terdon
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What is the difference between orthologs, paralogs and homologs?
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46 votes

First, a note on spelling. Both "ortholog" and "orthologue" are correct, one is the American and the other the British spelling. The same is true for homolog and paralog. On to the biology. Homology ...

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Do humans have enough biological differences to be grouped into races or subspecies?
37 votes

Well, that's just it, we don't actually have much phenotypic variation. For example, compare this: to this: or this: Or this: to this: This is phenotypic variation: So, as I hope is clear from ...

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How does the modern theory of evolution solve these apparent problems?
29 votes

OK, I'll have a go although you really shouldn't combine so many questions into one. 1 The mutation protection "paradox" As already mentioned while many mutations are caught and corrected, ...

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How is evolution possible in contemporary humans?
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29 votes

It is certainly not true that "all male humans have roughly 2.5 (or whatever the number) kids". First of all, male and female humans have exactly the same reproductive rate. For obvious reasons, every ...

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Why, specifically, does each generation, on average, improve upon the design of the species rather than degrade it?
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29 votes

You have clearly given this a lot of thought. Unfortunately, as @adam.r said, you are laboring under certain misapprehensions. The quick answer is that each generation does not "improve" on the last. ...

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Do apes and humans share 99% of DNA or 99% of genes? What is the difference?
17 votes

Since it was my edit of your question that started all this, I may as well weigh in. I will give a simplified version of genes and gene transcription, there are various details that make the process ...

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DNA as an acid?
16 votes

First of all, DNA is not made up of "nucleotide bases" but of nucleotides. These consist of a sugar bound to one of the 4 nucleobases Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine or Thymine (Uracil in the case of RNA) ...

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How does the creative process of Biological Evolution work?
15 votes

Your basic problem is indeed a fundamental misunderstanding of how DNA and by extension its evolution works. First of all, there is no such thing as "correct" or "error", there are only changes, some ...

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How does sodium in one's diet affect blood pressure?
15 votes

The basic reason is osmosis, the tendency of solutes to move from an area of high concentration to one of low concentration across a permeable barrier. So, ingesting large amounts of salt results in a ...

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Laying eggs vs giving birth: is there a connection with internal vs. external ears?
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14 votes

Just to expand on @rg255's very good answer, you could make the same sort of claim using just about any characteristic that is more commonly found in mammals. Giving birth to live young is a ...

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Can you consider a human as alive, or is it the cells on the body that are alive?
14 votes

The definition of life is the main issue here. That is one of the great philosophical questions in Biology (and not only Biology) and is way beyond the simple Q&A format of this site. However, ...

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Can white eggs be considered as non-vegetarian?
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14 votes

Of course eggs are not vegetarian. Eggs are, well, the eggs of chickens (usually). Chickens are animals so their eggs are animal matter as well. Whether or not the egg has been fertilized is ...

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Finding proteins in DNA sequence
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13 votes

IMPORTANT EDIT : In your particular case, if you are working with bacterial genes, splicing is not an issue since bacteria do not have introns. I am leaving the information here since it may be useful ...

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Why reference genome is a reference?
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13 votes

The main reason is because the genetic differences between individuals of the same species are tiny. For the vast majority of studies, they can simply be ignored. Differences between individuals are ...

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Difference between CDS and cDNA
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13 votes

The difference boils down to UnTranslated Regions. A CDS or coding sequence is the part of a transcript that is actually translated into protein. Therefore a CDS will (almost) always start with an AUG ...

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Why can all animals swim in water without learning to swim but humans cannot?
13 votes

While I am not sure I buy your assertion that all mammals know how to swim, I would say that humans are at least as good as dogs when swimming. If you drop a human in water we will instinctively flap ...

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Does drinking coffee have negative effects?
13 votes

First of all, the fact that a substance is beneficial does not mean that our body will, perforce, produce it naturally. Think of oxygen and water for example1. As for the negative effects of coffee ...

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Turning publicly available genome data into proteins
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12 votes

No, your approach will not work, you are taking a very simplistic view of an extremely complex system. Some of the problems you are ignoring are: Genes (eukaryotic genes anyway) are spliced to ...

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Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?
12 votes

You should also bear in mind that the fact that they are great climbers does not make them fearless. For example, if I were to find myself floating 500 meters above the ground, I would be terrified. ...

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Is the CDC's reported drop today in COVID-19 cases by date of diagnosis meaningful?
11 votes

The information you show is meaningless unless it is also accompanied by the number of tests performed. If the CDC tested 2 people and got two positive results, that doesn't tell us anything at all ...

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How should I put a large phylogeny into a scientific paper?
11 votes

The simplest way of course is to add it to the supplementary materials. However, 220 species are not that many, you should be able to fit that into a page. You have not shown us your tree so it is ...

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Why is Paracetamol so great?
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11 votes

Paracetamol is a pain killer, it does not treat the cause of your illness, it only alleviates the symptoms. From its wikipedia page: Paracetamol [...], chemically named N-acetyl-p-aminophenol, is a ...

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Why does milk contained in cartons of milk expand?
10 votes

The likeliest culprit here is fermentation carried out by bacteria present in the milk. Fermentation of a sugar, for example glucose, releases carbon dioxide (a gas) : $$C_{6}H_{12}O_{6} \rightarrow ...

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Biological meaning of read length
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9 votes

The read length has absolutely nothing to do with what you are sequencing. It is a characteristic of the sequencing technology you use. NGS sequencing techniques typically produce this sort of short ...

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What is the difference between electrons and energy?
9 votes

You're basically confusing the fuel source with the energy it produces. For example, a car burns gasoline. That doesn't mean that gasoline is energy, only that gasoline can be used to produce energy. ...

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Why are there ecosystems?
9 votes

Basically, they don't. Ecosystems are pretty much either de facto, delimited by geographical boundaries, or defined by us. For example, an underground lake would be an ecosystem and it is organized in ...

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What is this plant which closes its leaves when touched?
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9 votes

It is a Mimosa pudica, a wonderful plant. According to wikipedia you can find it in the following places: Mimosa pudica is native to South America and Central America. It has been introduced to ...

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Why can't we propose a solid theory regarding origin of life?
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9 votes

First of all, we do have some solid theories to explain the origin of life. That said, the main thing missing in order to be able to accept one of these theories with a decent amount of certainty is ...

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Scoring matrices (BLOSUM & PAM) in BLAST and other sequence-comparison programs
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8 votes

The two most common families of scoring matrices are BLOSUM and PAM. Each of them has a score for every possible alignment combination between the 20 standard amino acids1. They both do more or less ...

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What is meant in biology by the term "evolved"?
8 votes

There is no such thing as more or less evolved. At least not outside popular media. The only reasonable comparison one can make is comparing generation numbers. You could say that a species that has ...

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