25
votes
7answers
411 views

Has there been any observation of species adapting the evolution process?

I am very interested in the evolution of the evolution process itself. There are of course a lot of things that influence how evolution will work, but for this question, I am interested in things that ...
20
votes
1answer
484 views

How, on a physical level, does ATP confer energy?

When ATP is used as the energy currency to make, say, reaction X + Y → Z happen, is what happens on a physical level down at the molecular scale that during the reaction ATP + H2O → ADP + Pi ...
19
votes
3answers
20k views

If the brain has no pain receptors, how come you can get a headache?

I've read many years ago in books, that the brain has no nerves on it, and if someone was touching your brain, you couldn't feel a thing. Just two days before now, I had a very bad migraine, due to a ...
18
votes
4answers
2k views

Why are there species instead of a continuum of various animals?

As I understand it, various animal traits have to evolve gradually, but what happens to the species that are "neither here nor there"? To put it differently, if a species evolved from another, it did ...
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 ...
15
votes
2answers
3k views

Why is glucose our primary source of energy?

Is there any evolutionary reason for glucose being the "main" molecule used as a source of energy, beginning with glycolysis and subsequently cellular respiration (after being converted to two ...
15
votes
3answers
434 views

Why do some trees have a life span, while some don't?

I have heard that there is no limit on the growth of trees, but then why do some trees, such as boxelders and poplars, tend to live shorter than redwoods, for example? Some advertisements for improved ...
14
votes
3answers
385 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
1answer
1k views

Why do some mammals not have testes in a scrotum?

Coming from an evolutionary approach, Is the only purpose of a scrotum to regulate the temperature of the testes? Knowing all mammals are warm blooded, shouldn't all mammals have testes in a ...
13
votes
1answer
195 views

What is the prehistory of amino acids in cells?

As a followup to Why 20 amino acids instead of 64? and What is the smallest number of amino acids required for life?, I am trying to understand the prehistory of amino acids in cells. All living ...
13
votes
3answers
685 views

How many human proteins have a solved 3D structure?

I was wondering how many human proteins have a solved 3D structure. Is there a database with only human proteins? I looked at pdb but couldn't find a filter.
12
votes
2answers
4k views

Do men have significant hormonal cycles?

I know there's a similar question here. But that discussion dissolved into lunar cycle and a correlation with it. I want to find more towards the original question of is there a periodic hormone ...
12
votes
2answers
2k views

How does a brain distinguish stimuli?

If all the brain ever "sees" is action potentials, how do we know that one set of action potentials denotes a flash of light, another one signifies a loud sound, etc ?
11
votes
1answer
440 views

How do CpG islands remain unmethylated?

In most of the genome CpG sites are pretty much always methylated, but CpG islands are instead often unmethylated. This has been linked to the fact that they often are associated to transcripted ...
10
votes
2answers
319 views

Why Do Most Humans & Cats Have Blue/Bluish Eyes At Birth?

I've read that the eye color at birth for most humans and for cats may not always be the the true genetic color at first. This is due to the lack of melanin in the iris. This makes sense as there is ...
9
votes
1answer
247 views

Did the eugenics program in Nazi Germany have a measurable effect? [closed]

Did the killing or sterilisation of people considered as living a "life unworthy of life" in Nazi Germany have any measurable effect on the "average health" of Germany? Is there any statistical ...
9
votes
2answers
141 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 ...
9
votes
2answers
128 views

What role does a protein's size have on protein-protein interactions?

Protein-protein interactions are when two or more proteins bind together, possibly for some important biological function. Recently, I'm starting to look more into proteins, and in particular, ...
9
votes
2answers
307 views

How is human biological clock modelled in modern science?

Im an engineer by education and i program a lot, so the question sounds weird to people from other disciplines. Im trying to better understand the human biological clock. Yet i do not really know ...
8
votes
2answers
119 views

Did Darwin ever reach the conclusion that selection will remove variation?

According to simple models of selection the genetic variance in a population should be reduced by selection. (Fisher's fundamental theorem states that the rate at which a population can evolve is ...
8
votes
1answer
137 views

Is it a limitation of the eyes, or the brain, that we can't see a moving bullet?

Are the photoreceptors in our eyes not fast enough to register the fast moving bullet, or is the brain not powerful enough to make sense of something happening that fast?
8
votes
1answer
150 views

Genetic Drift: Models, assumptions and empirical observations

There two main mathematical models to describe the process of genetic drift are Moran model and Wright-Fisher model. My questions concern the assumptions of these models, the existence of other ...
8
votes
2answers
492 views

Do plant-animal cross races exist?

Plants and animals have the following distinct properties: Plants live from solar energy by photosynthesis, they use solar energy to make sugar and oxygen out of carbon dioxide, which gives them ...
8
votes
1answer
56 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 ...
8
votes
1answer
2k views

Effects of Polyphasic vs Monophasic sleep in humans

Why do humans practice monophasic sleep cycles? When altering one's circadian rhythm to a Polyphasic sleep schedule, how much would that affect development? Is Monophasic sleep (once per day) ...
7
votes
1answer
100 views

What happens when we know that there is something that we forgot but we can't remember what it was?

I think it happens for everyone that sometimes we go to a room and forget why we went there. Is there any research or article on this?
7
votes
1answer
1k 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) ...
6
votes
2answers
99 views

Why is there no way to remove an immune response?

We've known for a long time now how to "add a new entry to the database," as it were, of immune responses. It's called vaccination, and it's been one of the greatest success stories in the history of ...
6
votes
4answers
213 views

What prevents predator overpopulation?

I've often heard that a population, human or otherwise, will continue to grow as long as there is food available (assuming nothing else is killing them off). It makes sense: if you have food you can ...
6
votes
1answer
105 views

Do adjacent axons in a nerve influence each other?

Suppose I have a nerve fiber consisting of several axons all running in parallel to each other. When an action potential is generated in a certain axon, this will alter the concentration of sodium ...
5
votes
3answers
620 views

Why did abiogenesis only happen once?

If the "primordial soup" theory of abiogenesis is to be believed, self-reproducing organisms spontaneously arose on Earth at least 3.5 billion years ago, surprisingly soon after the Earth cooled down ...
5
votes
1answer
720 views

How do neurons form new connections in brain plasticity?

I've been reading about brain plasticity and how the brain can "rewire" itself. One of the things that is not clear to me - how neurons can establish new connections. Does this rewiring mean that ...
5
votes
1answer
153 views

Is there such thing as Animal non-verbal body language?

Have there been any studies done on the animal use of their bodies to signal, communicate or express their emotions, particularly to members of other species (ex: humans)? I've been observing a very ...
4
votes
1answer
60 views

Why does max heart rate decrease with age?

I have heard that max heart rate declines steadily with age, and can be approximated by the equation Max Rate = 220 - Age. What is the physiological reason for this decline, and how is it ...
4
votes
2answers
171 views

Gas from bacteria that's not methane

Is gas produced by bacteria always mainly methane? Or, are there bacteria out there that produce some biogas composed mainly of hydrogen, natural gas, propane, butane?
3
votes
1answer
33 views

Elevated position effect on recovery times from upper respiratory infections at rest?

In nursing school, they advice for people with upper respiratory infections to be in a slightly elevated position at the head region when sleeping. My intuition of the reason is that the lymphatic ...
3
votes
1answer
256 views

What is needed for a G-matrix?

I have been doing a lot of reading on quantitative genetics and the G- (and B-) matrix lately. I get the principle behind performing the analysis now but I am still not sure how to do it. I'd like to ...
3
votes
2answers
618 views

Ill effects of urea and NH3 on metabolism

What exactly does urea do that harms our body? Does it interfere with our cellular processes or disturbs the colloidal onchotic pressure of our blood? I have heard that $NH_3$ damages the brain. What ...
2
votes
1answer
192 views

What can cause the bloating in high protein diet of Whey proteins?

I am thinking what can cause the swelling of gastrointestinal system i.e. bloating after high protein diet of Whey proteins. Liver does breaks those proteins to branched chain amino acids (BCAA), ...
2
votes
1answer
41 views

Effective population size when the population sizes varies from season to season

Let's think of a species which has four generations per year and which population size changes from season to season so that the population size is 100 in summer, 200 in spring, 50 in autumn and 20 in ...
1
vote
1answer
29 views

Fast standing and the heart's insufficient accommodation of the increased venous return

Assume you are 45 minutes on the supine position. Furthermore: you stand all of a sudden and fast and without sympaticus activity. The venous return (smooth musculature of vessels) accommodates ...
1
vote
1answer
53 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ loci

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
1
vote
1answer
87 views

Additive genetic variance with $n$ alleles

The genetic variance of a quantitative trait (the quantitative trait in question is fitness) can be express as the sum of two components, the dominance and additive variance: $$\sigma_D^2 + ...
1
vote
3answers
86 views

Can antibiotic resistant bacteria compete with normal one in an antibiotic free environment?

The question is based on an intuition that antibiotic resistance can't come along. This mutation will probably make bacteria less tenacious. Is there any research how AR bacteria compete with normal ...
22
votes
1answer
11k 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?
18
votes
3answers
17k views

Why do mammalian red blood cells lack a nucleus?

How did the red blood cell in humans get to lose its nucleus (and other organelles)? Does the bone marrow just not put the nucleus in, or is it stripped out at some stage in the construction of the ...
15
votes
1answer
358 views

What is the lowest pressure at which plants can survive?

What is the lowest pressure at which plants can survive? How the plants behave in a Martian-type atmosphere? Is there any plant that can survive such atmosphere? Can a lichen grow at Martian ...
14
votes
1answer
500 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?
13
votes
1answer
204 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?
13
votes
4answers
43k views

Why is DNA replication performed in the 5' to 3' direction?

DNA replication goes in the 5' to 3' direction because DNA polymerase acts on the 3'-OH of the existing strand for adding free nucleotides. Is there any biochemical reason why all organisms evolved to ...

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