13
votes
2answers
3k views

How will rising carbon dioxide levels in the troposphere affect photosynthetic producers?

Much discussion has been had about the affects of climate change on plantlife, but how will rising carbon dioxide concentrations affect the photosynthetic process itself? Since CO2 is a reagent in ...
9
votes
1answer
89 views

Which patterns do I have to avoid when modifying the 3'-UTR?

I want to change a pre-miRNA sequence (in my case the pre-miRNA is encoding in a 3'UTR of a gene) and then put it in a lentivirus to see if it is still processed. After modification (permutation of ...
13
votes
1answer
189 views

What is the prehistory of amino acids in cells?

As a followup to Why 20 amino acids instead of 64? and What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?, I am trying to understand the prehistory of amino acids in cells. All living ...
6
votes
1answer
133 views

Could someone recommend a book for surveying species?

I'm trying to get/renew basic knowledge of species. Could someone recommend a book for surveying "important"/"representational" species? I am looking for a book with good illustrations and that covers ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

How can a monocot get so massive?

Some monocots (such as palms) are impressively thick and massive, yet botanists maintain that they don't have secondary growth. Why do botanists say this? How can it get so big without secondary ...
8
votes
3answers
209 views

Can elements of one's environment act directly as hormones?

Can pollution and things in an organism's environment serve as hormones?
6
votes
1answer
243 views

First discovery of long-term depression?

LTP was first described by Tim Bliss and Terje Lømo in their paper Long-lasting potentiation of synaptic transmission in the dentate area of the anaesthetized rabbit following stimulation of the ...
4
votes
1answer
290 views

What is the largest perennial herbaceous plant?

What is the largest perennial herbaceous plant? My guess would be some kind of banana or bamboo.
-3
votes
1answer
361 views

Which plants live for more than one year and less than two years? [closed]

What kinds of plants live for more than one year and less than two years? Are there any categorical or taxonomical names for such plants?
43
votes
4answers
5k views

Why 22 amino acids instead of 64?

This question got me thinking about amino acids and the ambiguity in the genetic code. With 4 nucleotides in RNA and 3 per codon, there are 64 codons. However, these 64 codons only code for 22 ...
14
votes
1answer
855 views

What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?

Is there any hypothesis on the minimum number of amino acids required for life?
12
votes
2answers
183 views

Can a color-deficient person be made to visualize the missing colors?

Hope this is within the scope of this site. Color-deficient persons lack the cells in their retina needed for differentiating some (or all) colors. However, the part of the brain that actually ...
10
votes
1answer
530 views

Why doesn't a substance like loperamide promote analgesia?

Loperamide is frequently used to slow gastrointestinal motility. It is available over the counter (in the US, I don't know about elsewhere) without any regulations whatsoever, yet it's derived from ...
4
votes
0answers
93 views

Could an organism theoretically produce a metamaterial-like structure? [closed]

I'm curious to know if this is physically feasible because during my reading up on synthetic biology and just general research i realise that life is capable of producing some exquisitely complex ...
11
votes
1answer
753 views

Does bioluminescence occur in humans too?

I read that Japanese researchers have developed very sensitive camera that recorded bioluminescence in humans; is it possible and if so what is the mechanism behind it?
32
votes
5answers
948 views

Human perception of time depending on age

From what I can tell and what thus far all people with whom I discussed this subject confirmed is that time appears to "accelerate" as we age. Digging a little, most explanations I found basically ...
6
votes
2answers
691 views

Reverse transcription PCR optimization

What is the ideal amount of RNA to use for the RT? and how much cDNA to use then for the PCR? I did RT with a solution of RNA of 0.36 ug/ul. Then for my PCR I used 1 ul of the cDNA obtained and used ...
9
votes
1answer
21k views

Absorption ratios 260/280 and 260/230 for RNA

I extracted RNA from different cell lines, an I want to perform reverse transcription and then PCR. To get good results, in which range should the absorption ratios 260/280 nm and 260/230 nm be? And ...
1
vote
1answer
483 views

Why do plants have pith and how is it useful to them?

Many plants have pith, from walnut trees to corn to ragweed, but I can't think of anything it does them. What is pith and how is it useful to them?
13
votes
2answers
455 views

Intrinsically disordered proteins as potential drug targets

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are a class of proteins that do not adopt a stable secondary or tertiary structure under physiological conditions in vitro, but still have biological ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

The effect of the start codon GTG on translation in E. coli

Translation in E. coli is initiated at the start ATG codon, which encodes for the amino acid Methionine (Met). In some cases, the start codon can be GTG, which within the open reading frame (ORF) ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

What are the different ways an exon gets spliced?

Exons are produced by more than one mechanism, e.g. splicing out introns after transcription, if I remember correctly. Please list all mechanisms.
27
votes
4answers
493 views

Why are amino acids in biology homochiral?

Why are nearly all amino acids in organisms left-handed (exception is glycine which has no isomer) when abiotic samples typical have an even mix of left- and right-handed molecules?
20
votes
1answer
455 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi ...
6
votes
2answers
433 views

Why would stablising selection ever happen?

If the aim of evolution is to allow an organism to better compete against rivals, why would stabilizing selection ever happen? If you're not selecting the most highly adapted competitors at either end ...
9
votes
1answer
110 views

What portions of the brain have drastic changes in activation when we “sense” someone is there?

I was watching an old Arnold Schwarzenegger movie ("Commando") where he plays an elite soldier (surprise). An enemy tries to sneak up on him, and Arnold says that he smelled the other guy ...
6
votes
1answer
191 views

In C. elegans, why does knock-down of cco-1 in some tissues increase lifespan, and knock-down of cco-1 in other tissues decrease lifespan?

Full question: In C. elegans, why does knock-down of cco-1 via RNA interference in specific tissues like body wall muscle decreases life span, whereas knock-down in the nervous system and intestine ...
8
votes
1answer
195 views

Is the squid giant axon the fastest conducting unmyelinated axon known?

The conduction velocity of the squid giant axon can reach 30 m/s. Is there any known example of an even faster conducting unmyelinated axons?
14
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do some mammals not have testes in a scrotum?

Coming from an evolutionary approach, Is the only purpose of a scrotum to regulate the temperature of the testes? Knowing all mammals are warm blooded, shouldn't all mammals have testes in a ...
7
votes
2answers
270 views

How does a veggie-less diet affect the human body?

I have some question, which I'm sure would fit better in the fitness section but proper answers should probably come from someone that knows biology. My question is rather simple. How can a person ...
12
votes
10answers
808 views

A good book for history of biology/biotechnology for lay people

I have many friends who are interested in Biology and want to know more about the subject in general (like a history of biology, from Darwin's theory, to DNA structure discovery, to the human genome ...
12
votes
2answers
1k views

How does a brain distinguish stimuli?

If all the brain ever "sees" is action potentials, how do we know that one set of action potentials denotes a flash of light, another one signifies a loud sound, etc ?
9
votes
1answer
491 views

How does laser surgery correct accommodation problems?

When someone undergoes laser surgery to improve eyesight, how does it correct accommodation problems? Why does it not help presbyopia?
23
votes
4answers
46k views

What's the maximum and minimum temperature a human can survive?

This is a question that has been in my mind since I was a kid. I'm not a doctor, nor even a biology student, just a curious person. What is the minimum and maximum temperature a human body can stand ...
8
votes
3answers
438 views

What triggers meiosis in gonadal cells?

What specific biochemical processes are involved in inducing meiosis rather than mitosis? Why are gonadal cells the only cells in the human body which do undergo meiosis?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the function(s) of Alu elements in the cell?

My 2008 biology book (1) states that some 10% of the human genome consists of relatively short (~300 nucleotides long) Alu elements which do not code for proteins but many of which are transcribed ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What causes the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria?

I understand bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to selection pressures, but how do resistant bacteria process antibiotics when exposed to it, compared to non-resistant bacteria. Also, ...
8
votes
1answer
168 views

Do antigens protrude through the capsule/slime layer in prokaryotic organisms where these features are present?

In prokaryotic organisms that have a slime layer or capsule, do intrinsic/extrinsic proteins and other molecules that could be used as antigens protrude through the capsule? I assume that they ...
17
votes
2answers
319 views

How does the microbial environment in your gut initiate?

Clearly, a zygote does not harbor any microbes. As it develops, and the alimentary canal tissue is differentiated, I logically assume that there is still no microbial activity in the fetus's gut. I'm ...
9
votes
2answers
131 views

Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...
9
votes
2answers
158 views

Are there viruses that affect many kinds of cells across species?

I'm not a professional in biology nor a student, but I'm curious about this. To be more specific: why doesn't a plant virus affect animal cells? I suspect that different kinds of cells have different ...
55
votes
4answers
1k views

Is there a reason why human eyesight and plants make use of the same wavelength of light?

The accepted range for the wavelengths of light that the human eye can detect is roughly between 400nm and 700nm. Is it a co-incidence that these wavelengths are identical to those in the ...
9
votes
1answer
418 views

What is the modern state of the theory of evolution?

When I studied biology at my medical school we used to learn things about a century old: the famous Darwin's voyage on "Beagle" to the Galapagos Islands, the classical triad of his Theory of ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the stem-loop cause intrinsic transcription termination?

In this animation, towards the end (about three quarters) the process of transcription termination is shown. It states that the transcribed RNA forms a hairpin loop (or stem-loop), which halts the ...
12
votes
2answers
174 views

Why is the microbial ecosystem of the gut so susceptible to disruption by pathogens?

From all accounts, it seems as if the Escherichia, Enterobacter, etc. that live and thrive in the human gut are pretty well entrenched. I know that these microbial populations are often analyzed as ...
13
votes
4answers
40k views

Why is DNA replication performed in the 5' to 3' direction?

DNA replication goes in the 5' to 3' direction because DNA polymerase acts on the 3'-OH of the existing strand for adding free nucleotides. Is there any biochemical reason why all organisms evolved to ...
5
votes
1answer
956 views

How does the Golgi Apparatus perform its function?

The Golgi Apparatus is an organelle with a great number of functions, I am particularly intrigued in the role it plays in packaging macromolecules and sending them to their target organelle or to ...
16
votes
1answer
282 views

Why does regular exercise increase brain volume?

It has been shown in several studies that regular aerobic exercise increases brain volume in aging humans. The changes were observed in hippocampus and were correlated with dramatic reduction of ...
10
votes
1answer
303 views

What is the functional and structural distinction between core (H2A, H2B, H3,H4) and linker(H1/H5) histones?

Many explanations of histone biochemistry isn't quite elucidating for the undergraduate student. How does histone structure (dimers, octomers) relate to their specific functions as core or linker ...
7
votes
1answer
147 views

Which human cell lines do not express the GLP-1 receptor?

I need a human cell line that does not express the GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide-1) receptor. I'm working with HeLa cells, do those express the GLP-1 receptor? Which other cell lines exist that don't ...

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