5
votes
1answer
118 views

What evidence gives clues to the physiological basis for conversion disorder?

Conversion disorder has a set of DSM diagnosis criteria, which, among other things, includes ruling out all neurological disease. However, as the media has shown us (and one could argue a biased ...
11
votes
2answers
5k views

Does an annealing temp higher than primer's Tm contribute to primer dimer?

I am attempting to reproduce results from a number of journal articles all referring to the same SNP. In doing this I'm using the same primer set outlined in the articles. When I attempted a run the ...
11
votes
2answers
310 views

What are the limitations to current nucleotide sequencing technologies?

Using the Illumina platform, it is cheap and (relatively) easy to sequence huge amounts of DNA or RNA. There are various other platforms out there (Roche/454, SOLiD, PacBio, Ion Torrent) each with ...
7
votes
1answer
65 views

How are whole Haplotypes for Sequencing isolated?

Is it possible to reliably isolate and amplify DNA from individual sperm and/or eggs (from a fish)? I'd imagine that the small amount of DNA would make the PCR a bit wacky. We've considered ...
9
votes
1answer
157 views

Is it correct to regard archeaic humans (i.e.n Neanderthals and Denisovans) as distinct species to Homo sapiens?

There is increasing evidence (e.g. here) that Homo sapiens interbred with contemporary homonins such as Homo neanderthalensis and the "Denisovans". Although these homonins do show differences in their ...
8
votes
1answer
55 views

Downloadable worldwide database of disease statistics?

I am looking for a downloadable database of disease statistics. I have emailed the good folks over at HealthMap, but they haven't gotten back to me yet. As far as I can tell, their data relevant to ...
17
votes
3answers
1k views

How does the immune system “learn” from a vaccine?

According to Wikipedia: A vaccine typically contains an agent that resembles a disease-causing microorganism, and is often made from weakened or killed forms of the microbe, its toxins or one ...
11
votes
1answer
126 views

How would one calculate the availability of nucleotides to an enzyme?

How would one calculate the availability of nucleotides to an enzyme like a polymerase ? I imagine an answer in units like nucleotides per second per enzyme, but I'm also imagining an answer that is ...
6
votes
2answers
740 views

How does an inhibitory synapse communicate to the cell body of a neuron?

I picture a neuron as having multiple trees of dendrites attached to the cell body with a single axon leaving the cell body. I believe the cell body near the axon root makes the decision to fire or ...
7
votes
1answer
386 views

How do you knockout an E. coli gene without disrupting the rest of the gene cluster?

I'm familiar with the method to build Keio collection using single-gene deletion with an antibiotic cassette. However, what happens when there are gene clusters or overlapping ORFs and you still only ...
10
votes
1answer
241 views

Does the genetic expression of specific physical traits ever correlate to behaviour?

Over at skeptics, there were a couple questions asked as to the correlation of specific physical traits in relation to personality/behaviour. For instance, the simian line as well as red hair. Now, ...
35
votes
4answers
7k views

How does the brain's energy consumption depend on mental activity?

What is the impact of mental activity on the energy consumption of the human brain? I am most interested in intellectually demanding tasks (e.g., chess matches, solving a puzzle, taking a difficult ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Why would taking antibiotics increase stamina and energy?

I often hear that people who are taking antibiotics experience wild fluctuations between feeling full of energy and completely alert but soon after feeling impossibly fatigued and sick. Does this ...
9
votes
3answers
2k views

DNA synthesis companies: cost per base, turn-around time, codon-optimization algorithms

I would like to synthesize a 3.4kb gene (originally isolated from soil bacteria) and transform it into E. coli. There are several companies (DNA2.0, GeneScript, BlueHeron) which will synthesize the ...
8
votes
1answer
833 views

Is there a correlation between muscle fibers and body types?

I have been told the number of muscle fibers a particular muscle has varies from person to person. Unfortunately, the person who told me this did not know much more than this. Initial searching on the ...
9
votes
5answers
499 views

What is meant in biology by the term “evolved”?

A student asked me this the other day and I thought that I would ask it again here. If one organism is said to be "more evolved" than another, what exactly does this mean?
4
votes
1answer
136 views

What are the constraints when growing an artificial brain?

Are there any experiments on growing artificial brains from brain tissue? What are the constraints? Will such tissue grown to the mass greater than that of human brain surpass it in intellect or it ...
5
votes
2answers
474 views

How are the gene sequences of individual sperm and egg cells “randomized”?

What I mean by "randomized" is, in the place where an egg cell or sperm cell is made, what is the mechanism by which each one is not made identically? Though I am a layman, I'm pretty sure that if the ...
7
votes
2answers
563 views

Did human hairs actually evolve from scales?

What is the evolution of hairs? Did they evolve from scales?
9
votes
1answer
283 views

Can Naegleria fowleri enter through wounds into the bloodstream?

All the sources I've read said that Naegleria fowleri enters the brain through the nose. But lets say that someone had cuts on their arm or leg and they are swimming in water that is conducive to ...
9
votes
2answers
1k views

What is Peter's rule in neuroscience?

I have heard and read about Peter's rule informally in the past, but never saw a formal definition or description. Informally I have learned to understand Peter's rule as the assumed correlation ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

How do I change bond colors to something besides a different hue in Coot?

I can modify the colors of carbons in Coot under Edit, Bond Colours..., but that only gives me different hues. Is there a way to change the color to something less-saturated (or perhaps slightly ...
11
votes
2answers
28k views

NADH vs. NADPH: Where is each one used and why that instead of the other?

I know NADH is used in cellular respiration and NADPH is used in photosynthesis. What difference does the phosphate group make that the same one isn't or can't be used for both? Is there a greater ...
5
votes
1answer
968 views

How does the enzyme ATP Synthase use a proton concentration gradient to make ATP?

I understand what the enzyme ATP synthase does, but I'm not exactly sure how it does it. I've heard that it uses rotary catalysis, but how exactly does this work? How is the energy from the H+ ion ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the NAD+/NADH ratio affect lifespan in vertebrates?

Here's the proximate physical implication of the ratio (from the Wikipedia article on NADH). The balance between the oxidized and reduced forms of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide is called the ...
10
votes
1answer
212 views

How do you design a drug to be delivered to the CNS?

I have just started reading up on structure-based methods for drug design (this is completely not my field so apologies for stupid questions that will be coming along!) Clearly, some drugs are ...
5
votes
1answer
237 views

What is the benefit for cells having the ATP production regulated in mitochondria compared to being from the nucleus?

Mitochondria have their own DNA and appear to be loosely connected to the nucleus and it role. Why are the functions of mitochondria not in the nucleus? Why doesn't the nucleus control the ...
12
votes
1answer
349 views

Looking for a cancer drug target database to guide sequencing of patient tumor DNA

I have a question I would like to pose to the community. I have recently received access to a bench-top ion torrent DNA sequencer. Our idea is to use this machine to sequence the DNA from patient’s ...
9
votes
2answers
396 views

Do mitochondria simply automatically convert glucose to ATP?

I wonder whether there is any intelligent decision-making in mitochondria in the timing of their operation. Do they simply begin ATP production as soon as the correct reactants are present? Or, ...
10
votes
2answers
340 views

Could an “overactive” brain increase the chances of Alzheimer's Disease?

From Raichle ME. 2010. Two views of brain function. Trends in cognitive sciences 14: 180–90: Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of progressive cognitive decline and dementia in ...
9
votes
3answers
1k views

Where is the line between Anaerobic and Aerobic?

I am well aware of traditional anaerobic respiration (lactic acid or alcohol produced - no Krebs cycle) and traditional aerobic respiration (O2 is used at the end of the Citric acid cycle). I am ...
11
votes
2answers
452 views

When did vision evolve for the first time?

Today I wondered what the first organism to evolve vision would have been. I assume that it would have been kind of primitive and basic, but of course extremely innovative and eventually useful to a ...
7
votes
2answers
119 views

Is it possible to trace of the ancestry of a person by only using his/her genetic information?

Is it possible to trace the descent of a person only using his/her genome sequence?
16
votes
3answers
1k views

How and where, in the human brain, are memories stored?

Background I am a computer programmer who is fascinated by artificial intelligence and artificial neural networks, and I am becoming more curious about how biological neural networks work. Context ...
14
votes
3answers
378 views

Are human fetuses more likely to be male?

Question: From a physiological point of view, when sex is determined in a human fetus, is it equally likely to be male or female? Studies in this area typically measure age at birth, where the data ...
14
votes
8answers
7k views

Why have humans evolved much more quickly than other animals?

Humans have, in a relatively short amount of time, evolved from apes on the African plains to upright brainiacs with nukes, computers, and space travel. Meanwhile, a lion is still a lion and a ...
13
votes
2answers
624 views

How Do Galls Form?

I am curious how Gall Wasps, bacteria and other organisms induce galls to form. Specifically, what chemicals induce gall formation?
13
votes
4answers
963 views

Are there any examples of sudden leaps in evolution?

As far as I understand, various abilities like flying, sight, hearing etc. were caused by slow evolution, where those with a greater ability to to these things had better chance of survival. (If this ...
7
votes
1answer
408 views

How is the effective dose calculated when only part of the body is irradiated?

For calculating the effective radiation dose in Sv, the equivalent dose absorbed by each body part is averaged according to tissue-specific weighting factors, which sum up to 1. If not the whole body ...
10
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is a lack of oxygen fatal to cells?

In animals temporary anaerobic respiration leads to the breakdown of the pyruvate formed by glycolysis into lactate. The buildup of lactate in the bloodstream is accompanied by a large number of ...
13
votes
1answer
361 views

Is it correct that the body only responds to the most painful stimulus?

I'm rather ashamed to say that this question is partly based on an episode of House. I have previously heard that, if there are multiple simultaneous painful stimuli, the mind will only feel the ...
25
votes
2answers
518 views

What are the trajectories of flying insects?

Many flying insects tend to have very jagged trajectories. For moves of a fruit fly looks like a random walk. Is there any research on the properties of trajectories (e.g. their fractal dimension or ...
7
votes
1answer
98 views

Which brain regions are D1 dopamine receptors expressed, and which brain regions are D2 dopamine receptors expressed?

This is a follow-up question to If D1 receptors stimulate adenylate cyclase (through GPCRs) and D2 receptors inhibit it, then why do mutations in both have similar effects?. As a further question - ...
5
votes
1answer
145 views

Does AMP/ATP ratio affect lifespan in vertebrates?

The reference below says that a higher AMP/ATP ratio is associated with lower lifespan in C. elegans. Is this finding also generalizable to vertebrates as well? Reference: Apfeld, J., O’Connor, ...
9
votes
3answers
196 views

Does current evidence support the use of resveratrol as an anti-ageing drug?

A while back there was a lot of noise about resveratrol, a naturally occurring phenol which was touted as a potential anti-aging drug due to its role in regulating the SIRT 1 gene. A number of studies ...
6
votes
1answer
66 views

How are chromatids correctly segregated during mitosis?

In my book this is described as happening by kinetochores depolymerising from their attached microtubule spindle, then being dragged towards the spindle's centrosome by a dynein protein. I can ...
2
votes
1answer
80 views

Is the protein in teardrops still attached to cells, or is it released and free-flowing?

A ScienceDaily article says that the protein in teardrops can kill bacteria. But how does it reach the bacteria?
10
votes
1answer
503 views

How do I get the current “camera position” in PyMol so I can reuse it in scripts?

I have a few protein models I want to take pictures of with various ligands bound. It would be nice if I could do it from the same "position", but the only way I can figure out to repeat the same ...
1
vote
1answer
2k views

How do dopamine agonists like amphetamine/methylphenidate affect acetylcholine signalling?

Do they increase it, or is the effect mostly neutral?
4
votes
0answers
106 views

If D1 receptors stimulate adenylate cyclase (through GPCRs) and D2 receptors inhibit it, then why do mutations in both have similar effects?

D1 and D2 both refer to specific types of dopamine receptors. I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that the D1 receptors are in regions different from D2 receptors. I know that adenylate ...

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