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Biology human body

Gut microbes love a good workout

Exercise can have great effects on the trillions of microbes that live in our gut. Together the community of gut microbiome can weigh up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds).

Lucy Mailing, a nutritional scientist , performed a research on how exercise affects the gut microbiome at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. The research showed that the microbes in active people made more short-chain fatty acids (SCFs) that are good for health. One of these was butyrate (BYOO-turayt). Studies have shown it can protect against certain cancers, fight inflammation and regulate genes that promote health. It may even enhance sleep. Our gut bacteria make such SCFAs from the fiber found in nuts, grains and many vegetables.

Riley Hughes studies nutritional biology at the University of California, Davis. She summarised research on exercise, diet and the microbiome in the January 2020 Frontiers in Nutrition. She says, “Multiple studies have found that exercise increases butyrate and other beneficial SCFAs. Athletes have more SCFAs in their gut than non-athletes.

Studies of how our gut and brain communicate are relatively new. But scientists have already discovered that childhood and adolescence are unique windows for recruiting these microbes. Regular exercise and a good diet during these early life stages create a healthy microbiome.

The final take home message remains the same : Exercise is good for you.

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Biology human body

Bravo! the mystery resolved – “Brain clearing out the dead neurons”

In an average human body, tens of billions of cells die everyday. The dead and the dying cells must be quickly removed to prevent the development of inflammation, which could trigger the death of the neighbouring cells. Recently, the researchers at Yale School of Medicine have directly imaged the death of neurons in mice, as well as how the body clears them out afterwards.

Further down the line, these findings might even inform treatments for age-related brain decline and neurological disorders-once we know more about how brain clean-up is supposed to work, scientists can better diagnose what happens when something goes wrong.

The team focused on the “glial cells” responsible for doing the clean-up work in the brain, they used a technique called 2Phatal to target a single brain cell for apoptosis (cell death) in a mouse and then followed the route of glial cells using fluorescent markers.

Three types of glial cells – microglia, astrocytes, and NG2 cells – were shown to be involved in a highly coordinated cell removal process, which removed both the dead neuron and connecting pathways to the rest of the brain. The researchers observed one microglia engulf the neuron body and its main branches (dendrites), while astrocytes targeted smaller connecting dendrites for removal. They suspect NG2 may help prevent the dead cells debris from spreading.

The researchers also demonstrated that if one type of glial cell missed the dead neuron for whatever reason, other types of cells would take over their role in the waste removal process – suggesting some sort of communication is occuring between the glial cells.

Another interesting finding from the research was that older mouse brains were less efficient in clearing out dead neural cells, even though the garbage removal cells seemed to be just as aware that a dying cell was there.

New treatments might one day be developed that can take over this clearing process on the brains behalf – not just in elderly people, but also those who have suffered trauma to the head, for example.

Neurologist Elyiyemisis Damisah from Yale School of Medicine says, ” Cell death is very common in diseases of the brain. Understanding the process might yield insights on how to address cell death in an injured brain from head trauma to stroke and other conditions.”

For the first time scientists captured video of brain clearing out dead neuron

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Biology Covid-19

Covid -19 : An Enigma for researchers

Coronaviruses were first identified as human respiratory pathogens, in the year 1965, and were known to demonstrate very high rate of mutation. Coronaviruses are enveloped (+) RNAs, that replicate in the cytoplasm. To deliver their nucleocaspid into the host cell, they rely on the fusion of their envelope with the host cell membrane. The spike glycoprotein (S) mediates this entry of the virus and acts as the primary determinant of cell tropism and pathogenesis. Glycoprotein (S) is classified as a class I fusion protein and is reponsible for binding to the receptor on the host cell, whilst mediating the fusion of the host and viral membranes. This is a process driven by major conformational changes of the S protein. On more technical terms, Corona viruses are the containers of the largest ssRNA genome of 33kb. Structurally, coronaviruses are enveloped viruses with round or pleomorphic virions which are 80 to 120 nm in diameter

This 1st generation of coronaviruses could not survive for long, owing to the host resistance. However, in 2002, new strains of these coronaviruses emerged. These strains of Coronaviruses had very similar genome sequences, and had been isolated from animals sold at markets, in China, where the first SARS cases had appeared. Antibodies to these viruses were found in people in China and some bat species. This small outbreak of corona can be consideed as one due to the 2nd generation of Corona viruses.

Finally, the Coronavirus outbreak of 2020-this outbreak had presented itself in the form of pneumonia of an unknown etiology, in Wuhan, China. This is named as SARS-CoV-2. It can be implied that recombination could have occurred, either by viral-viral or viral-host genes committing acts of “molecular piracy” to invade vertebrates and render them immunocompromised. This pandemic begets an extensive line of research by the world’s brightest to solve this enigma, consequently putting an end to it.

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Covid-19 environment

Covid-19 and our Environment

After the lockdown due to Covid-19 in many countries, there was lesser travelling done by people, whether by cars, trains or flights. Even many industries were non-functional. This led to the significant decrease in air pollution, as there was a marked reduction in nitrous oxide emission.

Lockdown has decreased the fishing activity, hence the fish biomass will increase. Even the sea turtles have been spotted returning to areas they once avoided to lay their eggs, all due to the lack of human interference.

Plants are growing better because there is cleaner air and water, yet again there is no human interference.

Less litter means lesser clogging of river systems, which is good in the long run for the environment.

In conclusion, though there has been a positive impact on the environment due to the lockdown, there is a fear that once people start travelling, all these positive impacts will soon disappear.

Categories
Biology Evolution

Should evolution be equated with ‘progress’???

Evolution should neither be equated with progress nor with the elimination of older, less efficient species. Continuation of old species depends upon the environment. The new species may or may not be better. Formation of new species depends upon the occurrence of physical or reproductive barriers, genetic drift and natural selection that leads to the formation of new population or species which is unable to interbreed with the original population.

In fact, there is no real ‘progress’ in the idea of evolution. Evolution is ‘simply the generation of diversity and the shaping of the diversity by environmental selection’. The only progressive trend in evolution seems to be that more and more complex body designs have emerged over time. However, again, it is not as if the older designs are inefficient. Many of the older and simpler designs still survive. In fact, one of the simplest life forms – bacteria – in-habitat the most inhospitable habitats like hot springs, deep – sea thermal vents and the ice in Antarctica. In other words, human beings are not the pinnacle of evolution, but simply yet another species in the teeming spectrum of evolving life.

Thus, there is no such thing as ladder of progress but there are branches from the family tree of species.

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environment

WHAT IS ENVIRONMENT???

The word ‘environment’ refers to the conditions, which is surrounding the ecosystem or the community of living things. What we see,feel. breathe, eat constitutes the environment. The environment supports our lives and the lives of the other species. All living beings need a healthy environment to live a healthy life.

It is the environment that regulates and maintains all biological cycles. Since time immemorial, the growth and evolution of all living forms have taken place with the help of environment.

The food chain, food webs, photosynthesis, greenhouse effect, absorption of UV rays by ozone layer, nitrogen cycle, oxygen cycle etc. are the key environmental processes behind the survival of all species.

Categories
Biology

WHAT IS BIOLOGY????

Biology = Science about Nature

Biology means to know the laws by which all living organisms exist, right from the smallest algae or microorganism to the biggest blue whale is studied under biology.

Modern biology studies the structure, function, growth, distribution and evolution of living organisms. The general concepts of biology are that the ‘cell’ is the basic unit of life, ‘genes’ are the basic unit of heredity & ‘evolution’ is the reason for diversity.

Organisms survive by consuming and transforming energy and all organisms maintain a stable internal environment.

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Uncategorized

The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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