You are here

Perfect Paragraph

Animal Behavior

Submitted by imadjidov on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 23:14

Behavioral experiments have shown that the principal and secondary eyes work together to precisely target moving stimuli. For example, Dr. Beth Jakob and colleagues investigated how the secondary anterior lateral eyes direct the principal eyes of Phidippus audaxwhen tracking moving objects. Phidippus audaxwere tethered in front of an eye-tracker that recorded the movement of the principal eye retinas. When spiders with their anterior lateral eyes unmasked were shown a moving disk, the principal eye retinas moved close together and were able to track it. Meanwhile, masked spiders were unable to track moving disks with their principal eye retinas. This indicated that principal eyes can precisely target moving stimuli only with the guidance of the secondary eyes (Jakob et al., 2018). Furthermore, Cupiennius salei, a wandering spider from the family Ctenidae, has also been shown to have closely cooperating principal and secondary eyes. Cupiennius saleihave moveable principal eyes that are controlled by four muscles (Kaps, 1996) (Land, 1969). Masking the Cupiennius saleisecondary eyes reduced their principal eye movement (Neuhofer et al., 2009). 

december 6th 2019

Submitted by mlabib on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 14:19

Recent developments in the science community have allowed recombinant technologies to be used to create new vaccines. In the past decade, there has been a significant increase in the number of medications produced to prevent infections and diseases. Before any product is released, it must be tested to ensure the quality, safety and efficiency of the product when used on humans. Few countries are trying to legalize the use of genetically modified organisms in their vaccines. The use of GMOs in vaccines is to enhance the immune response against the infectious agent or tumor cells. The GMO used in chosen on a case by case basis to ensure that appropriate evaluations can be determined after. GMO regulation is very complex and requires a lot of trials. The hope is that these GMO vaccines can be used to treat HIV, malaria, tuberculosis and other emerging diseases in the future. 

            Some successful vaccines have been released in Europe, including the Dengvaxia vaccine. Dengvaxia, is a GMO vaccine, used to prevent the dengue disease, a mosquito borne viral disease. This virus causes 20,000- 25,000 deaths each year, mainly children, and can infect a person more than once in their lifetime. In the past multiple vaccines were usually needed to prevent infections. The dengvaxia vaccine was developed by using a strand of the yellow fever vaccine as a vector, which was then genetically modified to express different genes. 


Perfect Paragraph 11

Submitted by dfmiller on Fri, 12/06/2019 - 13:47

In the developing tooth, enamel deposition varies among organisms. In omnivorous homo sapiens, enamel strength and quantity is much less than that of a sea otter, who prodominantly feeds on hard shellfish. It is important, then, to understand this pathway that results in this differential deposition of enamel in developing teeth. Stem cells in the developing teeth that express Sox2 travel to the inner enamel epithelium within the developing tooth1. There, they give rise to transit amplifying (TA) cells that rapidly divide, move to the distal tip of the developing tooth, and differentiate into ameloblasts1. Ameloblasts deposit enamel matrix proteins. As a result, Sox2 overexpression could lead to increased enamel deposition and a hardening of teeth.

(1) Li, J., Parada, C., & Chai, Y. (2017). Cellular and molecular mechanisms of tooth root development. Development, 144(3), 374–384. doi: 10.1242/dev.137216

elevator pitch

Submitted by ziweiwang on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 23:46

My name is Ziwei, and this is my poster on how the removal of the seed coat affects the seed germination rate. So, what is the seed coat? The seed coat is a protective covering that surrounds the seed and protects the seed from the environment that the adult plant may not be able to survive in. In addition to the protective role that the seed coat plays, the seed coat also plays a role in controlling germination and produces some compounds that are beneficial to the seed. This indicates that while it may seem like the seed coat is not doing anything, the seed coat is actually biologically active. One of the things that have been suggested recently is that the seed coat actually impedes seed growth.  The reason why the timing of germination is important is if the seed starts germinating, there is no going back. There is no way for a germinated seed to become ungerminated. However, there are situations where a faster germination rate would be an advantage. To see if the removal of the seed coat increased the germination rate, we removed the seed coat of the seed, and allowed it to germinate, and measured the rate. Our result indicates that the seed germination is somewhat faster in certain types of seeds, however, we were not able to get a definite answer of whether removing the seed coat caused the seed to germinate faster. Due to the small sample size. My personal theory is that because there are so many compounds that seed coat produces, there may be some compounds that are produced by the seed coat that is needed for germination. Because of this, my next experiment would be to remove half of the seed coat and see if that would make the seed germinate faster because if only half of the coat was removed, there would be a beneficial compound without the physical barrier of a seed coat. That's basically what this project is about. Do you have any questions?

Final PP

Submitted by mpetracchi on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 22:33

To understand just how devastating an increase in greenhouse gases could be for our planet we must first understand how greenhouse gases work. Energy reaches our planet in the form of solar radiation and is either reflected or absorbed and released as infrared radiation. Normally this radiation would leave the planet, however, gases in the atmosphere act as a one way mirror allowing solar radiation in but trapping IR radiation. Without any gas we could not survive, however, too much will cause problems. Our atmosphere is made of 78% N2, 21% O2, 1% Ar, 0.4% H2O and <0.1% of other gases with carbon dioxide at 0.041%. Carbon dioxide levels are 'low' compared to the rest of the gases in the air, so why do speakers use it as a key point of climate change conversation?  Airborne concentrations of this gas have been steadily increasing since data was first recorded in 1960. A longitudinal study by the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory has shown that from 1960 to today carbon dioxide levels have risen by 90 ppm (parts per million). This seemingly small increase could have devastating affects on our enviornment. Global temperatures have been rising from the increase in efficient green house gases such as carbon dioxide, and also notably, methane, and nitrous oxide. A 2018 study of temperature increases and it's affect on organsim ranges predict that at a 3.2 C change in average temperature could result in the geographic range loss greater than 50% for 49% of insects, 44% of plants, and 26% of vertabrates. These results are worrying. The future of our species and others lies in question. We must make a change now in order to avoid catastrophe.

AQ 12/5 Perfect Paragraph

Submitted by atquang on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 20:08

Over one week, the germination rate in a variety of seed species was tested between seeds with and without testa. Particular species of seeds provided evidence of fast germination while others did not. Visual analysis sees no significant difference between the germination rates of seeds with or without testa. The germination rate of seeds with testa is equal to the germination rate of seeds without a testa. Uncertainties in our experiment include meeting optimal germination environments, as well as the uneven distribution of water to the seeds.
Furthermore, a small sample size experiment increases the likelihood of falsely accepting the null hypothesis. Future questions that can be asked to follow up on our experiment include whether pH or external factors such as soil conditions, temperature, and fertilizers affect the germination rate. These questions would lead the experiment towards figuring out how optimal germination rates vary by seed species.


Submitted by damianszyk on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 16:32

A study done by researchers at the University of Michigan show that some oxidative stress at a young age can actually lead to a longer life. Oxidative stress occurs when cells produce more oxidants than they can deal with. Studying C. elegans, researchers were able to determine that worms that produced more oxidants during development lived longer than worms that did not produce as much oxidants during development. Of course, there are other factors that can aslo determine ones life expectancy. Genetics and enviornment are two factors that can affect lifespan. If your parents live a long life, the offspring will have a good chance of living a long life as well. Experiencing stress at a young age may make you better in fighting stress later on in life when you encounter it again. Since stress and age-related diseases are closely connected, scientists are looking into whether early exposure to stress in life have an affect on the predisposition for age-related diseases. Some of these diseases include Alzheimer's and dementia. In a next study, researchers want to look at what changes during development in worms that experience stress at a young age make them have a longer life expectancy. 

Last PP

Submitted by rmmcdonald on Thu, 12/05/2019 - 12:29

We wanted to figure out how important the seed coat is to the germination of a seed. For our experiment we focused on six types of seeds, ranging from green peas to chickpeas. We soaked 30 seeds of each type then removed the seed coat of 10 seeds, nicked another set of 10 seeds, and left the remaining 10 seeds alone. The seeds were then placed in petri dishes with a moist paper towel, all conditions being held constant. Over the course of four days we checked on the seeds every twelve hours. We noted the number of seeds that germinated and any other traits that stood out to us. Every type was photographed as well and uploaded into a shared folder. I was actually surprised about our results. I believed that seeds with a tampered seed coat would not germinate as well as a normal seed. However, the graphs reveal that for most types, seeds with a nicked coat germinated sooner and in greater numbers. From handling the seeds, I also believed that seeds with a thicker coat may actually germinate faster if they are nicked. Again, there was no distinct difference found between seeds of thick or thin coats. If we had more time to run this experiment again I would have liked to use seeds of varying coat thickness. From our results, I feel that I cannot confidently concluded anything significant from our data since it was such a small data set. We found some results that would suggest nicking the seed coat would allow for the seed to germinate more efficiently, but more evidence is required to make that statement statistically significant.


Spicy Food Tolerance

Submitted by asalamon on Wed, 12/04/2019 - 22:46

Within mammals, humans are one of the few species which cater to their taste preferences using spices.  One of the spices used in cooking contains the active ingredient capsaicin which causes a burning or spicy sensation when eating.   Of the mammals, humans and tree shrews are two of the few species who have been documented to consume plants containing capsicumoids as part of their diet (“Tree shrews can tolerate hot peppers,” 2018).  Chili peppers are one of the most common cooking plants containing capsaicin, a type of capsaicinoid (Tsuchiya, 2001).  Other mammals avoid the Capsicum plant species due to the spicy burning sensation caused by their consumption.  Within tree shrews, they have a mutation on the reception TRPV1 which decreased the effects of capsaicin on the receptor (Han, Li, Yin, Xu, Ombati, Luo, & Lai, 2018).  From this mutation, tree shrews were able to expand their diet due to their tolerance of capsicumoids in a similar pattern of convergent evolution. With humans, the burning sensation is variable depending on food preference of the individual but humans are the only species known to actively seek out the consumption of very spicy foods (Han et. al., 2018).  TRPV1 receptors are apparent throughout mammals in their avoidance of spicy foods but only humans and tree shrews have evolved to utilize capsaicinoids in their diet. Of other vertebrates species, birds are one of the only other species to have no response to eating Capsicum plants (Han et. al., 2018).  Birds are often used by plants to spread their seeds and it is likely that mammals do not do this job as well leading to the plant’s possible evolution to prevent their consumption by mammals.



Spider eye movement

Submitted by imadjidov on Sun, 12/01/2019 - 22:07

The principal and AL eyes may also work together to gather visual information. A recent study (Jakob et al., 2018) investigated how lateral eyes direct the principal eyes of jumping spiders when tracking objects. In order to test this,Phidippus audax spiders were tethered in front of an eyetracker that recorded the gaze direction of the principal eyes. Visual stimuli of different shapes and movement speeds were presented before and after masking the ALEs with removable paint. When unmasked spiders were shown a moving disk, the principal eye retinas moved close together and were able to track it. Meanwhile, spiders with their AL eyes masked were unable to track moving objects, with their principal eye retinas remaining further apart and reacting only briefly when the objects crossed their field of view. However, when the spiders were presented with a motionless object that appeared in the center of the principal eye’s field of view, they actively scanned it regardless of whether the secondary eyes were masked or unmasked. This indicates that masking the secondary eyes does not prevent the principal eyes from investigating stationary objects, but they are needed for targeting stimuli outside of the principal eye’s field of view (Jakob et al., 2018). The integration between principal and secondary eyes has also been studied in Cupiennius salei (Family Ctenidae). The principal eyes of ctenids are moveable, but they are controlled by four muscles instead of six as in jumping spiders (Kaps, 1996) (Land, 1969). Thus, they are not able to engage in complex movements such as torsion. When spiders had their principal eyes masked, they maintained the same eye muscle activity, but masking the secondary eyes reduced principal eye movement (Neuhofer et al., 2009). The researchers concluded that the secondary eyes of C. salei are involved in movement detection, while the principal eyes require input from the secondary eyes to move normally.


Subscribe to RSS - Perfect Paragraph