59 votes
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Are the social-distancing measures implemented against SARS-CoV-2 also suppressing the spread of other viruses?

Yes, this helps as well with other infectious diseases. A good example is the flu, which season was measurably shorter this year than in other years on record. See the figure from the reference 1 for ...
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40 votes

Are the social-distancing measures implemented against SARS-CoV-2 also suppressing the spread of other viruses?

In addition to Chris' answer above, the effect is even more pronounced in Southern Hemisphere countries where flu season started during the pandemic. The New Zealand lockdown and health response ...
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37 votes

Why don't viruses reach broad concentration outdoors in a city like allergens?

2, 4, 5, and 6. 6 being that the UV light (from the sun), fluctuations in temperature, humidity, wind etc mean that the virions are decayed relatively rapidly for most virus species. To address (1): ...
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25 votes
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Is there a bacterium that became a virus?

This virology site has a post about a 2017 paper about membrane-vesicled plasmids that act in ways that are theorized to be precursors to how viruses work: It is likely that the plasmid-containing ...
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22 votes

Why don't viruses reach broad concentration outdoors in a city like allergens?

In another answer elsewhere on StackExchange, a poster estimated that there might be something like 100 g to 1 kg of SARS-CoV-2 virus worldwide, and that's an estimate of all the virus, including what ...
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14 votes

What has caused life to choose this unfathomably tiny subset of all possible proteins?

The answer is chance or, even better, contingency. About your calculations, it is true that the theoretical sequences are almost unlimited, but the basic scaffolds are not. Very different sequences ...
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Is there a bacterium that became a virus?

There are giant viruses that some people think could be degenerate bacteria. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mimivirus Mimivirus shows many characteristics which place it at the boundary between ...
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11 votes
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Do biological phenomena follow Gaussian statistics?

kmm's answer is correct; I just want to add some of my points on what kind of data should follow Gaussian distribution. Unless you know from observation that a process doesn't follow a Gaussian ...
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9 votes

Do biological phenomena follow Gaussian statistics?

You raise two issues, both of which might be better suited for stats.SE, but I think the questions are suitably biological to warrant an answer here. Do most biological processes follow a Gaussian ...
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8 votes
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What physics knowledge can be applied to biology of organisms and ecosystems?

This question is really asking for examples, and the list of ways that knowledge of physics can be used in biology could be very long. However, here are a couple of examples: Systems ecology, ...
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8 votes

Empirical evidence for Group Selection?

Let's start with your definition. "Selection for traits that would be beneficial to a population of units at the expense of an individual unit possessing the trait" This is not a good definition of ...
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8 votes
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Population dynamics ODE with Allee Effects

First, Allee effects (also positive density dependence) can be modelled in several different ways, and the equation you give is one example. The terms weak and strong Allee effects are in my ...
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8 votes

Can we use differential equations for population that is discrete?

You can make the continuous approximation when the population size is large. As mentioned by arboviral, there are algorithms that allow you to perform stochastic simulations with discrete variables. ...
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7 votes
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Is Insulin-Glucose dynamic Lotka-Volterra?

Is the standard Lotka-Volterra (LV) model an exact fit for insulin-glucose (IG) dynamics? No. Can a similar model built on the same principles capture most of the essential features of the IG dynamics?...
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7 votes
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Can/Have cancer cells be/been used in stem cell culture lines?

Cancer cells can be and are used in cell culture. HeLa cells were the first human cell line to be grown in culture and they were derived from a cervical tumor. That being said, Cancer cell lines ...
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7 votes

Exponential growth equation and bacteria

Considering your assumption: I'm just looking at the exponential part, where the simple exponential equation works. If we assume there's sufficient nutrients for bacteria to grow unchecked for ...
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7 votes
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Isn't sexy son hypothesis circular?

The process is self-reinforcing but the argument is not circular (no tautology implied). As soon as some male traits are considered more sexy than others, then there is selection for females to like ...
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7 votes
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Understanding expected mean number of breeding seasons

It's just a continuous version of the discrete calculation. The discrete version is the (infinite series) sum $$ \sum_{i = 0}^\infty S^i \cdot bp $$ adding up every (chance of survival to season $i$) ...
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Understanding expected mean number of breeding seasons

I think your explanation is correct. The expected value of the exponential distribution is: $$t \sim \text{e}^{-\lambda t} \implies \langle t \rangle = \int_0^\infty t \ \text{e}^{-\lambda t} \; \text{...
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Intuitive explanation for Kin- and Group- selection

First of all, there is a very heated debate about this in the field of social evolution at present, and you aren't likely to get a conclusive answer. One theorist may give you one answer, but another ...
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How does Natural Selection shape Genetic Variation?

First of all, here is a program which simulates the evolution of the G-matrix over multiple generations, it's a few years old (they seem to have stopped developing it) and I've only played with it ...
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Can/Have cancer cells be/been used in stem cell culture lines?

Adding onto AMR's answer, cancer cell lines are used extensively for research. They are typically fast to grow. HeLa Long grow to capacity of a 10cm dish within about 48hours, depending how you split ...
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6 votes
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The title et al

The Latin phrase et alia (abbreviated et al.) means and others. It is not limited to biologists, nor those of different nationalities. If I refer to this computer graphics article, I can refer to it ...
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6 votes
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Why is the null hypothesis of trait evolution Brownian motion?

I think that the simple answer to this question is that the present comparative methodology was largely established by Felsenstein 1985, American Naturalist. For mathematical convenience, he suggested ...
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6 votes

What does it mean to quantitatively describe a cell?

Quantitative in the context of biology is similar to chemistry, and means "how much of something there is" - for example, how much of a particular protein is produced under what conditions. ...
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5 votes
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Fisher's Geometric Model for Dummies

Fishers Geometric Model (FGM) is a theoretical prediction about the adaptation process in traits. There are a number of things to establish before attempting comprehend FGM. Firstly, shifts in an ...
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5 votes

How does Natural Selection shape Genetic Variation?

I am presenting a speculative approach since nobody has mentioned about any existent models yet. Assuming that selection is based on performance in certain tasks; performance is a function of traits ...
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5 votes

Michaelis-Menten equation type - how it is derived?

These kind of equations (the Michaelis-Menten [MM] like term) denote saturation kinetics. The basic mechanistic assumption behind saturation kinetics is this: A rate (of lets say product formation) ...
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5 votes
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Why does the number of mutations per individuals follow a Poisson distribution?

A Poisson process follows these postulates: $\lim\limits_{h\to0+}\frac{P(N_h=1)}h=\lambda$ i.e. the probability of occurrence one event in a very small interval of time is equal to the macroscopic ...
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5 votes
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Are there any theories using thermodynamics/statistical mechanics or information theory principles to modelling in ecology?

John Harte's work on applying the mathematical theory of maximum entropy to ecology is certainly one of the better known examples of the application of this area of mathematics to science, in part ...
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