15
votes
2answers
2k views

Why is 70% ethanol preferred for aseptic techniques?

Are other concentrations (say 80%) less effective,or is this just for convenient manufacturing? Is the concentration chosen only because it is less volatile than 100 percent ethanol and hence safer?
15
votes
1answer
977 views

How Do White Blood Cells Learn? Or Do They?

So I get the concept that a vaccine is a weakened form of a virus so that the body can "learn" to fight it and make a person immune to that disease, but how exactly does this learning take place? What ...
15
votes
2answers
6k views

Why don't we develop immunity against common cold?

We all suffer from common cold, and that, frequently. Why have we not developed immunity against it till now? By immunity I mean immunity as a species.
14
votes
1answer
706 views

Why is yawning contagious?

Why does yawning seems to be contagious? Is this similar to laughter being contagious or does it has a different reason?
14
votes
1answer
5k views

How does a plant grow before photosynthesis is possible?

During photosynthesis, a plant translates CO2, water and light into O2. I assume the carbon C is further used for the growing process. I wonder how the plant grows before the time where photosynthesis ...
14
votes
1answer
1k views

How did the huge dinosaurs cope with gravity and loads on bones, etc.?

It's very costly to be a huge animal. Your mass grows in cube when you scale up, but you still only have two/four legs to support the same weight. This increases the pressure that your body needs to ...
14
votes
2answers
6k 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 ...
13
votes
1answer
817 views

Can an organism exist as a single cell but come together as multi-cellular during certain times?

I am trying to remember a particular segment from a BBC special, in which there was single cellular species. However, at certain times all the individual cells came together to form a structure, not ...
13
votes
1answer
270 views

How does herpes (HSV) infection suppress HIV?

HIV compromises the human body to defend against infection. Yet people who are infected with herpes are at less risk of developing AIDS. How does this work?
12
votes
1answer
2k views

How does this illusion work?

I found this image on Google+ If you shake your head you can see a portrait of a person. Can anyone explain how the image is constructed in the brain?
12
votes
1answer
1k views

Why do neurons die so quickly (relative to other cells) when deprived of oxygen?

This question could be considered a follow-up question to Why is a lack of oxygen fatal to cells?, although the top answer there does not address why damage starts to pop in. The answer says this: ...
11
votes
1answer
116 views

What limits chromosomal length?

What are the upper and lower limits for chromosome length? Are these limits different in different species or kingdoms? If there is any limit, which cellular or molecular factors are reasons?
11
votes
1answer
2k views

Why don't McDonald's fries decompose?

So I was cleaning out my car and found a McDonalds French fry. as I don't eat anything in my car I know exactly who and when this fry is a result of. The when is + 10 months old and it could pass off ...
11
votes
2answers
4k views

Can humans transdermally absorb minerals from ocean water, and if so how much?

According to several studies quoted here, chemicals can be absorbed by the skin transdermally, at least under certain conditions. When it comes to elements in seawater like sodium, magnesium, ...
11
votes
1answer
22k views

How do prokaryotes perform cellular respiration without membrane-bound organelles?

In order to survive, prokaryotes such as bacteria need to produce energy from food such as glucose. In eukaryotic cells, respiration is performed by mitochondria, but prokaryotic cells do not have ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

How does sodium in one's diet affect blood pressure?

Due to high blood pressure, my doctor has recommended I go on a low-sodium diet. So, that got me wondering what it is about sodium that drives this recommendation? What does sodium do to a body ...
11
votes
1answer
3k views

How does translational coupling work in prokaryotes?

Today I heard about a phenomenon called "translational coupling", where the translation of one protein influences the translation of another protein. The messenger RNA levels don't seem influenced. ...
11
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does Rigor Mortis occur after death?

After someone dies they become stiff, this is termed Rigor Mortis and happens because the cells run out of ATP (I think). But why do the cells need it to remain flexible?
11
votes
1answer
333 views

Is the minicolumn the unit of the neocortex?

There are many arguments for what the unit of the neocortex is. "Columns" seem to be the standard, but what exactly those are is extremely contradictory between individuals, cortical regions, and ...
11
votes
1answer
157 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
899 views

The evolutionary process in bird wings, especially with regard to winglets

In this answer on aviation.SE a comparison is made between the shapes of airplanes wings and the shapes of birds wings. It concludes with the following remark: After all, no bird has winglets. Not ...
10
votes
4answers
1k views

“Same” DNA vs genes

It is often cited that humans share 99% (or 98%) of their DNA with chimpanzees. On the other hand it is stated that siblings share only half of their genes. What (if any) is the difference between ...
10
votes
3answers
535 views

Can genes change as we age?

Let's say you're a 23 year old man who impregnates a woman. Will your genes be the same if you were to impregnate another woman at age 35? Will your genes in those 12 years have ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Do men have a higher genetic variance than women?

I've heard that with the distribution of our genetic code women have less variation on the bell curve than men. Is there any basis for this? It was my understanding that women have more genetic ...
10
votes
2answers
310 views

Why is venom more common in fish and snakes than other vertebrates?

Reading this question, I wondered why is it that we associate vertebrate venoms so often with snakes and fish, and more rarely with lizards, amphibians, mammals, and birds (apparently never, in ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

How to obtain bacteria samples at home?

As the original question went from hold to closed, I thought I would write up a more appropriate question. How should one go about getting bacterial samples to look at under a microscope at home? ...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

How are our senses dimmed during sleep?

Our senses are not as sensitive during sleep compared to wake. There is an arousal threshold during sleep that only when it is overcome will it wake a person up. My question is how is this arousal ...
10
votes
2answers
340 views

What can the timing of human urination tell about the human's physical condition and circadian rhythms?

I've noticed a peculiar phenomenon. A subject drinks 400 ml of water, then observes time until the urge to urinate is felt. The time is 15 minutes. The subject releases water. 14 minutes later another ...
10
votes
3answers
403 views

Source of DNA sequences

I'm working on a project where I am taking DNA sequences and translating the codons into musical notes. I have some good ideas of how to do this, I'm just not sure what sequences to work with. My case ...
10
votes
1answer
175 views

Were dinosaurs 'hot-blooded' or 'cold-blooded'?

Were dinosaurs hot-blooded or cold-blooded? NOTE: The popular term 'hot-blooded' means having an internally maintained average body temperature, which is generally more than that of the surroundings, ...
10
votes
4answers
3k views

Why can cones detect color but rods can't?

I don't know if this question applies to only humans but why can cones see much greater detail than rods? Is it possible to have a rod that can detect light intensity and color?
10
votes
2answers
3k 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 ...
10
votes
4answers
2k views

What determines a successful protein expression in E. coli?

Some proteins express well in a heterologous host; others- don't. A few requirements are known to determine the protein expression, like a strong promoter (like T7) for transcription and a strong ...
9
votes
1answer
309 views

Why can you not tickle yourself?

It's the age old question, why can't we tickle ourselves? If you rub your fingers along your skin, sure there's sensation but you don't break down into a laughing fit (at least I don't :P), if someone ...
9
votes
2answers
145 views

Is mammalian vision processed as a sequence of frames?

I often read that people believe that human vision has an inherent frames-per-second rate (FPS) that causes stroboscopic effects - such as seeing the spokes of a rotating wheel apparently rotating at ...
9
votes
1answer
132 views

What are the costs associated with carrying lots of genetic material

What are the costs (if any) associated with carrying lots of genetic material (Big genome size)? energy for copying? raw material for copying? space in the cell? Maintenance cost (matter and ...
9
votes
1answer
326 views

Why does the sex of the parent species determines the species of a hybrid offspring

I've read a little about hybrid animals, and have been amazed by the fact that the sex of the parent species determine the species of the offspring, in some hybrids. A male horse and a female donkey ...
9
votes
1answer
104 views

Relative Property of Alleles

If there are three different alleles to a gene, is it possible that the first is dominant to the second, but recessive to the third?
9
votes
1answer
111 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 - ...
9
votes
1answer
125 views

Why is there an extended delay before G.M. liver cells are attacked by the immune system?

In this BBC article a trial is described where patients with B-Haemophillia are infected with modified Adeno-associated Virus 8 which contained the genes for Factor IX clotting protein. Trials seemed ...
8
votes
1answer
255 views

Do ants feel acceleration?

The organ we have to provide us with current acceleration information is quite complicated. Because an ant queen didn't seem to notice when I picked up the bottle she was in, I have a suspicion that ...
8
votes
1answer
159 views

Model for fluctuating selection

Is there any mathematical model to predict the behaviour and long-term consequence of counter-acting selection at different time scale? For example, let's consider the bi-allelic gene A, with alleles ...
8
votes
2answers
501 views

What is the smallest molecule that can present as an antigen to the immune system in the context of allergies?

People often claim, in a colloquial sense, that they are "allergic to everything". Is it possible to have a full-fledged IgE mediated allergic response to very small molecules? I was always under ...
8
votes
3answers
934 views

Finding proteins in DNA sequence

I have to do a task for a university task and I need to understand some things before figuring out how to do it. The task is the following: Find matches of known proteins (DNA-PolyI,II,III) to ...
8
votes
3answers
334 views

What kind of event would cause the current Mitochondrial Eve to be replaced by a new one?

Apparently all living humans are matrilineal descendants of a single woman who lived 200.000 years ago. She is called Mitochondrial Eve. But at the time she lived there was a different matrilineal ...
8
votes
2answers
2k views

How much weight/volume do microbes occupy within the human body?

Microorganisms constitute the bulk of all the biomass on Earth. I weighed myself yesterday, and wondered how much less I would weigh if I were completely free of bacteria and microbes, inside and out. ...
8
votes
2answers
37k views

Which shades/hues of color are easiest to distinguish for humans?

I'm trying to represent data graphically and am using a variation of hue/lightness to distinguish one data point from the next. I would like to use a color that would allow me to convey most ...
8
votes
2answers
253 views

Is there a dominant gene for right-handedness?

Has there been any definitive research about handedness being genetic? Also, why is right-handedness clearly dominant in humans? I'm interested in evolutionary theories, as well as any molecular ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What hydrolyses aspirin within the digestive tract and blood stream?

I have had some further thoughts after my previous question regarding the buccal delivery of medication. The active compound in aspirin (acetylsalicylic acid or systematically 2-Acetoxybenzoic acid) ...
7
votes
2answers
80 views

At what point during an action potential are the sodium potassium pumps working?

I'm trying to understand how all of the potentials during an action potential are created. My question specifically is about the sodium potassium pumps, however I would also be grateful if someone ...

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