12
votes
4answers
11k views

What nutrients can humans absorb in the mouth?

For instance, I realise being able to absorb simple sugars in the mouth is pivotal in the rapid action of oral glucose gel. Thus I was wondering what nutrients in general can be absorbed directly ...
12
votes
4answers
331 views

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans?

Is there any documented evidence for suicide among vertebrates other than humans? Lemmings not accepted !
12
votes
2answers
3k views

How is eye color in humans inherited?

In high school we studied the inheritance of eye color, as it was explained to us in the most simple way: blue eye color is a recessive, monogenic, autosomal trait. Now I know that it is a bit more ...
11
votes
3answers
9k views

Why deoxyribose for DNA and ribose for RNA?

Why is DNA made out of deoxyribose and RNA made of ribose? Why can't they both use ribose or deoxyribose? I think that the deoxyribose gives an advantage in storing genes, the job of DNA and ribose is ...
9
votes
1answer
920 views

Could humans and chimpanzees hybridize?

In some cases two species can hybridize. For example, Tigers and lions can hybridize to produce "Ligers". Would it also be possible for humans and chimpanzees (or any other species) to hybridize ? ...
8
votes
3answers
11k views

Does our DNA change during our lives?

As far as I know, DNA is the construction protocol of all organisms on Earth. Does it change when influenced by time and environment (physical laws)? As parents with schizophrenia are more likely to ...
8
votes
2answers
281 views

Can forensic DNA analysis be used to generate a visual approximation of a suspect?

In light of the current US supreme court case, I'm curious if enough information can be teased out of a DNA sample to get a "reasonable" approximation of the suspect (never mind the legality). I ...
8
votes
1answer
226 views

Why is maintaining a circadian rhythm important?

What are the real consequences of never maintaining a circadian rhythm? How is circadian rhythm important for health and function? Where did it arise in evolution?
7
votes
2answers
202 views

Are unilaterally deaf people able to determine where sound comes from?

My question is on people deafened in one ear, but normal hearing in the other. Time and level differences between the two ears are only part of how the human body can localize the source of the ...
7
votes
2answers
2k views

What chemicals and structures control the *direction* of plant growth in leaves, stems and roots?

If you want a specific plant, let's say the snap peas I am growing that I bought at Agway. I noticed that they grow towards the light source through the nearby window. Also I think roots work the same ...
7
votes
3answers
19k views

Why are 3 nucleotides used as codons for amino-acid mapping in DNA?

DNA is made of 4 unique nucleotides. When coding for a protein, a sequence of 3 nucleotides is used to code for each amino acid. Why are codons 3 nucleotides in length? A related question can be ...
7
votes
2answers
202 views

HIV Rapid Tests

The hiv antigens that are used in the oral rapid tests, are they infectious? The tests do not contain any actual virus but I am curious if the antigens themselves could somehow create the virus on ...
7
votes
2answers
623 views

How do we know the brain flips images projected on the retina back around?

Why do we turn images upside down again rather than dealing with them directly, still vertically rotated after passing through our lens? I don't see how that would cause any problems, and how we'd ...
5
votes
2answers
195 views

How can E. coli proliferate so rapidly?

The E. coli has a genome with approximately 5×106 bp. The main DNA polymerase involved in its chromosome duplication (DNA pol III , the one with highest processivity) can polymerize ~103 nucleotides ...
5
votes
1answer
863 views

What causes humans to be sleepy?

Is there a hormone or group of hormones that regulates when we feel sleepy late at night, or in the morning? Or is sleepiness caused by some other non-hormonal mechanism? (e.g. pure psychological, ...
5
votes
1answer
362 views

Do any birds beside the family Columbidae (or any reptile or mammal) feed their young “Crop Milk”

Birds from the family Columbidae (e.g., doves and pigeons) produce a fatty, milk-like substance in their crop. The secretion is often referred to as "crop milk." They feed crop milk to their young ...
5
votes
3answers
15k views

Evolutionarily speaking, why do humans have 46 chromosomes

In humans, each cell normally contains 23 pairs of chromosomes, for a total of 46. Monkeys, chimpanzees, and Apes have 24 pairs (twenty-four pairs), for a total of 48. What caused humans to have 46? ...
4
votes
2answers
322 views

Why White Blood Cells (WBCs) do not react to foreign bodies like sperm?

Why do the white blood cells allow foreign bodies like sperm to exist inside body cavity without any reaction? White blood cells function is to fight against foreign bodies (from the text books).
4
votes
1answer
1k views

Like other animals, why humans don't have species & breeds?

Like other animals, why don't humans have species & breeds ? Even my pet dog is one type of breed, but we (humans) lack breeds & species? What is the main reason?
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Is the theory of evolution being disproved by bats?

For some species the Darwin's theory evolution makes perfect sense. I can easily imagine how, for example, the giraffe has evolved to its current appearance: the natural selection was favoring ...
3
votes
1answer
117 views

Dehydration by a tea, coffee, beer etc

For the long time I am trying to find out if the following is truth: They say that some beverages dehydrates. I heard that about tea (sometimes green, sometimes black, sometimes both), coffee, beer ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Why are hybrids infertile?

Let's take a quote from Wikipedia about zebroids. Donkeys are closely related to zebras and both animals belong to the horse family. These zebra donkey hybrids are very rare. In South Africa, they ...
3
votes
1answer
200 views

What insect is this..?

Can anyone tell me what kind of insect (if it is one) is this...!! Or is it the pupa of some insect? Well I don't think that the whole big thing is the insect itself, it appears to be just a kind of ...
3
votes
2answers
246 views

Short-term Lamarckism in asexual single cell organisms

I was reading through the Karr et al. (2012) whole-cell computational model. One of the things they did was to induce single-gene disruptions in their model. They observed several to be fatal, but: ...
2
votes
1answer
100 views

Do plant-plant interactions inhibit growth?

Plants produce lots of compounds that inhibit (kill or irritate) microorganisms and insects. They have defenses against plant viruses and infections. What kinds of compounds or hormones to plants ...
1
vote
2answers
248 views

How does the size of insert affects the rate of Homologous Recombination in yeast?

When performing genetic knockouts in yeast using homologous recombination to replace a target gene sequence via a vector DNA, does the region between the flanking regions in the vector have to be the ...
1
vote
1answer
97 views

Influence of temperature on protein binding and decay rates

For computer modeling purposes, I am looking for some referenced quantitative measurements of the effect(s) of temperature on the dynamic of biochemical reactions. Question In particular, my ...
0
votes
1answer
68 views

At what saltiness will water simply pass through us?

If water has a low salt content, it hydrates us. When water has too high salt concentration, like sea water, it drains water out of us instead when we drink it. At what salt concentration would water ...
76
votes
1answer
7k views

Do bacteria die of old age?

I know that the cells of mammals at least stop dividing when they are old, and then die a programmed cell death. Then other cells have to replace them. But in a bacterial colony, each cell ...
89
votes
2answers
3k views

How many times did life emerge from the ocean?

Evolution is often mistakenly depicted as linear in popular culture. One main feature of this depiction in popular culture, but even in science popularisation, is that some ocean-dwelling animal sheds ...
47
votes
2answers
7k views

Do ants or other insects sleep, and if so why?

I was thinking yesterday about insects (as there was a spider in the house, and I couldn't help but think of anything else, even though they aren't insects), and I started to wonder if ants sleep? ...
33
votes
4answers
19k views

Is there any advantage to one blood type over another?

All humans can be grouped into ABO and Rh+/- blood groups (at a minimum). Is there any advantage at all to one group or the other? This article hints that there are some pathogens that display a ...
46
votes
5answers
5k 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 ...
22
votes
3answers
4k views

Do all organisms have to die?

I understand (a little) that there are biological clocks and reason that after a certain amount of time organisms die. I'm wondering if that is something inherent in our DNA or in biology/chemistry in ...
54
votes
4answers
42k views

Death because of distilled water consumption

One of my friends said that I would die if I drank distilled water (we were using it in a chemistry experiment) I gave it a go and surprisingly did not die. I did a bit of Googling and found this ...
14
votes
3answers
9k views

Supercomputer Vs Human Brain

With supercomputers doing calculation in petaflops ($10^{15}$ Calculations per Second), have we crossed the speed of Human Brain?
30
votes
3answers
6k views

Can humans perceive sounds above 20 kHz?

In the never-ending debate raging in the audiophile community about sound quality and what humans can or cannot hear, it is very very very very incredibly often cited that the upper-limit of the ...
16
votes
2answers
1k 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
273 views

First RNA polymerase-mRNA

We know that RNA polymerase produces mRNA by reading DNA strand. Which enzyme produces the first RNA polymerase if other RNA polymerases are synthesized in the same way like other enzymes(proteins) ?
33
votes
1answer
27k views

How does laughing gas (N₂O) work?

Laughing gas (N2O), well, makes people laugh. How does just a gas make us do that, there has to be some hormones at work... So, I wanted to know how this works? What is the mechanism?
24
votes
1answer
8k views

What do you see when your eyes are closed?

If you are in pitch black and you close your eyes, you sometimes can see strange shapes of various colors. A lot of the time these shapes and colors change as you observe them. This phenomenon still ...
14
votes
1answer
11k views

What is the female equivalent of the morning erection that some men experience?

There was question about what causes "morning wood." It was answered that the erection in the morning is caused by decline of norepinephrine during REM sleep. Which in part allows to prevent ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

Does one parent transmit more DNA to the offspring than the other one?

Does one parent transmit more DNA to the offspring than the other one? Or do both parents always transmit the same amount of genetic material to their offspring? In other words, can a baby be ...
4
votes
1answer
3k views

Why are men stronger than women?

What are the evolutionary explanations for why women are weaker than men (on average), and is this difference adaptive? See figure one here. I suppose that something puts pressure on men to be ...
35
votes
4answers
108k 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 ...
23
votes
4answers
974 views

How many times did endosymbiosis occur?

According to the endosymbiont theory, mitochondria and chloroplasts originated as bacteria which were engulfed by larger cells. How many times is it estimated that this occurred in the past? Are there ...
21
votes
5answers
9k views

Why do the two hemispheres of the brain control the opposite sides of the body?

Why does the left hemisphere control the right and the right hemisphere control the left? I googled it but didn't find a good answer regarding this. Could someone explain? Does this adaptation help ...
20
votes
3answers
457 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, ...
18
votes
5answers
1k views

Pipetting damage on cells

I'm curious how much damage is potentially inflicted by shear stress by pipetting. I know that with syringes for stem cell injection cause a lot of damage. However, to what extend does this happen ...
15
votes
4answers
4k views

Height and natural selection in humans?

I watched the documentary "Evolve" recently and in the segment on "size" Scott V. Edwards, Harvard evolutionary biologist mentioned the idea that humans might evolve to be 7' tall in 'hundreds of ...

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