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Saving Dogs

Submitted by amprovost on Fri, 03/24/2017 - 15:03

If only one breed of dog could be saved, it would make the most sense to save German Shepherds. These dogs have such a wide range of capablilites, such as being service dogs or being police dogs, making them a useful animal for almost any kind of human. These dogs also have a decent lifespan of 9-13 years, meaning they would be likely to live long enough to reproduce and repopulate the population. These dogs also are known to be one of the most intelligent breeds, and also have a great muscular build, meaning they would be able to pass good genetics on when repopulating the dog population. If the evolution of dogs had to restart at one point, it would make sense for it to start with german shepherds, as these dogs already have some of the most superior genes seen in dogs today.

King Snake Perfect Paragraph

Submitted by amprovost on Fri, 03/24/2017 - 10:29

     A recent study compared the constricting power of both king snakes and rat snakes, two different kinds of snake who kill their pray by way of constriction. It was shown that king snakes produce twice the constricting power of rat snakes per square inch, despite having very similar levels of muscle mass. This test was conducted by putting pressure sensors in the body of a dead mouse and shaking it in front of these snakes, causing them to constrict said mouse like it was living prey. This revelation seems to indicate that a snake's power comes not from its muscle system but rather from how it orients its body. This discovery has laid the groundwork for futher studies into the topic, perhaps allowing researchers to discover more about how constrictors work.

 

Lizard with Detachable Scales Discovered

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 21:25

     A recent expedition into Madagascar has led to the discovery of a new species of gecko, geckolepis megalepis, which has a very unique trait; it has the ability to detach from its scales when attacked by a predator. All species of gecko in the geckolepis family are able to detach from their scales, however, the g megalepis has the largest scales of any gecko in this family by far. Some geckos captured by the researchers had scales measuring as long as 6 millimeters. It is believed that the large size of these scales may be benefical to lizards escaping predators as they are large enough to get stuck to teeth, actively giving the predator a mouthful of something without actually damaging the lizard. This proccess is believed to only be used in emergency situations, as it takes weeks for scales to grow back.

Growing Toxin Free Corn

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:31

A breakthrough in genetic engineering may now allow farmers to grow corn without the fear of a product tainted by fungus. This genetic engineering has resulted in a corn product that produces an RNA molecule that lies inactive until fungal spores are sensed. Once these spores are present, the RNA molecule begins a translational proccess that ultimately results in an inhibition of the fungus to produce a key protein, resulting in death of the fungus. This breakthrough in genetic engineering may allow for farmers to produce corn more efficently without fear of losing product or making consumers sick with a fungally contaminated product.

King Snake Physiology

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 12:09

     A recent study compared the constricting power of both king snakes and rat snakes, two different kinds of snake who kill their pray by way of constriction. It was shown that king snakes produce roughly twice the power of rat snakes, despite having very similar levels of muscle mass. This test was conducted by putting pressure sensors in the body of a dead mouse and shaking it in front of these snakes. This revelation seems to indicate that a snake's power comes not from its muscle system but rather from how it orients its body. This discovery has laid the groundwork for futher studies into the topic, perhaps allowing researchers to discover more about how constrictors work.

Grass Genetics Provide Insights Into Grasses' Hardiness

Submitted by amprovost on Tue, 03/21/2017 - 09:59

A recent study of the genome of Brachypodium distachyon has provided a potential insight into how grasses are able to survive harsh changes in condition so well. Specifically, this study had to do with the genetic regulation of the plants stomata, an organelle that helps to control the exchange of both water and gasses with the environment. The experiment mutated a gene called MUTE and thus inhibited the production of the MUTE protein. The lack of the mute protein made the function of the stomata much less efficent, and thus the grasses were more likely to die in harsh conditions. This discovery could revolutionize modern farming; if scientists are able to somehow genetically modify crops to start producing this protein, prehaps scientists can make commerical crops more hardy and thus increase the production of food worldwide.

Hunting

Submitted by amprovost on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 17:10

     Research conducted in an Alaska national park has revealed that grizzly bears actually do much more hunting of land animals than previously thought. For quite some time, there was a popular misconception that with the exception of salmon hunting, most bears subsided mainly on vegetation. However, in a study conducted by park rangers and by the department of the interior, it was revealed that grizzly bears are also active land hunters, going out of their way to track down and kill prey. This study was conducted by tranquilzing adult bears and attaching multiple remote camereas to them. The footage obtained revealed everything about the bears' lives, including their grusome hunting habits.

Hunting

Submitted by amprovost on Mon, 03/20/2017 - 17:10

     Research conducted in an Alaska national park has revealed that grizzly bears actually do much more hunting of land animals than previously thought. For quite some time, there was a popular misconception that with the exception of salmon hunting, most bears subsided mainly on vegetation. However, in a study conducted by park rangers and by the department of the interior, it was revealed that grizzly bears are also active land hunters, going out of their way to track down and kill prey. This study was conducted by tranquilzing adult bears and attaching multiple remote camereas to them. The footage obtained revealed everything about the bears' lives, including their grusome hunting habits.

Microbial Growth

Submitted by amprovost on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 11:37

In my lab this week we experimented with microbial growth under different conditions. 

The expected result for the serial dilution streak plating experiment was for some of the intermediate dilutions to grow successfully with between 30-300 colonies, while the lightly diluted plates would be too numerous to count and the heavily diluted plates would be too few to count. The expected result of the temperature related growth experiment was for Escherichia coli to grow fastest at 37 °C, followed by 45 °C, then 27 °C, and finally followed by 55 °C. These results were expected due to the fact that 37 °C is the internal temperature of human beings, the natural habitat of E. coli. 45 °C was expected to be next, as this is relatively close to 37 °C. 27 °C was predicted to be third as it was predicted to be possible for growth to occur, although conditions were not ideal. 55 °C was expected to be last is it was predicted that such high temperatures would result in cell death.

            The temperature related growth was performed using a spectrophotometer set to wavelength 660 nm. This tool was used to measure the optical density of a culture. A culture of E. coli was kept in a water bath at each of the four temperatures mentioned, and every 15 minutes these cultures were measured in the spectrophotometer to see how the optical density had changed.

            The serial dilution was performed using 9 plates of TSA, each inoculated with a serially diluted bacteria sample. The bacteria were diluted to a power of 10 each time before it was streaked on a new plate.

            All four cultures of E. coli displayed the predicted growth patterns. The tubes/cultures at 37 and 45°C all showed a constant increase in optical density over all 6 time points, with 37 having the larger increase. 27 briefly went down between time points at 0 minutes and 15 minutes, but afterwards steadily increased. 37 had the largest increase in density, and 27 had the smallest. The culture at 55 °C had an immediate decline in density, and plateaued after this initial decrease.

Bacterial Motility

Submitted by amprovost on Fri, 03/10/2017 - 10:36

In my microbiology lab we recently experimented with bacterial motility. 

The expected result of the motility experiment was that the motile organism Proteus mirabilis would have a significant color change as the organism came into contact with tetrazolium salt, and tube containing the non-motile organism Staphylococcus aureus would show very little color change, as the organism would not move and thus not make contact with most of the salt. In the chemotaxis experiment, it was expected that S. aureus inoculated onto the water agar side would not survive, but Serratia marcscens would be able to cross the filter paper bridge from the water agar side and survive on the glycerol-yeast-extract. (GYE), as GYE is nutrient-rich.

            For the experiment with the motility agar, two test tubes were filled with motility agar containing tetrazolium salt and each inoculated with a different bacterial species, one motile (P. mirabilis) and one non-motile (S. aureus). Tetrazolium salt is reduced by bacteria, which results in a change of color from clear to purple. Therefore, a motile bacterium would cause the tube to change more drastically as it would come into contact with more oxidized salt than a non-motile bacteria.

            In the chemotaxis experiment, two bilaterally segmented petri dishes were used, one containing GYE on both sides (the control), and one containing GYE on one side and water agar on the other side (the experimental group). Both of these dishes had 2 bridges made of filter paper crossing the separation, each having one paper inoculated with a motile bacteria and one inoculated with a non-motile bacteria. It was expected that the motile bacteria would be able to move along the paper, and make it to the GYE when inoculated on the water agar side of the bridge. In contrast, it was expected that the non-motile bacteria would not be able to cross the bridge, and would die if inoculated on the water agar.

            In the motility agar, the tube inoculated with Proteus mirabilis showed a significant change in the color of the agar, with much of it becoming purple. The tube inoculated with S. aureus showed almost no color change, with only a slight change to purple around the puncture site of the wooden stick.

            In the chemotaxis experiment, S. aureus was observed to grow successfully when inoculated onto GYE, but showed no movement. P. mirabilis also displayed growth on GYE, and motility in the control plate (the bacteria grew on both sides of the bridge on the GYE). However, in the experimental group, the P. Mirabilis that was inoculated onto water agar did not show chemotaxis, and instead of reaching the GYE it did not grow.

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