Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Is it true that salamanders can do photosynthesis?

It appears that researchers have located spotted salamanders that have photosynthetic algae living inside their cells. This intracellular algae are providing the products of photosynthesis, oxygen and water, to the salamander's cells. This is the first time a relationship between algae and a vertebrate has been discovered.
The researcher, Ryan Kerney, says "the surrounding salamander cells that contain the algae often have several mitochondria bordering the algal symbiont" This makes it very convenient for the cells to use the glucose made during photosynthesis and turn it into ATP.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Do Fish Sleep?

This question gets asked about a lot of sea animals. Most animals need down time to re-energize or evade predators. While this is often called "sleep", sometime hibernation might be a slightly closer term.

Fish do not have sleep like higher primates. They do not close their eyes or have REMs but scientists feel certain they experience a rest period when all body functions have slowed to a minimal level.

How Can DNA Be Programmed?

Genes contained DNA can be turned off and on through several methods. One of the most promising ways of altering genes is through epigenetics. Many studies have indicated that the environment plays a role in activating or silencing certain genes. Most of the changes attributed to epigenetics only last for one generation meaning they may not be passed on to offspring.

Epigenetics has been offered as one possible process affecting obesity. An environment of high fat/fast foods may turn on a gene promoting weight gain while in another eating environment, this gene would be silenced.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

How Can I Get Rid of Horse Thrush?

Equine Thrush is caused by an anaerobic bacteria that gives rise to the growth of a fungus (yeast). If a horse is kept in a stall that is clean and dry it should never get Equine Thrush. Introducing oxygen into the stall shaving through use of a shovel or pitch fork will take care of any anaerobic bacteria as they diet as soon as they come into contact with air.

If thrush does manage to creep up on you and your horse, don't worry – treating it is actually fairly simple. You might first call your farrier so that he can thoroughly clean and trim your horse's hooves (particularly the frog area). This will make it easier for your horse's hooves to aerate, plus you can apply medication more directly to the infected areas.

Two products that are highly regarded by farriers for their effectiveness are Kopertox and Thrush Remedy by Absorbine, but just squirting some on the hoof generally isn't enough since the liquid may not reach all the nooks and crannies of the infected frog. Instead of squirting those products onto the infected area try applying the medication with a cotton swab. (Wrapping cotton around a stick or hoof pick does the trick.)

DO NOT apply bleach or hydrogen peroxide to a horse’s feet. These so-called “treatments” will burn the healthy tissues of the frog and actually retard healing.

Is change the only thing constant in our universe?

Wow, that is deep question for the first one of a new school year! If I answered that only from the viewpoint of a scientist I would have to say yes. Especially in biology we see that the world and the species in it are constantly in flux.

However,as a Christian I have great comfort in knowing that one thing never changes and that's God's unfailing love for me. He has promised to never leave us or forsake us. This belief allows me to live with confidence in a world that seems to always be in a state of constant change.