Three ways Pokémon are like the coronavirus || Science of virus evolution || Master of CheMOMstry
16
February

By Adem Lewis / in , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , /


Welcome to Master of CheMOMstry where
motherhood and science collide. I’m so glad that you found my channel. In
today’s video I’m going to tell you three ways that Pokemon are like the
coronavirus and then connect it to the science of virus evolution. My name is jJy and I’m a mom and a
teacher and my passion is to share my experiences and connect them to basic
concepts in biology and chemistry. If you like this video please make sure to hit
the like button as well as to subscribe to my channel so that you can get the
latest updates and newest videos as they come out . Also feel free to share any
comments that you’d like in the comments section below.
Here’s the story: my weekday routine every morning starts with mom chauffeur
duties. I have to get the baby to daycare and the kids to school. And recently as
we were pulling out of the driveway with the radio on in the van,
we heard the latest report about the new coronavirus. As I was listening I
realized that I hadn’t really talked to the kids about what was going on and I
thought if it was making me a little bit alarmed that they probably were, too, if
they had been listening. So I thought it might be a good idea to maybe talk
to them about it I asked him if they had heard about it yet, and they said not
really. And I’m usually very straightforward with my kids about what’s
going on and try to put things in ways that they can make sense of so here’s
what I told them: I started with that most of the people who had it and were
affected by it were in China but that it was spreading. And the reason it spreads
is because so many people fly on airplanes and go from country to country
for their jobs for family for holiday etc., and that how it spreads is through
when someone sneezes or coughs and those liquid droplets that contain the virus
are in the air someone could just be walking and end up breathing it in or
later could touch the droplet on a arm of a chair and then end up touching
their mouth, face, eyes, or nose and then end up becoming infected as well.
My son was concerned about whether we could get it and I answered him honestly
that, yes, we could if somebody came to our area and it was infected with it
they could potentially spread it, and then we would make sure to go to the
hospital and get help as soon as we needed it.
Those were the basics but the report also talked about how the virus was
different than what it was before so this new version of the corona virus
evolved from an older version. This seemed a little
trickier to try to explain to my kids and as I was pulling up to a red light, I
realized I could totally explain virus evolution using Pokemon. Here is our
motherhood and science collide. First a little bit of background about
pokemon in my life: it was a thing when I was in middle school in high school
but I didn’t really get into it fast forward into motherhood my son’s a
second grader and he comes home with some pokemon trading cards. He ends up
wanting more of these Pokemon trading cards for his birthday, for Christmas ,and
we end up having so many that we needed to get a special binder.So that he was
able to store them all so they weren’t laying all over the floor of my house or
in his bed or in his dresser drawers. This became an obsession and all he
could talk about was Pokemon and all the different attacks and the different
evolutions and how many hit points and how much damage this was. And my husband
and I were not really sure what any of it mean, t but we listened and nodded our
heads and it just became more and more and more of a thing for him. Because I
was trying to be a kind and considerate mom, I even bought him a special book the
deluxe essential handbook for pokemon: the need-to-know stats and facts of over
700 Pokemon, and I think he has this book memorized. It got to the point where he
was playing this with a friend every day his version of a Pokemon Trading Card
Game battle and all of a sudden there was pokemon cards all over our yard,
getting mowed over, in our landscaping and then all of a sudden there weren’t
any pokemon cards anymore. And one day he told us he gave them all all the way to
one of his friends. So we thought the pokemon life was over. At that point we
weren’t glad or sad or anything but we were just like okay, onto something new.
About a year later something triggered him to get back into it again and he
started asking for more pokemon cards and I was a little unsure about that
since he had given all of them away. But I thought you know if that’s something
he’s interested in I might as well let him have another shot at it. And because
I never quite understood the game because there was no set rules that were
readily available and it was really frustrating to try to play with him,
because I didn’t know what the things were that he was talking about, I went
out and bought him a special pack that had
two card sets already ready to go, and then an actual it’s a paper but it’s
like a game setup where you can put your deck , and where all the cards go as you
do the battle for the pokemon card trading game.We learned the rules
together my husband also learned to play and we actually really enjoyed it and
still enjoy it today. One of the things that happens during the game is that
your Pokemon can evolve into a more powerful version of itself. I know a lot
of you are probably familiar with Pikachu but my son doesn’t happen to
have a full evolution of Pikachu so I’m gonna be using the evolution a Dratini
as my first example. There is a basic stage a stage 1 and a stage 2 . You have
to draw those cards during the game and have them in your hand to be able to
play them. The level of the evolution is listed on the upper left hand corner of
the card. Another example of a Pokemon evolution is starting with the Pokemon
called Pidgey. We will use Pidgey to describe some additional statistics and
information found on a Pokemon Trading Card. On each card on the upper right is
the HP. HP stands for hit points. My husband calls it horse power and it
drives my son crazy every time he says that. But when I look at it I see HP and
all I can think of his horse power. Anyway, back to the game. On a Pokemon
Trading Card the HP is a number of points that a Pokemon can lose before
it’s defeated in a battle. And the HP will typically increase as the pokémon
evolves. Each Pokemon has certain attacks that it can do. The attacks result in
damage and the damage decrease the HP of the opponent. The amount of damage
that a Pokemon can do with a particular attack depends on where it’s at in its
evolution. Basic evolution is much weaker than compared to a stage 2 attack, but to
be able to use these attacks you have to have a certain number of energy cards
available. When you draw from your deck of cards you might get a fire energy, or
a water energy, or an electric energy card. And there are many others than what
I have shown here and that what I’ve named. Specific energy types
or combinations are required when it’s your turn to be able to play an attack
for your Pokemon that is in battle. So that’s my history and knowledge of
Pokemon. It is certainly not expert but I know a lot more about it than I did a
few years ago. Now let’s transition to coronavirus:what should you know about
that? Before I continue there’s a few things
that you should know about me. I have an undergraduate degree in biology which
means I took a wide range of classes in the life sciences, and one of those
classes was immunology, which is a study of the defense systems of living things
and how it behaves in response to invaders. I also worked in a lab that
evaluated and analyzed how the immune system responds to particular viruses
and assisted with the study of bovine viral diarrhea virus , a virus that
affects cattle. What I’m saying is that although I’m not a PhD in immunology or
virology, which is a study of viruses, I still have education background and
experiences in it, combine that with my love of teaching, I hope that what I have
to share with you today is helpful. In understanding how viruses work, according
to experts ,the coronavirus has evolved which means that it has changed from
what it was like before and is now affecting living things slightly
differently. The new coronavirus is called the 2019 novel coronavirus.
A coronavirus can cause a version of a typical cold nasal drippage, cough, and
discomfort but this newer version is causing more extreme symptoms leading to
breathing difficulties, and then can prove deadly. There are many types of
coronaviruses and the coronavirus that we’re dealing with was infecting animals
and then became transmissible to humans, which is termed as a zoonotic disease.
The immune system, the cells and the systems involved in defending the body
against foreign invaders, hasn’t seen this new version before so it’s having a
hard time recognizing it and battling against it. But what does a virus
evolving mean? I have four points to explain this and please be aware there
are many more details that are involved in this then I have time to share and I
do have links available below if you’re interested in
learning more about those. Number one, biology is the study of life and there
are special characteristics that something has to meet to be considered
alive. And a virus does not fit all of those categories so viruses are not
considered alive. You can read all the different characteristics on the slide
but the one I’m gonna focus on has to do with reproduction. Viruses have to have
help to be able to reproduce. They can’t do it by themselves They require a host
cell. A host cell is going to be from a living thing. It might be a butterfly,
a plant, a dog, or you. If a virus infects it, it’s called a host cell. The overview
of virus reproduction is that the virus needs to find a way to get inside the
host cell, then the virus hijacks the machinery that the cell uses to make its
own materials and then makes the cell make new virus parts. Eventually the new
viruses leave the cell and then move on to go and infect more cells. So that
those cells will make more of the virus. Number two: viruses are made of two
materials protein and nucleic acid. Protein is going to give the virus its
structure, and there are four major categories for its shape. The first is
kind of like a spaceship known as head and tail, the second is filamentous, the
third is isometric, or isocahedral, and the fourth is known as enveloped and
this is the category that coronavirus is in. What is a nucleic acid? I want
you to think about if you or a family member or your child has ever gotten a
Lego set and then you have these directions that tell you exactly what
you need to do where you start and what you put on next. This is like the nucleic
acid. It’s the code it’s the directions for building something so whether that’s
a creature a building or a machine. That’s kind of like the protein that
ends up being the end result of what a nucleic acid is coding for in living
cells. There are two different types of nucleic acids: DNA deoxyribonucleic acid
and RNA: ribonucleic acid Coronavirus has RNA.
Number three: DNA and RNA can actually mutate. And what this means is that the
code will actually have some change occur in it like a deletion in addition
something might get switched around or something gets repeated and this
mutation activity happens in both living cells and nonliving viruses. Because all
of them contain nucleic acids. A mutation can be good if it results in something
positive. A mutation can be neutral. And it might not cause any change at all, Or
it could be harmful. An example of an a mutation is bad is when a mutation
happens in the code of how quickly a cell should divide. So in human cells if
the cell cycle control is mutated that means more cells are going to be
produced than there should be, and these cells are abnormal. And those cells keep
making more of themselves so you get this mass of abnormal cells, and this can
lead to cancer. To give you a little bit better understanding of nucleic acids
and mutations I want to go a little bit deeper into what make them up. They have
individual subunits called nucleotides. So imagine that this one Lego is a
nucleotide and we put a bunch of Legos together to make the code, and this code
is going to make a particular protein that has a special job to do in the cell,
whether its structure or maybe it’s some sort of function. Okay now if we take all
the tan ones off and do a deletion now the code is completely different. We have
a much shorter structure to begin with but now all these subunits that were
there are now gone. This is not going to code for the same protein as before. Or
we could have the normal version but now a bunch of things get added into it this
is likely not going to be coding for the same protein as before. So this is how
visually you can understand how mutations can change the sequence and
change the code of a nucleic acid. So if DNA or RNA doesn’t have the same code as
before it could be better, it could not change at all , or it could be something
that is detrimental. By the way when you hear the
word evolution being used in science, changes in nucleic acids are the key
component. How this comes into play with viruses is they mutate a lot. Remember
they use host cells DNA and hijack it to make more of their own materials? And so
if they’re gonna be going from cell to cel, animal to animal, species to species,
day after day, month after month, year after year, what their nucleic acids and
proteins were like before could be very different from what they’re like days,
months, or years later. Number four:some viruses get encased with their host
cell’s membrane, like coronavirus. These viruses are called enveloped viruses and
what it means is that when they leave the cell, part of the cell membrane of
that host cell becomes part of the virus structure. A cell membrane is like a
special barrier that separates the inside of a cell from the outside of the
cell. It contains something called phospholipids.
It also has embedded proteins as well as special sugars that are attached on the
outside. What’s important here are the sugars that are found on the outside of
the cell membrane. These are little identifiers to tell the
immune system of the host cell that that cell belongs there and if the immune
system cells find that the combination is wrong, or different, or an absent
they’re going to be targeting a particular cell for search-and-destroy
to get rid of it. If everything looks okay, the immune system cell will move on
and leave that cell alone. Enveloped viruses use this to their advantage as
they go from cell to cell taking parts of the cell membranes with them as they
go. So viruses can go through multiple animals of one species ,and then maybe
multiple animals of another species, and if the virus changes enough that it can
start infecting humans, then multiple humans. So what happens when an
individual gets infected with a virus is that the virus may have so many similar
structures on it that it can slip by the immune system kind of like it’s wearing
camouflage. Now that you know a little bit about Pokemon and you know a little
bit about viruses, what are the three ways
Pokemon are like the coronavirus? Number one: as a virus mutates it could gain new
features just like a pokemon gains new features as it goes through its
evolution from basic to stage 1 to stage 2. Number 2: virus evasion tactics
increase every time they gain new features from the cells that they have
previously infected which makes them harder to get rid of. This is similar to
Pokemon because their HP or their hit points increase as they evolve and as
they evolve the more hit points they have the harder it is to defeat them in
battle. Number 3: not only do viruses features potentially change but also
their abilities could change when they evolve due to changes in nucleic acids
due to mutations in interactions with host cells.The result could be a new
virus that is more contagious and harder to fight. This can be compared to how
pokemon have new or more damaging attacks each time they evolve. The final
thing that I want to talk about that will wrap everything up is that when
there is a Pokemon battle going on, there’s going to be two players. And when
we’re talking about you getting invaded by a virus your immune system is the
second player and the virus is the first player. And they’re going up against each
other. Your immune system has multiple components and multiple options that it
could play , like neutrophils, eosinophils, T cells, B cells. This is just like how in
a Pokemon Trading Card Game that you could have multiple pokemons that you
could choose to play to battle against your opponent. And just like how each
Pokemon has different attacks, different amounts of damage it can cause different
hit points. Our immune system cells are activated or triggered to work in a
particular way against certain types of invaders and work better against certain
ones than others and have certain ways of defending or attacking or getting rid
of that invader. So the next time you’re ill you can think about how your body is
going through some Pokemon battles between the immune system and whatever
it is that your fighting. Alright, as a mom and a teacher I love
to share my experiences and wisdom and so here are the two takeaways from this
video. Number one coronavirus is an enveloped virus that has RNA as its
nucleic acid. All viruses mutate and many can take structures from their host cell
to make it easier for them to hide from the host cells immune system. Many
viruses like coronavirus can be transmitted from species to species and
changes a nucleic acid and the resulting structures are major factors and how
that happens. Number two: I think Pokemon is an excellent analogy for
understanding virus evolution. If HP, damage, energies, and pokemon evolution is
still confusing to you, I highly encourage you check out the online
trading card game or buy a pack and follow the instructions and see if you
like it. Don’t knock it till you try it! Do you have a story like mine or do you
have an analogy that helps make it easier to understand a science concept?
Please feel free to share below. Do you have any questions about the biology or
chemistry discussed in this video? Please let me know and I would be happy to
answer, look up the answer, or make a video about it. And don’t forget to like
this video and subscribe to the channel if you’re enjoying this content. oOur
experiences can teach us so much and I love sharing them with you. Thanks for watching!


3 thoughts on “Three ways Pokémon are like the coronavirus || Science of virus evolution || Master of CheMOMstry

  1. Did this help you understand virus evolution a little bit better? And how it relates to the new coronavirus? Or did this make it easier to visit with your kids about it? I would love to hear. Please share below. Looking for more videos like this, click here:  https://youtu.be/B_rsFIWSV6s

  2. MoM and DaD you two are soooo old lol HP🤦🏻‍♀️hahahah! I think this is a great description;)

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