General Science Compendium-1
Rabies or hydrophobia is a viral neuroinvasive disease that causes acute encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) in warm-blooded animals. It is zoonotic (i.e. transmitted by domesticated / stray animals), most commonly by a bite from an infected animal, but occasionally by other forms of contact. It is fatal if left untreated. In some countries it is a significant killer of livestock.
The rabies virus makes its way to the brain by following the peripheral nerves. The incubation period of the disease depends on how far the virus must travel to reach the central nervous system, usually taking a few months.Once the infection reaches the central nervous system and symptoms begin to show, the untreated infection is usually fatal within days.
In the beginning stages of rabies, the symptoms are malaise, headache, and fever, while in later stages it includes acute pain, violent movements, uncontrolled excitements, depressions, and the inability to swallow water (hence the name hydrophobia). In the final stages, the patient begins to have periods of mania and lethargy, and coma. Death generally occurs due to respiratory insufficiency.
Food chains describe the eating relationships between species within an ecosystem or a particular living place. Organisms are connected to the organisms they consume by lines representing the direction of organism or energy transfer. It also shows how the energy from the producer is given to the consumer. Typically a food chain or food web refers to a graph where only connections are recorded, and a food network or ecosystem network refers to a network where the connections are given weights representing the quantity of nutrients or energy being transferred.
A food chain is the flow of energy from one organism to the next and to the next and so on. Organisms in a food chain are grouped into trophic levels, based on how many links they are removed from the primary producers. Trophic levels may contain either a single species or a group of species that are presumed to share both predators and prey. They usually start with a plant and end with a carnivore.
Proteins are also known as polypeptides and are organic compounds made of amino acids arranged in a linear chain and joined together by peptide bonds between the carboxyl and amino groups of adjacent amino acid residues. The sequence of amino acids in a protein is defined by the sequence of a gene, which is encoded in the genetic code. In general, the genetic code specifies 20 standard amino acids (generally).
The genetic code is the set of rules by which information encoded in genetic material (DNA or RNA sequences) is translated into proteins (amino acid sequences) by living cells. The code defines a mapping between tri-nucleotide sequences, called codons, and amino acids. A triplet codon in a nucleic acid sequence usually specifies a single amino acid (though in some cases the same codon triplet in different locations can code unambiguously for two different amino acids, the correct choice at each location being determined by context. Because the vast majority of genes are encoded with exactly the same code (see the RNA codon table), this particular code is often referred to as the canonical or standard genetic code, or simply the genetic code, though in fact there are many variant codes. Thus the canonical genetic code is not universal. For example, in humans, protein synthesis in mitochondria relies on a genetic code that varies from the canonical code.
It is important to know that not all genetic information is stored using the genetic code. All organisms’ DNA contain regulatory sequences, intergenic segments, chromosomal structural areas, which can contribute greatly to phenotype but operate using distinct sets of rules that may or may not be as straightforward as the codon-to-amino acid paradigm that usually underlies the genetic code .
Enzymes are biomolecules that catalyze (i.e., increase the rates of) chemical reactions. Almost all enzymes are proteins. In enzymatic reactions, the molecules at the beginning of the process are called substrates, and the enzyme converts them into different molecules, called the products. Almost all processes in a biological cell need enzymes to occur at significant rates. Since enzymes are selective for their substrates and speed up only a few reactions from among many possibilities, the set of enzymes made in a cell determines which metabolic pathways occur in that cell.
Like all catalysts, enzymes work by lowering the activation energy for a reaction, thus dramatically increasing the rate of the reaction. Most enzyme reaction rates are millions of times faster than those of comparable un-catalyzed reactions. As with all catalysts, enzymes are not consumed by the reactions they catalyze, nor do they alter the equilibrium of these reactions. However, enzymes do differ from most other catalysts by being much more specific. Enzymes are known to catalyze about 4,000 biochemical reactions.A few RNA molecules called ribozymes catalyze reactions, with an important example being some parts of the ribosome. Synthetic molecules called artificial enzymes also display enzyme-like catalysis.
Enzyme activity can be affected by other molecules. Inhibitors are molecules that decrease enzyme activity; activators are molecules that increase activity. Many drugs and poisons are enzyme inhibitors. Activity is also affected by temperature, chemical environment (e.g., pH), and the concentration of substrate. Some enzymes are used commercially, for example, in the synthesis of antibiotics. In addition, some household products use enzymes to speed up biochemical reactions (e.g., enzymes in biological washing powders break down protein or fat stains on clothes; enzymes in meat tenderizers break down proteins
Tocopherol or Vitamin E
Vitamin E or Tocopherols and tocotrienols are fat-soluble antioxidants and associated with many functions in the body including reproduction ability. If you get a deeper question like , which tocopherol is associated with infertility then the answer will be alpha-tocopherol. Tocotrienols are another Vitamin E family compounds.
Sources of Vitamin E: In foods, the most abundant sources of vitamin E are vegetable oils such as palm oil, sunflower, corn, soybean, and olive oil. Nuts, sunflower seeds, seabuckthorn berries, kiwifruit, and wheat germ are also good sources. Other sources of vitamin E are whole grains, fish, peanut butter, goats milk, and green leafy vegetables. Fortified breakfast cereals are also an important source of vitamin E in the United States. Although originally extracted from wheat germ oil, most natural vitamin E supplements are now derived from vegetable oils, usually soybean oil.
Plant hormones (also known as phytohormones) are chemicals that regulate plant growth. Plant hormones are not nutrients, but chemicals that in small amounts promote and influence the growth,development, and differentiation of cells and tissues. The biosynthesis of plant hormones within plant tissues is often diffuse and not always localized. Plants lack glands to produce and store hormones, because, unlike animals, which have two circulatory systems (lymphatic and cardiovascular) powered by a heart that moves fluids around the body, plants use more passive means to move chemicals around the plant. Plants utilize simple chemicals as hormones, which move more easily through the plant’s tissues. They are often produced and used on a local basis within the plant body, plant cells even produce hormones that affect different regions of the cell producing the hormone.
Following are Types of Plant Hormones:
1. Abscisic acid: They are normally produced in the leaves of plants, originating from chloroplasts, especially when plants are under stress. In general, it acts as an inhibitory chemical compound that affects bud growth, seed and bud dormancy. It mediates changes within the apical meristem causing bud dormancy and the alteration of the last set of leaves into protective bud covers.
2. Gibberellin : It was first recognized in 1926 by a Japanese scientist, Eiichi Kurosawa, studying bakanae, the “foolish seedling” disease in rice. It was first isolated in 1935 by Teijiro Yabuta, from fungal strains (Gibberella fujikuroi) provided by Kurosawa. Yabuta called the isolate gibberellin.Gibberellins are involved in the natural process of breaking dormancy and various other aspects of germination. Before the photosynthetic apparatus develops sufficiently in the early stages of germination, the stored energy reserves of starch nourish the seedling. Usually in germination, the breakdown of starch to glucose in the endosperm begins shortly after the seed is exposed to water.
3. Auxins: Auxins are compounds that positively influence cell enlargement, bud formation and root initiation. They also promote the production of other hormones and in conjunction with cytokinins, they control the growth of stems, roots, flowers and fruits.
4. Cytokinins: Cytokinins or CKs are a group of chemicals that influence cell division and shoot formation. They were called kinins in the past when the first cytokinins were isolated from yeast cells.
5. Ethylene: Ethylene is a gas that forms through the Yang Cycle from the breakdown of methionine, which is in all cells. Ethylene has very limited solubility in water and does not accumulate within the cell but diffuses out of the cell and escapes out of the plant. Its effectiveness as a plant hormone is dependent on its rate of production versus its rate of escaping into the atmosphere. Ethylene affects fruit-ripening: Normally, when the seeds are mature, ethylene production increases and builds-up within the fruit, resulting in a climacteric event just before seed dispersal.
Electrocardiography (ECG or EKG) is the recording of the electrical activity of the heart over time via skin electrodes.
How ECG Works: Electrical impulses in the heart originate in the sinoatrial node and travel through conducting system to the heart muscle.The impulses stimulate the muscle fibres to contract and thus producing the systole. The electrical waves can be measured at selectively placed electrodes (electrical contacts) on the skin. Electrodes on different sides of the heart measure the activity of different parts of the heart muscle. An ECG displays the voltage between pairs of these electrodes, and the muscle activity that they measure, from different directions, also understood as vectors. This display indicates the overall rhythm of the heart and weaknesses in different parts of the heart muscle. It is the best way to measure and diagnose abnormal rhythms of the heart
Electroencephalography (EEG) is the recording of electrical activity along the scalp produced by the firing of neurons within the brain. In clinical contexts, EEG refers to the recording of the brain’s spontaneous electrical activity over a short period of time, usually 20–40 minutes, as recorded from multiple electrodes placed on the scalp. In neurology, the main diagnostic application of EEG is in the case of epilepsy, as epileptic activity can create clear abnormalities on a standard EEG study. A secondary clinical use of EEG is in the diagnosis of coma and encephalopathies. EEG used to be a first-line method for the diagnosis of tumors, stroke and other focal brain disorders, but this use has decreased with the advent of anatomical imaging techniques such as MRI and CT.
MRI : Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), or nuclear magnetic resonance imaging (NMRI), is primarily a medical imaging technique most commonly used in radiology to visualize the internal structure and function of the body. MRI provides much greater contrast between the different soft tissues of the body than computed tomography (CT) does, making it especially useful in neurological (brain), musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, and oncological (cancer) imaging. Unlike CT, it uses no ionizing radiation, but uses a powerful magnetic field to align the nuclear magnetization of (usually) hydrogen atoms in water in the body. Radio frequency fields are used to systematically alter the alignment of this magnetization, causing the hydrogen nuclei to produce a rotating magnetic field detectable by the scanner. This signal can be manipulated by additional magnetic fields to build up enough information to construct an image of the body
CT : Computed tomography
Computed tomography (CT) is a medical imaging method employing tomography. Digital geometry processing is used to generate a three-dimensional image of the inside of an object from a large series of two-dimensional X-ray images taken around a single axis of rotation. The word “tomography” is derived from the Greek tomos (slice) and graphein (to write). Computed tomography was originally known as the “EMI scan” as it was developed at a research branch of EMI, a company best known today for its music and recording business. It was later known as computed axial tomography (CAT or CT scan) and body section röntgenography.
ATP : Adenosine triphosphate
Adenosine-5′-triphosphate (ATP) is a multifunctional nucleotide, and plays an important role in cell biology as a coenzyme that is the “molecular unit of currency” of intracellular energy transfer. In this role, ATP transports chemical energy within cells for metabolism. It is produced as an energy source during the processes of photosynthesis and cellular respiration and consumed by many enzymes and a multitude of cellular processes including biosynthetic reactions, motility and cell division. ATP is made from adenosine diphosphate (ADP) or adenosine monophosphate (AMP), and its use in metabolism converts it back into these precursors. ATP is therefore continuously recycled in organisms, with the human body turning over its own weight in ATP each day.
ACTH : Adrenocorticotropic hormone
Adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH or corticotropin) is a polypeptide tropic hormone produced and secreted by the anterior pituitary gland. ACTH acts at several key steps to influence the steroidogenic pathway in the adrenal cortex. It stimulates lipoprotein uptake into cortical cells. This increases the bio-availability of cholesterol in the cells of the adrenal cortex. It increases the transport of cholesterol into the mitochondria and activates its hydrolysis. ACTH Stimulates cholesterol side-chain cleavage enzyme, which makes the rate-limiting step in steroidogenesis. This results in the production of pregnenolone
The pollen tube of most seed plants acts as a conduit to transport sperm cells from the pollen grain, either from the stigma (in flowering plants or angiosperms) to the ovules at the base of the pistil, or directly through ovule tissue in some gymnosperms (conifers and gnetophytes). In other gymnosperms (Ginkgo and cycads) the pollen tube is involved only in nutrient uptake from ovule tissue by the pollen grain, and does not convey sperm cells to the egg. Like ferns, other basal land plants, and many algae, these gymnosperms have flagellate sperm, which swim through a watery fluid to fertilize the egg cells.
In angiosperms the pollen tube germinates from the pollen grain and grows the entire length through the stigma, style, ovary and ovules to reach the eggs. In maize, this single cell can grow longer than 12 inches to traverse the length of the pistil. The sperm cells by themselves are not motile and are carried within the tube. As the tip of the tube reaches an egg it bursts and releases two sperm cells leading to a double fertilization. One sperm unites with the egg cell to produce the embryo of a new plant, while a second sperm unites with the central cell to produce the endosperm of the seed. The endosperm is rich in starch, proteins and oils and is a major source of human food (e.g., wheat, barley, rye, oats, corn)
Mitosis & Meiosis:
Meiosis is a process of reductional division in which the number of chromosomes per cell is halved. In animals, meiosis always results in the formation of gametes, while in other organisms it can give rise to spores. As with mitosis, before meiosis begins, the DNA in the original cell is replicated during S-phase of the cell cycle. Two cell divisions separate the replicated chromosomes into four haploid gametes or spores.
Mitosis is the process in which a eukaryotic cell separates the chromosomes in its cell nucleus, into two identical sets in two daughter nuclei. It is generally followed immediately by cytokinesis, which divides the nuclei, cytoplasm, organelles and cell membrane into two daughter cells containing roughly equal shares of these cellular components. Mitosis and cytokinesis together define the mitotic phase of the cell cycle – the division of the mother cell into two daughter cells, genetically identical to each other and to their parent cell.
RNA vs DNA
RNA is very similar to DNA, but differs in a few important structural details: in the cell, RNA is usually single-stranded, while DNA is usually double-stranded; RNA nucleotides contain ribose while DNA contains deoxyribose (a type of ribose that lacks one oxygen atom); and RNA has the base uracil rather than thymine that is present in DNA.