4
votes
0answers
88 views

Could an organism theoretically produce a metamaterial-like structure? [closed]

I'm curious to know if this is physically feasible because during my reading up on synthetic biology and just general research i realise that life is capable of producing some exquisitely complex ...
11
votes
1answer
721 views

Does bioluminescence occur in humans too?

I read that Japanese researchers have developed very sensitive camera that recorded bioluminescence in humans; is it possible and if so what is the mechanism behind it?
32
votes
5answers
875 views

Human perception of time depending on age

From what I can tell and what thus far all people with whom I discussed this subject confirmed is that time appears to "accelerate" as we age. Digging a little, most explanations I found basically ...
6
votes
2answers
635 views

Reverse transcription PCR optimization

What is the ideal amount of RNA to use for the RT? and how much cDNA to use then for the PCR? I did RT with a solution of RNA of 0.36 ug/ul. Then for my PCR I used 1 ul of the cDNA obtained and used ...
9
votes
1answer
19k views

Absorption ratios 260/280 and 260/230 for RNA

I extracted RNA from different cell lines, an I want to perform reverse transcription and then PCR. To get good results, in which range should the absorption ratios 260/280 nm and 260/230 nm be? And ...
1
vote
1answer
453 views

Why do plants have pith and how is it useful to them?

Many plants have pith, from walnut trees to corn to ragweed, but I can't think of anything it does them. What is pith and how is it useful to them?
13
votes
2answers
433 views

Intrinsically disordered proteins as potential drug targets

Intrinsically disordered proteins (IDPs) are a class of proteins that do not adopt a stable secondary or tertiary structure under physiological conditions in vitro, but still have biological ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

The effect of the start codon GTG on translation in E. coli

Translation in E. coli is initiated at the start ATG codon, which encodes for the amino acid Methionine (Met). In some cases, the start codon can be GTG, which within the open reading frame (ORF) ...
5
votes
1answer
99 views

What are the different ways an exon gets spliced?

Exons are produced by more than one mechanism, e.g. splicing out introns after transcription, if I remember correctly. Please list all mechanisms.
26
votes
4answers
461 views

Why are amino acids in biology homochiral?

Why are nearly all amino acids in organisms left-handed (exception is glycine which has no isomer) when abiotic samples typical have an even mix of left- and right-handed molecules?
20
votes
1answer
426 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
425 views

Why would stablising selection ever happen?

If the aim of evolution is to allow an organism to better compete against rivals, why would stabilizing selection ever happen? If you're not selecting the most highly adapted competitors at either end ...
8
votes
1answer
102 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 ...
6
votes
1answer
177 views

In C. elegans, why does knock-down of cco-1 in some tissues increase lifespan, and knock-down of cco-1 in other tissues decrease lifespan?

Full question: In C. elegans, why does knock-down of cco-1 via RNA interference in specific tissues like body wall muscle decreases life span, whereas knock-down in the nervous system and intestine ...
8
votes
1answer
194 views

Is the squid giant axon the fastest conducting unmyelinated axon known?

The conduction velocity of the squid giant axon can reach 30 m/s. Is there any known example of an even faster conducting unmyelinated axons?
14
votes
1answer
931 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 ...
7
votes
2answers
257 views

How does a veggie-less diet affect the human body?

I have some question, which I'm sure would fit better in the fitness section but proper answers should probably come from someone that knows biology. My question is rather simple. How can a person ...
12
votes
10answers
769 views

A good book for history of biology/biotechnology for lay people

I have many friends who are interested in Biology and want to know more about the subject in general (like a history of biology, from Darwin's theory, to DNA structure discovery, to the human genome ...
12
votes
2answers
1k 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 ?
9
votes
1answer
445 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?
20
votes
4answers
40k 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
402 views

What triggers meiosis in gonadal cells?

What specific biochemical processes are involved in inducing meiosis rather than mitosis? Why are gonadal cells the only cells in the human body which do undergo meiosis?
7
votes
3answers
2k views

What are the function(s) of Alu elements in the cell?

My 2008 biology book (1) states that some 10% of the human genome consists of relatively short (~300 nucleotides long) Alu elements which do not code for proteins but many of which are transcribed ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

What causes the development of antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria?

I understand bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics due to selection pressures, but how do resistant bacteria process antibiotics when exposed to it, compared to non-resistant bacteria. Also, ...
8
votes
1answer
154 views

Do antigens protrude through the capsule/slime layer in prokaryotic organisms where these features are present?

In prokaryotic organisms that have a slime layer or capsule, do intrinsic/extrinsic proteins and other molecules that could be used as antigens protrude through the capsule? I assume that they ...
17
votes
2answers
310 views

How does the microbial environment in your gut initiate?

Clearly, a zygote does not harbor any microbes. As it develops, and the alimentary canal tissue is differentiated, I logically assume that there is still no microbial activity in the fetus's gut. I'm ...
9
votes
2answers
129 views

Acknowledging differentiation of species, in historical times

This is at least partly an historical question, and I am not even remotely a biologist of any sort, so apologies beforehand if it's a little obscure. I often wonder how many distinctions were made in ...
9
votes
2answers
152 views

Are there viruses that affect many kinds of cells across species?

I'm not a professional in biology nor a student, but I'm curious about this. To be more specific: why doesn't a plant virus affect animal cells? I suspect that different kinds of cells have different ...
50
votes
3answers
966 views

Is there a reason why human eyesight and plants make use of the same wavelength of light?

The accepted range for the wavelengths of light that the human eye can detect is roughly between 400nm and 700nm. Is it a co-incidence that these wavelengths are identical to those in the ...
9
votes
1answer
405 views

What is the modern state of the theory of evolution?

When I studied biology at my medical school we used to learn things about a century old: the famous Darwin's voyage on "Beagle" to the Galapagos Islands, the classical triad of his Theory of ...
10
votes
1answer
2k views

How does the stem-loop cause intrinsic transcription termination?

In this animation, towards the end (about three quarters) the process of transcription termination is shown. It states that the transcribed RNA forms a hairpin loop (or stem-loop), which halts the ...
12
votes
2answers
170 views

Why is the microbial ecosystem of the gut so susceptible to disruption by pathogens?

From all accounts, it seems as if the Escherichia, Enterobacter, etc. that live and thrive in the human gut are pretty well entrenched. I know that these microbial populations are often analyzed as ...
13
votes
3answers
34k 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
935 views

How does the Golgi Apparatus perform its function?

The Golgi Apparatus is an organelle with a great number of functions, I am particularly intrigued in the role it plays in packaging macromolecules and sending them to their target organelle or to ...
15
votes
1answer
261 views

Why does regular exercise increase brain volume?

It has been shown in several studies that regular aerobic exercise increases brain volume in aging humans. The changes were observed in hippocampus and were correlated with dramatic reduction of ...
10
votes
1answer
282 views

What is the functional and structural distinction between core (H2A, H2B, H3,H4) and linker(H1/H5) histones?

Many explanations of histone biochemistry isn't quite elucidating for the undergraduate student. How does histone structure (dimers, octomers) relate to their specific functions as core or linker ...
7
votes
1answer
139 views

Which human cell lines do not express the GLP-1 receptor?

I need a human cell line that does not express the GLP-1 (glucagon like peptide-1) receptor. I'm working with HeLa cells, do those express the GLP-1 receptor? Which other cell lines exist that don't ...
12
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
22
votes
4answers
3k views

What does the human body use oxygen for besides the final electron acceptor in the electron transport chain?

My biology teachers never explained why animals need to breathe oxygen, just that we organisms die if we don't get oxygen for too long. Maybe one of them happened to mention that its used to make ATP. ...
36
votes
4answers
2k views

Why do plants have green leaves and not red?

I know plants are green due to chlorophyll. Surely it would be more beneficial for plants to be red than green as by being green they reflect green light and do not absorb it even though green light ...
16
votes
2answers
3k views

What is the mechanism behind “acquired” alcohol tolerance?

I can understand natural variation in alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) in a population leading to variation in rate of inebriation (after controlling for other variables -- e.g., mass, food consumption, ...
15
votes
1answer
811 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?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Alternatives to ethidium bromide for staining small nucleic acids?

While ethidium bromide works well for staining larger single-stranded RNA or double-stranded DNA molecules, it doesn't stain smaller nucleic acids very well. I observed that at around 20 bases and ...
7
votes
1answer
650 views

What is the mechanism of transgene integration (from expression vector to the host genome)?

How does a transgene (in vector) integrate to the host genome? (e.g. in glass bead method, neither biolistic nor agrobacterium). I already cut some parts (NdeI-PciI) of the vector (pUC18) and ...
8
votes
1answer
181 views

What would be the conduction speed of A-alpha fibers, were they unmyelinated?

It's known (Hursh 1939) that myelinated axons exhibit the behavior v = 6d, where v is the propagation speed [m/s] and d is the axon diameter [μm]. A related relation for unmyelinated axons is ...
9
votes
1answer
102 views

Are Schwann cells the sole source of myelination in PNS?

Are Schwann cells the only source of myelin for axons in the peripheral nervous system, or are there other neuroglia or other processes that result in myelination of PNS axons?
12
votes
1answer
1k views

What causes REM atonia to be lost in sleepwalking?

I understand that in normal REM sleep the voluntary muscles are in effect paralysed in order to prevent an individual acting out their dreams. This paper indicates that there are likley to be ...
8
votes
1answer
90 views

What are the variables that control/influence the color of oranges(Citrus sinensis)?

I hear that Oranges cultivated in tropical areas of the world tend to be greener when ripe, is that correct? Even the same type of Orange differs in color if cultivated in California or Florida. I ...
7
votes
2answers
197 views

Is “exhaustion” of the Hodgkin-Huxley membrane at constant stimulation a real phenomenon?

I was playing around with a simulation of the Hodgkin-Huxley model using their original parameters for the squid giant axon. By applying a constant stimulation current to the model in resting state, ...
31
votes
4answers
948 views

Can scientists create totally synthetic life?

This particular question has been of a great deal of interest to me, especially since it dives at the heart of abiogenesis.

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