Unanswered Questions

18
votes
1answer
797 views

Additive genetic variance components from LMER in R

I've set up some dummy data in R which makes 40 genetically related lines, they are all siblings within a line so are genetically related by a factor of ½ thus additive genetic variance should be ...
14
votes
1answer
151 views

What's the mechanism for being mentally tired?

I notice that after long tests, or long periods of critical thinking, my body and mind feel noticeably tired. Why does this happen? Are the neurons in my head not firing as quickly, or is there just a ...
12
votes
0answers
127 views

What have the L-systems (Lindenmayer systems) been actually used for in biology?

Wikipedia: An L-system or Lindenmayer system is a parallel rewriting system and a type of formal grammar. L-systems were introduced and developed in 1968 by Aristid Lindenmayer, a Hungarian ...
11
votes
1answer
146 views

Unilateral damage to vagus nerve

Context: The vagus nerves supply the neck viscera, heart, lungs and gastrointestinal tract. They join around the oesophagus to form the oesophageal plexus. Question: Would damage to one vagus nerve ...
11
votes
0answers
144 views

Selection for less efficient egg transfer in Human Botfly life cycle

I have heard that the Human Botfly transfers its eggs through other invertebrates [1], and it strikes my curiosity that if an insect could simply land on its host directly to deposit its eggs, then ...
10
votes
0answers
616 views

Why don't rats have a gallbladder, unlike other rodents?

It has long been known that rats do not have a gallbladder, though other species including humans, monkeys, cows, reptiles, dogs and mice, all have a gallbladder. In this paper from almost 100 years ...
10
votes
1answer
225 views

Why and how is DNA synthesis so much faster then RNA synthesis in bacteria?

DNA synthesis in E. coli is 20x faster than RNA synthesis at 1000nt/s vs 50nt/s. (Mirkin'05) I find that perplexing since DNA polymerization has better proofreading than the RNA variety, which ...
10
votes
1answer
155 views

Why aren't plants' roots as diverse as leaves?

I have been doing some gardening recently and I suddenly realised that all plants have superficially identical non-woody roots of the same size from gigantic trees to small fruiting plants and ...
9
votes
0answers
111 views

Standard practice for generating rarefaction curves from Next Generation Sequencing data

We have a few million 18S reads from a particular environment. The reads have been clustered into Operational Taxonomic Unit (OTU), and the OTUs annotated against a reference database. To generate a ...
9
votes
1answer
133 views

Why are oceans said to have “low productivity” in terms of photosynthesis?

80% of the world's photosynthesis takes place in the ocean. Despite this, oceans are also said to have low productivity - they cover 75% of the earth's surface, but out of the annual 170 billion ...
9
votes
0answers
595 views

Evolutionary reasons why you cannot tickle yourself but masturbate

There are obviously good reasons that explain why you cannot tickle yourself (see e.g. here). This got me thinking why it is possible to masturbate... Wouldn't it make more sense to not being able to ...
9
votes
0answers
165 views

At which step apply a detection filter when preprocessing microarray data? (Before/After normalization, batch effects removal)

I am trying to understand what is the best practice when preprocessing microarray data using a detection filter (on scanner p-value). Suppose I have a microarray dataset that I have to normalize with ...
9
votes
2answers
3k views

What “emotions” can a snake feel?

Short: Thinking in particular of a Royal Python (US: Ball Python) such as some people keep as exotic companion animals, what sorts of "emotions" or "feelings" are they capable of? Long: http://...
8
votes
0answers
293 views

Contact Inhibition of Cell Division: Signaling Pathway

The following article refers to contact inhibition of cell division in epithelial cells, specifically MDCK cells: Collective and single cell behavior in epithelial contact inhibition. In their review ...
8
votes
0answers
103 views

How to define “Quasifixation” in continuous approximation of finite population?

Background Many models including the famous very first models derived by Sir Ronald Fisher in his early career, assume infinite population size. In an infinite population, an allele can rise in ...

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