BIOLOGY 111

Danielle Lepack




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POST # 1: Cloning cloning-results-may-vary.jpg



  • What is cloning?


Cloning is the creation of a new organism that contains the same DNA of another; this means they are an exact genetic copy.



  • Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer


A somatic cell is any cell found in the body that is not a reproductive cell. Somatic cells contain two complete sets of chromosomes, whereas reproductive cells have only one. The nucleus is the cell's "brain" and this is where the genetic information, the DNA, is kept. To perform a somatic cell nuclear transfer, a somatic cell is isolated, and the nucleus is transferred into an egg cell in which the original nucleus was removed. This is the process by which Dolly the sheep was created.



dolly.jpg In the case of Dolly the sheep, the nucleus from a somatic cell of an adult sheep was transferred into an egg cell and behaved just like a freshly fertilized zygote. It then developed into an embryo which was implanted into a surrogate mother to carry as a normal pregnancy. The lamb was the exact genetic replica of the adult sheep who donated the somatic cell. Since this success, scientists have cloned rats, cows, pigs, dogs, cats, rabbits, and even horses. Nature creates clones, genetic duplicates, quite often. They are called identical twins. They grow according to the DNA code from embryonic stem cells, cells which are supposed to grow into complete human beings. Scientists try to make the DNA from adult cells to do the same thing.




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Every Learner Inc, (2002-2008). Cloning 101. Retrieved from http://knowledgenews.net/moxie/science/cloning-science-2.shtml

NCRR, (2011). What is cloning?. Retrieved from http://learn.genetics.utah.edu/content/tech/cloning/whatiscloning/










POST # 2: Apoptosis




Apoptosis is basically cell suicide; the cell destroys itself from the inside by breaking down the parts essential for cellular function. This process is very important as it helps to get rid of cells which are old, unnecessary, or unhealthy. This means it plays a huge role in the spread of diseases. Without apoptosis, infected cells would not die, and would continue to spread the infection to surrounding cells. When too much apoptosis is happening, it can also put the body in danger, causing serious tissue damage. To keep healthy there must be just the right amount of this process going on at once. Once an infected cell is located, a T-cell is sent to give the order to eliminate that cell, and the process happens without damaging bordering cells.. It's all about sacrificing a few to save the many.

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MedicineNet, Inc, . (1996-2011). Definition of apoptosis. Retrieved from http://www.medterms.com/script /main/art.asp?articlekey=11287



















PERSONAL POST #1: Dehydration



The process of dehydration begins when the body is forced to use its own reserves of water for survival --.this results in weight loss. An adult's body is 50 - 60% water, and based on an investigation by a Minnesota hospital, even a loss of 2.5% must be considered critical. The first signs that blood, organs and tissues are not receiving a sufficient amount of water, are loss of appetite, and sleepiness. The brain and liver, which are least tolerant to the lack of water, give the victim acute feelings of thirst. The next symptom of continuous lack of water is a rise in body temperature. At a 5% loss of the body's weight in water, nausea occurs. At a 6 - 10% loss, feelings of giddiness occur, along with headaches and itching of the limbs. The mouth will soon dry up, and the skin on the tongue and the mucous membranes start peeling. The corners of the eyes also dry up, and the secretion of sweat causes a dangerous lack of salt in the body, causing the consistency of the blood to change, leading to acute cramps in the abdomen and limbs. Once the body has lost 10% of its weight in water it can still recover without any subsequent ill effects, providing the victim is given enough water. The intestine will absorb the water at once and send it straight to the blood, immediately renewing the supply in all the cells. If the victim does not receive the water they need, the process continues. Hallucinations will soon occur, and the victim will be compelled to drink any fluid in sight, however nauseating it may be. In 1932 a German pilot had to make a forced landing in the dry North West coast of Australia, without adequate supplies. Within days, he and his crew resorted to drinking urine and gasoline. After the hallucinations, the victim slips into unconsciousness and death comes quickly. In very hot temperatures, 15% dehydration will cause death, but if it exceeds 25%, death will occur even in mild or cold temperatures.





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Christian Troebst, Cord. The Art of Survival. Doubleday & Company Inc, 1965. 312. Print.





PERSONAL POST #2: The American Quarter Horse



In 1519 Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes reached the coast of Mexico. He brought with him 20 horses, whose descendants spread northward, and were bred to the horses used by the Plains Indians. The foals of these horses were noted for their explosive speed and compact build. In the mid-1600s, Carolina Colonists crossed their Irish-imported stallions, known for agility and remarkable bone and muscle structure, with Chickasaw Indian mares. These are the horses that gave the Quarter Horse its roots. By the 1900s, these horses had become a vital part of western ranching, as they were exceptional cattle horses.

The American Quarter Horse Association was formed in 1940 as an effort to preserve the pedigree of these horses. Today it is the largest equine registry, with over 3.2 million horses registered worldwide. Horses eligible for registration are 14 to 16 hands, and must be of a solid colour with limited markings. They are known for being quick, balanced, agile, levelheaded, surefooted, intelligent, and hardy horses.




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This is Cowboy, one of my three horses. He is a Quarter Horse, like his dam and sire.



Manns, Bill. "Where did it come from? The American Quarter Horse." American Cowboy. April/May 2011: 96. Print.




PERSONAL POST #3: Hibernation


Hibernation is very different from sleep. During sleep, the animal can move, and the brain is very active. A sleeping animal can also be woken up easily, and quickly. During hibernation, however, both the breathing and heart rate slows down, and the body temperature drops. A "true" hibernator cannot wake up quickly, and no immediate movement is possible. Bears are not "true" hibernators; they may wake up numerous times to search for food. Before an animal can hibernate, it must first consume a large amount of food to achieve a high level of body fat, which they then live off during the time of hibernation.

  • Bears, as they are not "true" hibernators, go into a "torpor", or temporary sleep, and wake up often during the winter months; this is when cubs are born.

  • Frogs hibernate at the bottom of ponds and streams where the water does not freeze. Woodland frogs, however, find shelter under dirt and leaves. During the winter they freeze, but then thaw out and wake up when spring arrives.

  • Snakes travel to where hundreds will spend the winter together, using each other to stay warm.

  • Adult male gophers go into hibernation in early June, while adult females do so in July. Their young stay active all summer. In September when there is less food to be found, they too go into hibernation. They store food in the chambers of their burrows, and wake up every 10 to 14 days to feed.




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National Science Teachers Association, Initials. (2009, October). Hibernation. Retrieved from http://www.saskschools.ca/~gregory/winter/win2.html







PERSONAL POST #4: Jersey Cow


This breed originated in the island of Jersey, a small British island in the English channel off the coast of France. The Jersey breed is one of the oldest dairy breeds, having been purebred for almost 600 years. The breed became known in England around 1771, and was very favorable because of its milk and butterfat production. Jersey cattle were brought over to the United States in the 1850s. Because of the incredible adaptability of this breed, they are found in most countries of the world.


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With an average weight of around 900 pounds, the Jersey cow produces more pounds of milk per pound of body weight than any other breed. (most of these cows produce 13 times their body weight in milk each lactation! )

The Jersey is the most appealing of all dairy breeds, as they have a great temperament and exceptional build. Bulls of this breed, however, do not share this trait; they are considered the least docile of all dairy cattle.

These cows possess a wide range in colour. Though there is little preference today between the solid and broken colours, the solids do seem the most favorable. The colour of the Jersey varies from a very light gray or mouse colour, to a dark fawn, or shade that is almost black.

On average, Jersey cows produce five calves. Gestation lasts 9 months, and heifers start breeding at an early age of 15 months.

Their diet consists of grass during late spring and summer, which is supplemented with silage, protein, and nuts.


*Oklahoma State University, Initials. (1994, April). Jersey. Retrieved from http://www.ansi.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/jersey/





PERSONAL POST #5: Eastern Cougar


The presence of the eastern cougar (Felis concolor couguar) in New Brunswick has been debated by the public and biologists for decades. This cougar was placed on the provincial endangered species list, however, its status is unknown. Because of lack of evidence, biologist now wonder if a subspecies ever existed, or if this was just an eastern population of the same cougar found in the west.

Since the mid 1970s many sightings have been reported, though the last confirmed report of a cougar in New Brunswick dates back to 1932, when one was shot and killed by a hunter in Kent county. Scat and tracks believing to belong to the eastern cougar were discovered near Deersdale in 1992. Lack of substantial evidence questions whether these animals exist in our forests today, but some forty sightings are still reported in New Brunswick each year.


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The eastern cougar is the largest member of the cat family in North America. It can be between 6 and 9 feet in length (from nose to tip of tail), and can weigh up to 150 pounds. The shoulder is typically at a height of 30 inches, and the track is large, approximately 4 inches in width. These animals are active at night, and are very rare to see. Their coat varies from a tawny brown, to a mouse gray colour, with a long cylindrical tail with a black tip .

Their diet consists of snowshoe hare, porcupines, mice, and certain types of birds, but its main prey are moose and deer. The eastern cougar is generally a solitary animal, with the exception of breeding season. They are also extremely territorial, and males can occupy a region of 200 to 1,800 km2.

Though the existence of this massive cat in our forests will mostly likely remain controversial for years to come, I personally know two people who have reported sightings. Both work in the woods and have a clear understanding of what they saw. To me there is a very good possibility that the eastern cougar lives here in New Brunswick, but has remained undetected by those who go looking for it.

Libby, C. (2000, November). Eastern cougar. Retrieved from http://www.elements.nb.ca/theme/endangeredspecies/cougar/eastern.htm

Natural Resources, . (n.d.). Eastern cougar. Retrieved from http://www.gnb.ca/0078/speciesatrisk/EasternCougar-e.asp


PERSONAL POST #6: Alnus rugosa - Speckled Alder




Leaf

  • The speckled alder's leaves are alternate, meaning leaves and buds are arranged singly on twigs, and are oval-shaped, thick, and coarsely textured. While the underside is pale gray-green, the upper side is dark green with recessed veins. The leaves' edges are uneven and sharply toothed.



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Stem

  • Stems reach upwards to a maximum height of 6 meters, while a mature alder can grow to about 10cm in diameter at the base, then taper quickly. The grayish bark is speckled with beige lenticels.

Fruit & Flower

  • Male catkins form in the fall and hang from the ends of twigs in small bunches until spring. At this time they release pollen which fertilizes the female catkins further in on the same twig.


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Alders are called pioneers because they are oftentimes the first to invade abandoned fields. They are also nitrogen fixers, meaning atmospheric nitrogen is absorbed by bacteria living in the roots and changed into a form of nitrogen plants can use as fertilizers. Because of this, alders help fertilize fields that have been depleted by years of farming. Their leaves are also rich in nitrogen and can add up to 140 pounds/acre per year.


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Blouin, G. (2004). Weeds of the woods: small trees and shrubs of the eastern forest. Toronto, Ontario: Nimbus.




PERSONAL POST #7: The Paint Horse



In 1519 the Spanish explorer Hernando Cortes sailed over to the New World, bringing with him two dark coloured horses with large white markings. These horses gradually found their way into the free-ranging herds of the western plains by the early 1800s. The American Indians soon began to favor these spotted horses for their colour and performance, and the Comanche Indians, known for their exceptional horsemenship, aquired many to integrate into their immense herds. The loud colouring made these horses extremely popular, and they quickly spread across the Plains. Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, they were called by a variety of names: pinto, paint, skewbald, and piebald, but the most common, still used today, was the paint. In the 1960s a group dedicated to preserving the breed formed - The American Paint Horse Association.

This breed is known for their exceptional cow-sense, and their hard working and easy going manner. The paint horse is also known for its intelligence, and was believed by some Plains Indians to possess magical powers. They are well suited for ranch work, rodeo, trail riding, showing, or simply a hardy mount for kids.



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American Paint Horse Association, Initials. (2011). History of the breed. Retrieved from http://www.apha.com/breed/history.html





PERSONAL POST #8: The Lion's Mane Jellyfish




The Lion's Mane is the largest jellyfish (and largest animal) in the world, the biggest measuring 6 meters with tentacles reaching more than 50 meters long. They are also among the oldest species in the world, as they have been swimming in Arctic waters for more than 650 million years. This enormous type of jellyfish is found in the icy waters of the Arctic Ocean and the Northern Pacific during the coldest months of the year, seldom descending below 42 degrees latitude. They are found closer to the surface, never deeper than 20 meters. Not all Lion's Mane jellyfish acquire this gigantic size; their size rapidly decreases as you travel further south. The largest specimen is coloured a dark crimson, and as size decreases the colour becomes lighter until it is a light orange or tan.

Though their tentacles reach an extreme length, their stinging will generally not kill a human, though it will produce an itchy rash and mild burning sensation. This sting is used to paralyze prey, which usually consists of zooplankton, small fish, and even other jellyfish.



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Pattern Media, Initials. (2001-2011). Lion's mane jellyfish. Retrieved from http://www.jellyfishfacts.net/lions-mane-jellyfish.html




PERSONAL POST #9: Zebra's Stripes




  • Though it has been believed that zebras have a white background colour with black stripes, embryological evidence now proves that these animals are black while the white stripes and underbellies are additions. There have been many hypotheses proposed to account for the evolution of stripes on zebras. The most widely accepted are those that credit them to camouflaging purposes.

  1. It is believed that the vertical striping may help the zebra to hide in the grass. This would effective against the zebra's primary predator, the lion, who is actually colour blind. Also, from a distance the black and white colouring merge to a grayish hue.

  2. Another theory is that because zebras are herd animals, the colour pattern confuses predators, appearing as one large animal and making it hard for lions to identify single zebras to attack.

  3. One other possibility is that the stripes serve as visual cues and identification.

  4. The stripes may also serve to confuse the blood sucking tsetse fly.

  5. A more technical hypothesis is that the stripes coincide with the fat pattern beneath the skin, serving as a thermo-regulatory mechanism.


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Wikimedia Foundation Inc., Initials. (2011, May 24). Zebras. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra





PERSONAL POST #10: Wood Buffalo

The Wood Buffalo is the northern relative of the Plains Buffalo. It is also the largest land mammal in North America, weighing anywhere from 550kg to 1,000kg and reaching a height of 1.8m. Both the males and females of this species have horns, the females' being straight while the males' curving slightly inward. In the summer, they can be found in small willow pastures where they feed on sedges, forbes, and willows. In winter they move to frozen wet sedge meadows and lakeshores where they feed on sedges.

Bison are social animals and can be found in small herds throughout the year. Females usually give birth to their first calf at around three years of age, and generally have two calves within a three-year period. They are found in Alaska, Yukon, western North West Territories, northeastern British Colombia, northern Alberta, and northwestern Saskatchewan. The Wood Bison is considered to be endangered, due to hunting, loss of territory, and hybridizing with Plains Buffalo. By the early 1900s, they were unofficially considered extinct, until a herd of 200 was discovered in 1957 in Alberta. Thanks to conservation efforts by Canadian government agencies, this herd has recovered to about 2,500 bison. The population of Wood Buffalo living in the wild is only 3,000.


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Environment and Natural Resources, Initials. (n.d.). Our wildlife - wood life. Retrieved from http://www.enr.gov.nt.ca/_live/pages/wpPages/Wood_Bison_at_risk.aspx