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Marine Mammal Summary

Submitted by afeltrin on Wed, 04/24/2019 - 17:05

This article focuses on the occurrence of decompression sickness in diving, air-breathing marine vertebrates and hypothesis for how this can be limited. Most deep diving vertebrates contain more available space for oxygen, and smaller-sized lungs. The popularly studied prediction scientists made was that the collapse of the alveolar led to a reduction in nitrogen intake. As seen in Figure 1, rapid decompression leads to an increase in nitrogen tension pressure and ultimately causes decompression sickness. The researchers reference a study involving loggerhead sea turtles and the onset of gas embolisms. These turtles have the ability to manage gases by utilizing the pulmonary artery. From this study, they propose a new hypothesis to limit nitrogen saturation; adaptations in vertebrates can lead to a pulmonary functional shunt that can control alveolar collapse and cardiac output.

Developmental Psychology of Transgender Children

Submitted by afeltrin on Wed, 04/24/2019 - 08:19

A compelling argument against leaving it completely up to children to determine their gender identity is the potential presence of psychological issues. The doctor goes on to tell the extreme story of a young girl who witnessed her mother being murdered. Right after, the girl was then convinced she wanted to be a boy. In this case, the child seemingly would benefit most from therapy as opposed to going through gender reassignment. The video of Alex, who said for 5-6 years that she wanted to be a boy, aids in this argument against letting children decide. After that block of years, she found other girls like her that enjoyed the stereotypical 'boy’s' sports and that awakened her into self-acceptance. If her parents had let her decide that, then what would her life be like now? Would she be happy or be filled with regret?

Structural Inequality in Haiti

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 21:04

Structural inequality is particularly sustained in rural Haiti, as displayed in “Culture, Poverty, and HIV Transmission: The Case of Rural Haiti.” In rural Haiti, there is a greater likelihood that the people living there are under tiring poverty. Unable to really escape in their rural village, people will travel to the larger city and attempt to find work. There is then clear gender inequality, especially concerning sexual unions. Women have weakened abilities to negotiate safe sex, thereby leaving them exposed to potential diseases. Once they’ve contracted HIV or any other STDs, there is a glaring lack of public health systems offering access to treatment. Without the necessary treatment and prevention and the structural inequality faced, many people end up dying due to typically treatable ailments.

Disease versus Culturally Bound Syndrome

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/23/2019 - 16:58
When comparing a disease versus a culturally bound syndrome, it’s imperative to note that a disease has an actual biological/genetic basis. A culturally bound syndrome results from widespread cultural values and institutional factors. Try comparing cancer to the falling out. Cancer is a disease that results from unregulated, rapid cell proliferation in the body and a failure in the function of tumor suppressor genes. It is a genetic disease that has a biological basis. Falling out is a culturally bound syndrome that particularly affects those living in the Caribbean and the southern United States. It is experiencing seizure-like symptoms, like a sudden collapse, dizziness, and being able to hear and understand what’s going on around them. Falling out is a psychological response to certain stressors and it can be a response to anxiety. It’s not a disease because it’s basically manifested psychosomatic effects due to their culture. Culturally bound syndromes seem to occur more in other countries, I think, due to religious beliefs held and superstitions that our society doesn’t really believe in.

Macroevolutionary Changes Among Crinoids PP

Submitted by afeltrin on Thu, 04/18/2019 - 07:29

This article aims to search for macroevolutionary consequences from the predation of crinoids. It is hypothesized that sea urchins preyed on crinoids, leading to evolutionary change. The scientists observed Mesozoic skeletons of crinoids in search of bite marks from echinoids, mainly sea urchins. These bite marks would show up as trace fossils remaining on the skeletons long after death. Their results showed that as the Mesozoic period gradually progressed, the occurrence of bite marks on crinoids increased. Additionally, there were more bites present on sessile crinoids than motile crinoids. Their data showcased a strong positive correlation between increasing sea urchin diversity and the frequency of bite marks. Scientists hypothesize a potential arms race between predation pressure and defenses displayed in prey. As predation increases, prey are left to develop stronger defenses for survival. So, it is plausible that crinoids increased defenses involving their motile abilities. 

Bioinformatics Lab

Submitted by afeltrin on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 14:30

This past week in lab, we performed computer tasks to determine the bioinformatics of the fish samples we previously isolated DNA and performed PCR on. We began by assessing the quality of the DNA samples—our tuna was of excellent quality and our haddock was of poor quality. We assessed the mean quality scores and standard deviation for both directional sequences. From viewing each trace file, we searched the BOLD database for a match in the forward and reverse sequences. A match was found with our tuna sample, displaying 100% similarity to Thunnus alalunga. Our poorer quality fish sample, haddock, displayed a 96.1% similarity match with Melanoggrammus aeglefinus. Finally, we examined both sequencing traces for failed quality data.

Steps to Genetically Modify Crops

Submitted by afeltrin on Wed, 04/17/2019 - 10:00

The process of genetically modifying a crop entails four main steps. First, it is essential to identify the desired trait. A popular example of a desired trait is tolerance to the Roundup herbicide, which resulted in the creation of ‘Roundup Ready.’ Next, the desired trait will have its DNA isolated. A comparative analysis is generally conducted to identify this trait’s genetics. If it is easily identified, then scientists can simply remove parts of the genome that are responsible for expressing this specific trait. The next step entails inserting this desired genetic trait into a new genome. This can occur in two ways. Currently, a popular method is utilizing a ‘gene gun’ to insert DNA-coated metal particles into plant tissue. The other method is to use bacteria to enter the seeds and alter the plants’ DNA by inserting its own DNA. The final step is to simply grow the GMO. Allowing it to grow will ensure that it can reproduce the same plant with these new traits (Powell).

Epigenetics

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 17:49

In “Trauma Permanently Affecting DNA?,” I found it so intriguing that trauma, regardless of it being short-lived or continual, can permanently alter your DNA. Epigenetic gene expression is different from other kinds of inheritance due to it being solely a change in the phenotype of the gene, not the genotype. So, the underlying gene sequence is not affected; molecules will sit on the DNA and change the way in which RNA is made from DNA. This, in turn, changes the way proteins are made, leading to change in mood, behavior, and stress responses. A common example of an epigenetic change is methylation, which is the addition of a methyl group onto DNA. Other forms of inheritance directly alter the DNA gene sequence, in contrast with epigenetics.

Macroevolutionary Changes Among Crinoids

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 16:16

This article aims to search for macroevolutionary consequences from the predation of crinoids. It is hypothesized that sea urchins preyed on crinoids, leading to evolutionary change. The scientists observed Mesozoic skeletons of crinoids in search of bite marks from echinoids. These bite marks would show up as trace fossils remaining on the skeletons long after death. Their results showed that as the Mesozoic period gradually progressed, the occurrence of bite marks on crinoids increased. Additionally, there were more bites present on sessile crinoids than motile crinoids. Their data showcased a strong positive correlation between increasing sea urchin diversity and the frequency of bite marks. Scientists hypothesize a potential arms race between predation pressure and defenses displayed in prey. As predation increases, prey are left to develop stronger defenses for survival. So, it is plausible that crinoids increased defenses involving their motile abilities.

The Impact of the Pyramids of Giza on Egypt’s State Society

Submitted by afeltrin on Tue, 04/16/2019 - 13:11

Ultimately, the four factors that were imperative to Egypt’s success as a state society are the intensified agricultural production, the creation of writing and systems of record-keeping, the rise of monumental architecture, and the organization of hierarchy into discrete social and political classes. The agricultural production soared being near the Mediterranean Sea, leading to labor specialization and, as a result, a more complex state society in Egypt. The introduction of writing and a record-keeping system led to an increase in trading and the ability to track an individual’s hours worked, if they got paid, and if they were scheduled to work or perform labor. The physical building of the pyramid built the social and political hierarchies, with the lower class working on building the pyramid, while the highest class would not actually work on it; they would just be buried inside it. Without these four factors, Egypt would not have flourished as such an important city, and we may not have ever had the formation of the pyramids.

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