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Nov
19
comment Why is there such an argument about evolution?
The fact that there is not, and there cannot be a scientific proof of God makes any (pseudo)scientific argument referring to God a moot point. If you want to explain something using science then you must stay in the framework of the scientific method. Putting God into the equation is a deus ex machina (pun intended) just doesn't work. You can of course explain evolution by means of divine intervention, but you cannot call that science.
Nov
12
comment Can a plant be programmed to produce any arbitrary object?
For instance, there is Mycoplasma laboratorium
Nov
3
comment How does smoking, an environmental factor, cause cancer, fundamentally a genetic disease?
The fact that not everyone who smokes develop cancer does not rule out that those carcinogens be (amongst) the causes of cancer in those people who do.
Nov
3
comment Why were dinosaurs not as smart as we are?
"Smart" is an extremely subjective thing...
Oct
29
comment Are there any types of cancer that cause neurons to divide?
@terdon: new neurons can be born in the adult brain. The phenomenon is less important (in terms of numbers) compared to other cell types, but still it exists. Adult neurogenesis has been reported in pretty much all mammals (see for instance: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/16022595 ). To be honest, I do not know until what age this happens. Surely in the mouse adult neurogenesis is seen also even well after adolescence.
Oct
28
comment Can this image be the result of a Western Blot?
How was the initial image aquired? Could just be a result of the compression algorithm used for the original image...
Oct
28
comment Are there any types of cancer that cause neurons to divide?
@biogirl: actually you are right, most brain tumours are glial. However, gangliocytomas have neuronal components and neurocytomas are strictly neuronal, although rare.
Oct
28
comment Are there any types of cancer that cause neurons to divide?
You mean brain tumors? Those are actually not that rare...
Oct
20
comment Why are things conscious?
Could you please link to some literature at this regard? I never heard about "cell irritability" in the context of the nervous system, or when speaking of multicellular species for that matters. I think that for the scope of this site a proper neuroscience answer would have to be preferred to a phylosophical answer (Leibniz is all nice and good, but he was not what I would call a neuroscientist).
Oct
19
comment Is there any advantage to one blood type over another?
Can you provide references to the original research showing that? I cannot really find any on Pubmed. What I found is that individuals of Duffy- blood group are resistent to Plasmodium vivax invasion (Langhi and Bordin, Hematology 2006), but I cannot find anything on AB0. Also see: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK2271
Oct
16
comment Why do I have a lot in common with my mother?
All of the other comments are sure true, but you should also consider confirmation bias. You have been reunited with someone after a long time and probably the things you have in common surprise you more than those that you have not in common (which you tend to forget). You should ask someone else (best would be a stranger) to take, say, 50 different "characteristics" (e.g. "like cinnamon in cake", "like skying" etc.), then count how many you have in common with your mother. Then repeat the same exact count with someone who is unrelated to you.
Oct
13
comment What to do with a DNA sequencer?
Also, will there be some money available for the project, and if so how much? That may be a limiting factor for certain experiments.
Oct
11
comment Would it be correct to state that any biological difference between the sexes has to be found in the Y chromosome?
There are two main flaws in your reasoning: 1) you are assuming that male autosomes are equal to female autosomes, which is not necessarily true and 2) you are assuming that such complex traits are monogenic which is definitely false
Oct
10
comment Why do different bacteria have different shapes?
@fileunderwater: I see it as a very interesting biological question. I would rather compare it to "why do birds have differently shaped beaks?"
Oct
6
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
+1, however it is to note that stress (depending on the definition of stress that you want to use, some are rather large) is not the only stimulus that can generate epigenetic changes. For instance maternal behaviour is well known for having epigenetic effects (e.g. ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15220929). Surely, you may say that at the end it is stress-related, as you modulate GR, but it is not directly caused by stress (again, you should define stress more clearly so we know we're talking about the same thing).
Oct
5
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
I see the question as much more general. "Does DNA change during our lives?". The answer is yes. Schizofrenia is meant to be just as an example...
Oct
4
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
sorry, but how can you say that it is impossible for a drug to affect a foetus so that it becomes schizophrenic? I can see many biologically plausible mechanism for that. Your answer is misleading because you are saying that the effect of the drug "can absolutely under no conditions be passed on to your child". Which is not necessarily true.
Oct
4
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
@terdon: I doubt there is a specific change for "piano playing ability", but I would not be that surprised whether there were changes to, say, genes involved in neurotransmission in cognitive areas of the brain. As for whether epigenetics changes are or not changes to DNA... well definitely methylation of DNA is a change to the DNA, that is really not debatable. I guess that strictly speaking histone modification are modifications of chromatin and not DNA, but that's nitpicking...
Oct
4
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
@terdon: see my comments to vonMises's answer. Epigenetic changes to the genome happen because of environmental changes, mutation is not the only way to change genetic information.
Oct
4
comment Does our DNA change during our lives?
Mutation is random, and that is the only way DNA can change.. This is not true. Mutation is not necessarily random, mutagens may be more or less selective. Also, again, mutation is not the only way DNA can change, there are plenty of epigenetic changes that can play a big role in shaping behaviours. Just as an example, you may want to have a look at this paper: ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22941276