With a lifespan of just twelve days, the famous line, 'Live like there's no tomorrow', could be the title of a fruit fly's biography. Drosophila melanogaster, commonly known as the fruit fly, is an important 'model organism' used in biological experiments. A model organism is one that is easy to breed, can survive in laboratories and has an inherent biological advantage. Fruit flies find themselves a part of many experiments from modelling the development of tumour growths in cancer to studying immunity against viral infections. What makes this 3-millimetre-long insect the prefered choice of biologists?
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Killer whales, also known as killer dolphins or orcas, are toothed-whales belonging to the Delphinidae family. Being the largest of oceanic dolphins, nothing in the sea dares to hunt them. Killer whales are often mistaken to be ferocious enough to kill any whale and human, earning them the name ‘killer' . But, did you know that these ‘sea pandas’ are far less violent?
Across the ages, humans have tried to explain natural phenomena, like earthquakes, through stories and myths. Indian mythology says that when the elephant that holds the world on his back gets tired, an earthquake occurs; Norse mythology describes an earthquake as Loki, the God of mischief and strife, struggling to escape his prison; and Japaneses mythology talks about the giant catfish Namazu thrashing about beneath the earth, causing earthquakes. So what does science have to say?
Human hair texture is extremely varied—from poker straight to twistedly tangled—and although we understand some of the biology behind straight hair, curly hair is a bit of an enigma. It’s not just biology that’s involved here, but interestingly some physics too.
Bamboo brings to mind beautifully designed furniture and for a few, memories of seeing a bamboo grove may have left an ever-lasting impression. Home for extraordinary animals and livelihood for millions of people, we are all familiar with bamboo.
Ever wondered about the genes that produces blood in the human body? Haemoglobin in our blood is produced by the haemoglobin beta gene (HBB) and the haemoglobin alpha gene (HBA). These two genes are responsible for providing instructions for making the proteins, beta globin and alpha globin. Beta globin and alpha globin are an important part of the larger protein called haemoglobin, which is found in the human and mammal red blood cells.
We often hear or read that ‘some species of a bird or animal is going extinct’, or ‘a new species of an amphibian or reptile was discovered in the jungles of the Western Ghats’. However, what exactly do we mean by ‘species’?
It is the 21st century, and human beings have transcended their lives far from ordinary. And yet, the origin of life on Earth is still one of the greatest mysteries of all times. Until now, biology explained the origin of life as the formation of the cell, ultimately creating every living organism on the planet. However, the plausibility of this theory has been challenged by a new one that casts the origin of life as an inevitable outcome of thermodynamics—an essential part of physics.
Water Hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes) is a free-floating perennial aquatic plant, native to the Amazon basin in South America. The beautiful, large, purple flowers make it a favourite ornamental plant. However, its beauty is only surface deep, since it has a bad reputation of being one of the worst aquatic weeds in the world.
Today, a majority of us are glued to our smartphones. In the midst of swiping and scrolling through our social media applications, little would we know about an entire community that exists right at the tip of our fingers -- the social community of bacteria on our screen that is a ‘social network’ on its own!