17

Perhaps the question may also be phrased, "Why is it common for plants to produce chemicals that possess pharmacological or toxicological effects in man and animals?", and to that question it is often reasoned that plants, being sessile and otherwise defenceless food sources for predators, produce compounds that affect the physiology of animals in such a way ...


15

Basically just search "thing you want" and "phylogeny" and you'll find a million results on Google. For you, I might recommend the Botanist in the Kitchen blog, which has a whole page on the subject and has assembled this phylogeny, including many, many others. It's pretty impressive!


14

1 billion hives (at 10,000-50,000 bees/hive this is 10-50 trillion bees) Managed: 100 million hives Based on country-level data from FAO, supplemented for a few countries with Apiservices, in 2011 there were about 80 million managed hives. Because FAO lacks any data for some countries, and other countries under-report (for instance US figures don't ...


11

I wouldn't be suprised if no one has hard data on this. In any case there is more than one answer to this question. Niches are defined more than one way. In the narrowest definition, the niche might be defined as the ability of the different trees to grow in different terrains or be eaten by different animals in the same environment. I can't comment on ...


10

I agree with @inf3rno: caffeine is a stimulant that acts on the brain and various other parts of the body (Snyder et al., 1981) and I wish to elaborate on its psychopharmacology. Caffeine's effects in the brain are mediated through adenosine A1 and A2 receptors (Daly et al., 1983). This results in a variety of actions (Fredholm et al., 1999). Most notably, ...


9

I just wanted to add that although we are pretty confident that domestication of wolves created domestic dogs in pretty short order. In addition to the fact that they can still interbreed and the taxonomical resemblence of dogs to wolves and finally the genome sequence, probably the most awesome evidence is the domestication of the silver fox. Russian ...


9

According to Serpell, 1995 (http://books.google.co.uk/books?id=I8HU_3ycrrEC, page 8), wolf bones in association with human bones have been found from as early as the middle pleistocene (126,000–781,000 years ago). I think we're talking about more than a few centuries here :) It's still relatively little in comparison to naturally selected evolution, but that'...


8

Both natural selection and artificial selection require genetic variation in the underlying population to work. The exact source of this genetic variation is not particularly important theoretically. In reality this genetic variation originally comes from mutations of various sorts (not just point mutations, but also duplications, recombinations, etc.). ...


8

The ancestral apple is thought to originate in what is now Kazakhstan. See this report from the USDA on this topic. Those early apples were small and likely eaten more often by non-human species. Pears: From Wikipedia: The genus is thought to have originated in present-day western China in the foothills of the Tian Shan, a mountain range of Central Asia, ...


8

Firstly, most plants or other natural medicinals existed way before we knew about them; it's not that plants mimic drugs, its that drugs mimic plants. To answer your question succinctly, compounds that we can use for our own medical benefit often do other things, we just adapt them for our own purposes. Penicillin is probably the best example. It didn't ...


7

In fact, being lactose tolerant is the mutation. Adult mammals are normally not lactose tolerant, only the still milk drinking babies have the lactose gene activated. Humans developed this mutation earliest in the Neolithic. Lactase persistence (LP), the dominant Mendelian trait conferring the ability to digest the milk sugar lactose in adults, has risen ...


6

I can only answer for plants. The short answer is no, there is no central source of information of that kind. You are basically asking about the sub-classifications economic botany and ethnobotany, which cover the economy and human uses of plants respectively. Neither field is particularly fast-paced, so you could simply keep up to date with the latest ...


6

You seem to have a few different concepts in there... But mutations are always completely random and human beings have no control over it. Aside from the fact that mutations are not completely random (not always, at least), it is not true that humans have no control over them. Imagine you grow plants, and you start to cross those plants that have a ...


6

Caffeine is a stimulant, which helps you release the energy your body stored. Caffeine is a central nervous system and metabolic stimulant,[12] and is used both recreationally and medically to reduce physical fatigue and to restore alertness when drowsiness occurs. It produces increased wakefulness, faster and clearer flow of thought, increased ...


5

Vegetarian capsules are made of hydroxypropylmethylcellulose (also called hypromellose). The cellulose from which this material is prepared is usually from tree fiber, commonly from pine or poplar species (as noted here).


5

Wintercreeper, Euonymus fortunei Given that you're just over in Illinois, here's the page from our Plant Finder database. In regards to your second question, this factsheet from UMich mentions (and gives citations) for its use as a medicine. Given that, I'd avoid eating it if I were you, but there's not mention of it being especially toxic.


4

The lactose intolerance Wikipedia page explains the problem fairly well, so I'll refer you to that for a more detailed explanation. Briefly, the most common cause of lactose intolerance is primary lactase deficiency, which affects the majority of the world's population. This only affects adults: the majority of people do not produce lactase as adults. ...


4

If you ask Dr. Duke's phytochemical database, by far the most solanine is found in green potatoe fruits (their skin), with much less in leaves and tissues. Similar values are seen in green tomatoes, with dozens of mg per 100g fruit. There is no value for Solanum dulcamara (doesn't mean there is nothing in it) but it appears to have small quantities of ...


4

Check the book "Genetic Nature/Culture: Anthropology and Science Beyond the Two-Culture Divide" edited by Alan H. Goodman, Deborah Heath, M. Susan Lindee. Page 205 states that that is a myth started by geneticist F Lenz of Gottingen that has been disproven.


3

If the labelling is correct, this should be Camellia sinensis, the plant that produces black tea, green tea, etc. (although not many things that are commonly referred to or marketed as herbal teas). Thea is the original genus name given by Linnaeus to the species we now call Camellia sinensis. There's an old pharmacy tradition of specialized latin ...


3

Judging by this image in wikipedia, I would say Theae folium is another name (probably a name in another language) for Camellia sinensis


3

Oranges and other fruits are generally not actively made seedless. Rather, seeds may fail to develop due to either lack of fertilization (pollination) or a natural tendency. The natural production of unfertilized and thus seedless fruit is called Parthenocarpy. To quote the Scientific American article (3) mentioned by Oreotrephes: Fruit development ...


3

There are no roses (that is, flowers of genus Rosa species) that naturally express a "true" blue color. Through cross-breeding, there are lilac-mauve rose horticultural varieties ("Blue Nile","Blue Moon","Lady X", etc.), and through genetic engineering (actually inserting delphinidin-producing genes) there are mauve-lavender varieties ("Applause"). The ...


3

Many dog breeds went through genetic bottlenecks about 200 years ago. Many of today's breeds either did not exist a couple to few hundred years ago or looked rather different than the breed looks today. It doesn't take long to change the characteristics when selective breeding occurs. One may need to consider the co-evolution of Homo sapiens and Canis ...


2

Accumulated mutations over generations will make up the genetic variation present in a population for a species. For example, wolves naturally had a certain amount of genetic variation, or diversity, before humans started domesticating wolves. They still do, but to a lesser extend now since their populations have decreased. Artificial selection is different ...


2

The ability of an animal to be trained or domesticated appears to be genetic. A quick Google search revealed this Review: http://rspb.royalsocietypublishing.org/content/278/1722/3161.full.pdf


1

Caffeine is the stimulant in tea. It has different effects on different people, but if you can sleep right after drinking it, it probably isn't strong enough to have long term 'refreshing effects', And yes, the duration of your sleep does matter. If you sleep for 12 hours, much more caffeine will filter out of your blood stream than after a 1 hour nap. ...


1

I will try to provide a general answer, starting point and overview to this question, even though it is rather wide ranging and vague. The biological process If we start with your description of the process; you are correct that such a dramatic change in the environment as slash-and-burn agriculture will drastically change the living environments on the ...


1

Goldman surmises that Schoon's Hard Shell is a variant of the Bender, so would have been bred from the Surprise, Irondequoit, and Tip Top, all of which were from the Sill's Hybrid. In that sense, I suppose it's a hybrid. I'm guessing that you're asking because you want to know if you can save the seed; that is, if Schoon's Hard Shell will breed true or ...


1

If by 'fishery' you mean "amount of fish caught", the answer is a qualified no. Sweden's catch has been stable or perhaps slightly increasing since a low in 2005, but the catch is still much lower than a decade ago (Statistics Sweden). This is presumably due in large part to the quotas set on Total Allowable Catch for various sea regions. If by 'fishery' ...


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