Monthly Archives: February 2013
The first synthetic human chromosome was constructed by US scientists in 1997.
This particular post isn’t directly related to the course specifically but it contains a lot of biochemistry and seeing that valentines day is just around the corner I thought I might talk about something that we’ve all felt or experienced in one way or the other. LOVE ❤ , that attraction to people that we really can’t describe , but I’m not talking about brotherly or friendly love , no , I’m talking about the kind of love that bands like The Goo Goo Dolls (Iris) , Lifehouse(You and me , hanging by a moment ) ,The Fray ( How To Save A Life) and Hinder (lips of an Angel) sing about , yup , that’s right , I’m talking about boyfriend girlfriend kind of love. Truth is , just like most emotions and reactions in the body , love is controlled by chemicals that affect how we feel and act towards certain people , these chemicals or hormones control if we like someone , if we think someone is cute or handsome etc. There are several hormones that have a say in who we like or are attracted to and how we react when we see or come into contact with , them, I’ll try to break down and analyse the 3 main stages of love , the first encounter , Falling in love and getting attached from a biochemistry point of view.
1) The first encounter , Adrenaline – this chemical is usually produced during flight or fight responses for example when we are in trouble or danger , however this chemical is secreted by the body when induced by hormones such as testosterone. Lets say for example you see a really hot girl,long legs , bright smile , pretty eyes , your body produces adrenaline , it immediately increases your heart rate , your core body temperature goes up , the blood vessels in your eyes dilate causing them to spasm leading to eye twitches , pupils dilate, the blood supply is rerouted to major muscles in the body , hands and legs , taking blood away from parts of your body like the stomach causing those butterflies you feel in your stomach ,and making your palms sweaty.
2) Falling in love, Phenylethylamine or PEA – This is an amine that naturally occurs in the brain ,It is a stimulant, much like an amphetamine, that causes the release of dopamine. This chemical is found when you are falling in love. It’s responsible for the head-over-heels, elated part of love. So the next time you find yourself not being able to stop thinking about that one particular person , blame the PEA 😀 .
3) Getting attached, Oxytocin – Also known as the cuddle hormone it is released by touch and sex and deals with forming life long bonds , this hormone peaks immediately after sex and is extremely powerful casing feelings of attachment and deep connection to the other person .
LOVE will continue to be something of a mystery to people but it is a very important emotion, aiding in reproduction and hence directly attributing to the continuation of the human species.
Polar Bears are nearly undetectable by infrared cameras, due to their transparent fur.
The first photo of the DNA Helix taken by Enzo di Fabrizio from the University of Genoa, Italy, using an electron microscope.
Viruses were way cooler in the 70’s 😛
There are 62,000 miles of blood vessels in the human body – laid end to end they would circle the earth 2.5 times.
This week (week 2) , was very productive , I’m definitely getting a better feel for the class , and enjoying it a lot. At the starting of this week , my tutorial class was assessed , by the instructor asking students questions based on the topic covered the week prior (The Cell) , most students including myself got their answers correct, which is always a good feeling :D. Some very interesting points were covered in the tutorial session , one such topic was the endosymbiotic theory , which had always interested me .One major piece of evidence of the theory was discussed , which is that prokaryotes contain 70s ribosomes where as eukaryotes contain 80s ribosomes , the evidence comes into effect when you look at the fact that mitochondria and chloroplast contained inside eukaryotic cells have the 70s ribosomes , same as prokaryotic organisms. This gives evidence which points to the possibility that eukaryotes in the distant past may have engulfed mitochondria and chloroplasts and incorporated them into their own life functions via a symbiotic relationship.
Now this got me thinking , what if humans could simply engulf prokaryotes and incorporate them into our life functions , if such a process could be found then the possibilities could be endless. Its isn’t hard to imagine humans having endosymbiotic prokaryotes , since we already have such organisms in our intestine , which assist in digestion. It would be remarkable if humans could simply engulf penicillin producing bacteria , which could produce large doses of penicillin every time the immune system senses infections such as syphilis ,in such a case the syphilis infection is weakened when in contact with high dose penicillin , then the body’s white blood cells could easily finish off the infection. This could potentially be a sort of syphilis vaccine.
On the other hand if we look at more pressing global dilemmas, world hunger seems to be the major issue. If humans could engulf chloroplasts(I know they are not technically prokaryotes but rather organelles , but according to the endosymbiotic theory they were probably once free living prokaryotes so I’ll include them anyway) and use them to absorb ultraviolet radiation and convert it to food then potentially the human diet can be partially supplemented by this method . Obviously this would lead to certain problems , to start with , the chloroplasts would need a large surface area to cover in order to maximize the efficiency of their absorption , this means that they would cover a human’s entire skin , making the person entirely green due to the photosynthetic pigments found in the chloroplasts.
Whether these ideas are plausible or not , they are just the thoughts I have, that were triggered by this incredible course. I leave you now with another quote , “A wise man can learn more from a foolish question than a fool can learn from a wise answer.” – Bruce Lee