to do a little bit of science education with those colourful plastic monkeys.

“Pick up Monkeys’ was originally produced as a children’s game (1965) and they have proved very versatile,” Green explains, “I discovered in 1968 that they were ideal models for protein subunits, being asymmetric, having multiple interaction sites and available in several colours. This exhibition illustrates their use in modelling the geometry of multi—subunit protein structures.”

Stop monkeying around, take a look at Green’s site to get the hang [pun intended!] of proteins. It’s a great idea for a science fair project too.