16
votes
3answers
858 views

Are single-celled organisms capable of learning?

I've read that the amoeba is capable of learning. Since these protists have no nervous system, it's safe to assume that even highly simplified learning mechanisms of the Aplysia are miles off in the ...
11
votes
1answer
199 views

Are there any pre-Holocene venomous animals?

The novel (and subsequently movie) Jurassic Park featured a dinosaur called Dilophosaurus, that was purported to be venomous and had an ability similar to that of the extant spitting cobra. ...
17
votes
2answers
317 views

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?

What are the major evolutionary pressures for Bioluminescence?
33
votes
1answer
17k views

Why Does Salt Water Help Sore Throats?

I am having some trouble understanding how salt water, a simple solution, could so effectively remove the pains of a sore throat. I do believe that the answer is closely related to hypo/hyper-tonic ...
7
votes
1answer
203 views

Are cerebellar basket and stellate neurons actually different cell types?

The title more or less says it all, but to contextualise a bit: Cerebellar molecular layer interneurons have been classified, probably since Cajal, into the basket cells, which synapse onto the soma ...
26
votes
3answers
421 views

Is telomere length a reliable measure of health/lifespan?

Several companies are commercializing tests for telomere length such as this one here. I understand the basic mechanism for why telomeres shorten during DNA replication, but how good is the evidence ...
9
votes
2answers
83 views

Recommended applications for commercial antibodies

Commercial suppliers of primary antibodies for given protein targets typically list recommended applications, for which the antibody has presumably been shown to work. I am usually looking to use them ...
8
votes
1answer
194 views

Does the oxygen concentration equilibrate between red blood cells in the liver sinusoids?

In the sinusoids of the liver, venous blood from the hepatic portal system mixes with arterial blood from the hepatic arteries. Do oxygen molecules move between oxygenated RBCs and non-oxygenated ...
10
votes
2answers
141 views

Is there an equivalent to “Fields Virology” for Bacteria?

I've gotten a staggering amount of use out of my copy of Fields Virology as a general reference for "getting me up to speed" on whatever pathogen I'm currently looking at. I don't know of a similar ...
14
votes
1answer
138 views

Are there animal models for Clostridium difficile that better replicate human infection than hamsters?

So I'm looking for some information on the infectious dose necessary to colonize a human with Clostridium difficile. There's no human challenge studies, and since it's not a foodborne pathogen, little ...
7
votes
1answer
68 views

What is the effect of exendin on beta-cells

Do you know if exendin, an analog of GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide-1), can be toxic for beta-cells? For example what is the effect on INS1 or Min6 cells at a certain concentration or after 90 mins of ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How much time do INS1-E and MIN6 cells need after splitting?

I am currently doing an experiment on cells to test the internalization of a protein. Normally, I seeded my cells the day before the incubation. This worked well for Hela, CHL or PANC1 cells. However, ...
6
votes
1answer
169 views

How Do Large Ocean Viruses Form Their Own Organelles?

Several large viruses (Arslan 2011) form their own organelles within the amoebae they invade. How do these organelles form? Reference: Arslan, D., Legendre, M., Seltzer, V., Abergel, C., Claverie, ...
52
votes
4answers
31k views

Why is uracil used in RNA rather than thymine?

What is the advantage gained by the substitution of thymine with uracil? I have read previously that it is due to thymine being "better protected" and therefore more suited to the storage role of ...
9
votes
2answers
555 views

What is causing my problem with very low yields when isolating a 42kb yeast plasmid?

I have to isolate a large plasmid from yeast and transform it in E. coli. After transformation, I often get no colonies. One reason for that is the yeast mini prep hasn't worked or the DNA ...
9
votes
4answers
1k 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 ...
13
votes
2answers
326 views

When does BLAST fail to align 2 DNA sequences?

This is an assignment that had confused me for a long time. So I think you guys who study computational biology might be interested. The original question is: Find the two most similar DNA ...
24
votes
2answers
378 views

How do biological communities at deep-ocean hydrothermal vents migrate between vents?

Much interest in the astrobiology community has been generated by the discovery of biological communities populating deep-ocean hydrothermal vents (i.e. "black smokers"). (1) These ecosystems rely on ...
17
votes
1answer
207 views

Are there dextral/sinistral higher animals?

For example, almost every dog I've met in my life (more than 20 subjects) uses their right paw touching one while asking for attention. Can it be used as a criterion for calling them dextral? If not, ...
9
votes
1answer
110 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
307 views

How can I keep HEK cells alive while expressing NMDA receptors?

I am trying to express functional NMDA receptors in HEK293 line cells for single channel recording experiments. The HEK cells are maintained in the standard way (Thomas & Smart 2005) and ...
17
votes
1answer
621 views

Can siRNA induce DNA methylation in mammalian cells?

Some years ago Hiroaki Kawasaki and Kazunari Taira published an article called "Induction of DNA methylation and gene silencing by short interfering RNAs in human cells" in Nature: In plants, ...
10
votes
1answer
277 views

What are the olfactory chemicals in whiteboard/permanent markers and what do they bind to in the nose, lungs, and brain?

What are the olfactory chemicals in whiteboard/permanent markers and what do they bind to in the nose, lungs, and brain?
6
votes
1answer
117 views

Latency to audition in human beings?

On average, in a human being with no neurological deficits, how long does it take for a sound which is sensed in the ear to reach the cortex? Which brainstem structures are most responsible for the ...
13
votes
2answers
422 views

What is the morphological difference between Leydig cell in human and pig?

The pig is only an example, just an animal. Leydig cells have protein inclusions (Reinke crystals) that are mostly made of crystallised lipofuscin. They are secretory inclusions i.e. cells formed in ...
6
votes
4answers
1k views

What are good resources for self-learning modern molecular biology concepts? [closed]

My learning of molecular biology ended in the early 90's (and with early 90's era information). While I don't aspire to be a molecular biologist, I do aspire to better understand modern approaches ...
7
votes
2answers
808 views

How do I prepare and clone from E. coli DNA?

I'm looking for a protocol to get genomic DNA from an E. coli sample so that I can clone a small portion of it using PCR into a plasmid. (< 500 bp in this case). It seems OWW (Open Wet Ware) ...
10
votes
1answer
830 views

Can I elute my GFP-tagged protein off anti-GFP antibody using a peptide?

I would like to perform a modified co-immunoprecipitation assay using a GFP-tagged protein. We are going to bind the tagged protein to anti-GFP antibody then bind that to protein A/G beads, however ...
7
votes
4answers
160 views

How can I produce milligram quantities of an isotope-labeled DNA oligomer?

I'd like to produce a specific DNA sequence on a milligram-scale and 13C15N-label it. The sequence is around 35 nucleotides long, so chemical synthesis is out due to the exorbitant costs. I'm also ...
19
votes
3answers
392 views

Good source that explains the evolution of single-celled organisms “from scratch”

Are there any books or sites that detail, step-by-step, the evolution of the first single-celled organisms (bacteria, archaea) from a Miller-Urey-like beginning? That is, assumes only amino acids, ...
15
votes
1answer
599 views

Do large animals often evolve into smaller animals?

There are several examples where the largest animals were killed off preferentially due to a major ecological shift: The KT extinction event The Holocene extinction, as well as the major megafauna ...
9
votes
1answer
190 views

What are the clotting factors' effect on avascular necrosis development?

Do clotting factors tpa and pai-1 lead to degenerative osteoarthritis in the same way that lupus anticoagulant and prothrombin might? Is one of these pathways particularly detrimental during formation ...
32
votes
2answers
1k views

How do cockroaches resist the effects of ionizing radiation?

Cockroaches are very hardy insects. It is known that, among other things, they are able to withstand bursts of ionizing radiation that would kill a human being. The explanations of this observed ...
18
votes
2answers
329 views

Can an adult without genetic lactase persistence still develop a tolerance for dairy foods?

While investigating the rise of adult lactose tolerance, I came across the news that China has been encouraging its citizens to drink more milk, even though most of the Asian population lacks the SNP ...
6
votes
2answers
1k views

What conditions should I use for Gel Red staining?

What are the optimal staining conditions when using Gel Red? So far, since we have started using it, the gels ran in our lab have been of very poor quality. The bands are very blurred and often ...
11
votes
1answer
314 views

Examples of animals that co-opt toxins?

It is known that there are animals that acquire toxins through their diet or through their surroundings. The examples I know of include butterflies stocking up on alkaloids/glycosides while in the ...
11
votes
1answer
203 views

What histological stain can I use for beta-keratin?

I'm trying to find a histochemical stain for beta-keratin, the type found in Reptilia which is organized in beta-sheets. It's different than alpha-keratin which is found in mammalian skin, hair, ...
20
votes
1answer
15k views

How does cerebrospinal fluid circulate in the central nervous system?

Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) is produced in the choroid plexus of the lateral ventricles and in the 4th ventricle of the brain. CSF then circulates through the ventricles of the brain and the ...
11
votes
1answer
979 views

How is Taq polymerase produced?

I've seen Taq polymerase being marketed as either "native" or "recombinant". I understand that the recombinant version is produced by specially modified Escherichia coli strains that have the gene for ...
17
votes
2answers
270 views

How do fairy rings propagate?

It was somewhat new to me that mushrooms usually aren't individual organisms, but are merely the visible bodies of a bunch of fungi living in the soil. I know that mushrooms emit spores to reproduce, ...
16
votes
2answers
6k views

How do the brain and nerves create electrical pulses?

I have heard that information is sent between the brain and peripheral nerves via electrical pulses or signals, but I don't understand how they create them in the first place.
38
votes
4answers
3k views

Life without DNA?

I'm by no means an expert in the field, merely a curious visitor, but I've been thinking about this and Google isn't of much help. Do we know of any lifeforms that don't have the conventional ...
16
votes
2answers
230 views

Why is there now only one Salmonella species?

Once upon a time, I chanced upon an old microbiology book that detailed the rather colorful world of enterobacteria. Salmonella in particular stood out, as it seemed there were a lot of species: typhi ...
10
votes
1answer
174 views

How can you identify if a person is homozygous for a certain allele?

I've been thinking about starting a small private research project. In this project I need to find out whether a person is homozygous for a certain allele. The reason for this is that I'm really ...
18
votes
1answer
245 views

Is there any convincing evidence for the existence of nanobacteria?

The existence of nanometer scale microorganisms has been proposed and used explain several phenomena including morphological structures in a martian meteorite (ALH 84001) and implication in the ...
10
votes
2answers
274 views

Which sequence characteristics influence the transcription efficiency of T7 polymerase?

The T7 polymerase doesn't transcribe all sequences equally well, the transciption efficiency can vary widely for different sequences. One well known requirement of the T7 polymerase is that the ...
12
votes
2answers
508 views

What are limiting factors for intron length?

For predicting genes from a sequenced genome, you need to set a maximum intron length. How long can introns get in animals? Is there some limit?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

How can rooted and unrooted (phylogenetic) trees be distinguished from one another

I understand that both are similar in structure But how can they be easily identified as one or the other? Is it simply based on the presence or lack of a named root (the root is identified as a ...
10
votes
2answers
1k views

Do human beings have pheromone receptors?

What is the current consensus on whether or not humans have receptors that detect pheromones? If there are purported receptors, in what anatomical areas are they located? With what organ systems do ...
9
votes
2answers
194 views

bi-directional transcription experiment

We suspect a bi-directional transcription event is happening at a locus in our organism where two genes are directly adjacent to each other. The annotation data is not well established. The intergenic ...

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