Biology 11(1) with Mrs. Holyoke Walsh!

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Homework Post #1: Progeria

Progeria (also known as Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome) happens to be one of the most atypical diseases, identified by extraordinary premature aging. The circumstance is considered to affect one in 4 million newborns worldwide. When a newborn baby with progeria is born, they usually have the appearance of normal babies. However, they weigh much less than others their age, and their growth rate slows down within a year. Then they start to develop a distinguishing appearance specified by baldness, pinched nose, wrinkles, and a small size of jaw and face. They also suffer from such diseases as cardiopathy, arteriosclerosis, and an inflammation of joints. They usually live up to 12 years old, almost never up to 20 years old, and their deaths generally occur from heart attacks or strokes. This pitiful disease is based on a tiny, point mutation in a single gene, known as lamin A (LMNA). The LMNA gene codes happens to be the basis of stabilizing the inner membrane of the cell's nucleus. Scientists have found that the mutation causes the LMNA gene to create an unusual form of the lamin A, and this unusual form is known to sabotage the cell's nuclear membrane. Also, it is particulary harmful to tissues commonly exposed to intense physical force.

Her name is Ashley Hegi, and she died from progeria a few years ago. The left side of this picture was taken when she was 7, and the right side of this picture was taken during her last moments. Rest in peace Ashley. :'(20090424223553867.jpg
References:, Genetics and Genomics for Patients and the Public. (2005). Learning about progeria Retrieved from

Homework Post #2: Apoptosis

Apoptosis, also refer to as programmed cell death, usually occur in multicellular organisms. It is a process in which cells put themselves to death. This is why apoptosis is often described as cell suicide. Apoptosis is a normal step of development and health of multicellular organisms. Apoptosis is a very significant step of development of multicellular organisms, because they need to destroy damaged, infected or any cells that represent a threat to them. Apoptosis is also involved in such diseases as cancer, AIDS, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease.


Dash, P. (n.d.). Apoptosis. RCDRG, Retrieved from
Apoptosis [Web log message]. Retrieved from
Apoptosis. (2007). [Web]. Retrieved from
Apoptosis. (2011, February 7). Retrieved from

Indivisual Post #1: Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis

Have you ever heard of Lou Gehrig, who is a famous baseball Hall of Famer? Unfortunately, he died at a young age because of an uncommon disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (the name came from the Greek words). It also refers to the Lou Gehrig disease. What is the meaning of amyotrophic? Well, it means that the muscles in your body lose their food supplies; they start to get weaker and wither. Lateral means that this disease affects the side of the spinal cord. Finally, sclerosis means that the diseased part of the spinal cord grows hardened or scarred tissue in place of healthy nerves. Basically, ALS destroys the motor cells in the brain and the spinal cord continually. These motor cells are big part of the body's neuromuscular system. Here's how the neuromuscular system works: if you want to grasp, your brain sends signals through upper motor cells to the area in your spinal cord that controls your hand muscles. Then lower motor cells in your spinal cord signal the muscles in your hand to move and make a fist. This is why ALS is so deadly to our body. It withers and destroys the motor cells in your spinal cord and the brain, which means the muscles no longer receive signals to move. Thus, the body becomes paralyzed; you can't even eat by yourself or walk. This fatal disease usually occurs in the age of 40-60, and men have the twice probability of getting ALS than women. People who have ALS usually die after 4 years suffering from this disease. Scientists built up many theories such as ALS is caused from the mutations from the family motor genes, or an apoptosis happening from the excitotoxicity. Saddly, There aren't any ways to cure this disease untill now.

-Mr. Stephen Hawking. An English theoretical physicist and cosmologist, who survived from the Lou Gehrig disease!


-He is also a ladies' man!



Dowshen, S. (2009). Lou gehrig's disease (als). KidsHealth, Retrieved from
Lido. [Web]. Retrieved from
Hawking. [Web]. Retrieved from

Indivisual Post #2: Ageing

Have you ever watched a movie called 17 Again? It is a movie that tells the people how great going to high school was. You have to enjoy your youthfulness before you get too old. Sadly, we all get old; at the appropriate time, we all go back to where we belonged: the nature. If I were to explain what an Ageing is, I would say Ageing is the Providence of Nature. According to the definition of ageing, it is the process of growing old is defined as the gradual biological impairment of normal function, probably as a result of changes made to cells and structural components. The result of changes made to cells refer to the mitotic cells such as fibroblasts and post-mitotic cells: neurons. The structural components are consisted of bones and muscles. These changes give direct impact on the functional ability of organs such as heart, liver, lungs, etc. Also, the changes effect the biological systems such as the nervous, digestive and reproductive system. The symptoms that you will have when you starts to get old are: wrinkles, weak eyesight, changes in your hair, changes on your skins, loss of teeth, etc. Then finally, Ageing leads to the death of an organism.

Cumulative: Effects of ageing increase with time.

Universal: All members of a species display signs of ageing.

Progressive: Ageing is a series of gradual changes.

Intrinsic: Changes would take place even in a “perfect” environment.

Deleterious: Changes which occur compromise normal biological functions.

-The Above table is a description setting out five criteria’s for ageing, as proposed by Strehler in 1962.

Nowadays, many people get botox injections, so they could get rid of their wrinkles. Some people are desperate to get the injections! See what happened to a girl below in the picture; she was addicted to botox injections. She went so far as to get injections by herself, even though she didn't have any legal license to perform such hard tasks.


-An example of a botox side effects. She was a pretty hot mama back then!


Burton., D. (n.d.). Ageing research: definition of normal ageing. Retrieved from
Ageing?. (n.d.). Retrieved from
An electric fan woman. (2004). [Web]. Retrieved from

Indivisual Post #3: Dried Nasal Mucus

I wonder how many times Mrs. Holyoke Walsh picks her nose in a day. Well. In my opinion, picking nose is not such a bad habit to do. Sometimes having too much boogers in your nose can cause a problem; they could come out very easily when you laugh, breath or sneeze! Here is my own way to clean out the boogers. Once you dig out the boogers in your nose, all you need to do is to throw them away (Do not attempt to taste them..), then wash your hands! Thus, this process makes your nose feel fresh and new. Anyways, Dried Nasal Mucus is a piece of dried mucus that is commonly found in the nose and is a result of drying of the normally viscous colloidal mucus. These boogers are developed through the process when mucous membranes in the nasal cavity constantly make a wet mucus that lines with cavity and removes dust pathogens from the air flowing through. Then the cilia that also line the cavity work to move the mucus down to the pharynx where it can be swallowed.


Do you know what's more intereting about boogers? There was a study done that suggested kids to eat boogers as a natural instinct to build the immune system by exposing it to the dead bacteria and virus that are trapped in it. (It could be just a rumor...give her a shot!)


Dried nasal mucus. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Indivisual Post #4: Nomura's Jellyfish

Although the Japanese people are known to be short, they have the biggest jellyfish named Nomura (Japanese: echizen kurage, Scientific name: Nemopilema nomurai)! Nomura's Jellyfish is famously known as the largest cnidarian in the world. It is even slightly bigger than the height of an average fully grown man. It can grow upto nearly 2 meters long in diameter, and they weigh up to 200kg. They usually inhabit in the water between China and Japan. (Yellow Sea and East China Sea) These enormous jellyfishes look enough to harm a person very easily. However, the sting of this giant jellyfish is rather painful, but not poisonous enough to cause serious damages to humans. BUT. You have to have your eyes wide open, because there were few swimmers killed by this jellyfish, and the sting has caused build-up fluids inside the lungs! Nomura's jellyfishes are mysterious and interesting. However, the overpopulation of these jellyfishes are now causing problems. The coastal communities in Japan are trying to promote jellyfish as food; it is said to be very healthful, and I totally agree. Jellyfishes are AWESOME.

Can you believe how big this jellyfish is...



Nomura's jellyfish. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Nomura's jellyfish. (n.d.). Retrieved from's_jellyfish

Indivisual Post #5: THE GIANT SQUID

Herro, I would love to introduce this guy to our rovery crassmates. His name is Giant Squid! Giant squid is a deep-ocean sea creature which belongs to the family Archieuthidae, and it is known by as many as eight speices. These squids are enormous. They are known as the second largest mollusc, and the second largest of all extant invertebrates. A male giant squid can grow up to maximum 14 metres, and a female giant squid can grow up to maximum 13 metres. The eyeball of a giant squid is over 30 centimetres in diameter; giant squids are the largest of any lancelet creature except the colossal squid.They usually eat deep sea fishes and other squids. The only predator that will eat up a giant squid is a sperm whale. Giant squids are very widespread, living in all of world's ocean. Like all squids, giant squids have eight arms, two tentacles that are used to capture prey, and a mantle.

-Yes sir, we got a giant squid!



Giant Squid. (2011). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from

Indivisual Post #6: Hercules Beetle (Dynastes hercules)

Hercules beetles (Family: Scarabaeidae) are known as one of the largest beetles on Earth. It is easy to distingush the genders of a Hercules beetle, because males are usually two times bigger than female ones. Male Hercules beetles size up to maximum 170mm in length, and female Hercules beetles size up to 75mm in length. Even the larva of this massive beetle is gigantic. It usually grows up to 110mm in length. A male Hercules beetle has a horn that is even longer than the body itself. These horns are used to defend themselves from the predators, but these beetles usually used during fights with other males. They are considered as the strongest creature on Earth for its size, able to carry 850 times its own body weight. Their favorite food to eat are decaying fruits, and they only live in South America.



-The larva is almost as big as the adult.



Hercules Beetle. (2011). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 8, 2011, from

Indivisual Post #7: Megalodon

So, you think the Great White Shark is a tough guy? Well, the Great White Shark is not worth contending with this gigantic shark. Megalodon was the biggest shark that lived in the prehistory era (28-1.5 million years ago). Too bad they had became extinct. The word megalodon came from a Greek word meaning "big tooth". It is said to be one of the most powerful predators in vertebrate history. They usually grew up to 16-20 metres long, which beats the size of a whale shark easily. (whale shark is known as the largest living fish species. The size of a largest whale shark is known to be 12.65 metres.) Just like other sharks, megalodon's skeleton was made up with cartiliage. The most common fossil records found in megalodon were the teeth. Their teeth could measure over 180mm in diagonal length; they are considered to be the largest in size of any known shark species. Megalodons usually targeted other whales for food.

Grey and red - Megalodons

Purple - Whale shark

Green - Great white shark (hehehehe not even a chance!!)

Blue - Hi


-Depicted picture of a megalodon.



Megalodon. (2011). Wikipedia. Retrieved June 9, 2011, from

Individual Post #8: 5 Fascinating Dinosaurs

1. Tyrannosaurus Rex

-Grow up to 12 metres long. (body length)

-Lived in upper the Cretaceous Period.

-Known to be the king of carnivoruous dinosaurs.

-Small forepaws compare to hind legs.

-Lived throughout North America (Fossil records).

t-rex.pngI'm coming to get you baby! <3

2. Brachiosaurus

-Measure up to 28 metres long. (body length)

-Lived in Jurassic Period.

-Herbivorous dinosaur. (Gentle personality)

-Fossil records found in North America.


3. Triceratops

-Herbivorous dinosaurs.

-Lived in the upper Cretaceous Period.

-Have a massive bony fril and three horns. (Similarities in modern rhinoceros)

-Even T-rex could not go near by triceratops carelessly.

-Body length measures up to 8-9 metres.

-Fossil records found in North America


4. Pteranodon

-Flying dinosaurs.

-Wingspans measured up to 7.58 metres maximum.

-Carnivoruous. (Fish)

-Lived in the Cretaceous Period.

-Found in North America.


5. Kronosaurus

-Sea Dinosaurs.

-Lived in the Cretaceous Period.


-Had a stronger jaw than T-rex's.

-The teeth measure up to 30 centimetres.

-Body length of 10-11 metres.


More Information about dinosaurs

-Definition: Any of various extinct, often gigantic, carnivorous or herbivorous reptiles of the orders Saurischia and Ornithischia that were chiefly terrestrial and existed during the Mesozoic Era.

-The Mesozoic Era is divided into three geologic periods: Triassic, Jurassic and Cretaceous.

-Three possible reasons of extinction:

1. The asteroid collision theory.

2. The volcano eruption theory.

3. A drastic climate change.


Lee, M.J. (2005). The dictionary of dinosaurs. Seoul: Kimyeongsa.

Individual Post #9: Velociraptor

I was obsessed with dinosaurs since I was a little kid, so I decided to do some extra research of my favorite dinosaur, velociraptors. You might have watched a Toronto Raptors game on Television. They got their logo idea from the velociraptors; the logo features three claws and a basketball. Velociraptors lived in the late Cretaceous period. Velociraptors' fossil records were found in Mongolia and China. Their body length usually measure up to 2-3 metres, but they were only about 50 to 100 centimetres tall. Even though they were small unlike the other dinosaurs, they were excellent hunters. Their anatomical features were outstanding to catch preys, especially their claws on their hindfeet and manuses (hands). The hindfeet claws were used to grasp tightly and kill the prey. The claws on their manuses were put to use for giving a fatal wound to the prey. Furthermore, velociraptors had a well-developed tail that supports the body. It made velociraptors to move faster and keeping the balance when they make a turn while running. You may wonder how this little dinosaurs could kill powerful preys. They usually formed a group when they were looking for food. Also, they had excellent communicaion systems among them.

-Looking sharp, Mr. Velociraptor!

external image velociraptor.jpg


Lee, M.J. (2005). The dictionary of dinosaurs. Seoul: Kimyeongsa.

Individual Post #10: Amphicoelias

Which animal do you think is the largest living in this planet Earth? If you've guessed correctly, it is a blue whale. Blue whales measure up to maximum 33.58 metres and weight 190 short tons. It sure is a tremendous animal. However, my second favourite beats this guy's record easily. Amphicoelias is a herbivorous 4-legged dinosaur. Unfortunately, the vertebra fossil record was only found by a palaeontologist named Edward Drinker Cope. This is the reason why people don't really recognize this gigantic dinosaur. The vertebra was measured to be 1.5 metres. However, according to the studies, the body length could have been 60-80 metres, and this is a well-done measurement by groups of scientists. Amphicoelias believed to be lived in North America, late Jurassic Period. I really hope to find the fossil records of this lovely dinosaur.


external image Amphicoelias.png


Lee, M.J. (2005). The dictionary of dinosaurs. Seoul: Kimyeongsa.