stellarwind: (Encoded)

Inca Terns. With top hats and monocles because they already have the freakin' 'stache.
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«Kera» oh my, cleavage
·StellarWind· ...
·StellarWind· This is how much of a geek I am.
·StellarWind· I read 'cleavage' and I wonder following/before which amino acid.

Too many proteases on me. Yup.
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The occipital lobe is the sight-linked area of the brain. It's also the lower-rear area of it. Which is why teachers often say they have eyes in their back. Next, we shall discuss the connection between sound and time travel. Hint, both are related to temporal manipulation.
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In our corner "Things that are not yet PokeMon but certainly should be!" we've already discussed the rather Grass-Type-like symbiosis of Salamanders and algae and of the Kleptoplasty phenomenon by which the sea slug Elysia chlorotica yoinks chloroplasts from its prey and utilizes them to photosynthesize. Today we will cover something I never thought I'd hear of - an IRL Steel-type PokeMon.

Crysomallon squamiferum, also known as the scaly-foot gastropod, is a deep-sea snail living at the foot of 'black smokers' in the Kairei hydrothermal vent field in the Indian ocean. Why is it called Scaly-foot? Because... look at it.

The snail's 'foot' is entirely protected by small scales (called sclerites) up to 8mm long. These things are mineralized - they are composed of Iron Sulfide minerals - pyrite and greigite. No other animal uses these materials in its skeleton.

In addition to this, the snail's shell has a three-layered structure: its internal layer is aragonite, a calcium mineral, with a thick intermediate organic layer above it, followed by an external layer of the same iron sulfide mineral.

All this renders this snail's defense stat ridiculously high against whatever predators (including the infamous cone snails) may attack it. The origin of the minerals appears to be from the hydrothermal vents rich in these minerals - and supposedly the military is looking into ways of developing new forms of armor based on this structure.

Dayum, nature, you awesome.


Nov. 24th, 2010 09:45 am
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I am getting sick and tired of people whining about how all the grass starters are reptiles and how uncreative it is.

So when an artist I follow on dA made a whine entry about it, I had to reply.

Why does it get me so? Because, for one, Grass works for reptiles. Many reptiles need to sun themselves to regulate their body heat. Plants need light to initiate photosynthesis and produce more biomass. It's a match made in heaven. Granted, applying that assumption to dinosaurs (who may have been homeothermic like modern birds and mammals) is a bit of a stretch, but yeah.

Also, 'reptiles' is a very broad umbrella term to describe the Grass starters. The Bulbasaur line seems to have traits of Synapsids, a group that fissioned off from reptiles and eventually gave rise to mammals. The Chikorita line are Sauropod dinosaurs, a group that had quite a bit of internal diversity of its own right. Treecko starts off as a leaf-tailed gecko and proceeds to acquire traits of theropods, a large group of dinosaurs that a clade of, the Maniraptora, is believed to have given rise to modern birds. Turtwig starts as a Snapping Turtle and gradually transforms into a strange cross of a turtle and an ankylosaurid dinosaur and the newest critter, Tsutarja/Snivy, is a proto-snake that progresses gradually into full snake form in its final evolution. That is quite a lot of diversity.

In fact, if you're going to whine about how all grass starters are not creative because they fall under a broad umbrella term, take a broader look at all the starters. Notice a trend here? "Reptiles" including non-avian archosaurids (grass starters, Charmander, Squirtle and Totodile), Mammals (Cyndaquil, Chimchar, Pokabu/Tepig and Mijumaru/Oshawott), birds (Torchic and Piplup)and an amphibian (Mudkip).

OH SHIT. THEY ARE ALL TETRAPOD VERTEBRATES! IT'S NOT CREATIVE! In fact, it shows no creativity whatsoever! I call a Grass Elysia chlorotica, a Fire Bombardier Beetle and a Water Hallucigenia for the extinct wtf factor!

You know what, why limit ourselves to Metazoa only? Let's branch out even more! I call a Grass Cyanobacterium, a Fire Hyperthermophilic Archaeon and a Water Rotifer! How's that for diversity? Not just different classes, by three different DOMAINS! Is that creative enough for you?

Third version could be a special Electric Bacteriophage Edition.


The person I posted this rant at deleted the aforementioned journal entry. Bio-pwned, biyatch.


Nov. 21st, 2010 10:58 pm
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You know that new centipede PokeMon, Japanese named Pendra? I just found out it was named after a centipede genus, Scolopendra, the most prominent representative of which is named... Hold on to your hats...

Scolopendra heros



... I would play that. It would probably come with some fucked up motion-control plastic centipede peripheral. >>;
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Two phases in he life cycle of a... barnacle larva. Holy crap. Vortex Queen anyone?
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So. Running through the internets I stumbled upon a bunch of biology (usually) rap parodies by a guy named Tom McFadden. Some of these are fucking brilliant. So I figured I'd share them with the more scientific-humor-inclined of you guys. That's... what. Four of you? xD

3.5 Billion 'til Infinity

A parody of "'93 til Infinity" by Souls of Mischief. Hip-Hop about Charles Darwin and the theory of Evolution? Hell Yes.

Hi, Meiosis!

HI! Meiosis! (One?) Meiosis! (Two?) Meiosis! (CHIKA-CHIKA) MAKES GAMETES! Gregor Mendel on the mic in a parody of Eminem's "Hi, My Name Is".

It's Too Late to Apoptize

Emo Cancer Cells, anyone? A parody of One Republic's "It's Too Late to Apologize".

... Actually I should just link you to the guy's Youtube Profile. The man is a fucking genius.
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This (not quite) just in: Spotted Salamanders are real-life Grass-types.

Algal symbionts. ALGAL FUCKING SYMBIONTS. Well, it was known that the algae have a form of symbiosis with Salamander embryos, but it was thought that it's an external thing. As it turns out - the algae also live INSIDE the salamander and they seem to link up with the Mitochondria, supporting each other like in freaking CELLCRAFT.

Ohmygods. That is so cool.

Another real-life-grass-type-related phenomenon is that of Kleptoplasty, which seems to be common in certain Sacoglossan sea slugs such as Elysia chlorotica.

See, there are quite a few animals that absorb and store toxins from their prey an become poisonous themselves. Sea slugs have been known to go beyond storing the chemicals in their raw form and actually selectively incorporate complete elements from their prey and utilize their functionality. A perfect example would be Glaucus atlanticus, a nudibranch sea slug merely 5-8 cm in length which preys on jellyfish and siphonophores - colonial organisms that are frequently mistaken for jellyfish, the most prominent example of which is Physalia physalis or as it is most commonly known, the Portugese Man O' War.

For the uninitiated, Physalia are pretty big creatures, with tentacles that can reach up to 22 meters (though they commonly reach ten meters. THAT IS STILL FUCKING LONG) ripe with nematocysts capable of delivering very painful (to humans) toxic stings. These things can stay potent even on detached arms or dead specimens for up to a few days.

Glaucus eats them. Whole. And it is capable of selectively incorporating their nematocysts into itself, deliberately choosing only the most potent ones, thus being capable of delivering a more powerful toxic sting than the Physalia in which they originated!

But I digress. Kleptoplasty is kinda like that, but with Chloroplasts. And apparently Elysia chlorotica noms on algae and incorporates their chloroplasts, providing itself with a little photosynthetic boost to its energy supplies.

... See. It's crazy awesome shit like this that made me into the biology freak I am in the first place XD
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If this world makes any fragment of sense, then somewhere out there in the world there's a geneticist with a cat named Valine. Or Val for short.
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Scientists to analyse Ozzy Osbourne's genome to find out why he is still alive.

On a side note, that IS a good question.

On another side note, the creature that Meguroko is based on is flipping adorable. (Caution, huge image in link).
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Yup. It's official. Nectocaris is no longer a bizarre creature that resembles a fish body with a shrimplike head.

Case of mistaken identity.


which makes one wonder just how exactly does one mistake this:

Nectocaris pteryx a-la 2010.

for this

Nectocaris pteryx a-la 1976.

Man, what about 40 34 years of research do to a creature. Don't get me wrong - being a huge Cephalopod fan, I find the new interpretation adorable as all fuck - but it oddly feels like a downgrade - or at least like the Burgess Shale just royally trolled Science. But then, considering Anomalocaris was considered to be four distinctively different animals before they realized the pieces fit together... Eh.

... Whatever. It's still cute.
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Q: Why does a test tube contains albumin and pepsin?

A: Because it would rather contain that than be trypsin out on cokein.

Incidentally, if a test tube contained an albumin of some sort (as albumins are a vast group of different proteins) and a proteolytic enzyme such as pepsin, the albumin would not have much time to come to terms with its identity as an albumin before it would have to come to terms with not being an albumin anymore.

So I believe your question would be "Why DID the test tube contain albumin and pepsin", which sounds like a setup for a great biology joke - be sure to contact us once you figure out a punchline!

Q: How would you summarize this article? 3-4 sentences. USE UR OWN WORDS!

A: Bored Australian Scientists are bored, they'll make ANYTHING glow these days, GFP variants are amazing, and UR is not a god damn word.

Yup. That about sums it up.

Q: If you compare two protists of equal volume, which would have a higher surface-area-to-volume ratio?
Spherical or Cylindrical?

A: It's more a question of geometry than of biology, isn't it? Nevermind the fact that they generally seem to have more complex forms than just circles or spheres...

And here we thought the time for nonviolent protists was over.

Q: What would happen to a cell if its plasma membrane lost its selective permeability?
I only have one more question to this stupid assignment and i cant find it anywhere in my book. can someone help me with the question above?

A: Simply put, the cell would be [EFF!]ed up beyond all recognition.

There are two ways that a membrane may lose its selective permeability - either becoming completely permeable or not permeable at all.

Let's put this very simply. Let us say that the cell is a house, its assorted organelles and products are the residents, and the cell membrane is its brick walls. It has doors, it has windows, and it has a particularly irate T-cell that fancies itself a guard dog. Its name is fluffykins.

Suppose we take scenario one. The membrane is not permeable at all. Basically we just bricked these poor bastards in the house and boarded over their windows. Family can't go to work, meaning no food, meaning that sooner or later they're going to go crazy and cannibalize each other. You know, sorta like on Big Brother, except it's not on the air.

Point of the matter is, everybody dies.

Now let's take scenario two. We rip the doors and windows open, and, you know what? Just for fun, we rip the damn walls open too and replace them with lovely decorative cardboard. You know, like they build houses in those Earthquake Prone Areas in China.

Now everyone's free to do what they do, Except that anything and anyone can come in. In excess. Think of it as a huge shopping spree, except, it's a shopping spree of [i]doom[/i]. Sooner or later, Important household gadgets suddenly disappear because they decided that the ratio of gadgets in the house to the gadgets outside the house is unequal and there must be balance. And every little drop of rain leaks in until the entire place floods up and explodes. In the extra-cellular space.

Of course, this is a highly simplified explanation, but we believe that if you have at least two and a half working neurons, you could come up with a way to make this sound biological enough for your assignment. The reason it isn't in your book is because, really, when you think of it this way, it's blindingly obvious. ^^
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"Science is interesting, and if you don't agree, you can fuck off." ~ Richard Dawkins, Evolutionary Biologist
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Poor, poor Glucose. All it wanted was to be left alone. Instead, it is subjected to a long, torturous process so intricate that it should probably be banned by the Geneva convention.

Shortly after entering the cell, it's randomly attacked by Hexokinase which shackles a Phosphate group of ATP origin to its sixth carbon - so it can't escape. From there, it either gets welded to many others of its kind to form Glycogen, which is shoved into the dark corners of the cell to be sliced later when needed, or it is beaten into submission by a Phosphohexose Isomerase enzyme which leaves it with a psychological trauma and a completely rearranged infrastructure.

The former Glucose 6-Phosphate has little time to come to terms with its new identity as Fructose-6-Phosphate before having to come to terms with not being a Fructose 6-Phosphate anymore - as it is immediately taken up by a complex with a long, toothbreaking name which shall be known as PFK1 1to save your minds. There, it has ANOTHER Phosphate group of ATP origin welded to it, this time on carbon #1, and is released as Fructose 1-6-Biphosphate. (Glucose didn't even know it was biphosphate-curious before this stage, too). As if that's not enough, it is then cruelly sliced in half by Aldolase, and its top half is rearranged to be a copy of its bottom half by Triose-Phosphate-Isomerase - which results in two molecules of Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate.

So, after being chained, drawn and quartered, Glyceraldehyde 3-Phosphate, merely half of its former self chained to an unsightly phosphate group, is slapped in the head with another phosphate group, this time inorganic by a Dehydrogenase enzyme - in a process which tears a hydrogen from its head while it's forced to watch some sassy NAD+ molecule use it to become NADH and run off giggling. Before it has the time to get used to being Phosphorylized TWICE, a Kinase enzyme comes along, cuts off the newly attached phosphate group and sticks it onto an ADP molecule, turning it into ATP. Without giving it its hydrogen back. Now 3-Phosphoglycerate (as if it didn't have enough of an identity crisis!), it gets taken in by an enzyme called Phosphoglycerate Mutase - which takes away the phosphate group, giving it the illusion of freedom for one sweet moment... before SLAPPING IT WITH A PHOSPHATE ON ANOTHER CARBON!

2-Phosphoglycerate is, at this point, practically crying its nonexistent eyes out - but the cell wouldn't even give it that pleasure. No, It then slaps it with the enzyme Enolate, which sucks the moisture out of it, dehydrates it, and leaves it as Phosphoenol Pyruvate - the first Russian Curseword of many in this long, horribly painful story. Pyruvate Kinase, the last enzyme in the process, rips the phosphate off and welds it to ATP, leaving our poor, miserable half glucose as Pyruvate.

Upon being released, Pyruvate attempts to find his other half, but among the other molecules of Pyruvate, it cannot find the lost part of its past existence. Sad and broken, it wanders off to find a new meaning for its life.

Sometimes, it's unlucky enough to be recycled into Glucose with some other Pyruvate molecule that would never understand it the way its other half did. Other times, it finds its death within the walls of the mighty Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex - which subjects it to nine levels of hell - its Carboxyl head is cut off by a Vitamin B derivative, it is hung out to dry on a sprig of Lipoic acid and has some weird side-group full of Sulfur welded to its face, from which it gets hurled into the depths of an organelle with a silly name and tossed into an eternal swirl in which The Enzyme (A Lie of Some Kind) catalyzes the reaction that turns (Chemical That Sounds Like A Russian Curseword Of Some Kind) into (Another Chemical That Sounds Like A Russian Curseword Of Some Kind), rinse and repeat.

This is the Krebs Cycle - the grindery - what churns out the ATP for the cell.

It all starts with a condensation reaction in which Pyruvate is welded, still dazed from its experiences in the Glycolysis path - to Oxaloacetate, releasing it from the sulfurous grip of Coenzyme-A but sticking a four-carbon tail on it which leaves a sour taste in its mouth. And everyone else's considering that now, it's Citrate.

At this point it realizes that life is a lemon and it wants its money back.

after being released from Citrate Synthase, the newly formed Citrate is then scrambled by Aconitase into Cis-Aconitate for a few brief moments before being scrambled again by the very same enzyme into Isocitrate - which is then has a Carboxyl group chopped off its head and gets oxidized along the way into Alpha-Ketoglutarate. Alpha-Ketoglutarate is yoinked into a massive complex which once again slices off its Carboxyl group, oxidizes it and reintroduces it to Coenzyme-A, leaving it a Succinyl-CoA - which proceeds to have CoA removed from it by a synthetase in a contrived process that somehow welds a phosphate to GDP to create GTP. It's Succinate now.

Yes these names get even worse.

Succinate gets yoinked into a complex which sucks hydrogens off of it and turns it into Fumarate (where do these hydrogens go? stay tuned!). Fumarate is attacked by another enzyme, named Fumarase, which turns it into L-Malate, which then proceeds to get oxydized into Oxaloacetate, and BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE CIRCLE IT GOES, FOR ALL ETERNITY.

All it wanted was to be left alone. It never asked to be the father of two molecules of ATP, 2 molecules of GTP, 10 molecules of NADH and 2 molecules of FADH2. It never asked for all this stupid oxidation to happen. And no one weeps for it. They just keep on eating it.

It can be then taken as a small bit of comfort that all these hydrogens and electrons lopped off of it undergo their own torture by passing through a series of complexes that transfer them from NADH and FADH2 to a substance known only as Q, then into Cytochrome-C, then into Oxygen, all the while sucking protons from the Mitochondrial Matrix and shoving them into the intermembranal space between the Mitochondria's external membrane and its internal membrane, that these protons are dying to get back into the Matrix, and that their only way to do so is to go into a great bloody revolving door which squeezes ADP and inorganic phosphate into each other and churns out ATP. Which means that basically it is suffering an eternal cycle of destruction and recreation for the greater good of the organism.

Unless someone shoves in some uncoupling agent like DNP or FCCP which move protons in and out of the membrane freely and thus rapes the proton gradient that the complexes mentioned above worked so hard to create.

And you think YOUR life sucks?
stellarwind: (Default)
Why does half of Biochemistry sound like Russian swearwords? Seriously, with stuff like Pyruvate, Succinate and Fumarate, one has got to wonder just what the flying Arceus were they thinking.

Also we have to remember far too many enzymes.
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Yay for dramatic enzymes. XD

Incidentally, I found out today that actually, there IS a monosaccharide with nine carbon atoms, which, by the naming standards of saccharides, would make it a nonose.

The material in question is neuraminic acid, often found as a residue in sialic acids. As it turns out, they serve as substrates for Neuraminidase enzymes, like the ones carried by influenza viruses - their H#/N# numbers are referring to isoforms of Hemaglutinin and Neuraminidase.

And that is why when you get the flu and sneeze your brains out you often wish you had nonose!
stellarwind: (Default)
Ramachandran Plots are very aptly named - they are clearly SOME kind of plot to drive biology students mad!


Feb. 8th, 2009 12:34 pm
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Phyletic gradualism is a macroevolutionary hypothesis rooted in
uniformitarianism. The hypothesis states that species continue to adapt to
new challenges over the course of their history, gradually becoming new
species. Gradualism holds that every individual is the same species as its
parents, and that there is no clear line of demarcation between the old
species and the new species. It holds that the species is not a fixed type, and
that the population, not the individual, evolves. During this process, evolution
occurs at a slow but constant rate; for this reason, it is known as evolution
by creeps (as opposed to punctuated equilibrium, or “evolution by jerks”)

Evolution by Creeps... as opposed to Evolution by Jerks.

For some reason, I find that RIDICULOUSLY amusing. <<

Things I run into while cramming in MORE Cell to Organism studying.


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StellarWind Elsydeon

April 2017



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