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A concept map I just drew to help study for my bio exam showing the relationships between various concepts of DNA and the like.

A concept map I just drew to help study for my bio exam showing the relationships between various concepts of DNA and the like.

Did you know?

That if your average sized lecture hall were a nucleus, mitochondria would be the size of life rafts, ribosomes the size of golf balls, proteins the size of marbles, and water molecules the size of poppy seeds.

Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer (SCNT)

A process used to produce clones. Woah.

The method is to create a genetic copy of an individual, or clone.

Firstly, to take it apart, a Somatic Cell is a cell that contains two complete sets of chromosomes. This is essentially any cell in your body that isn’t a sperm or egg. Because sperm and eggs are “two sets of a whole” they only have one complete set of chromosomes.

When we use the term Nuclear here, we’re not talking about an explosion. It’s the nucleus of a cell, which is sort of like the cells brain. It contains all the genetic information and code that cells need to make an organism, also known as good old DNA.

Transfer of course means to move from one place to another.

So how it works is you take a somatic cell from one organism, let’s say a person, and you remove its nucleus, then insert the nucleus into an egg cell from another person, but the egg cell has to have had its nucleus removed.

So you’re transferring the nucleus of a somatic cell to an egg cell, without the nucleus.

SOMATIC CELL NUCLEAR TRANSFER!

So what does it have to do with cloning?

Take Dolly the lamb for example. By the process of SCNT, an egg from an egg cell donor with a new nucleus from a somatic cell donor was then stimulating to divide, a lot! This created a little embryo which was implanted into a third surrogate mother sheep who brought this new little lamb to term. And thus Dolly was born! An exact genetic replica of the sheep who donated the somatic cell.

14-billion-years-later:

Special Mercury Bonus Fact!The meniscus of mercury is upside down from the conventional meniscus of liquids such as water. This is because the forces acting between mercury atoms are greater than the forces acting between the mercury and the glass container.

14-billion-years-later:

Special Mercury Bonus Fact!

The meniscus of mercury is upside down from the conventional meniscus of liquids such as water. This is because the forces acting between mercury atoms are greater than the forces acting between the mercury and the glass container.

Prions

Firstly, the term prion comes from the words protein and infection, which already gives some insight into what they’re all about. So basically, it’s an infectious agent made up of proteins in misfolded form.

Put in much simpler terms, prions are a microorganism, much like a virus or bacteria, that cause disease in the organism it’s hosting. It’s composed of proteins, which are little fibrous forms that control biological function, and while normally they kind of fold up into this little coil, when they are misfolded they can cause diseases. Which is exactly what prions do.

Because of their structure, unlike other infectious agents, prions lack nucleic acids (DNA, RNA etc)

Prions increase in numbers by serving as a template for healthy proteins. So the prion enters into a healthy organism, like the new kid at school, and is sort of like, “Hey healthy proteins! You suck and I’m cool, so I’m here to f*ck shit up.” And all the healthy proteins are all, “Wow prion! You are so cool! We want to be just like you!” And so the healthy, normal proteins physically change to look just like the prion, in all it’s misfolded protein glory. Then, this gang of newly misfolded proteins go on to more healthy cells and peer pressure them into misfolding too. This chain reaction is how prions increase their numbers and spread.

So that’s why you don’t succumb to peer pressure, kids.

The screwed up structure of all these prions are incredibly stable and hard to contain. These prions accumulate in infected tissue causing disease and death. Fun stuff.