acvill
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Do spiders learn how to build webs?
22 votes

Spiders’ ability to weave webs is a classic example of an innate or instinctual behavior. They do not learn to make webs. The earliest English-language scientific publication that I can find to back ...

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Do spike-protein-based vaccines undermine the DNA repair system?
14 votes

While the linked paper presents interesting results, the conclusions must be interpreted in context of their in vitro methods and cannot be readily extrapolated to understand the in vivo effect of ...

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What is "irrational" drug/molecule design?
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12 votes

"Irrational" design in these papers refers to combinatorial mutagenesis, which is put forward as the alternative to "rational" protein design. Rational design involves using existing information ...

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Arrangement of Amino Acids in the Protein alphabet
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11 votes

As suggested by tyersome's comment, the amino acids are grouped by their physiochemical properties. Let's add some commas: DE,KRH,NQ,ST,PGAVIL,MC,FYW aspartic acid (D) and glutamic acid (E) are ...

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Example of a virus becoming symbiotic with an organism
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11 votes

In humans, endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) comprise a substantial fraction of the genome, as much as 8%.1 While many historical viral incorporation events into the primate genome were likely neutral ...

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Why are men more susceptible to severe COVID-19?
11 votes

Update -- In the time since this question was asked, two relevant articles have been published, one in Nature Reviews Immunology and one in medRxiv (note: medRxiv is a preprint server and is therefore ...

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What is the half-life of dNTPs at 95 °C?
10 votes

Instead of searching for the stability of dNTPs, consider the stability of their constituent parts. Caveat: ignoring the bonds between the different parts of dNTPs likely misrepresents the stability ...

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Does direction relative to origin of replication matter on small plasmids?
10 votes

I like this question, and I had a similar thought when reading that "Forward or Reverse Strand" post. I've since found a 2005 publication by Mirkin and Mirkin1, which investigates the ...

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Is sonic hedgehog a gene or a protein or both?
10 votes

Your confusion is warranted! The formatting rules for gene and protein nomenclature differ between model organisms. Even within a species, naming conventions may be inconsistently applied across the ...

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Why are O-antigens and H-antigens on (certain) bacteria called O and H?
9 votes

The "H" and "O" identifiers first appeared in German-language publications around 1920 to describe different forms of disease-causing bacilli. Thankfully, Arkwright and Goyle ...

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Limitations of 16S rRNA sequencing
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9 votes

There is simply no variation in the 16S rRNA gene between different species/strains that it would be useful to tell apart for a more accurate analysis. The amount of sequence variation depends on the ...

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How do beavers learn how to build dams?
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9 votes

Question summary: is dam building learned or instinctive in beavers? A blog post from 2011 references an article in the Juneau Empire titled Running water is sound of spring for beavers. This article ...

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Why aren't the antibodies in the mother's milk digested by the infant's digestive system?
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8 votes

Demers-Mathieu et al. 1 used ELISA to quantify immunoglobulin concentrations from milk after 2 hours of digestion in the stomachs of preterm-delivered and term-delivered infants. From the abstract: ...

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Are there land animals that use gill-like organs instead of lungs?
8 votes

Terrestrial crustaceans are land animals that use gills (or gill-like structures) for gas exchange, though these gills must be kept moist for efficient respiration. Specifically, animals like hermit ...

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Do all humans have an identical nucleotide sequence for certain proteins, e.g haemoglobin?
8 votes

At the whole-gene level, there is likely no absolute conservation of any human protein-coding gene at the population level, though there might be complete conservation between individuals. Keep in ...

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In lichen, do the fungi consume the oxygen produced by algae?
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7 votes

Exchange of gases between lichen symbionts has been demonstrated for Flavoparmelia caperata. Note that this is a foliose lichen species, though the findings may be generalizable to marine lichen. We ...

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How is incomplete dominance explained at the molecular level?
7 votes

Molecular mechanisms of incomplete dominance (also called partial- or semi-dominance) vary. As an example, let's look at snapdragons and morning glories, two flowering plants that both exhibit ...

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Will all bacteria become resistant against all antibiotics in the long term?
7 votes

and there is not much evolutionary pressure to loose it The energetic cost of replicating antibiotic resistance genes in the absence of antibiotic selection is not trivial, and varies depending on ...

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Statistics: How are protein species distributed over cell types?
7 votes

From my searches, there is no single resource that includes an atlas of all human proteins produced across all human cell types. However, there are several recent mass spectrometry studies that look ...

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Do organisms use detergents to fight off viruses?
7 votes

To answer your question, consider why soap is effective against bacteria and viruses. The chemistry of detergents allows them to interrupt the lipid layer that surrounds cells and some viruses. ...

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Is bacterial resistance caused by underdosing?
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6 votes

In a 2017 analysis in The BMJ, Martin Llewelyn and colleagues addressed the question of whether it is good to advise people prescribed antibiotics to "finish the course".1 I've copied their ...

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Why did Rivers replace Koch's postulates?
6 votes

If you read his 1937 article, Rivers himself makes a case for why Koch's postulates are too restrictive and that all the postulates need not be satisfied to confidently associate a pathogen with a ...

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What is the name of this bird from Tanzania?
6 votes

That looks like a knob-billed duck. Their range includes Sub-Saharan Africa, India, and Southeast Asia. Picture source

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Why does ionizing radiation cause only DNA double strand breaks?
6 votes

Ionizing radiation does cause single-strand breaks and other kinds of DNA lesions that are not double-strand breaks. However, double-strand breaks are the most difficult to repair and are thus the ...

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What keeps mitochondria from multiplying out of control?
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6 votes

I'm guessing at the motivation for your question -- In the evolutionary history of eukaryotic cells, mitochondria were once free-living bacteria. What prevents them from acting as intracellular ...

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Why isn't life expectancy normally distributed?
6 votes

The histogram you show isn't a distribution of age-at-death for individuals, it's a distribution of life expectancies for different countries. The post you link takes data from a table on the ...

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What are the reasons for using oligo-dT instead of oligo-U to isolate mRNAs?
5 votes

Note - This answer only covers the comparison of rA-dT (RNA:DNA) and rA-rU (RNA:RNA) duplexes, and not more exotic options involving deoxyuridine (dU) and ribothymidine (m5U). I can think of three ...

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DNA Design for Multi-Site Restriction Enzymes
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5 votes

In its active form, SacII (also called Cfr42I) is a homotetramer that must bind two copies of its recognition sequence in order to efficiently hydrolyze its substrate.1 Upon binding two sites on a ...

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Are there any eukaryotic algae that degrade EDTA?
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5 votes

I can find no published evidence for the degradation of EDTA by eukaryotic algae. I found only one publication where algal metabolism of an aminopolycarboxylic acid was tested, specifically whether ...

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"Antibiotic resistance" equivalent in archaea for selection during cloning
5 votes

Obviously, one can't use antibiotic resistance since they are not bacteria. This is not so obvious. Some common antibiotics are active against archaea.1 The Halohandbook, an indispensable document ...

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