• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month
Page
  1. 1
    1
  2. 2
    2
  3. 3
    3
  4. 4
    4
  5. 5
    5
  6. 6
    6
  7. 7
    7
  8. 8
    8
  9. 9
    9
  10. 10
    10
  11. 11
    11
  12. 12
    12
  13. 13
    13
  14. 14
    14
  15. 15
    15

"Genome" by Matt Ridley review

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

´╗┐Semester 1 Extra Credit Genome by Matt Ridley Chapter 1 Although the beginning of life is still somewhat ambiguous to scientists, author Matt Ridley decides to begin the story of the chromosomes. The first chromosome, according to scientists, began by rearranging different chemicals out of entropy into something alive and working. It seemed to multiply instantly and did not stop until the earth went from absolutely nothing to a world of living things. Mankind, with the ability to think and understand the world, is given these abilities by chromosomes, in part. Another question we must ask is: what exists in organic life that causes life? The first answer to this question was proposed by Erasmus Darwin in 1794. He proposed, in his book, that all organic life consists of something he referred to as filaments, and these threads were the secret to life. Of course, many years later scientists continued to research this and discovered the significance of DNA in the evolution of life. Life essentially has the ability to replicate and create order. To do this, there needs to be information that allows these things to take place, which is the principal function of DNA. DNA is a filament of information that makes up a message written in a code of chemicals we know as A, C, G, and T. (Adenine, Cytosine, Guanine, and Thymine.) The interesting thing about this is that the code is literally written out just like English. It is, in a sense, a linear language. Essentially, DNA is the code that identifies us, but the other thing that shapes our characteristics are genes. Genes are a unit of heredity that is transferred from parent to offspring, embedded in our DNA. However, scientist did not know that genes existed or where they were. Many scientists tried to figure out how genes worked, but simply could not do it until one scientist proved, through an experiment, that our DNA is comprised of genes and is transferable. ...read more.

Middle

In the mid 1990's, a scientist named Dean Hamer was seeking a gene that caused thrill-seeking personalities, but he knew it wouldn't just be a single gene. The first discovery was found by scientist Richard Ebstein within the D4DR gene. He discovered a sequence of 48 letters that were repeating two to eleven times. Depending on how many times this sequence repeats depends on how effective Dopamine receptors can be. The longer it is, the less responsive; the shorter it is, the more responsive. Based off Ebstein's discovery, Hamer wanted to observe whether people with long D4DR genes have different personalities than those with shorter ones. However, his research didnt lead far because there was not an exact correlation. After further research among different groups of people, Hamer concluded 4% of novelty seekers were in correlation to the D4DR gene and the other 36% of people were considered heritable or influenced by environmental factors. There could be well over 500 possible genes that influence personality. As Ridley moves into the discussion of depression, it is also noted that cholesterol and serotonin levels have a similar effect to the Dopamine protein. People with lower levels have depression or violent actions, but this still does not indicate that genes regulate people. Chapter 12 The miracle of life is a remarkable system in the eyes of a biologist. The idea that an egg can be fertilized to become a completely new being is extraordinary, and as Ridley puts it, "we must leave such a comfortable terrain behind and step into the unknown." From the beginning, Ridley refuses to discuss Divine Intervention, but continues by stating that the plan is contained within the egg through genes. Within Chromosome 12, there is a cluster of development genes that contain the codes necessary to create a brand new living organism. The process begins through fertilization which results in an embryo with a front and back. ...read more.

Conclusion

It would also become a political issue in science in the year 1996. What is this gene and why is it a mystery? Ridley continues. Ridley begins by saying sheep, during the eighteenth century, became a revolutionized form of agriculture because owners were able to selectively breed them for desirable traits; genetics 101. However, sheep that were of the Suffolk breed began to develop irational behavior and soon became ill. They eventually died because of this unknown attack on their system, which would later be called Scrapie. The disease soon spread from the Suffolk breed to around the world. The disease wasn?t inherited but rather infectious, however microbes that were ?supposed? to cause this brain disease was undiscoverable. Time passes and there still is not an answer, however, an American scientist named Bill Hadlow noticed that the damaged brains of the sheep were strikingly similar to cases in Papua New Guinea. In a tribe known as Fore, people were stricken by a brain disease which killed many people, especially women. Through further investigation, it became apparent that the reason why women were mostly affected was because of a funeral ritual where the women would eat the dead. The disease was passed to them, thus the government ruled this ritual out. As Ridley returns to discuss PRP, the qualities discovered are actually interesting to note. In 1982, a scientist named Stanley Prusiner discovered a protein that was found in scrapie-like animals and more importantly resisted digestion by protease enzymes. The gene was PRP which stands for protease resistant protein. The PRP gene is found in mice and humans, but the significant thing about it is that it produces a prion, a protein, that changes its shape to a tough and sticky form. It can not be destroyed and it changes other prions into versions of itself. As the chapter progresses, Ridley talks about the politics behind the scare of the Scrapie disease and the ridiculous methods attempted to prevent it. Many meat products were banned because the disease appeared to come from specific meat products. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate Biology section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate Biology essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Neurology and Behaviour. Focus question: Is there an increase in the perception and ...

    5 star(s)

    day How recently the participants have eaten 1.2 Controlling Variables Treatment of controlled variables TABLE 2: Control Treatment of Variables Variables Control treatment Participants' age All participants will be asked their age prior to receiving a consent form. Only those 16-17 years of age will be accepted to take part.

  2. To investigate the amount of protein present in different types of milk by measuring ...

    For the protein yield in nutrition panels, the mass of protein in goat milk is greater than the mass of protein in soya milk whereas the mass of protein in goat milk is smaller than the mass of protein in soya milk in my result.

  1. The Effects of Salinity on Wheat Germination

    apparent for the 2% solution suggesting that genetic variability is at its greatest when germinating and growing in the 2% solution. Furthermore, it was apparent that the 0% solution was by far the healthiest in each and every case. On one of the days there some extra water taken in

  2. The effect on osmosis on the egg shell

    the solutions became isotonic solution. In state of equilibrium, remainders of water potential are very insignificant. When osmotic pressure is approximately equal on both sides, there is inhibition of osmotic movement of the solvent4. But before equilibrium is reached the water molecules move outside of the egg (hypertonic).

  1. Lion King-The Ecological study

    16. Rafike was referring to the changing ecosystem. There will be a new, fresh ecosystem to replace the collapsing one. This includes the revival of the plants, the returning of the herds and the thriving of the lion packs. In the movie itself, near the end of the movie, there is a raging thunderstorm, lots of lightning and bolts striking across the skies.

  2. biology extended essay - How different diets: vegetarian, vegan and a meat centered diet ...

    Other advantages of vegetarianism and veganism are; * Increased energy. * More food resources and food growing space. * More humane treatment for animals. * Improved quality of life because of lower incidence of some chronic diseases. * Less expensive food sources. * Lower death rates for some chronic diseases.

  1. What is the effect of different body positions i.e. lying down, sitting and standing ...

    The blood pressure of the participants when they were in a sitting position was the second highest (see figure 1), with an average systolic pressure of 103mmHg and 63mmHg (see table 5). This also supports the aspect of the hypothesis stating that it would be less than standing as the

  2. Biology - Observing the Process of Guttation

    I obtained six containers, each with a diameter of 10cm and height of 15cm. Next, I placed the divided portions of soil into each of the containers. 4. I labeled the containers with a permanent marker. Container labels were: A, B, C, D, E, F.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work