4
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being ambidextrous?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of being ambidextrous? We have two hands and we nearly can't use one and this seems like a weakness, and a stupid one when you first think about it. But ...
3
votes
4answers
935 views

Bad Eyesight and Evolution

Why do many humans have bad eyesight, such as near-sightedness, which hampers performance in a wide variety of tasks? Shouldn't there be evolutionary pressure towards better eyesight?
3
votes
3answers
2k views

Is the human body composition real?

In Fullmetal Alchemist when Ed goes to disprove to Rose the Sun God's "miracle" to bring humans back to life by proving that science (in the form of Alchemy) can create people by saying Water (35 ...
3
votes
1answer
157 views

Empirical evidence for Group Selection?

A controversial concept in Biology "Group Selection", has caused confusion and conflict amongst scientists since the since the mid 1990s. The more general realm of study is termed the "unit of ...
2
votes
1answer
125 views

What's the purpose of colorful mushrooms' caps?

What's the purpose for many mushrooms to have colorful caps? Is not it is in their interest to hide as well as possible? Or there are mushrooms that propagate by being eaten, like fruits? Why not all ...
2
votes
1answer
112 views

Does recombination increase the additive genetic variance for fitness?

On this article, first column, eighth line of the introduction: By bringing together favourable alleles from different chromosomes, sex and recombination increase the additive genetic variance for ...
1
vote
2answers
128 views

Which was the last significant event in human evolution? What's next?

At 10.000 BC (12 ka), we became the last of the Homo species on Earth. In evolutionary terms this is a very little time range to something happen, but I'm wondering anyway, in this meantime which are ...
1
vote
1answer
368 views

Does a fully-resolved phylogenetic tree have to be dichotomous?

I read that wherever there is polytomy there is an unresolved pattern of divergence. I don't understand why this is so. When divergence takes place, is it necessary that there will be division into ...
0
votes
2answers
914 views

Why have humans evolved conciousness?

Why did humans/animals evolve to become self-aware of their own thoughts. That is, why don't humans act and compute like a machine, or walking zombie. In my mind, such creatures would still be as ...
22
votes
2answers
10k views

What causes fingerprints to form and why is the pattern formed unique?

I've found research that suggests that the reason we develop fingerprints is because they aid us with feeling surfaces (Scheibert, et al. 2008) and not to increase friction and help with the gripping ...
18
votes
2answers
344 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
2k views

Why would a single celled organism evolve to be multi-celled?

I read a story this week on Richard Lenski who has been 'evolving' E. coli for more than 50,000 generations now. One comment I read was from someone who doesn't accept Evolution who pointed out that ...
15
votes
2answers
1k views

Why do we get runny noses in the cold?

The most annoying thing for me about being cold is a runny nose. Is there an advantage to having a runny nose when cold? What does having a runny nose achieve?
14
votes
2answers
320 views

Is the human biological clock genetically programmed or learnt?

Argument favouring learning: A newborn sleeps for 20-22 hours. But overtime (s)he learns to focus sleeping time to night time, according to his or her needs and family needs. Some sleep from 1 am to 7 ...
14
votes
2answers
3k views

Will humans and animals be harmed by frequencies outside their hearing range?

The human ear (for example) is sensitive to frequencies from 20Hz to 20kHz. Any sound beyond that limit would not be heard by us naturally. Will it harm us (effect our ability to hear) when we hear ...
11
votes
3answers
2k views

What is happening when we get a tan?

Almost everyone nowadays wants that nice summer tan, but what exactly is going on beneath the skin? I've heard a few different theories about tanning - such as a tan is nothing but the pigmentation in ...
11
votes
3answers
262 views

Do humans perceive temperature or heat-flux? (or both?)

The general understanding is that when I touch an object, I perceive its (relative) temperature. A metal object at room temperature, however, will often feel cool to the touch. This leads me to ...
10
votes
2answers
420 views

How sterile is sterile when working with nucleic acids to prevent contamination?

I am reading up on preparatory work on working with nucleic acids and a lot of the instructions speak on excessive procedures on cleaning environments with high %ethanol and making sure the equipment ...
10
votes
3answers
147 views

Is there a fundamental reason that plants cannot fix their own nitrogen?

Plants must have nitrogen to grow. According to the answer to this question, there are no plants can fix their own nitrogen (without the help of bacteria). Plants get their nitrogen in the form of ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How to DIY preserve pet DNA today so that it can be used in 20 years

I know that there are companies that offer a kit+storage of your pet DNA for around $2k. My question is if there is any other option for doing this yourself with a thought in mind that in 20+ years ...
9
votes
2answers
2k views

What percent of your blood can you lose before you need a transfusion

Losing a little blood is okay. If your a normal healthy person, and got into an accident, how do they know if you need a transfusion or if you'll be okay? This is hypothetical.
9
votes
1answer
191 views

Seeing strange things in light

I have noticed that if you look directly at tubelight (I have only white ones in my home) and close your eyes little, you see little random shaped colourless things sometimes with slow speed and ...
9
votes
1answer
453 views

Does DNA react in all of the ways most other acids do?

As I understand it from my basic chemistry, there are some fundamental reactions that exist between any acid and other substances for example acid-base reactions that form a salt, and the existence of ...
9
votes
1answer
95 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 ...
9
votes
1answer
618 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?
8
votes
2answers
2k views

Why do I need a flu shot every year, while many other vaccinations last years or even a lifetime?

Is it a viral vs. bacterial thing? Is there just more variety among types of flu than other diseases, so that this year's vaccines don't cover next year's flu?
8
votes
1answer
4k views

Why can't humans drink sea water?

Why can't humans drink sea water? It would seem to be a huge evolutionary advantage for an animal to be able to drink sea water rather than have to rely on fresh water, and it's provably not ...
8
votes
2answers
198 views

How are antibodies designed?

Antibodies have the ability of recognising highly specific peptide sequences and bind it at their antigen-binding site. This ability is harnessed as a tool in research to purify target structures in ...
8
votes
2answers
705 views

Is it possible to live without health problems sleeping one day and not the other?

Basically, I want to know if it would be humanely possible to sleep one day, skip the next, sleep, skip, sleep, skip, etc, with a 8 hour sleep time. If you need any extra information, let me know.
7
votes
1answer
3k views

Why aren't organelles considered alive?

I'm taking a 3-week Bio I summer course, and my textbook says the cell is the smallest/basic unit of life. I asked my professor why organelles aren't a living unit, and her reply was that they aren't ...
7
votes
3answers
11k 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
514 views

What are the differences between cancer and tumour?

What are the differences between cancer and tumour? I mean is it in the DNA or shape or something else... And how can a benign tumour turn into a malignant tumour? The body has a lot of tumours all ...
6
votes
1answer
549 views

Why did humans lose their fur?

The little amount of body hair humans have don't seem to be of much use for keeping warm. Our Simian cousins on the other hand sport thick furs. At which point during the species evolution and why ...
6
votes
2answers
548 views

Alternatives to trypsin for cell detachment?

I have ran out of trypsin and need to passage my cells (immortalized chondrocytes, C28/I2) today or tomorrow. I have been out of town and forgot to order more trypsin. I was wondering if there are ...
6
votes
1answer
110 views

Sugar as a defence against bacteria?

An answer on another SE site mentions that sugar "at a certain level acts as a preservative". I've always been taught that microorganisms eat sugar and expel acids, that is why sugary food are ...
6
votes
1answer
363 views

Empirical evidence for species selection

Do we have any empirical evidence in favor of species (or lineage) selection? Do we know some cases that can only be explained (or seem to be only explained) by lineage selection? What are today the ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

What mechanisms tell temperate trees when to drop leaves?

I've been looking around and cannot find a definite answer on what it is that tells trees to change their metabolism and drop leaves. I see that such activity is called Deciduous. What interests me ...
6
votes
1answer
4k views

HDL- and LDL-cholesterol

Why exactly are HDL-cholesterols good for us and LDL-cholesterols not. I know LDL-cholesterols cause Atherosclerosis and that HDL-cholesterols removes the excess of LDL-cholesterols, but from a ...
5
votes
2answers
174 views

Functions of the CFTR gene?

I am a senior in high school and I am studying cystic fibrosis. I don't quite get the function of the CFTR gene as this is my first time dealing with this type of heavy scientific info. I had ...
5
votes
3answers
957 views

How does protein denaturation work?

I was wondering how protein denaturation works. Are there covalent bonds, such as disulfide bridges involved, or is it based purely on non-covalent bonds such as hydrogen bonds? Why is denaturation ...
5
votes
3answers
162 views

If someone were to die on the moon, would their body decay?

I heard that the footprints of Neil Armstrong are still there, so I was wondering if someone were to die there, would they remain preserved, too? If not how long would it take for them to decay?
5
votes
3answers
272 views

Can extinct animals be cloned?

Scientists have found mammoth blood, and are planning to clone a mammoth. How does one go from having its blood to a full blown living mammoth? Is it possible? Why does it matter if the blood is ...
5
votes
4answers
44k views

How long human can survive with just drinking water everyday

Can humans live without eating food, just by drinking water? How long can we survive just by drinking water everyday?
5
votes
1answer
345 views

How quickly can the human heart rate rise and fall?

How quickly can the human heart rate rise and lower? For example lets say a human heart rate is rested and is at 60BPM and that person is suddenly scared to trigger their fight or flight reaction. ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

The genetic and physiological origins of laughter?

This Wikipedia article defines laughter in many terms, such as... "a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy" and "a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, ...
4
votes
2answers
146 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
2answers
141 views

Can the human eye distinguish colors in the periphery?

In the back of my mind I have the idea that human eyes can't notice the color of objects in the far periphery, and that any subjective perception of colors is done by the brain that tries to fill in ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

How hot can a beverage get without burning the tongue?

What is the maximum temperature that a beverage can be without burning the tongue? I suspect there's a maximum temperature that the surface tissue of a tongue can withstand without being damaged ...
4
votes
1answer
54 views

Microbial Fuel Cell Reaction

I found a formula online which explained the reaction which occurred in the anode chamber of a microbial fuel cell but there was a typo $\small NADH + Ferredoxin_{(ox)} (NADH-Ferredoxin\ ...
4
votes
2answers
118 views

A photosynthesizing mouse?

N. Shubin's Your Inner Fish makes the point several times that there is a lot of functional similarity between some seemingly remote gene cousins. If that needed reinforcing we have the spider-goat, ...

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