Biology - Short Question Answer

Here in this section of Biology Short Questions Answers, We have listed out some of the important Short Questions with Answers which will help students to answer it correctly in their University Written Exam.

1. What is meant by binomial nomenclature and what are its basic rules?

Scientific nomenclature of a species must have, at least, two names: one that classifies it as genus and the other that identifies it as species. The name related to genus is the first and must begin in uppercase, the other following names must be written in lowercase.

Besides this rule, scientific names of species must stand out and be written either in italics or underlined or still bolded or between quotation marks.

For example, the scientific name of the human species is "Homo sapiens", indicating that it belongs to the genus Homo.

Scientific nomenclature of species is important because it universalizes the way to refer to a species making it easier for people of different languages and cultures to understand each other. Same species that have very different names in different regions of the planet can be identified easily by their scientific binomial name.

2. SARS is a disease that appeared in 2003 with epidemic features in the province of Guangdong, in east China. What type of agent causes SARS?

SARS is caused by a virus from the coronavirus group, a RNA virus (retrovirus). SARS can be fatal.

3. What are the consequences of shifting the chemical equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate from carbon dioxide and water towards the increase of product (bicarbonate) formation?

The increase in product formation in the chemical equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate from carbon dioxide and water heightens the concentration of hydrogen ions and thus lowers the pH of the solution.

4. What is the difference between type I diabetes mellitus and type II diabetes mellitus?

Type I diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, or insulin-dependent diabetes (this name is not adequate as type II diabetes may become insulin- dependent), is the impaired  production of insulin by the pancreas believed to be caused by destruction of cells of the islets of Langerhans by autoantibodies (autoimmunity). Type II diabetes occurs in the adult individual and it is often diagnosed in people of more advanced age. In type II diabetes there is normal or low secretion of insulin by the pancreas but the main cause of the high glycemia is the peripheral resistance of the cells to the action of the hormone.


5. How do the water absorption volume and the water transpiration volume comparatively vary in plants in a day? What is the final comparative balance of these processes?

During the day the transpired volume of water is higher than the volume absorbed by the roots. At night the situation reverses and the roots absorb more water than the transpired volume. It is observed that the transpired and the absorbed volumes practically equal in a day.

6. How is energy transferred along a food chain?

The energy flux along a food chain is always unidirectional, from the producers to the decomposers. 

7. What are the five kingdoms into which living beings are divided? Which group of living being is out of this classification?

The five kingdoms of living beings are the kingdom Monera, the kingdom Protista, the kingdom Fungi, the kingdom Plantae and the kingdom Animalia.

Viruses are out of this classification and sometimes they are said to belong to their own kingdom, the kingdom Virus.

8. In which habitat do birds live?

Birds are terrestrial animals but the majority of species also explore the aerial environment by flying.

9. What is the structure of the central nervous system that regulates pulmonary respiration?

The pulmonary respiration is controlled by the neural respiratory center located within the medulla (the lower part of the brain continuous to the spinal cord).

10. Why do diabetic patients often undergo dietary sugar restriction? What are the main complications of diabetes mellitus?

Diabetic patients are often advised to ingest less carbohydrates since these substances are degraded into glucose and this molecule is absorbed in the intestines. The dietary sugar restriction goal is to control glycemia to maintain it at normal levels.

11. Are the xylem and the phloem made of living cells?

The cells that constitute the xylem ducts are dead cells killed by lignin deposition. The cells of the phloem are living cells.

12. What is the difference between the concepts of food chain and food web?

The chain concept is a theoretical model to study the energy flux in ecosystems. Actually in an ecosystem the organisms are part of several interconnected food chains, forming a food web. Therefore the chain is a theoretical linear sequence and the web is a more realistic representation of nature in which the food chains interconnect forming a web. 

13. According to cellular organization how are living beings divided into two groups?

Cellular beings are divided into two groups: the prokaryotes, unicellular beings whose sole cell does not have a delimited nucleus, and eukaryotes, uni or multicellular beings with cells having delimited nucleus.

14. How is the circulatory system of birds characterized?

Birds, like every vertebrate, have a closed circulatory system. The heart is similar to the mammalian heart, having four chambers (two atria and two ventricles) and with no mixture of venous and arterial blood. (In mammals, however, the aorta curves down to the left and in birds it curves down to the right).

15. What are the consequences of shifting the chemical equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate from carbon dioxide and water towards the consumption of products of the reverse reaction?

The shifting of the chemical equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate from carbon dioxide and water into the reverse reaction (production of water and carbon dioxide) means spending of hydrogen ions and thus it increases the solution pH.

16. In ancient Greece the father of Medicine, Hypocrates, described a method of diagnosing diabetes mellitus by tasting the patient's urine. What is the physiological explanation for this archaic method?

Under normal conditions the glucose filtered by the renal glomeruli is almost entirely resorbed in the nephron tubules and not excreted in urine. With the elevated glucose blood level the renal tubules cannot resorb all the filtered glucose and some amount of the substance appears in the urine. This amount is enough to provide the sweet taste that helped Hypocrates to diagnose diabetes and to differentiate it from other diseases accompanied by polyuria. Nowadays the method is inconceivable due to the danger of contamination of the tester by disease agents possibly present in the patient's urine.

17. What is the importance of lignin for the xylem formation?

Lignin is important because it is deposited on the cell wall of the xylem cells providing impermeability and rigidity to the xylem vessels.

18. What are trophic levels? How many trophic levels can a food chain have?

Trophic levels correspond to positions on a food chain. Therefore producers always belong to the first trophic level and decomposers to the last trophic level, consumers that directly eat the producers belong to the second trophic level and so on.

There is no limit regarding the number of trophic levels on a chain, since many orders of consumers can exist.

19. Which are the beings that form the kingdom Animalia? What are the two big groups into which this kingdom is divided?

The kingdom Animalia is the animal kingdom. Commonly the kingdom Animalia is subdivided into invertebrates and vertebrates.

20. SARS is a disease that appeared in 2003 with epidemic features in the province of Guangdong, in east China. What type of agent causes SARS?

SARS is caused by a virus from the coronavirus group, a RNA virus (retrovirus). SARS can be fatal.

21. What are acidosis and alkalosis?

Acidosis is the condition in which the blood pH is abnormally low. Alkalosis is the condition in which the blood pH is abnormally high. Normal pH levels for the human blood are between 7.35 and 7.45 - slightly alkaline.

22. What are the main treatments of diabetes mellitus?

The general goal of the diabetes treatment is to maintain normal glycemic levels. Type I diabetes is treated with parenteral administration of insulin. Insulin must be administered intravenously or intramuscularly because as a protein it would be digested if ingested orally. In type II diabetes treatment is done with oral drugs that regulate the glucose metabolism or in more severe cases with parental administration of insluin. The moderation of carbohydrate ingestion is an important aid to diabetes treatment. The diabetes treatment with the use of hypoglycemic agents, like insulin or oral medicines, must be carefully and medically supervised since if wrongly used these drugs may abruptly decrease the glucose blood level, cause hypoglycemia and even death. Many other forms of diabetes treatment are under research worldwide.

23. What is root pressure?

Root pressure is the pressure that forces water from the soil to be absorbed by the xylem of the root. It is due to the osmotic gradient between the interior of the root and the soil.

24. What are the three main types of trophic pyramids studied in Ecology?

The three types of trophic pyramids studied in Ecology are the numeric pyramid, the biomass pyramid and the energy pyramid.

Generally the variable dimension of the pyramid is the width, and the height is always the same for each represented strata of living beings. The width therefore represents the number of individuals, or the total mass of these individuals or the available energy in each trophic level.


25. Which are the beings that constitute the kingdom Monera?

The kingdom Monera is the kingdom of the prokaryotes, composed of bacteria and archaebacteria.

26. What are flight adaptations present by birds?

Wings associated to a well-developed pectoral musculature, pneumatic bones, less accumulation of feces in the bowels due to the absence of the colon, absence of the bladder (no urine storage), aerodynamic body and lungs with specialized air sacs are all adaptations which enable birds to fly.

27. How does the pulmonary ventilation affect the carbon dioxide concentration in blood? What happens to the carbon dioxide concentration and to the blood pH when the respiratory frequency is either lowered or increased?

The pulmonary ventilation frequency (number of inhalations per time unit) rises or lowers the carbon dioxide concentration in blood. If it is intense the gas is more eliminated to the exterior and if it is reduced the gas is retained inside the organism. Applying the principles of chemical equilibriums to the formation of bicarbonate from carbon dioxide and water one gets the following: if the carbon dioxide concentration is increased the equilibrium shifts towards the formation of bicarbonate and liberation of hydrogen ions and the pH  of the solution is lowered; if the carbon dioxide concentration is lowered the equilibrium shifts reversely towards the formation of water and carbon dioxide and also of more hydrogen ions spending and the pH of the solution is raised.

28. How can bacteria produce human insulin on an industrial scale? What are the other forms of insulin made available by the pharmaceutical industry?

Bacteria do not naturally synthesize insulin. It is possible however to implant human genetic material containing the insulin gene into the bacterial DNA. The mutant bacteria then multiply and produce human insulin. The insulin is isolated and purified for later commercialization. This biotechnology is known as the recombinant DNA technology. Besides human insulin the pharmaceutical industry also produces insulin to be used by humans made from the pancreas of pigs and cows.


29. What is capillarity? How is this phenomenon chemically explained? What is the relevance of capillarity for water transport in plants?

Capillarity is the phenomenon through which water moves inside extremely thin tubes (capillaries) aided by the attraction between water molecules and the capillary wall. The capillarity phenomenon is possible because water is a polar molecule and forms intermolecular hydrogen bonds. 

Therefore there is electrical attraction (adhesion force) between the capillary wall and the water molecules that then pull each other (cohesion force) since they are bound. Not just water but other liquids may move inside capillaries by capillarity.

Capillarity is not too relevant for the transport of water in plants. It contributes only to a few centimeters of ascension.

30. What are primary consumers? Can a food chain present quaternary consumers without having secondary or tertiary consumers? Can a tertiary consumer of one chain be a primary or secondary consumer of another chain?
31. Which are the beings that form the kingdom Protista?

The kingdom Protista comprises protozoans and algae.

32. Which is the type of nitrogen waste birds produce? Why does this feature, besides being an adaptation to the terrestrial environment, also mean an adaptation to flight?

Birds are uricotelic, i.e., like reptiles, they excrete uric acid. This substance needs less water to be eliminated and so it helps to reduce the body weight thus aiding in flight.

33. How does the breathing process correct acidosis?

If the body experiences acidosis the respiratory center located in the medulla gets the information and induces the increase of the respiratory frequency. The increment of the respiratory frequency makes the body eliminate more carbon dioxide and to shift the equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate towards the spending of more hydrogen ions and thus the blood pH raises.

34. Where are the adrenal glands located? How many are they and what are their portions?

Each adrenal gland is located on the top of each kidney (forming a hat-like structure for the kidneys), so there are two glands. The adrenal parenchymal structure is divided into two portions: the most peripheral is the cortical portion, or adrenal cortex, and the central is the medullary portion, or adrenal medulla.

35. What are the forces that make water to flow within the xylem from the roots to the leaves?

Water enters the roots due to the root pressure and a water column is maintained within the xylem from the roots to the leaves. The most important factor that makes water ascend is transpiration, mainly in the leaves. As leaves lose water by transpiration their cells tend to attract more water creating suction inside the xylem. The cohesion property of water that keeps its molecules bound (one pulls the other) by hydrogen bonds helps the process.

36. What do numeric pyramids represent?

Numeric pyramids represent the number of individuals in each trophic level of a food chain. 

37. What are the nine phyla of the kingdom Animalia?

The nine phyla of the animal kingdom are: Porifera (poriferans), Cnidaria (cnidarians), Platyhelminthes (flatworms), Nematoda (roundworms), Annelida (annelids), Mollusca (molluscs), Arthropoda (arthropods), Echinodermata (echinoderms) and Chordata (chordates).

38. What is crystallization of a virus? What is the importance of this process?

Crystallization is the process of transformation of viral components into organized solid particles.

Crystallization of biological macromolecules, including viral components, is used to study structural characteristics, for example, through X- rays, laser beams, etc.

39. How does the breathing process correct alkalosis?

If the body undergoes alkalosis the respiratory center located in the medulla gets the information and induces the lowering of the respiratory frequency. The reduction of the respiratory frequency makes the body retain more carbon dioxide and to shift the equilibrium of the formation of bicarbonate towards the production of more hydrogen ions and thus the blood pH lowers.

40. What is tree girdling? What happens to a plant when that girdle is removed from the stem (below the branches)?

Malpighi’s girdling, or tree girdling, is the removal from a stem of a complete external girdle containing the phloem (that is more external) but preserving the xylem (that is more internal).

When a girdle like that is removed below the branches the plant dies because organic food (sugar) is disallowed to pass to the region below the girdle and thus roots die from the lack of nutrients. Since roots die the plant does not get water and mineral salts and dies too.


41. In the short term what will happen to the levels above and below a population of secondary consumers of a numeric pyramid if a large number of individuals from this population dies?

If an intermediate level of a numeric pyramid has its variable dimension decreased, i.e., if the number of individuals of that level is reduced, the number of individuals of the level below will increase and the number of individuals of the level above will be reduced. That happens because the individuals of the level below will face less predators and the individuals of the level above will have less available food. 

42. Which are the beings that form the kingdom Fungi?

The kingdom Fungi is formed by fungi.

43. What are pneumatic bones?

Birds have lightweighted bones with internal spaces filled with air. These bones are called pneumatic bones. This feature reduces the corporal density of the animal facilitating the flight.

44. What is the plant coleoptile? Why does the removal of the coleoptile extremity disallow plant growth?

Coleoptile is the first (one or more) aerial structure of the sprouting plant that emerges from the seed. It encloses the young stem and the first leaves, protecting them.

The top of the coleoptile generally is the region where auxins are made. If this region is removed, plant growth stops since auxins are necessary to promote growth and tissue differentiation.

45. In a numeric pyramid to which trophic level does the base always refer? What about the top level?

In a numeric pyramid the base corresponds to the first trophic level, i.e., to the producers. The top level of the pyramid corresponds generally to the last consumer order of the food chain (since the number of individual decomposers, most of them microorganisms, is too large to be represented). 

46. What are the two mains divisions of the chordate phylum?

Chordates are divided into protochordates (cephalochordates and urochordates) and vertebrates.


47. What similarities do birds and reptiles share regarding external coverage, reproduction and excretion?

Regarding external coverage, birds are similar to reptiles as they present impermeable keratinized coverages.

Concerning reproduction, in both fecundation is internal and the embryo develops within a shelled egg.

Regarding excretion, both excrete uric acid.

48. What are the hormones produced by the testicles and the ovaries?

The testicles make androgenic hormones, the main of them being testosterone. The ovaries produce estrogen and progesterone.

49. What are plant hormones?

Plant hormones, also called phytohormones, are substances that control the embryonic development and the growth of the adult plant.


50. What do biomass pyramids represent?

Biomass pyramids represent the sum of the masses of the individuals that participate in each trophic level of a food chain.


51. Which are the beings that form the kingdom Plantae? Are algae part of this kingdom?

The kingdom Plantae is composed of plants.

Algae are classified into the kingdom Protista and not into the kingdom Plantae (they are not plants).

52. What are the predominating chemical compounds respectively in eggshell, white and yolk?

The eggshell is basically made of calcium carbonate. The white, or albumen, is composed by albumin, a protein. The yolk is predominantly constituted of lipids but it also contains proteins and vitamins.

53. What is circulation?

Circulation is the movement of substances like nutrients and gases within blood vessels and cavities throughout the organism.

54. What is the endocrine function of the placenta?

The placenta is not a permanent gland of the endocrine system but it also has endocrinal function. The placenta produces estrogen and progesterone. It also secretes human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, that acts similarly to the hypophyseal LH), human placental lactogen, similar to prolactin and stimulant of the mammary glands, and a series of hormonal peptides similar to the hormones of the hypothalamus-hypophysis axis.


55. What is indolacetic acid (IAA)?

Indolacetic acid (indolyl-3-acetic acid), or IAA, is the main natural auxin made by plants. It promotes plant growth and cellular differentiation.


56. In a numeric pyramid is it possible for the base to be smaller than the other levels?

Since the numeric pyramid represents the quantity of individuals in each trophic level of the food chain, inferior trophic levels with less individuals than the superior trophic levels may exist. For example, a single tree can serve as food to millions of insects. 

57. What are the two mains divisions of the chordate phylum?

Chordates are divided into protochordates (cephalochordates and urochordates) and vertebrates.

58. How do birds reproduce?

Birds, like every vertebrate, have sexual reproduction. Their embryos develop within shelled eggs containing extraembryonic membranes and outside the mother’s body.

Birds copulate. Fecundation is internal and it occurs only before the female gamete is involved by the calcareous eggshell.

59. What are the two types of circulatory systems?

The circulatory systems can be classified into open circulatory system and closed circulatory system.

60. What is the endocrine function of the placenta?

The placenta is not a permanent gland of the endocrine system but it also has endocrinal function. The placenta produces estrogen and progesterone. It also secretes human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG, that acts similarly to the hypophyseal LH), human placental lactogen, similar to prolactin and stimulant of the mammary glands, and a series of hormonal peptides similar to the hormones of the hypothalamus-hypophysis axis.


61. What are the main natural plant hormones and what are their respective effects?

The main natural plant hormones and their respective functions are the following:

Auxins (the best known natural auxin is IAA, indoleacetic acid): their function is to promote plant growth, distension and cellular differentiation. Gibberellins: have action similar to auxins (growth and distension), stimulate flowering and fruit formation and activate seed germination. Cytokinins: increase cellular division rate and together with auxins help growth and tissue differentiation, slow the plant aging. Ethylene (ethene): a gas released by plants that participates in the growth process and has noteworthy role in fruit ripening and in leaf abscission.

62. What is dry mass?

When biomasses are compared often the concept of dry mass is used. The dry mass is the total mass less the water mass of an individual. The total mass is also called fresh mass. To use dry mass instead of fresh mass is useful because among living beings there are differences related to the proportion of water within their body and such differences can distort the quantitative analysis of incorporated organic material.

63. What are the differences between vertebrates and the other chordates?

Vertebrates are different because they have a spinal column (vertebral column). In these animals the  notochord of the embryonic stage is substituted by the vertebral column in adults.

64. How different are reptiles and birds concerning the maintenance of body temperature? Are birds rare in polar regions?

Reptiles are heterothermic, i.e., they do not control their body temperature.

Birds however are the first homeothermic animals, they are able to maintain their body temperature constant.

There are many birds that live in intense cold regions. Penguins are examples of birds that live in polar region.

65. Do all animals have a circulatory system?

Not all animals have a circulatory system. Poriferans, cnidarians, platyhelminthes and nematodes (in these there are the pseudocoelom fluid but no vessels) are avascular animals. Echinoderms do not have true circulatory systems either.

66. Why are glucorticoids used in transplant patients?

Patients with transplanted organs are prone to host versus graft rejection since their own immune system tends to attack the grafted organ because of recognition of the grafted tissue as foreign matter. In the prevention and treatment of this common problem patients are given glucorticoids or other immunosupressants. Glucocorticoids have an immunosuppressant action and so they reduce the aggression of the immune system against the graft.

The immune action however is also very important for the individual. The immune system defends the body against invasion and infection by pathogenic agents (virus, bacteria, toxins) besides being fundamental for the elimination of modified cells that may proliferate and cause cancer.

Patients receiving immunosuppressants like glucocorticoids are thus under increased risk of infectious and neoplastic diseases.

67. What are synthetic auxins and what are their uses?

Synthetic auxins, like indolebutyric acid (IBA) and naphthalenic acid (NAA) are substances similar to IAA (a natural auxin) but artificially made. Some are used to accelerate methods of asexual reproduction (like grafting or budding) and others are even used as herbicides since they selectively kill some plants (mainly dicots).


68. What do energy pyramids represent?

Energy pyramids represent the amount of available energy in each trophic level of the food chain.

69. What are the five classes of vertebrates? To which of these do human beings belong?

The five classes of vertebrates are: fishes (osteichthyes and chondrichthyes), amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Humans classify as mammals.

70. What are zoonoses? What are some examples of zoonoses transmitted by birds?

Zoonoses are human diseases transmitted by animals. Psittacosis, a bacterial disease, hystoplasmosis and cryptococcosis, fungal diseases, are examples of zoonoses transmitted by birds.

71. What is an open circulatory system?

Open circulatory system is the one in which blood does not circulate only inside blood vessels but it also falls in cavities that irrigate tissues. In the open circulatory system the blood pressure is low and generally the blood (called hemolymph) has low cellularity. Arthropods, molluscs (the cephalopods are exception) and protochordates have open circulatory system.

72. What is the function of the immune system?

The immune system performs specific defense against agents, the antigens, that are foreign or harmful to the body. Exogenous antigens are often in contact with the skin or entering the airway, the digestive tube and the genital orifices and mucosae. They can also penetrate the circulation directly through wounds.

73. Where in plants is a large amount of IAA found?

Auxins are produced and found in large amount in the apical buds of the stem and shoots and in the young leaves.

74. Into which type of energy is the light used in photosynthesis transformed?

The luminous energy used in photosynthesis is transformed into chemical energy.

75. Is the embryonic development in birds direct or indirect?

The embryonic development is direct, there is no larval stage.

76. What is a closed circulatory system?

A closed circulatory system is one in which blood circulates only inside blood vessels. For this reason the blood pressure is higher in animals with closed circulatory system. The cellularity of the blood is also higher with many specific blood cells. The closed circulatory system is a feature of annelids, cephalopod molluscs and vertebrates.


77. What is inflammation?

Inflammation is the initial response of the unspecific defense system versus aggressions against the body (the aggressions may be caused by infectious parasites, chemical contamination, trauma, physical agents like heat and fire, autoimmunity, etc.). During inflammation a series of unspecific leukocytes present in the circulation are attracted to the injury site in an attempt to destroy harmful agents and to isolate the affected region of the tissue.

78. How do phytohormones help the development of parthenocarpic fruits?

Parthenocarpic fruits are those produced without fecundation. Some plants naturally make parthenocarpic fruits, like the banana tree, stimulated by their own hormones.

Angiosperms that do not naturally produce parthenocarpic fruits may do it if auxins are applied to flowers before fecundation. Therefore even without fecundation the ovaries grow and fruits are formed although seedless.

79. What is the gross primary production of an ecosystem? How does GPP relate to photosynthesis?

Gross primary production of an ecosystem, or GPP, is the quantity of organic material found in a given area in a given period.

Since only autotrophs produce organic material and photosynthesis is the main production process, GPP is a result of the photosynthesis.

80. What are poriferans?

The phylum Porifera contains the simplest creatures of the animal kingdom. Sponges are aquatic sessile beings (they are not able to move by themselves and they keep themselves attached to substrates), they do not have tissue diversity and their bodies have pores (feature after which their name comes).

They are multicellular, like all beings of the animal kingdom.

81. Bird identity card. How are birds characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, skin, respiration, circulation, nitrogen waste, thermal control and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: chickens, sparrows, parrots, ostriches, penguins. Basic morphology: aerodynamic body, feathers, pneumatic bones, horny beaks. Skin: impermeable keratinized, feathers, uropygial gland.

Respiration: pulmonary. Circulation: closed and complete, heart with four chambers. Nitrogen waste: uric acid. Thermal control: homeothermic. Types of reproduction: sexual, internal fecundation, shelled eggs with extraembryonic membranes.

82. What is the alternative means for transport of substances in animals without a circulatory system? Why is blood important for larger animals?

In animals that do not present the circulatory system the transport of substances occurs by cell to cell diffusion. The blood is a fundamental means of substance transport for larger animals since in these animals there are tissues distant from each other and from the environment thus making diffusion impossible.

83. What is the phenomenon of apical dominance in plants? How can it be artificially eliminated?

Apical dominance is the phenomenon through which high (over the positive range limit) auxin concentrations due to auxins from the apical bud moving downward the stem inhibit the growth of the lateral buds of the plant. At the beginning of the stem development the apical dominance causes the plant growth to be longitudinal (upwards) since the growth of the lateral buds remains inhibited. As the lateral buds become more distant from the apex the auxin concentration in these buds lowers and shoots grow more easily.

The growth of tree branches can be stimulated preventing the apical dominance through the removal of the apical bud.

84. Can the amount of available energy in a given trophic level be larger than the available energy in inferior trophic levels? What does that condition means to the conformation of the energy pyramids?

A superior trophic level always has less available energy than inferior trophic levels. This is because in each trophic level only a fraction of the organic material of the level below is incorporated into the consumers (into their bodies). The other part is eliminated as waste or is used in the metabolism as energy source. Therefore it is never possible to have energy pyramids with inverted conformation, i.e., with the tip to the bottom and the base to the top. It is also not possible to have superior trophic levels with a variable dimension larger than inferior ones. In every energy pyramid, from the base to the top, the size of the variable dimension decreases.

85. How does water move inside sponges? What is the function of the pores in these animals?

Sponges are filtering beings. They make water enter their bodies by their lateral pores. Water then circulates inside the central cavity and exits through the osculum.

86. What are the typical features of mammals?

The typical features of mammals are: body (more or less) covered with hair; presence of the diaphragm muscle (that separates the thorax from the abdomen); mammary glands that produce milk (in females); enucleated blood red cells; middle ear with three ossicles.

87. What are the advantages of the closed circulatory system over the open circulatory system?

The closed circulatory system is more efficient. Since blood circulates only inside blood vessels it can do it with more pressure reaching farther distances between the organs where hematosis happens and the peripheral tissues. In addition the circulatory speed also heightens making possible more oxygen supply to great consuming tissues, like the muscle tissues that then can perform faster movements. Animals with an open circulatory system (with the exception of insects that do gas exchange independently from the circulation) are generally slower and have a low metabolic rate.


88. How does the inflammation mechanism work?

When some tissue injury occurs histamine and other vasoactive substances (called mediators of inflammation) are released, they cause vasodilation and the blood flow to the affected site increases. Granulocyte leukocytes present in the blood are attracted to the site of the injury by substances known as chemotactic factors also released by the injured tissue and by the active granulocytes in the area. The granulocytes exit the capillaries by diapedesis, i.e., using pseudopods. Macrophages present in the region are activated too. These cells flood the extracellular space of the affected area trying to kill or eliminate harmful agents, to prevent tissue  necrosis and to isolate the damaged tissue.

89. How do auxins act helping the lateral (secondary) growth of the stem?

Auxins stimulate the formation of conductive vessels, xylem and phloem, promoting the thickening of the stem.


90. What are the factors that for influencing photosynthesis also interfere with the gross primary productivity?

Mainly water and light, but also mineral salts, temperature and carbon dioxide are factors that interfere with the gross primary productivity. 

91. What is the way of life of sponges?

Sponges live exclusively in an aquatic environment and they are attached by their base to a substrate (fixation ground). Sponges are filtering animals, they nourish themselves from nutrients that enter their atrium brought in with water.

92. What are the three main groups into which mammals are divided?

The three groups into which mammals are divided are: monotremes (or prototherian, e.g., platypus), marsupials (or metatherian, for example, kangaroos) and placental (or eutherian, such as humans).

93. Why, even though they have an open circulatory system, can flying insects like flies beat their wings with great speed?

In insects the circulatory system is open but this system does not participate in the gas exchange process and in oxygen supply to the tissues. Gases go in and out through the independent tracheal system that allows direct contact of cells with the ambient air. Therefore an insect can supply the great oxygen demand of its fast-beating wing muscles even having open circulatory system.

94. What is pus?

Pus is a residual of the inflammatory reaction. It contains a mixture of fragments of dead leukocytes, infectious agents (generally bacteria) and tissues.

95. What happens when the auxin concentration in some structures of the plant is over the action range of the hormone?

In some parts of the plant (stem, roots, lateral buds) there are auxin concentration ranges in which the hormonal action is positive (stimulate growth). It is observed that concentrations over the superior limit of those ranges have the opposite effect (inhibition of growth).


96. What are the destinations of the organic material fabricated by the producers?

Part of the organic material synthesized by the producers is consumed as energy source for the metabolism of the own producer individual. The other part is incorporated (into the body) and becomes available to heterotrophic beings of the ecosystem. In each following trophic level part of the organic material is used in the metabolism of the individuals of the level, the other part is eliminated as waste and only a fraction is incorporated and becomes available as food for the following level. 

97. How do sponges try to protect themselves against harm from the environment? Is that method efficient or rudimentary?

Sponges can close their pores to avoid the entrance of water into their bodies in the presence of stimulus that may mean danger. This method however is rudimentary but it is actually a protection attempt against nocent agents.


98. Do all mammals have a placenta?

Mammals of the monotreme group (platypus, echidnas) are oviparous, egg- laying, and they do not have a placenta. Mammals of the marsupial group (kangaroos, koalas, opossums) do not have a placenta either; females of this group give birth to embryonic young that then continue development within the mother's pouch. Placenta only forms in female placental mammals.

99. What are the typical components of a closed circulatory system?

The typical components of the closed circulatory system are the blood vessels within which blood circulates (arteries, veins and capillaries), a pumping organ (heart) and the blood or bloodlike fluid.

100. What is the association between inflammation and fever?

In the tissue region where inflammation occurs bacterial toxins, cytokines, prostaglandins, interleukins and endothelins are released. These substances gain the circulation and reach the central nervous system which then commands the increase of the body temperature.

101. What are gibberellins? Where are they produced?

Gibberellins are plant hormones that stimulate plant growth, flowering and fruit formation (also  parthenocarpy) and the germination of seeds. There are more than 70 known types of gibberellins. Gibberellins are made in the apical buds and in young leaves.

102. What is the formula of the net primary production (NPP)? How does NPP relate to the energy pyramids?

Net primary production is the gross primary productivity less the organic material consumed as energy source in the metabolism of the producers: NPP = GPP – (organic material spent in aerobic respiration). It represents the organic material available in the first trophic level.

The base of the energy pyramids must represent the NPP and not the GPP since the idea of these pyramids is to show the available energy in each trophic level of the food chain. 

103. What is the typical shape of poriferans?

Sponges have bodies in the form of tubular vases or globes open in the upper extremity. They have an internal central cavity and porous walls. The central cavity is called spongocoel and the opening in the upper extremity is called osculum.

104. What are the main orders of placental mammals? What are some representative species and distinguishing features of each of those orders?

The orders into which placental mammals are divided are the following:

Artiodactyls, mammals with an even number of fingers in claws or paws like, e.g., cows, sheep, giraffes. Carnivorous, predators with canine teeth like dogs, lions, tigers. Cetaceans, aquatic animals without posterior limbs and similar to fishes, like whales and dolphins.

Edentates, creatures with rare or absent teeth, like sloths, armadillos, anteaters. Lagomorphs, small-sized mammals having three pairs of continuously growing incisive teeth specialized in gnawing, like rabbits and hares.

Perissodactyls, also known as ungulates (hooved), big-sized animals with an odd number of fingers in each paw, e.g., horses and rhinos. Primates, characterized by the big cranium and well-developed brain, like humans and apes. Proboscideans, big-sized animals whose nose and superior lip form the trunk (snout), e.g., elephants.

Chiropterans, flying nocturnal mammals (bats). Rodents, animals with two pairs of continuously growing incisive teeth, e.g., mice, rats, castors, squirrels.

Sirenians, aquatic mammals of freshwater, deprived of posterior limbs, like dugongs and manatees.


105. What is the difference between octopuses and mussels regarding their circulatory systems? How does that difference influence the mobility of these animals?

Cephalopod molluscs, like octopuses and squids, have a closed circulatory system with blood pumped under pressure flowing within vessels. Bivalve molluscs, like mussels and oysters, have an open circulatory system (also known as lacunar circulatory system) where blood flows under low pressure since it falls in cavities of the body and does not only circulate within blood vessels. Molluscs with closed circulatory systems are larger, agile and can actively move; molluscs with open circulatory systems are smaller, slow and some are practically sessile.

106. Which type of defense cell do bacteria attract and cause to multiply during the inflammation process? What is the name given to the waste material produced by the inflammation triggered by bacterial infection?

The main leukocytes that generally multiply and participate in the inflammation reaction against bacterial infections are the neutrophils. In this type of inflammation the blood level of  these cells are increased, a clinical condition known as neutrophilia. In the bacterial inflammation fragments of dead bacteria, dead neutrophils and tissues form the pus.

107. Are the development and growth of plants only influenced by plant hormones?

Physical and chemical environmental factors, like intensity and position of light in relation to the plant, gravitational force, temperature, mechanical pressures and chemical composition of the soil and of the atmosphere, can also influence the growth and development of plants.

108. What is the water cycle?

The water cycle represents the circulation and recycling of water in nature. Liquid water on the planet surface is heated by the sun and turns into water vapor that gains the atmosphere. In the atmosphere large volumes of water vapor form clouds that when cooled precipitate liquid water as rain.

Therefore water comes back to the planet surface and the cycle is completed. As possible steps of the cycle, water may still be stored in subterranean reserves or in the form of ice in mountains and oceans and it may also be used in the metabolism of living beings, incorporated into the body of the individuals or excreted through urine, feces and transpiration. 

109. What are the main cells of which poriferans are made?

Sponges have their outer wall covered by flat cells called pinacocytes and having pores well-delimited by special cells called porocytes. The internal wall is filled with choanocytes, flagellate cells specialized in phagocytosis of food brought to the central cavity; the choanocyte flagella also maintains the water flux inside the sponge.

Between the outer and the inner coverage of the poriferan body there are cells with amoeboid movement (by pseudopods), the amoebocytes; since they are embedded in connective matrix, amoebocytes move and distribute nutrients to other cells and they also produce spicules that like a primitive skeleton fill the tissue and support the body structure. (Some poriferans have an internal skeleton, an endoskeleton, made of spicules and organic fibers.)

110. How is gas exchange done in mammals?

Mammals breathe through lungs, their respiration is pulmonary.

111. How does the heart impel the blood?

The heart is a muscular organ that contains chambers (right atrium and right ventricle and left atrium and right ventricle) through which blood passes. The blood enters the heart in the atria, goes to the ventricles and then leaves the organ. The blood is pumped out of the heart by the contraction of the muscle fibers that form the ventricular walls. The contraction reduces the ventricle volume thus increasing the internal pressure and the blood then flows to the exit vessels (pulmonary artery for the right ventricle and aorta for the left ventricle). When ventricular muscle fibers distend the ventricles regain their original size and receive new blood flow coming from the atria.

112. Of which type of defense cell do worm infections stimulate the multiplication?

The main leukocytes that generally multiply and participate in the defense against worm infections are the eosinophils. In this type of inflammation the blood level of these cells are increased, a clinical condition known as eosinophilia. Eosinophils are also increased in allergic conditions.

113. What are cytokinins? Where are they made?

Cytokinins are phytohormones active in the promotion of cellular division, they slow down the aging of tissues and act together with auxins stimulating plant growth. Cytokinins are produced by the root meristem and distributed through the xylem.

114. What are biogeochemical cycles?

Biogeochemical cycles are representations of the circulation and recycling of matter in nature. The main biogeochemical cycles studied in Ecology are the water cycle, the carbon cycle and the nitrogen cycle. 

115. Concerning digestion how are poriferans characterized?

Sponges are different from other animals since they present only intracellular digestion. They do not have a digestive system nor do they release digestive enzymes in the spongocoel to cause extracellular break down of nutrients.

116. How is circulation characterized in mammals?

Mammals present a closed and complete circulatory system. The heart has four chambers and the arterial blood does not mix with venous blood.

117. What are venous vessels, veins and venules?

Venous vessels are every blood vessel that carries blood from the tissues to the heart. Veins and venules are venous vessels. Venules are thin veins that are continuous to capillaries. In general venous vessels carry venous venous blood. The pulmonary veins that carry blood from the lungs to the left atrium of the heart however contain arterial blood.

118. Of which type of defense cell do viral infections stimulate the multiplication?

The main leukocytes that generally multiply and participate in the defense against viral infections are the lymphocytes. In this type of inflammation the blood level of these cells are increased, a clinical condition known as lymphocytosis.

119. What are plant tropisms?

Tropisms are movements caused by external stimulus. In Botany the studied plant tropisms are: phototropism (tropism in response to light), geotropism (tropism in response to the earth gravity) and thigmotropism (tropism in response to mechanical stimulus).

120. Why is the sun the “motor” of the water cycle?

The sun can be considered the motor of the water cycle because upon its energy the transformation of liquid water into water vapor depends. So the sun is the energy source that causes water to circulate in nature. 

121. How are animals divided according to their type of digestive process?

Apart from sponges, that do not have a digestive cavity where extracellular digestion takes place, all other animals have a digestive system with an internal cavity in which extracellular digestion occurs.

122. What is the type of nitrogen waste that mammals eliminate?

Like chondrichtian fishes and adult amphibians, mammals are ureotelic, i.e., they excrete urea.

123. What is the difference between systole and diastole

Systole and diastole are the two stages into which the cardiac cycle is divided. Systole is the stage when the contraction of ventricular muscle fibers occurs and the ventricles are emptied. Diastole is the stage of the cardiac cycle when the ventricular muscle fibers distend and the ventricles are filled with blood.

124. What is the defense mechanism that begins to work when inflammation fails to stop an infection?

If the inflammatory attack is not enough to halt the infectious process the body still relies on a specific defense, the immune response proper (humoral and cellular) performed by the lymphocytes.

125. What is the plant hormone remarkable for stimulating flowering and fruit ripening? What are the uses and practical inconveniences of that hormone?

The plant hormone notable for stimulating and accelerating fruit ripening is the gas ethylene (ethene). By being a gas, ethylene acts not only in the plant that produces it but also in neighboring ones.

Some fruit processing industries use ethylene to accelerate fruit ripening. On the other hand, if the intensification or acceleration of fruit ripening is not desirable care must be taken to prevent the mixture of ripe fruits that release ethylene with the others.

126. What is the respective importance of water, carbon and nitrogen for living beings?

Water is the main solvent of living beings and it is necessary practically for all biochemical reactions, including as reagent of photosynthesis. Many properties of water are very important for life.

Carbon is the main chemical element of organic molecules; carbon dioxide is also reagent of photosynthesis and product of the energetic metabolism of living beings.

Nitrogen is a fundamental chemical element of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins that in their turn are the main functional molecules of living beings; nitrogen is also part of the nucleic acid molecules, the basis of reproduction, heredity and protein synthesis.

127. How are gases exchanged in sponges?

The gas exchange in sponges happens by diffusion from the exterior to the cells that absorb molecular oxygen and liberate carbon dioxide.

128. How do placental mammals reproduce?

Placental mammals reproduce sexually, they have internal fecundation and they are viviparous, i.e., their embryo develops within the mother’s body and from her it gets the nutrients through the placenta.

129. What are arterial vessels, arteries and arterioles?

Arterial vessels are every blood vessel that carries blood from the heart to the tissues. Arteries and arterioles are arterial vessels. Arterioles are thin arteries that end in capillaries. Not all arteries however contain arterial blood (highly oxygenated blood). The pulmonary artery and its ramifications, arteries that carry blood from the right heart ventricle to the lungs, contain venous blood.

130. What is the difference between humoral specific immune response and cellular specific immune response?

Humoral specific immune response is the defense system by means of antibodies, defense proteins secreted by lymphocytes that attack foreign agents with high specificity. Cellular specific immune response is the defense system by means of specific lymphocytes (cells) that directly attack other foreign cells and agents.

131. To which direction does the growth of one side of a stem, branch or root induce the structure to curve?

Whenever one side of a stem, branch or root grows more than the other side the structure curves towards the side that grows less. (This is an important concept for plant tropism problems).

132. Do sponges have nervous, circulatory and excretory systems?

Sponges do not have a nervous system neither circulatory system nor excretory system.

133. Is fecundation in mammals internal or external?

Fecundation in mammals is internal, with copulation. In the contemporary world human technology is able to promote artificial external fecundation of human gametes and of gametes of other animals.

134. What is the part of the vascular system that performs exchange of gases and other substances with the tissues?

Only capillaries perform exchange of gases and other substances with the tissues.

135. What is an antigen?

Antigen is any substance, particle or infectious agent recognized as foreign to the body. The contact of the antigen with the body promotes a defense reaction against the antigen (unspecific, specific or both).


136. What is phototropism?

Phototropism is the movement of plant structures in response to light. Phototropism may be positive or  negative. Positive phototropism is that in which the plant movement (or growth) is towards the light source and negative phototropism is that in which the movement (or growth) is inverse, away from the light source.

Phototropism relates to auxins since the exposition of one side of the plant to light makes these hormones concentrate in the darker side. This fact makes the auxin action upon the stem to be positive, i.e., the growth of the darker side is more intense and the plant arcs towards the lighter side. In the root (when submitted to light, in general experimentally) the auxin action is negative (over the positive range), the growth of the darker side is inhibited and the root curves towards this side.

137. What is the main biological process that consumes carbon dioxide?

The main biological process that consumes carbon dioxide is photosynthesis.

138. Concerning digestion how are poriferans characterized?

Sponges are different from other animals since they present only intracellular digestion. They do not have a digestive system nor do they release digestive enzymes in the spongocoel to cause extracellular break down of nutrients.

139. Is the mammalian embryonic development direct or indirect?

In mammals the embryonic development is direct, without larval stage.


140. How do the muscles of the legs and of the feet contribute to the venous return?

The muscles of the legs, mainly the muscles of the calves, contract and compress the deep veins of the legs impelling the blood to the heart. The plantar portion of the feet retains blood and when it is compressed against the ground it impels its blood volume and aids venous return.

141. What are the cells responsible for the production of antibodies?

The cells that produce antibodies, i.e., the cells of the humoral immune system, are the B lymphocytes (B cells).

142. What is thigmotropism?

Thigmotropism is the movement or growth of the plant in response to mechanical stimuli (touch or physical contact), as when a plant grows around a supporting rod. It occurs for example in grape and passionfruit vines, etc.

143. What is the most abundant form under which nitrogen is found in nature?

The most abundant nitrogen-containing molecule found in nature is molecular nitrogen (N2). The air is 80% constituted of molecular nitrogen. 

144. Is reproduction in sponges sexual or asexual?

Reproduction in sponges can be asexual by budding, gemmation or fragmentation (regeneration) or sexual with larval stage (a ciliated amphiblastula larva).

145. Are there aquatic and flying mammals?

Cetaceans (whales, dolphins) and sirenians (dugongs, manatees) are aquatic mammals. Chiropterans (bats) are flying mammals.

146. Are the arteries or the veins constituted of more muscle tissue? How different are the walls of these two types of blood vessels?

The arterial system has thicker muscle walls since within arteries the blood circulates under higher pressure. The veins are more flaccid than arteries. From the lumen to the external layer both types of vessels are made of endothelium, muscle tissue and connective tissue. In both the endothelium is a single layer of cells. In arteries the muscle tissue portion is thicker than in veins and in these vessels the external connective tissue is thicker than in arteries. Arteries are the pulsating blood vessels. The arterial pulse can be felt in a medical examination, for example, by the palpation of the radial artery in the internal and lateral face of the wrist near the base of the thumb.

147. What are immunoglobulins?

Immunoglobulin is the alternate name given to antibody. Immunoglobulins are complex proteins containing an invariable portion and a variable portion and made of four polypeptide chains. The variable portion of each immunoglobulin is responsible for the high specificity of the antigen-antibody bond.

148. What are fossil fuels?

Fossil fuels, like oil, gas and coal, form when organic material is preserved from the complete action of decomposers, generally buried deep and under pressure over millions of years. Under such conditions the organic material transforms into hydrocarbon fuels.

Fossil fuels are a natural reservoir of carbon. When oxygen is present these fuels can be burned and carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are released into the atmosphere. 

149. How are animals divided according to their type of digestive process?

Apart from sponges, that do not have a digestive cavity where extracellular digestion takes place, all other animals have a digestive system with an internal cavity in which extracellular digestion occurs.

150. Are the limbs modified into wings of bats and the wings of birds examples of evolutionary analogy or homology? What about whale fins compared to fish fins?

Bat and bird wings have the same function and the same origin (they are modified limbs) so they are analogous and homologous organs. Whale fins are a modification of the posterior limbs while fish fins although having the same function do not come from modified limbs; so they are analogous but not homologous structures.

Evolutionary homology suggests common ancestry while biological analogy relates to the concept of evolutionary convergence, the appearance of similar features in evolutionarily distant species that explore the same type of environment (in the mentioned case, the aquatic habitat).


151. What are the valves of the venous system? What is their function?

The valves of the venous system are structures inside the veins that permit blood to flow only in the normal way (from the tissues to the heart) and forbid it to return in the reverse way in favor of gravity. The valves close when the pressure of the fluid column above (after, regarding normal flux) is higher than the fluid pressure before them. Valves are thus fundamental for the returning of blood to the heart.

152. How do antibodies work to neutralize antigens?

The antibodies, or immunoglobulins, act to facilitate the destruction of antigens: they attract phagocytic leukocytes, they trigger the attack of specific defense molecules (activation of the complement system) and they directly neutralize the toxicity of some antigens.

153. What is photoperiod?

Photoperiod is the daily time period of light exposure of a living being. The photoperiod may vary according to the period of the year.

154. Under which form is nitrogen fixed by living beings?

Most living beings cannot use molecular nitrogen to obtain nitrogen atoms. Producers fix nitrogen mainly from nitrate (NO3-). Some plants also fix nitrogen from ammonia. Consumers and decomposers acquire nitrogen through digestion of mainly proteins and nucleic acids from the body of other living beings.

155. What is the evolutionary advantage of the occurrence of sperm cells and larval stage in the life cycle of sponges?

The sexual reproduction in sponges, in addition to contributing to genetic variability, also facilitates the colonization of farther environments by these beings, since sperm cells and larvae are mobile and can swim in the exterior to compensate the immobility of the adult individual.


156. Mammal identity card. How are mammals characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, skin, respiration, circulation, nitrogen waste, thermal control and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: dogs, cats, horses, giraffes, elephants, apes, humans, bats, whales, dolphins, opossums, kangaroos, platypus. Basic morphology: hair, diaphragm muscle, mammary glands, enucleated red blood cells. Skin: impermeable, hairy.

Respiration: pulmonary. Circulation: closed and complete, heart with four chambers. Nitrogen waste: urea.

Thermal control: homeothermic. Types of reproduction: sexual, internal fecundation, oviparous monotremes (prototherians), marsupials (metatherians), placental (eutherians).

157. What are varices? Why are they more common in the inferior limbs?

Varix means abnormal enlargement of veins. Varices occur when excessive pressure against the normal blood flux creates enlargement of the vein and thus insufficient functioning of its valves (venous insufficiency). Varices are more common in the veins of the inferior limbs since the fluid column above these vessels is higher. This is the reason why people that spend much time standing (e.g., surgeons) are more susceptible to varices. In general varices are not the apparent superficial veins that appear in the leg of varix patients. These  apparent vessels are the consequences of internal varices (venous insufficiency) in the deep internal veins of the legs and they appear because the blood flux is diverted to superficial veins. (Popularly however apparent superficial veins are called varices.)

158. What is photoperiodism?

Photoperiodism is the biological response presented by some living beings to their daily time of light exposure (photoperiod).


159. Why is a leguminous crop rotation used in agriculture?

Leguminous crop rotation and other crop rotations are used in agriculture because in these plants many bacteria important for the nitrogen cycle live. The leguminous crop rotation (or cojointly with the main crop) helps the soil to become rich in nitrates that are then absorbed by the plants.

Green manure, the covering of the soil with grass and leguminous plants, is also a way to improve the fixation of nitrogen and it is an option in avoiding chemical fertilizers.


160. How are gases exchanged in sponges?

The gas exchange in sponges happens by diffusion from the exterior to the cells that absorb molecular oxygen and liberate carbon dioxide.

161. What is the logical order in which the concepts of atoms, molecules, cells... up to biosphere are associated?

Atoms form molecules that form cells that form tissues that form organs that form systems. Systems, in their turn, constitute individuals that form populations that compound (biological) communities that form the biotic components of ecosystems. All ecosystems of earth form the biosphere.

162. What is the lymphatic system?

The lymphatic system is a network of specialized valved vessels that drain interstitial fluid (lymph). The lymphatic system is also responsible for the transport of chylomicrons (vesicles that contain lipids) made after the absorption of fats by the intestinal epithelium. In the way of the lymphatic vessels there are ganglial-like structures called lymph nodes that contain many cells of the immune system. These cells filter impurities and destroy microorganisms and cellular wastes. The lymphatic vessels drain to two major lymphatic vessels, the thoracic duct and the right lymphatic duct, that in their turns drain into tributary veins of the superior vena cava.

163. What are the plant organs responsible for the perception of light variation? What is the pigment responsible for this perception?

Leaves are mainly responsible for perception of light intensity in plants. The pigment that performs this perception and commands photoperiodism is called phytochrome.

164. What is the nitrogen cycle?

The nitrogen cycle represents the circulation and recycling of the chemical element nitrogen in nature. The nitrogen cycle basically depends on the action of some specialized bacteria. Bacteria of the soil called nitrogen-fixing bacteria present in plant roots absorb molecular nitrogen from the air and liberate nitrogen in the form of ammonia. The decomposition of organic material also produces ammonia. In the soil and roots (mainly of leguminous plants), a first group of chemosynthetic bacteria called nitrifying bacteria, the nitrosomonas, produces energy consuming ammonia and releasing nitrite (NO2). The second group of nitrifying bacteria, the nitrobacteria, uses nitrite in chemosynthesis releasing nitrate (NO3). In the form of nitrate, nitrogen is then incorporated by plants to be used as constituent of proteins and nucleic acids and the element then follows along the food chain. Nitrogen returns to the atmosphere by the action of denitrifying bacteria that use nitrogen-containing compounds from the soil and release nitrogen gas (molecular nitrogen). 

165. What is the economic importance of sponges?

Some chemical substances secreted by sponges have anti-inflammatory, antibiotic and anti tumoral activities and they are used in the production of medicines. Since ancient times the endoskeleton of some sponges has had commercial value, they are used as cleansing implements for baths (bath sponges), to wash animals, objects and so on.

166. Why in inflammatory and infectious conditions may clinical signs related to the lymphatic system occur?

The lymph nodes, or lymph glands, have lymphoid tissue that produces lymphocytes (a type of leukocyte). In inflammatory and infectious conditions the enlargement of lymph nodes of the lymphatic circuits that drain the affected region due to the reactive proliferation of leukocytes is common. This enlargement is known as lymphadenomegaly and sometimes it is accompanied by pain. The search for enlarged or painful lymph nodes is part of the medical examination since these findings may suggest inflammation, infection or other diseases.

167. How different are the actions of antibodies against bacteria and against virus? Why is the cellular immune response activated in case of chronic viral infection?

The antibodies of the humoral immune system act against extracellular agents, like toxins or bacteria, but they are not active in the intracellular space and they cannot fight virus efficiently.

In case of viral infection (and also of cancerous or precancerous cells) the immune attack is made by the cellular immune system, mediated by T and NK (natural killers) lymphocytes that destroy specific cells and virus.

168. How does the photoperiodism affect the flowering of some plants?

Flowering is a typical and easy to observe example of photoperiodism. Most flowering plants flower only during specific periods of the year or when placed under some conditions of daily illumination. This occurs because their blossoming depends on the duration of the photoperiod that in its turn varies with the season of the year. Flowering is also affected by exposition to certain temperatures.

169. What is biodiversity?

Biological diversity is the variety of species of living beings of an ecosystem. In ecosystems which are more biodiverse, like tropical forests, a great variety of plants, microorganisms and animals live; in ecosystems less biodiverse, like deserts, there are less variety of living beings.


170. Sponge identity card. How are sponges characterized according to example of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, embryonic (germ) layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Example of representing beings: sponges. Basic morphology: tubular or globular body with spongocoel, sessile; choanocytes, pinacocytes and amoebocytes. Type of symmetry: not established. Germ layers and coelom: do not apply since poriferans do not have true tissue organization. Digestive system: nonexistent. Respiratory system: nonexistent. Circulatory system: nonexistent. Excretory system: nonexistent. Nervous system: nonexistent. Types of reproduction: asexual and sexual with larval stage.


171. Which are the heart chambers respectively where the entrance and the exit of blood occur?

The heart chambers through which blood enters the heart are the atria. There are the right atrium and the left atrium. The heart chambers through which the blood exits the heart are the ventricles. There are the right ventricle and the left ventricle.

172. How does the cellular immune response take place?

The lymphocytes that participate in the cellular immune response are the T lymphocytes. T lymphocytes differentiate into three main types: cytotoxic T lymphocytes (cytotoxic T cell), helper T lymphocytes (helper cell) and suppressor T lymphocytes. The cytotoxic cells are the effectors of the system, i.e., they directly attack other cells recognized as foreign (for example, fungi cells, cells infected by virus, neoplastic cells, graft cells, etc.). The helper cells and the suppressor T lymphocytes act as regulators of the system releasing substances that respectively stimulate and inhibit the immune action of T and B lymphocytes. After the primary immune response memory T lymphocytes also remain in the circulation to provide faster and more effective reaction in case of future infections.


173. How does biological diversity relate to the characteristics of the abiotic factors of an ecosystem?

The availability of abiotic factors like light, moisture, mineral salts, heat and carbon dioxide, more or less conditions the biodiversity of an ecosystem.

Photosynthesis depends on water and light, and plants also need mineral salts, carbon dioxide and adequate temperature for their cells to work. In environments where these factors are not restrictive the synthesis of organic material (by photosynthesis) is at a maximum, plants and algae can reproduce easier, the population of these beings increase, potential ecological niches multiply and new species emerge. The large mass of producers makes viable the appearing of a diversity of consumers of several orders. In environments with restrictive abiotic factors, like deserts, the producers exist in small numbers and less diversity, a feature that thus extends to consumers and conditions fewer ecological niches to be explored.

174. Sponge identity card. How are sponges characterized according to example of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, embryonic (germ) layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Example of representing beings: sponges. Basic morphology: tubular or globular body with spongocoel, sessile; choanocytes, pinacocytes and amoebocytes. Type of symmetry: not established. Germ layers and coelom: do not apply since poriferans do not have true tissue organization. Digestive system: nonexistent. Respiratory system: nonexistent. Circulatory system: nonexistent. Excretory system: nonexistent. Nervous system: nonexistent. Types of reproduction: asexual and sexual with larval stage.


175. Concerning the thickness of their walls how different are the heart chambers?

The ventricle walls are thicker than the atrium walls since ventricles are structures responsible for the pumping of the blood to the lungs or tissues. The muscular work of the ventricles is harder and their muscle fibers develop more. The left ventricle is more muscular than the right ventricle because pumping  blood to the lungs (the right ventricle task) is easier (needs less pressure) than pumping blood to the other tissues of the body (the left ventricle task).

176. What are the antigen- presenting cells of the immune system?

The antigen-presenting cells of the immune system, also known as APC cells, are cells that do phagocytosis and digestion of foreign (to the body) microorganisms and later expose antigens derived from these microorganisms in the outer side of their plasma membrane. These processed antigens are then recognized by lymphocytes that activate the immune response. Several types of cells, like the macrophages, can act as antigen-presenting cells. 

177. How do plants classify according to their photoperiodism-based flowering?

According to their photoperiodism-based flowering plants classify as long-day plants, those that depend on longer photoperiods than the critical photoperiod to flower, as short-day plants, those that depend on shorter photoperiods than the critical photoperiod to flower, and as indifferent plants, whose flowering does not depend on the photoperiod.

178. What are some examples of cnidarians? In which environments can these animals be found?

Jellyfish, hydra, corals and sea anemones are good examples. All of them are aquatic and most live in the sea.

179. What is vena cava? Which type of blood circulates within the vena cava?

The vena cava are either of two large veins that debouch into the right atrium. The superior vena cava drains all blood that comes from the head, the superior limbs, the neck and the superior portion of the trunk. The inferior vena cava carries blood drained from the inferior portion of the trunk and the inferior limbs. Venous blood circulates within the vena cava.

180. What are passive and active immunization? According to the duration of the protection how do these types of immunization differ?

Active immunization is that in which an antigen penetrates the body triggering the primary immune response and the production of memory lymphocytes and antibodies that provide faster and more effective immune defense in future infections by the same antigen. Passive immunization is that in which immunoglobulins against an antigen are inoculated in the body to provide protection in case the body becomes infected by the antigen.

Active immunization tends to be longer lasting than passive immunization since in the active type as well as antibodies, specific memory lymphocytes remain in the circulation. In the passive immunization the duration of the protection is that of the duration of the antibodies in the circulation.

181. Why do most plants present opposite phyllotaxis?

Phyllotaxis is the way leaves are arranged on shoots. Most plants have opposite phyllotaxis (alternating in sequence, one in one side of the shoot, the following in the opposite side) as a solution to prevent self shading of the leaves thus improving the efficiency of photosynthesis.

182. Despite having a great biodiversity why is the Amazon Rainforest under risk of desertification?

The natural soil of the Amazon Rainforest is not very fertile but it is enriched by the vegetal covering made of leaves and branches that fall from the trees. Deforestation reduces this enrichment. In deforestation zones the rain falls directly on the ground causing erosion, “washing” large areas (leaching) and contributing to make the soil even less fertile. Besides that, the deforestation disallows the recycling of essential nutrients for plants, like nitrogen. In this manner those regions and their neighboring regions undergo desertification.

183. Concerning tissue complexity how different are cnidarians from poriferans?

Cnidarians have true tissue differentiation, they present distinct organized tissues in the body. Poriferans present only some dispersed specialized cells with no tissue differentiation.

184. What is the function of the right ventricle? To where does the right ventricle pump the venous blood?

The function of the right ventricle is to get venous blood from the right atrium and pump the blood to be oxygenated in the lungs. The venous blood is carried from the right ventricle to the lungs by the pulmonary artery and their ramifications.

185. Why is maternal milk important for the immune protection of the baby?

Besides being nutritionally important, maternal milk participates in the defense of the baby against infectious agents. Soon after delivery the mother produces a more fluid milk called colostrum that is rich in immunoglobulins (antibodies). These antibodies are not absorbed by the baby’s circulation but they cover the internal surface of the baby’s bowels thus attacking possible antigens and making more difficult the proliferation of pathogenic bacteria within the organ.


186. What is a gene?

A gene is a sequence of DNA nucleotides that codifies the production of a protein.


187. Is monoculture a system that contributes to great biological diversity of an ecosystem?

Monoculture means that in a large area a single crop (only one species of plant) is cultivated. Therefore monoculture does not contribute to the formation of a community with great variety of species in the area. Since there is only a single type of producer the types of consumers that can live in the area are also restricted.

188. Which are the germ layers present in cnidarians? Which tissues of the animal do they originate?

These beings present ectoderm and endoderm, two germ layers. Animals with only two germ layers are called diploblastic animals.

The ectoderm gives birth to the epidermis and the endoderm originates the covering of the digestive cavity.

189. Which is the first (human) heart chamber into which blood enters? Where does the blood go after passing that chamber? What is the name of the valve that separates the compartments? Why is that valve necessary?

The venous blood that comes from the tissues arrives in the right atrium of the heart. From the right atrium the blood goes to the right ventricle. The valve that separates the right ventricle from the right atrium is the tricuspid valve (a valvular system made of three leaflets). The tricuspid valve is necessary to prevent returning of blood to the right atrium during systole (contraction of ventricles).

190. How are antivenoms produced? Why are antivenoms an example of passive immunization?

Antivenoms are obtained by the following process: the venom (antigen) is inoculated into other mammals, e.g., in horses; these animals make specific antibodies against the antigen; blood from the animals is collected and purified to get the antibodies; this antibody-containing material is the antivenom. When a human being is infected by the antigen the specific antivenom is given to him/her and the action against the antigen occurs.

Antivenoms may also be administered as a preventive measure and, since it is basically made of specific immunoglobulins against some antigen, the process is an example of passive immunization.

191. What are alleles of a gene?

Diploid individuals have paired chromosomes. For example in humans there are 23 pairs of chromosomes totaling 46 chromosomes. Each pair comprehends homologous chromosomes, one chromosome from the father and another from the mother, both of them containing information related to the production of the same proteins (with the exception of the sex chromosomes, which are partially heterologous). So in the diploid individual it is said that each gene has two alleles, one in each chromosome of the homologous pair.

192. What are some economic applications that can be generated by very biodiverse ecosystems?

Very biodiverse areas present enormous economic potential. They can be a source of raw material for the research and production of medicines, cosmetics, chemical products and food. They are depositories of genetic wealth that can be explored by biotechnology. They are sources of species for agriculture. They can also be explored by 'ecological tourism'.


193. What are the two main morphological patterns of cnidarians? Concerning locomotion how do these forms differentiate from each other?

Morphologically, cnidarians classify as polyps or medusae. Polyps are cylindrical and medusae are circular convex, like an umbrella. Both shapes have tentacles.

In general polyps are sessile but some species, like hydra, can move by alternating contact points on the substrate and performing somersaults. Medusae can move expelling water jets by contraction of the body.

Some cnidarians alternate polypoid and medusoid forms in their life cycle.

194. What is the valve that separates the right ventricle from the pulmonary artery? Why is that valve important?

The valve that separates the right ventricle and the base of the pulmonary artery is the pulmonary valve. The pulmonary valve is important to prevent blood from the pulmonary circulation to flow back to the heart during diastole.

195. Is a gene a triplet of consecutive DNA nucleotides?

A gene is not a triplet of DNA nucleotides with their respective nitrogen-containing bases, like AAG or CGT. The nucleotide triplets may be pieces of genes but not genes.

A gene is a portion of a DNA molecule that codifies a specific protein. Thus it is formed by several DNA nucleotide triplets.

196. How can a great biological diversity protect an ecosystem from environmental damage? Why are less biodiverse ecosystems at risk of suffering deep biological harm if submitted to even small changes?

In ecosystems with more biodiversity the food webs and ecological interactions among living beings are more complex and diverse. In these ecosystems environmental changes can be more easily compensated by the multiplicity of available resources, foods and survival options.

In ecosystems with less biodiversity the individuals are more dependent on some beings that serve them as food and they interact with a small number of different species. In these ecosystems generally abiotic factors are restrictive and the species are more specialized to such conditions and more sensitive to environmental changes. So even small environmental harm can cause big disturbances in the equilibrium of the ecosystem.

197. Why is the digestive system of these animals called incomplete?

Incomplete digestive system is that in which the digestive cavity has only one opening.

198. Do the arteries that carry blood from the heart to the lungs contain arterial or venous blood? What happens to the blood when it passes through the lungs?

Arteries of the pulmonary circulation are arteries that carry venous blood and not arterial blood. When the blood passes within the alveolar capillaries of the lungs hematosis (oxygenation) occurs and carbon dioxide is released to the exterior.

199. What are natural active immunization and artificial active immunization?

Natural active immunization is that in which a previous natural infection induces the primary immune response, specific memory cells are produced and the individual becomes immune to new infections with the antigen. This is what happens in diseases that affect people only once in life, like mumps and chickenpox.

Artificial active immunization is that in which the primary immune response is caused by the inoculation into an individual of specially prepared antigens. This is the case with vaccines.

200. How is the concept of chromosome related to the concept of the gene?

A chromosome is a DNA molecule. A chromosome may contain several different genes and also DNA portions that are not genes.

201. What are the main causes of the loss of biological diversity nowadays?

The biggest dangers to biological diversity today are the action of humans. The main of them is the destruction of habitats caused by the growth of the cities, deforestation, pollution and fires. The second is the invasion of ecosystems by nonnative species introduced by humans; these species change the equilibrium of ecosystems causing harm. Other big dangers are predatory hunting and fishing and global warming. 

202. What is the type of digestion that occurs in cnidarians?

These animals have a digestive cavity and they make extracellular and intracellular digestion. The extracellular digestion takes place within the digestive cavity.

203. What is the function of the left ventricle? Where does the blood go after leaving the left ventricle?

The function of the left ventricle is to get blood from the left atrium and to pump the blood under high pressure to the systemic circulation. After leaving the left ventricle the blood enters the aorta, the largest artery of the body.

204. Why are vaccines made of the own disease agent or of fragments of it?

The goal of vaccines is to artificially induce a specific primary immune response(and the consequent formation of and memory cells) concerning a given infection or disease in order to immunize the individual against infections by the pathogenic agent in the future.

Since each antibody does not act against a variety of antigens but instead it acts only against its specific antigen, it is necessary for the immune system to make contact in some way with the antigen against which the immunization is wanted. The reconnaissance of specific molecular portions of each antigen causes the immune system to produce the specific variable portion of the immunoglobulins to attack that antigen. Therefore to induce the active immunization it is necessary to inoculate into the body small parts of the infectious agent or the agent entirely (dead or inactivated).

205. What is meant by “gene locus”?

Gene locus (locus means place) is the location of a gene in a chromosome, i.e., the position of the gene in a DNA molecule.

206. What is harmonious ecological interaction?

Harmonious, or positive, ecological interaction is that in which none of the participating beings is harmed.

207. What are cnidocytes? What is the name of the capsule inside the cnidocyte? What are the biological functions of this structure?

Cnidocytes are specialized cells present in coelenterates. They are found in the epidermis and contain toxic substances that can hurt, paralyze or even kill other animals.

Each cnidocyte has an internal capsule know as nematocyst where the actual urticating substance is stored. When a cnidocyte is excited it causes the nematocyst to expose a filament containing the toxic chemical.

Cnidocytes and their nematocysts have the biological functions of defending the individual from external aggression and of helping to capture their prey.

208. What and how many are the pulmonary veins?

The pulmonary veins are part of the pulmonary circulation. They are vessels that carry oxygen-rich (arterial) blood from the lungs to the heart. There are four pulmonary veins, two that drain blood from the right lung and other two that drain the left lung. The pulmonary veins debouch into the left atrium bringing arterial blood to the heart. Although they are veins they carry arterial blood and not venous blood.


209. What are the types of antigenic agents that may constitute vaccines?

Vaccines can be constituted of dead agents of disease, of inactivated agents of disease, of inactivated toxins or of fragments of the infectious agent. Examples of some vaccines and their type of antigenic agents are: BCG, inactivated tuberculosis bacilli; antitetanic vaccine, inactivated toxin; antidiphtheric, inactivated toxin; antipolio Salk, dead poliovirus; antipolio Sabin, attenuated (inactivated) poliovirus.

210. Are the alleles of a gene necessarily originated one from the father and the other from the mother? Are there exceptions?

It is natural that alleles have come one from the father and the other from the mother but it is not obligatory. In a “clone” generated by nucleus transplantation technology, for example, the alleles come from a single individual. In polysomies (as in trisomy 21) each gene of the affected chromosome has three alleles, in trisomies, or four, in tetrasomies.

211. What is inharmonious ecological interaction?

Inharmonious, or negative, ecological interaction is that in which at least one of the participating beings is harmed. 

212. How is the nervous tissue distributed in cnidarians?

Their nervous system is diffuse, there are no brain or ganglia.

213. What is the valve that separates the aorta from the heart? What is the importance of that valve?

The valve between the left ventricle and the aorta is the aortic valve. The aortic valve prevents the retrograde flux of blood to the left ventricle during diastole. Besides, as the aortic valve closes during diastole, part of the retrograde blood flux is impelled through the coronary ostia (openings), orifices located in the aorta wall just after the valvular insertion and contiguous to the coronary circulation responsible for the blood supply of the cardiac tissues.

214. Why doesn't a long lasting vaccine against common cold exist yet?

Viruses that present a high mutation rate like the virus that causes the common cold escape easily from the action of vaccines against them. After a primary immune response (natural or artificially induced) against the virus in the next season of infection new mutant resistant strains appear and the protection obtained with the immune response of the last season is lost. (One could say that the high mutation rate is a form of “immunization” found by these viruses.)

215. What is a phenotype?

A phenotype is every observable characteristic of a living being conditioned by its genes. Some phenotypes may be altered by nongenetic factors (for example, artificial hair coloring). Specific phenotypes are also called phenotypical traits.

216. What are the main intraspecific ecological interactions?

The main harmonious intraspecific ecological interactions are colonies and societies. The main inharmonious intraspecific ecological interactions are intraspecific competition and cannibalism. 

217. What are the types of reproduction presented by cnidarians?

They present asexual and sexual reproduction.

218. To which heart chamber does the blood go after leaving the left atrium? What is the valve that separates these compartments?

The arterial blood that has come from the lungs to the left atrium passes then to the left ventricle. The valve between the left ventricle and the left atrium is the mitral valve, a bicuspid (two leaflets) valve. The mitral valve is important because it prevents the regurgitation of blood to the left atrium during systole(contraction of the ventricles). 

219. Why are vaccines used in the prevention but not in the treatment of infections? Why can antivenom serums be used in prevention and treatment?

Vaccines are not used in the treatment of infections because they depend on the primary immune response that takes about a week to occur and is not so intense and effective. Antivenom serums however are inoculated into the circulation and used as an immediate treatment because they are made of a great amount of immunoglobulin (antibodies) which is potent against their respective specific venom.

220. What is a genotype? What is the difference between genotype and phenotype?

Genotype is the genes, DNA nucleotide sequences contained in the chromosomes of an individual, that condition the phenotype. Phenotypes then are a biological manifestation of genotypes.

For example, the altered hemoglobin chain of sickle cell disease and the manifestation of the disease itself are the phenotype. The altered DNA nucleotide sequence in the gene that codifies the production of that abnormal hemoglobin chain is the genotype.

221. How are ecological interactions classified?

Ecological interactions are classified as intraspecific or interspecific interactions and as harmonious or inharmonious interactions. 

222. What is the type of asexual reproduction that occurs in hydras?

Hydras reproduce asexually by budding.

223. Is the ventricle lumen larger during systole or during diastole?

Systole is the stage of the cardiac cycle on which the ventricles contract. So the lumen of these chambers is reduced and the pressure upon the blood within them is heightened. During diastole the opposite occurs. The  muscle fibers of the ventricles relax and the lumen of these chambers enlarges helping the entrance of blood.

224. What is the DNA vaccine?

The DNA vaccine, or DNA vaccination, is a vaccination technology based on genetic engineering. In DNA vaccination a recombinant plasmid (vector) containing the gene of a specific antigen that is part of a given pathogenic agent is inserted into cells of the individual to be immunized. These cells then begin to produce the antigen that triggers the primary immune response and theoretically the individual becomes immunized against that antigen.

225. Does the environment exert an influence on the phenotype?

A phenotype may be altered (compared to the original situation conditioned by its genotype) by nongenetic means. Examples: some hormones may cease to be secreted due to diseases but the genes that determine their secretion remain intact; a person can go to a hairdresser and change the color of his/her hair; plastic surgery can be performed to alter facial features of an individual; colored contact lenses may be worn; a plant can grow beyond its genetically conditioned size by application of phytohormones.

Revealing cases of environmental influence on phenotypes are observed in monozygotic twins that have grown in different places. Generally these twins present very distinct phenotypical features due to the environmental and cultural differences of the places where they lived and to their different individual experiences in life.

(Biologically programmed phenotypical changes, like nonpathological changes of the skin color caused by sunlight exposure, tanning, or the variation of the color of some flowers according to the pH of the soil cannot be considered independent from the genotype. Actually these changes are planned by the genotype as natural adaptations to environmental changes.)

226. What are colonies and societies?

Colonies are functional integrated aggregates formed by individuals of the same species. Colonies are often confused with a single individual. Examples are the coral reefs, by-the- wind sailors and filamentous algae.

Societies are interactions for labor division and collaboration among individuals of the same species. Human societies are examples of ecological societies; other species, like bees, ants, termites, wolves and dolphins, also form societies.


227. What is metagenesis? What are the other names of this process?

Metagenesis is the type of life cycle in which there are two different forms of individuals of the same species, one haploid and the other diploid. In one of these stages gametogenesis occurs and fecundated gametes give birth to the zygote that then develops into the other form. Metagenesis is also known as alternation of generations or as diplobiont life cycle. (All plants, for example, present metagenesis.)

228. What is the stage of the cardiac cycle during which the ventricles are filled?

The filling of the ventricles with blood occurs during diastole.

229. What is the name given to conditions in which the own immune system of the individual is the agent of diseases? What are some examples of these conditions?

Diseases caused by the action of the own immune system of the individual are called autoimmune diseases. The autoimmune diseases appear when the immune system makes antibodies or defense cells that attack cells, tissues and organs of its own body. The attacked cells or tissues are wrongly recognized as antigens by the immune system. Rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, scleroderma, vitiligo, pemphigus, type I diabetes mellitus, Crohn's disease (chronic inflammation of the gut), myasthenia gravis, Graves disease, Hashimoto's disease, etc., are all examples of autoimmune diseases.

230. Are environmental phenotypical changes transmitted to the offspring?

Changes caused on phenotypes by the environment are not transmitted to the offspring (unless their primary cause is genotypical change in germ cells or in gametic cells). If a person changes the color of the hair or undergoes aesthetic plastic surgery the resulting features are not transmitted to his/her offspring.

231. What are intraspecific and interspecific ecological interactions?

Intraspecific ecological interactions are those between individuals of the same species. Interspecific ecological interactions are ecological interactions between individuals of different species. 

232. In the metagenesis of Aurelia and Obelia what is the form that produces gametes? What is the form that reproduces asexually?

In the metagenesis of some coelenterates, like Aurelia and Obelia, there is alternation between polypoid and medusoid forms. The polyps reproduce asexually originating medusae that then liberate gametes. The male and female gametes unite under water to form the zygote that then develops into larva and later originates another polyp.

The form that reproduces asexually is the polyp. Polyps give birth to medusae by budding in Obelia and by strobilization in Aurelia.


233. How do respiratory pigments act?

Respiratory pigments are oxygen- carrying molecules present in the blood. When the oxygen concentration is high, for example, in the pulmonary alveoli, the respiratory pigments bind to the gas. In conditions of low oxygen concentration, e.g., in tissues, the respiratory pigments release the molecule. In the human blood the respiratory pigment is hemoglobin, present within the red blood cells.

234. What are gametes?

Gametes are cells specialized in sexual reproduction. They contain half of the maximum number of chromosomes of the species and unite with another gamete giving birth to a zygote with double of the number of chromosomes of the gametic cells. In humans gametes are formed by meiosis; the male gametes are the sperm cells and the female gametes are the egg cells.

235. What are the situations in which the environment can alter the genotype of an individual? What is the condition for this type of change to be transmitted to the offspring?

The environment can only alter genotypes when its action causes alterations in the genetic material (mutations) of the individual, i.e., deletion, addition or substitution of entire chromosomes or of nucleotides that form the DNA molecules.

Mutations are only transmitted to the offspring when affecting the germ cells that produce gametes or the gametes themselves.

236. What is inharmonious ecological interaction?

Inharmonious, or negative, ecological interaction is that in which at least one of the participating beings is harmed. 

237. What is the name of the larva of corals and sea anemones? What is the biological importance of that larval stage?

Sexual reproduction in corals and sea anemones have a larval stage and the larva is called planula.

Many marine animals are sessile or practically sessile, like sponges, corals and sea anemones. The mobile larval stage of their life cycle provides better spatial distribution of these species.

238. Of which type of tissue is the heart made? How is this tissue oxygenated and nutrified?

The heart is made of striated cardiac muscle tissue. The heart muscle is called the myocardium and it is oxygenated and nutrified by the coronary arteries. The coronary arteries come from the base of the aorta and ramify around the heart penetrating the myocardium. Diseases of the coronary arteries are severe conditions. 

239. What is the name of the cells capable of making gametes? What is the ploidy of these gamete-forming cells?

The cells that form gametes are the germ cells as opposed to the somatic cells. The ploidy (number of chromosomes) of the germ cells is the same as the somatic cells (only during the formation of gametes meiosis occurs and the number of chromosomes is reduced to half).

240. What is competition? Which type of ecological interaction is competition?

Competition is the ecological interaction in which the individuals explore the same ecological niche or their ecological niches partially coincide and therefore competition for the same environmental resources takes place.

Competition is harmful for all participating beings and thus it is classified as an inharmonious (negative) ecological interaction. 

241. What are the main classes into which the phylum is divided? What are some examples of each and in which form (polyp or medusae) are they found?

Coelenterates are divided into three main classes: hydrozoans, scyphozoans and anthozoans. In hydrozoans the polypoid form predominates and examples are hydras, by-the-wind- sailors and Obelia. In scyphozoans the main phase is the medusoid and the best known example is the common jellyfish (Aurelia). In anthozoans there is only the polypoid form and corals and sea anemones are notable in this group.

242. How different are oxyhemoglobin and hemoglobin? Where is it expected to find a higher concentration of oxyhemoglobin, in peripheral tissues or in the lungs?

Oxygen-bound hemoglobin is called oxyhemoglobin. In the lungs the oxygen concentration is higher and so there is a higher oxyhemoglobin concentration. In the peripheral tissues the situation is the reverse, the concentration of oxygen is lower and there is more free hemoglobin.

243. What are gonads? What are the male and the female gonads in humans?

Gonads are the organs that produce gametes. They contain the germ cells that undergo division and generate gametes. In males the gonads are the testicles. In females the gonads are the ovaries.

244. Considering a pair of homologous chromosomes containing a gene having two different alleles how many different genotypes can the individual present?

If a gene of a diploid species has different alleles, for example, A and A’, the possible genotypes are: A’A’, AA, and AA’. So any of these three different genotypes may be the genotype of an individual.

245. What are the main interspecific ecological interactions?

The main harmonious interspecific ecological interactions are: protocooperation, mutualism and commensalism. The main inharmonious interspecific ecological interactions are: interspecific competition, parasitism, predatism and ammensalism. 

246. What does radial symmetry means? What is the type of symmetry found in chordates? Which are other phyla of the animal kingdom that present species with radial symmetry?

Radial symmetry means (biologically) that the animal structures are situated in a radial or circular pattern around a center point with nonexistence of sides, like right or left. An alternative type of symmetry in which structures are placed equally in the sides of a longitudinal axis is the lateral symmetry (the symmetry present in human beings, for example).

Chordates present lateral symmetry.

Besides cnidarians another animal phylum with species presenting secondary radial symmetry is the phylum Echinodermata. (It is considered that the simplicity of poriferans does not characterize any symmetry.)

247. Which are the two main metabolic gases transported by the blood?

The main metabolic gases transported by the blood are molecular oxygen (O2) and carbon dioxide (CO2).

248. What is the type of cell division that allows sexual reproduction? What is gametogenesis?

Meiosis is the type of cell division that allows sexual reproduction since it reduces to a half the number of chromosomes of the species making possible the combination of two gametes to form a new individual. (In some beings meiosis creates haploid gametophytes that by means of mitosis generate gametes. Even in this case the function of meiosis is the same: to provide cells with half of the number of chromosomes of the species with separation of the homologous.) Gametogenesis is the name given to the process of gamete production. 

249. What is protocooperation?

Protocooperation is the ecological interaction in which both participants benefit but which is not obligatory for their survival. Protocooperation is a harmonious (positive) interspecific ecological interaction. Examples of protocooperation are: the action of the spur-winged plover that using its beak eats residuals from crocodile teeth; the removal of ectoparasites from the back of bovines by some birds that eat the parasites; the hermit crab that live inside shells over which sea anemones live (these offer protection to the crab and gain mobility to obtain food). 

250. What are corals?

Corals are characterized by their polypoid shape, sessility and slow growth and secretion of a solid skeleton  made of calcium carbonate. Numerous coral individuals associate in intraspecific harmonic ecological interaction forming colonies with hundreds, thousands and even millions of beings. Water-permeated solid structures of these colonies, known as reefs, work as true ecosystems for other living beings. The biggest known coral colony is the Great Barrier Reef in the northeast coast of Australia. There are however many coral species whose individuals live alone and do not form colonies.

251. What is hemoglobin F? Why does the fetus need a different hemoglobin?

Hemoglobin F is the hemoglobin found in the mammalian fetus and hemoglobin A is the normal hemoglobin.Hemoglobin F has higher affinity for oxygen. The fetus needs hemoglobin capable of extracting oxygen from the mother’s circulation. Therefore the fetus uses hemoglobin F since it has higher affinity for oxygen than the mother’s hemoglobin.

252. Indicating the name and respective ploidy of each involved cell how can the formation of sperm cells from germ cells be described?

The formation of sperm cells, or spermatogenesis, begins with a germ cell called spermatogonium (2n) that suffers mitosis and gives birth to the spermatocyte I (2n). The spermatocyte I undergoes meiosis I and generates two spermatocyte II (n) that then undergo meiosis II and produce four spermatids (n). Each spermatid undergoes a maturation process called spermiogenesis and four sperm cells appear.


253. Whenever a pair of alleles has different alleles is there dominance between them?

Not in all cases of a gene having two different alleles is the dominance complete. There are genes in which heterozygosity occurs with incomplete dominance (manifestation of an intermediate phenotype in relation to the homozygous, like in the color of roses, between white and red) and other genes that present codominance (expression of a third different feature, as in the MN blood group system).

254. What is an example of intraspecific competition?

Intraspecific competition occurs in practically all species, for example, the competition of humans for a job. 

255. Cnidarian identity card. How are they characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, germ layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: jellyfish, corals, sea anemones, hydra. Basic morphology: polyp or medusa.

Type of symmetry: radial. Germ layers and coelom: diploblastics, acoelomate. Digestive system: incomplete. Respiratory system: nonexistent. Circulatory system: nonexistent. Excretory system: nonexistent. Nervous system: diffuse. Types of reproduction: asexual and sexual with larval stage and metagenesis.

256. What is the substance that stimulates the production of red blood cells? Which is the organ that secretes it? Under what conditions does this secretion increase?

The substance that stimulates the production of red blood cells by the bone marrow is erythropoietin. Erythropoietin is a hormone secreted by the kidneys. Its secretion is increased when there is deficient tissue oxygenation (tissue hypoxia) caused either by reduced oxygen availability (as it occurs in high altitudes) or by internal diseases, as in pulmonary diseases.

257. What is the difference between spermatids and sperm cells? What is the name of the transformation of spermatids into sperm cells?

Sperm cells (the male gametes) are matured spermatids that have already undergone differentiation (appearance of the flagellum, reduction of the cytoplasm, formation of the acrosome, increase in the number of mitochondria). This differentiation process is called spermiogenesis.

258. What is the difference between homozygosity and heterozygosity?

Homozygosity occurs when an individual has two identical alleles of a gene, for example, AA or aa. Heterozygosity occurs when an individual has two different alleles of the same gene, in the example, Aa.


259. Why is cannibalism an inharmonious intraspecific ecological interaction?

In cannibalism an individual eats other of the same species (occurs in some insects and arachnids). Since it is an interaction between beings of the same species and at least one of them is harmed (the other is benefited) the classification as inharmonious intraspecific ecological interaction is justified. 

260. What are the best known representatives of the platyhelminth phylum?

The most popular representatives of the platyhelminthes are worms that cause human diseases, like taenia and schistosome. The planaria, since it is been extensively studied in Biology, is also well known.

261. In high altitudes is it necessary for the blood to have more or less hemoglobin?

In high altitudes the air is rarefied and oxygen concentration is lower than in low altitudes. In this situation the efficiency of the respiratory system must be greater and thus the organism synthesizes more hemoglobin (and more red blood cells) trying to get more oxygen. This phenomenon is known as compensatory hyperglobulinemia. The compensatory hyperglobulinemia is the reason why athletes that will compete in high altitudes need to arrive in the place some days before the event so there is time for their body to make more red blood cells and they will be less affected by the effects of the low atmospheric oxygen concentration (fatigue, reduced muscular strength).

262. What is the difference between spermatogonium and spermatocyte I?

The male germ cells are the spermatogonia (diploid cells, 2n) situated in the testicles. They mature and by means of mitosis give birth to spermatocytes I (2n) that will undergo meiosis.


263. What is the difference between dominant allele and recessive allele?

Dominant allele is the allele that determines phenotypical features that manifest in homozygous or heterozygous genotypes. In Genetics the dominant allele is represented in uppercase, e.g., “A”, and its recessive allele is written in lowercase, “a”. In molecular terms generally the recessive allele has a nucleotide sequence previously identical to the corresponding sequence in the dominant allele but that during evolution was inactivated by mutation. This fact explains the expression of the dominant phenotype in heterozygosity (since one functional allele is still present).

264. What is mutualism?

Mutualism is the ecological interaction in which both participants benefit and that is obligatory for their survival. Mutualism is a harmonious (positive) ecological interaction. Mutualism is also known as symbiosis. Examples of mutualism are: the association between microorganisms that digest cellulose and the ruminants or insects within which they live; the lichens, formed by algae or cyanobacteria that make organic material for the fungi and absorb water with their help; nitrifying bacteria of the genus Rhizobium that associated to leguminous plants offer nitrogen to these plants.

265. What are the types of digestion and of digestive system of platyhelminthes?

Flatworms have incomplete digestive systems and they present extracellular and intracellular complementary digestions.

266. Why is carbon monoxide toxic for humans?

Hemoglobin “likes” carbon monoxide (CO) much more than it likes oxygen. When there is carbon monoxide in the inhaled air it binds to hemoglobin forming carboxyhemoglobin by occupying the binding site where oxygen would bind. Due to the higher hemoglobin affinity for carbon monoxide thus (e.g., in intoxication from car exhausts) there is no oxygen transport and the individual undergoes hypoxia, loses conscience, inhales more carbon monoxide and may even die. Intoxication by carbon monoxide is an important cause of death in fires and in closed garages.

267. What is the difference between spermatocyte I and spermatocyte II?

The spermatocyte I (2n) undergoes the first division of meiosis (meiosis I) originating two spermatocyte II (haploid, n).

268. Why can it be said that a recessive allele can remain hidden in the phenotype of an individual and revealed only when manifested in homozygosity in the offspring?

A recessive allele can remain hidden because it does not manifest in heterozygous individual, i.e., it may be present in the genotype but not expressed in the phenotype. When this allele is transmitted to the offspring and forms homozygous genotype with another recessive allele from other chromosomal lineage the phenotypical characteristics that come out reveal its existence.


269. What is commensalism?

Commensalism is the ecological interaction in which one individual benefits while the other is neither benefited nor harmed. Commensalism is a harmonious (positive) ecological interaction, since none of the participants is harmed. An example of commensalism is the numerous bacteria that live in the skin and in the digestive tube of humans without being pathogenic or beneficial. They are innocuous bacteria living in commensalism with humans. 

270. How are nutrients distributed by the digestive system in planarias?

Planarias have single opening digestive system (incomplete) with ramifications that transport nutrients to all areas of the body.

271. What is the stage of cellular respiration during which carbon dioxide is liberated?

In aerobic cellular respiration the release of carbon dioxide happens in the transformation of pyruvic acid into acetyl-CoA (two molecules) and in the Krebs cycle (four molecules). For each glucose molecule, six carbon dioxide molecules are made.

272. What is the acrosome of the sperm cell? How is it formed?

The acrosome is a structure that contains a great number of digestive enzymes, it is located in the anterior end of the sperm cell and it is formed by the union of Golgi apparatus vesicles. The function of the acrosome is to release its enzymes when the sperm cell meets the egg cell to break the external covering of the female gamete thus making fecundation possible.

273. Who was Gregor Mendel?

Mendel is considered the father of Genetics. He was a monk, biologist and botanist born in Austria in 1822 and who died in 1884. During the years 1853 to 1863 he cultivated pea plants in the gardens of his monastery to be used in his research. His experiments consisted of crossing pea plants of distinct characteristics (size, color of the seeds, etc.), cataloging the results and interpreting them. The experiments led him to enunciate his laws, results published in 1886 with no scientific repercussion at that time. Only at the beginning of the 20th century, in 1902, 18 years after his death, were his merits broadly recognized.


274. What is parasitism?

Parasitism is the ecological interaction in which a being lives at the expense of another. The parasite often does not cause immediate death of the host since it needs the host alive to survive. Parasitism is an inharmonious (negative) interspecific ecological interaction, since although one participant benefit the other is harmed. 

275. What is the main external morphological feature that differentiates platyhelminthes from other worms (nematodes)?

Platyhelminthes are also known as flatworms because they are worms with a flat body. This is the main external morphological feature that differentiates them from nematodes (roundworms).

276. How many chambers does the fish heart have?

The fish heart is a tube made of two consecutive chambers: one atrium and one ventricle.

277. What is the difference between spermatocyte II and spermatid?

The spermatids (n) are the products of the second division of meiosis (meiosis II) in the male gametogenesis. Each spermatocyte II originates two spermatids totaling four spermatids for each spermatocyte I that enter meiosis.

278. What is monohybridism?

Monohybridism is the study of only one characteristic in the crossing of two pure individuals (hybridization) for that characteristic.

279. What are some examples of parasitism?

Classical examples are the parasites of humans (host), like the trypanosome that causes Chagas’ disease, the HIV virus (AIDS), the bacteria that causes tuberculosis, the schistosome that causes schistosomiasis, the hookworms, etc. Other examples are: tree (host) and parasitic helminths (parasite), dog (host) and lice (parasite), cattle (host) and tick (parasite), etc. 

280. How is gas exchange done in flatworms?

Platyhelminthes exchange gases exclusively by diffusion through their body surface. This is only possible because all cells are localized relatively near to the exterior since gases diffuse cell by cell (the flat shape of these worms is a feature that allows this type of respiration).

281. How is carbon dioxide released by cellular respiration transported from the tissues to be eliminated through the lungs?

In vertebrates almost 70% of the carbon dioxide is transported by the blood in the form of bicarbonate, 25% bound to hemoglobin and 5% dissolved in the plasma.

282. What is the function of the flagellum of the sperm cell? How is it formed?

The flagellum of the sperm cell is made by the centrioles that migrate to the region posterior to the nucleus. Its function is to promote locomotion towards the egg cell.


283. What in Genetics is hybridization?

Hybridization in Genetics is the crossing of individuals from “pure” and different lineages in relation to a given trait, i.e., the crossing of different homozygous for the studied trait.

In Mendel’s experiments with peas, for example, a plant from a green pea lineage obtained from self fecundation of its ascendants through several generations was crossed (cross fecundation) with another plant from a yellow lineage also obtained by self fecundation of ascendants. (The self fecundation through several generations of ascendants and the exclusive obtainment of individuals with the desired characteristics ensured that the individuals of the parental generation were “pure”, i.e., homozygous for that characteristic.)

284. What are some examples of interspecific competition?

Examples of interspecific competition are: the dispute among vultures, worms, flies and microorganisms for carrion and the competition between snakes and eagles for rodents. 

285. How many germ layers originate the body of platyhelminthes? In relation to this characteristic how are these animals classified?

Platyhelminthes are the first triploblastic animals (remember that cnidarians are diploblastic), i.e., they present three germ layers: ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm.

286. Does the fish heart pump venous or arterial blood?

The venous blood coming from the tissues enters the atrium and passes to the ventricle that then pumps the blood towards the gills. After oxygenation in the gills the arterial blood goes to the tissues. So the fish heart pumps venous blood.

287. Why is the cytoplasm of sperm cells very reduced? Why do mitochondria of sperm cells concentrate in the base of the flagellum?

The reduced cytoplasm of sperm cells decreases the cell weight and provides a more hydrodynamic shape for the locomotion in fluids. The high concentration of mitochondria at the base of the flagellum of the sperm cell is necessary for the energetic supply of the flagellum (for it to beat and move the sperm cell).

288. Considering hybridization in a trait like the color of the flowers of a given plant species (red dominant/ yellow recessive) conditioned by a pair of different alleles, what are the phenotypical results of the first generation (F1) and the phenotypical results of the second generation (F2, formed by crossing among F1 genotypes)? What are the phenotypical proportions in F1 and F2?

In relation to genotypes and phenotypes the hybridization comprises of: parental generation (P): RR (read), yy (yellow). F1 generation (RR x yy): Ry (red). F2 generation (Ry x Ry): RR (red), Ry (red), Ry (red) and yy (yellow).

In the F1 generation the proportion of red flowers is 100%. In the F2 generation, the phenotypical proportion is three red (75%) to one yellow (25%).

289. What is predatism?

Predatism is the ecological interaction in which one individual mutilates or kills another to get food. Predatism is an inharmonious (negative) ecological interaction since one participant is harmed.

290. Poriferans and cnidarians do not have excretory systems. Do platyhelminthes have an excretory system?

Platyhelminthes have a primitive excretory system made of flame cells (also called solenocytes), excretory ducts and excretory pores.

291. What is the difference between double closed circulation and simple closed circulation?

Double closed circulation, or closed circulation, is that in which the blood circulates through two associated and parallel vascular systems: one that carries blood to and takes blood from the peripheral tissues (the systemic circulation) and the other that carries blood to and takes blood from the tissues that perform gas exchange with the environment, e.g, the lungs (pulmonary circulation). Double circulation occurs in  amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals. Simple closed circulation, or simple circulation, is the one in which the tissues that perform gas exchange are associated in series with the systemic circulation, as in fishes.

292. Indicating the name and respective ploidy of each involved cell how can the formation of egg cells from germ cells be described?

The formation of egg cells begins with a germ cell called oogonium (2n) that undergoes mitosis and gives birth to the oocyte I (2n). The oocyte I undergoes meiosis I that however is interrupted at prophase. After puberty during each menstrual cycle an oocyte I finishes the meiosis I and generate one oocyte II (n) and the first polar body (n). With fecundation the oocyte II then undergoes meiosis II and produces the mature egg cell (n) and the second polar body (n).


293. Considering hybridization in a trait like the color of the flowers of a given plant species (red/yellow) conditioned by a pair of different alleles in relation to complete dominance (red dominant/ yellow recessive), why in the F1 generation is one of the colors missing?

In this monohybridism one of the colors does not appear in the F1 generation because their parental generators are pure, i.e., homozygous, and in F1 all descendants are heterozygous (each parental individual forms only one type of gamete). Since only heterozygous genotypes appear and red is dominant over yellow the individuals of the F1 generation will present only red flowers. 

294. Is herbivorism a form of predatism?

Herbivorism is a form of predatism in which first order consumers feed from producers (plants or algae). For example, birds and fruits, humans and edible vegetables, etc. (There are proposals to consider the herbivorism of leaves a form of parasitism and the herbivorism of entire plants and seeds a form of predatism). 

295. What is an example of freshwater flatworm? Due to that habitat what is the physiological problem that these animals must solve?

Platyhelminthes of freshwater, like planarias, have an internal environment much more concentrated in solutes than the exterior and so they present a tendency to gain water. These organisms then need a drainage system to avoid cell death caused by excessive water.

The problem is solved by the presence of protonephridia located along longitudinal channels in the animal body. Protonephridia have ciliated cells, the flame cells, that push water outside the body through excretory pores.

296. Why is the fish circulation classified as a simple and complete circulation?

Complete circulation is that in which there is no mixture of venous blood and arterial blood. Simple circulation is that in which the blood circulates only in one circuit (as opposed to the double circulation that have two circuits, the systemic circulation and the pulmonary circulation). In fishes the circulatory system is simple and complete.


297. Concerning events during the periods of life how different is the gametogenesis in women and in men?

The formation of spermatogonia in men takes place during the embryonic period. The formation of sperm cells however is a continuous process that begins in puberty and goes on until old age and sometimes during all the remaining life of the man. In women all oogonia are formed before birth. The oogonia turn into oocytes I that enter the first division of meiosis (meiosis I). This division however is interrupted at prophase and continues only in puberty. After the beginning of menses an egg cell is released during each period and, if fecundated, it finishes the meiotic division. The oogenesis stops after menopause (cessation of the menstrual activity) and the climacteric period of life begins.

298. What is meant by saying that in relation to a given trait conditioned by a gene with two different alleles the gametes are always “pure”?

To say that gametes are pure means that they always carry only one allele of the referred trait. Gametes are always “pure” because in them the chromosomes are not homologous, they contain only one chromosome of each type.

299. How many heart chambers does the amphibian heart have?

The amphibian heart has three heart chambers: two atria and one ventricle.

300. What is the first polar body? How different is it from the oocyte II?

In oogenesis the oogonium differentiates into oocyte I (2n) and this cell enters meiosis. After finishing the first meiotic division (meiosis I) the oocyte I forms two cells: the oocyte II (n) and the first polar body. The oocyte II is bigger because it gets almost all the cytoplasm and the cytoplasmic structures of the oocyte I as a strategy for metabolite and nutrient storage. The oocyte II cell goes then to the second meiotic division. The first polar body is very small and almost lacks cytoplasm; it disintegrates or stays attached to the oocyte II.


301. Considering hybridization in a given trait like the color of the hair of a mammalian species (white/black) conditioned by a pair of different alleles under complete dominance (black dominant, B/ white recessive, w), how can the phenotypical proportion obtained in the F2 generation be explained? What is this proportion?

In the monohybridism conditioned by two different alleles the F1 generation presents only heterozygous individuals (Bw). In F2 there is one individual BB, two individuals Bw and one individual ww. In relation to the phenotype there are in F2 two black individuals and one white individual, since black is the dominant color. So the proportion is 3:1, three black-haired to one white- haired.

302. What is the difference between primary ecological succession and secondary ecological succession?

Primary ecological succession is the changing sequence of communities from the first biological occupation of a place where previously there were no living beings. For example, the colonization and the following succession of communities on a bare rock.

Secondary ecological succession is the changing sequence of communities from the substitution of a community by a new one in a given place. For example, the ecological succession of the invasion of plants and animals in an abandoned crop or land.

303. What is cephalization? How does lateral symmetry favor cephalization?

Cephalization is the evolutionary tendency of concentration of the nervous command in central structures in which there are grouping of neurons (i.e, brain and ganglia formation).

Evolutionarily the cephalization process begins with the appearance of ganglia (group of neurons) in platyhelminthes and reaches an apex in vertebrates, animals with a cranial box to protect the well-developed brain.

With lateral symmetry the body can be divided into lateral portions, superior, inferior, anterior and posterior. These portions must be integrated and controlled in some manner and this need stimulated the appearance of ganglial complexity and of beings with a head, a privileged extremity of the bilateral body where the nervous central command and important sensory organs are located.

304. Why can the amphibian circulation be classified as double and incomplete?

The amphibian circulation is double because it is composed of systemic and pulmonary circulations: respectively, heart-tissues-heart and heart-lungs- heart. Since amphibians have only one ventricle in the heart, venous blood taken from the tissues and arterial blood coming from the lungs are mixed in the ventricle that then pumps the mixture back to the systemic and to the pulmonary circulations. The amphibian circulation is classified as incomplete because venous and arterial blood mix in the circuit.

The blood oxygenation in amphibians occurs also in the systemic circulation since their skin is a gas exchange organ.

305. What is the relation between fecundation and the end of the meiotic process during oogenesis?

The oocyte II only completes the second meiotic division (interrupted at metaphase) if fecundation by a male gamete occurs. (One can say therefore that in fact the female gamete is the oocyte II).

306. What is the Mendel’s first law?

The Mendel’s first law postulates that a characteristic (trait) of an individual is always determined by two factors, one inherited from the father and the other from the mother and the direct offspring of the individual receives from it only one of these factors (aleatory). In other words, each trait is determined by two factors that segregate during gamete formation. 

The Mendel’s first law is also known as the law of purity of gametes. Mendel deduced the way genes and alleles were transmitted and traits were conditioned without even knowing of the existence of these elements.

307. What is ecological succession?

Ecological succession is the changing sequence of communities that live in an ecosystem during a given time period. 

308. What is the type of reproduction, sexual or asexual, that occurs in platyhelminthes?

Platyhelminthes may present sexual or asexual reproduction.

309. What is the difference between the amphibian heart and the reptile heart?

The reptiles have double and incomplete circulation too, three heart chambers (two atria and one ventricle). The reptile heart however presents the beginning of a ventricular septation that partially separates a right and left region of the chamber. With the partial ventricular septation the mixture of arterial with venous blood in the reptile heart is less than in amphibians.

310. How does the male gamete penetrate the egg cell? How does the female gamete protect itself from the entrance of more gametes after the entrance of the first sperm cell?

The sperm cell that reaches the egg cell triggers the acrosome reaction, a process in which hydrolytic enzymes of the acrosome are released on the external surface of the zona pellucida (the protective layer that surrounds the egg cell). A portion of this layer is digested by the acrosomal enzymes allowing the sperm cell to reach the plasma membrane of the egg cell carrying out fecundation. At the moment that the sperm cell makes contact with the egg cell membrane a chemical alteration of this membrane occurs. Enzymes secreted by exocytosis (cortical reaction) make the zona pellucida unable to bind to other sperm cells (zonal reaction) and other male gametes cannot enter the egg cell.

311. In the F2 generation of a hybridization for a given trait conditioned by a pair of alleles T and t, according to Mendel’s first law what are the genotypes of each phenotypical form? How many respectively are the genotypical and phenotypical forms?

In the mentioned hybridization the genotypical forms in F2 will be TT, tt and Tt. Therefore there will be three different genotypical forms and two different phenotypical forms (considering T dominant over t).

312. What are pioneer species? What is the role of the pioneer species?

Pioneer species are those first species that colonize places where previously there were no living beings, like, for example, algae that colonize bare rocks. In general, pioneer species are autotrophs or those that maintain harmonious ecological interaction with autotrophic beings (like autotrophic bacteria, herbaceous plants, lichens).

The pioneer community is formed of species able to survive under hostile environments. The presence of these species modifies the microenvironment generating changes in abiotic and biotic factors of the ecosystem undergoing formation. Therefore they open the way to other species to establish in the place by the creation of new potential ecological niches.

313. How can asexual reproduction in planarias be described?

Planarias can divide themselves asexually by transversal bipartition due to the great regeneration capability of their tissues. When they attach to a substrate they can induce a constriction in their middle region and the body is then separated into two parts and each of these parts gives birth to a new individual as tissue regenerates.

314. How many chambers do the bird heart and the mammalian heart have? Concerning temperature maintenance what is the advantage of the double and complete circulation of these animals?

The bird and the mammalian hearts are divided into four chambers: right atrium, right ventricle, left atrium and left ventricle. Birds and mammals are homeothermic, i.e., they control their body temperature. The four-chambered heart and the double circulation provide the supply of more oxygenated blood to the tissues making possible a higher metabolic rate (mainly cellular respiration rate). Part of the energy produced by the cellular respiration is used to maintain the body temperature.

315. What is the second polar body?

After termination of the second meiotic division of the oocyte II two cells are generated: the egg cell proper and the second polar body. The second polar body is a very small cell that almost lacks cytoplasm and stays adnexal to the egg cell. The entire cytoplasmic content of the oocyte II passes to the egg cell.

316. Which is the type of gamete (for a given trait) produced by a dominant homozygous individual? What is the genotypical proportion of these gametes? What about a recessive homozygous individual?

If an individual is dominant homozygous, for example, AA, it will produce only gametes having the allele A The proportion thus is 100% of AA gametes. If an individual is recessive homozygous, for example, aa, it will produce only gametes having the allele a, also in a 100% proportion.

317. What is the climax stage of an ecological succession?

The climax stage is the stage of the ecological succession in which the community of an ecosystem becomes stable and does not undergo significant changes. In the climax community practically all ecological niches are explored and greater biodiversity is possible. In this stage the biomass, the photosynthesis rate and the cellular respiration reach their maximum levels and thus the net primary production (NPP = organic material made by the producers – organic material consumed in the cellular respiration of the producers) tends to zero. At the climax the amount of oxygen released by photosynthesis is practically equal to the oxygen consumed by respiration. (This is one more reason why it is wrong to say that the Amazon Rainforest, an ecosystem at climax stage, is “the lung” of the earth. Other reasons are: lungs are not producers of oxygen; the algae and cyanobacteria of the phytoplankton are the main producers of the molecular oxygen of the planet.) 

318. Are flatworms monoecious or dioecious?

There are monoecious hermaphrodite flatworms, like planarias and taenias, and there are dioecious (having male and female individuals) species too, like schistosomes. 

319. What is the difference between the amphibian heart and the reptile heart?

The reptiles have double and incomplete circulation too, three heart chambers (two atria and one ventricle). The reptile heart however presents the beginning of a ventricular septation that partially separates a right and left region of the chamber. With the partial ventricular septation the mixture of arterial with venous blood in the reptile heart is less than in amphibians.

320. What is the relationship between the menstrual cycle and ovulation?

Ovulation is the releasing of the female gamete from the ovary. Ovulation is a periodical event that occurs during each menstrual cycle. Considering as the first day of the menstrual cycle the day when menses begins, the ovulation occurs around the 14th day when the concentrations of the hormones LH and FSH reach high levels.

321. Which is the type of gamete produced by a heterozygous individual? What is the genotypical proportion of these gametes?

Heterozygous individuals, for example, AA, produce two different types of gametes: one containing the allele A and another type containing the allele a. The proportion is 1:1.

322. How do biodiversity, the total number of living beings and the biomass respectively vary during the ecological succession?

Biodiversity, the number of living beings and the biomass of an ecosystem tend to increase as the succession progresses and they stabilize when the climax stage is reached.

At the initial stage of the succession the use of carbon dioxide and the fixation of carbon into the biomass are high, since the total number of living beings in the ecosystem is increasing. At the climax stage the use of carbon dioxide by photosynthesis equals the production by cellular respiration and the fixation of carbon into the biomass tends to zero.

323. Is it possible for a hermaphrodite species to present cross-fecundation?

There are hermaphrodite species of animals and plants that present cross- fecundation mainly due to the maturation of female and male structures at different periods.

Cross fecundation occurs in planarias, hermaphrodites in which sexual fecundation takes place with male and female gametes from different individuals. These individuals approach their copulating structures and exchange gametes.

324. Concerning the mixture of arterial with venous blood what is the difference between the human fetal circulation and the adult circulation?

In the human fetal circulation there are two communications between arterial and venous blood characterizing an incomplete circulation. One of them is the oval foramen, an opening between the right and the left atria of the fetal heart. The other is the arterial duct, a short vessel connecting the pulmonary artery to the aorta. These communications close a few days after birth and so they are not present in the adult heart.

325. What are the female pronucleus and the male pronucleus?

The female pronucleus is the proper haploid nucleus of the egg cell. Male pronucleus is the haploid nucleus of the sperm cell that has fecundated the egg cell. After fecundation both pronuclei fuse forming the nucleus of the diploid zygote.


326. Why can the crossing of an individual that manifests dominant phenotype with another that manifests recessive phenotype (for the same trait) determine whether the dominant individual is homozygous or heterozygous?

From the crossing of an individual having recessive phenotype with another having dominant phenotype (for the same trait) it is possible to determine whether the dominant individual is homozygous or heterozygous. This is true because the genotype of the recessive individual is obligatorily homozygous, for example, aa. If the other individual is also homozygous, AA, the F1 offspring will be only heterozygous (aa x AA = only Aa). If the other individual is heterozygous there will be two different genotypical forms, Aa and aa in the 1:1 proportion. So if a recessive phenotype appears in the direct offspring the parental individual that manifests dominant phenotype is certainly heterozygous.

327. How different are the concepts of migration, emigration and immigration?

Migration is the moving of individuals of a species from one place to another. Emigration is the migration seen as an exit of individuals from one region (to another where they will settle permanently or temporarily). Immigration is the migration seen as the settling in one region (permanently or temporarily) of individuals coming from another region. Therefore individuals emigrate "from" and immigrate "to". 

328. What is direct development? Is there a larval stage in planarias?

Sexual reproduction with direct development is that in which there is not a larval stage in the embryonic development. When a larval stage exists it is said to be indirect development.

In the sexual reproduction of planarias there is no larval stage.

329. Concerning their size and basic morphology how and why do the male and the female gametes differentiate from each other?

The female gametes are big cells full of vitellus (nutritive material). The male gametes are small, mobile and agile flagellate cells. Those features are related to their respective biological functions. While the female gametes have the basic functions of receiving the sperm cell nucleus and of storing nutrients for the zygote, the male gametes have the function of active movement towards the egg cell.


330. What are the three main steps for a good study of a genetic family tree?

Step 1: to determine whether the studied phenotypical form has a dominant or recessive pattern. 

Step 2: to identify recessive homozygous individuals.

Step 3: to identify the remaining genotypes.

331. What is population density?

Population density is the relation between the number of individuals of a population and the area or volume they occupy. For example, in 2001 the human population density of the United States (according to the World Bank) was 29.71 inhabitants per square kilometer and China had a population density of 135.41 humans per square kilometer. 

332. Into which classes are platyhelminthes divided? How are these classes characterized and what are some representative beings of each of them?

Platyhelminthes are divided into three classes: turbellarians (or Turbellaria), trematodes (or Trematoda) and cestodes (or Cestoda).

Turbellarians are free-living platyhelminthes and their main representative is the planaria (Dugesia tigrina). Trematodes are parasites, they live inside a host and the schistosome (Schistosoma mansoni) that causes schistosomiasis is an example. Cestodes are parasites too, they do not have digestive tubes and their cells are nourished by absorption of nutrients from the host; their most popular representative are the beef and pork taenias (Taenia saginata and Taenia solium) that parasite humans.

333. What is excretion?

Excretion in Physiology is the process of elimination of metabolic wastes and other toxic substances from the body.

334. What are the organs that are part of the male genital system?

The organs that comprise the male genital system are the testicles, the epididymides, the vas deferens, the seminal vesicles, the ejaculatory duct, the prostate, the bulbourethral glands, the urethra and the penis.

335. What is a genetic family tree?

Genetic family tree is a schematic family tree that shows the biological inheritance of some trait through successive generations.

Genetic family trees are useful because it is practically impossible and ethically unacceptable to make experimental crossings for genetic testing between human beings. With the help of family tress the study is made by analysis of marriages (and crossings) that have already occurred in the past. From the analysis of family trees, for example, information on probabilities of the emergence of some phenotype and genotypes (including genetic diseases) in the offspring of a couple can be obtained.


336. What are the main factors that affect the growth of a population?

The main factors that make populations grow are births and immigration. The main factors that make  populations decrease are deaths and emigration.  

337. What are the main human diseases caused by platyhelminthes?

The main human diseases caused by platyhelminthes are schistosomiasis, tapeworm disease (cestodiasis) and cysticercosis.

(Note:Diseases are studied in the “Diseases” division of this e-book.)

338. What are nitrogen wastes?

Nitrogen wastes are residuals derived from the degradation of proteins. They are made from chemical transformation of the amine group of amino acid molecules.

339. What is the function of the secretions of the prostate, seminal vesicle and bulbourethral glands in reproduction?

These secretions along with sperm cells from the testicles form the semen. The secretions have the function of nourishing the sperm cells and serving them as a fluid means of propagation. The basic pH of the seminal fluid also neutralizes the acid secretions of the vagina allowing the survival of sperm cells in the vaginal environment after copulation.


340. What is Mendel’s second law?

Mendel’s second law postulates that two or more different traits are also conditioned by two or more pair of different factors and that each inherited pair separates independently from the others. In other words, gametes are formed always with an aleatory representative of each pair of the factors that determine phenotypical characteristics.

Mendel’s second law is also known as the law of independent segregation of factors, or law of independent assortment.


341. What is population growth rate?

Population growth rate (PGR) is the percent variation between the number of individuals in a population at two different times. Therefore the population growth rate can be positive or negative. 

342. Platyhelminth identity card. How are platyhelminthes characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, germ layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: planarias, schistosomes, taenias. Basic morphology: flat worm. Type of symmetry: bilateral. Germ layers and coelom: triploblastics, acoelomates.

Digestive system: incomplete. Respiratory system: nonexistent, respiration by diffusion. Circulatory system: nonexistent. Excretory system: protonephridia with flame cells. Nervous system: ganglial, beginning of cephalization. Types of reproduction: asexual and sexual.

343. What are the three main types of nitrogen wastes excreted by living beings?

The main nitrogen wastes excreted by living beings are ammonia, uric acid and urea. Living beings that secrete ammonia are known as ammoniotelic. Creatures that secrete uric acid are known as uricotelic. Organisms that secrete urea are called ureotelic.

344. Concerning reproduction what is the function of the testicles?

The testicles are the male gonads, i.e., the organs where the production of gametes takes place. In human beings the gametes are made by meiosis that occur in the testicles.

345. What are the main conventional symbols and signs used in genetic family trees?

In genetic family trees the male sex is usually represented by a square and the female by a circle. Crossings are indicated by horizontal lines that connect squares to circles and their direct offspring are listed below and  connected to that line. The presence of the studied phenotypical form is indicated by a complete hachure (shading) of the circle or the square correspondent to the affected individual. It is useful to enumerate the individuals from left to right and from top to bottom for easy reference.

346. What are some examples of migratory animals?

Examples of migratory animals are: southern right whales from Antarctica, that procreate on the Brazilian coast; migratory salmons that are born in the river, go to the sea and return to the river to reproduce and die; migratory birds from cold regions that spend the winter in tropical regions, etc. 

347. What are examples of nematodes?

Ascaris, hookworm and filaria, all parasites of humans, are examples of nematodes (also known as  roundworms).

348. Why after the passage of animals from the aquatic to the terrestrial habitat does the abandonment of the ammoniotelic excretion occur?

Ammonia is a highly toxic molecule if not diluted and quickly excreted out of the body. For this reason the ammoniotelic excretion was abandoned in terrestrial habitats because the availability of water for dilution is reduced in this medium and wastes cannot be excreted so promptly to the exterior.


349. After passing the epididymides through which structures do sperm cells go until exteriorization?

After leaving the epididymis in the testicle sperm cells enter the vas deferens, after that they receive secretions from the seminal vesicles and gather (from right and left sides) in the ejaculatory duct that passes inside the prostate. They also get secretions from the prostate and the bulbourethral glands and then go through the urethra, inside the penis, to the exterior.

350. What is the condition for Mendel’s second law to be valid?

Mendel’s second law is only valid for genes located in different chromosomes. For genes situated in the same chromosome, i.e., linked genes (genes in linkage) the law is not valid since the segregation of these genes is not independent.

351. What is biotic potential?

Biotic potential is the capability of growth of a given population under hypothetical optimum conditions, i.e., in an environment without limiting factors to such growth. Under such conditions the population tends to grow indefinitely. 

352. Are nematodes exclusively parasites?

There are parasitic roundworms, including parasites of plants, but there are also free-living nematodes.

353. Why are most ammoniotelic beings aquatic animals?

Aquatic animals, like crustaceans, bony fishes and amphibian larvae, generally are ammoniotelic since ammonia diffuses more easily through membranes and it is more water soluble than the other nitrogen wastes. Ammonia is still the most energetically economical nitrogen waste to be synthesized.

354. What are the endocrine glands that regulate sexual activity in males? How does this regulation work and what are the involved hormones?

In males the sexual activity is regulated by the endocrine glands hypophysis (pituitary), adrenals and gonads (testicles). The FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) secreted by the adenohypophysis acts upon the testicles stimulating the spermatogenesis. The LH (luteinizing hormone), another adenohypophyseal hormone, stimulates the production of testosterone by the testicles too. Testosterone, whose production intensifies after the beginning of puberty, acts in several organs of the body and it is responsible for the appearing of the male secondary sex characteristics (beard, body hair, deep voice, increase of the muscle and osseous mass, maturation of genitalia, etc.) Testosterone also stimulates spermatogenesis.

355. Considering independent segregation of all factors, how many types of gametes does a VvXXWwYyzz individual produce? What is the formula to determinate such number?

The mentioned individual will produce eight different types of gametes (attention, gametes and not zygotes). To determine the number of different gametes produced by a given multiple genotype the number of heterezygous pairs is counted (in the mentioned case, three) and the result is placed as an exponent of two (in the example, 23 = 8).

356. What are the main limiting factors for the growth of a population?

The factors that limit the growth of a population can be divided into biotic factors and abiotic factors. The main abiotic limiting factors are: availability of water and light, availability of shelter. The main limiting biotic factors are: population density and inharmonious (negative) ecological interactions (competition, predatism, parasitism, ammensalism). 

357. What is the typical morphological feature of nematodes that differentiates them from platyhelminthes?

Nematodes are also known as roundworms. As the name indicates they are not flat like platyhelminthes. In evolutionary grounds with the nematodes the first complete digestive system appears, with mouth and anus, and the pseudocoelom is also a novelty.

358. Comparing toxicity and the need for dilution in water how different are the ureotelic and the uricotelic excretions? What are some examples of animals that present these respective types of excretion?

Urea is more water-soluble than uric acid (an almost insoluble substance). Urea is also more toxic. Both however are less toxic than ammonia. Some invertebrates, chondrichthian fishes, adult amphibians and mammals are ureotelic. Reptiles, birds and most arthropods are uricotelic.

359. What are the organs that are part of the female reproductive system?

The organs that constitute the female reproductive system are the ovaries, the Fallopian tubes (or uterine tubes), the uterus, the vagina and the vulva.

360. According to Mendel’s second law, in the crossing between homozygous individuals concerning two pairs of nonlinked alleles, AABB x aaBB, what are the genotypical and phenotypical proportions in F1 and F2?

Parental genotypes: AABB, aaBB. Gametes from the parental generation: Ab and aB. Thus F1 will present 100% AaBb gametes (and the phenotypical correspondent form).

As F1 are AaBb individuals the gametes from their crossing can be: AB, Ab, aB and ab. The casual combination of these gametes forms the following genotypical forms: one AABB, two AABb, two AaBb, four AaBB, one Aabb, one Aabb, one aaBB, two aaBb and two aabb. The phenotypical proportion then would be: nine A_B_ (double dominant); three A_bb (dominant for the first pair, recessive for the second); three aaB_ (recessive for the first pair, dominant for the second); one aabb (double recessive).

361. What is the typical shape of a population growth curve? How can the biotic potential be represented in the same way graphically?

A typical population growth curve (number of individuals x time, linear scale) has a sigmoidal shape. There is a short and slow initial growth followed by a fast and longer growth and again a decrease in growth preceding the stabilization or equilibrium stage.

The population growth according to the biotic potential curve however is not sigmoidal, it is only crescent-shaped and points up to the infinite value of the scale (there is neither a decreasing stage nor equilibrium). 

362. What are the morphological similarities and differences between nematodes and annelids?

Nematodes, like annelids, have a cylindrical elongated body. Annelids differentiate from nematodes by presenting a segmented body (body divided into metameres) and so they are called segmented worms.

363. What is the nitrogen waste in amphibian larvae and in the adult animal?

Since amphibian larvae are aquatic they excrete ammonia. The terrestrial adult excretes urea.

364. What is the organ that releases the female gamete under formation? How is this release triggered? What is the organ that collects the released gametes?

The organ that liberates the female gamete is the ovary, the female gonad. The releasing of the oocyte is a response to hormonal stimuli. The immature egg cell (still an oocyte) falls into the abdominal cavity and is picked up by the Fallopian tube (uterine tube, or oviduct), a tubular structure that connects the ovary with the uterus.

365. How is it possible to obtain the probability of emergence of a given genotype formed of more than one pair of different alleles with independent segregation from the knowledge of the parental genotypes?

Taking as example the crossing of AaBbCc with aaBBCc, for each considered pair of allele it is possible to verify which genotypes it can form (as in an independent analysis) and in which proportion. AA x aa: Aa, aa (1:1). Bb x BB: BB, Bb (1:1). Cc x Cc: CC, Cc,

cc (1:2:1). The genotype to which the probability is to be determined is for example aaBbcc. For each pair of this genotype the formation probability is determined: to aa, 0.5; to Bb, 0.5; to cc, 0.25. The final result is obtained by multiplication of these partial probabilities, 0.5 x 0.5 x, 0.5, resulting 0.0625.

366. What is environmental resistance?

Environmental resistance is the action of limiting abiotic and biotic factors that disallow the growth of a population as it would grow according to its biotic potential. Actually each ecosystem is able to sustain a limited number of individuals of a given species. The environmental resistance is an important concept of population ecology. 

367. Are nematodes diploblastic or triploblastic animals?

Just like platyhelminthes, nematodes are triploblastics, i.e., they present three germ layers (ectoderm, mesoderm and endoderm).

368. How is urea formed in the human body?

Urea is a product of the degradation of amino acids. In the process amino acids lose their amine group which is then transformed into ammonia. In the liver ammonia reacts with carbon dioxide to form urea and water, a process called ureogenesis. In the intermediary reactions of the ureogenesis a molecule of ornithine is consumed and another is produced. For this reason ureogenesis is also known as the ornithine cycle.

369. In which period of life does the formation of gametes begin in women?

The meiosis that forms female gametes begins in the cells of the ovarian follicles before birth. After the beginning of puberty, under hormonal stimuli, during each menstrual cycle one of the cells is released on the surface of the ovary and meiosis resumes. The meiotic process is only concluded however if fecundation happens.

370. What is the genetic condition in which the heterozygous individual has different phenotype from the homozygous individual?

This condition is called lack of dominance and it can happen in two ways: incomplete dominance or codominance.

In incomplete dominance the heterozygous presents an intermediate phenotype between the two types of homozygous, as in sickle cell anemia in which the heterozygous produces some sick red blood cells and some normal red blood cells. Codominance occurs, for example, in the genetic determination of the MN blood group system, in which the heterozygous has a phenotype totally different from the homozygous, not being an intermediate form.

371. How do the availability of water and light and the climate affect the growth of a population?

The availability of water and light and the climate are abiotic factors that limit the growth of a population. Since the producers are responsible for the synthesis of organic material transferred along the food chains of an ecosystem, water and light affect the availability of food and a population cannot grow beyond the number of individuals the environment is able to feed. For example, in the desert, the biomass is relatively small and populations that live in this ecosystem are smaller (compared to the same species in environments with large available biomass). The climate, including the temperature, affects the population growth because excessive change in this factor, as the occurrence of droughts or floods, may cause significant population decline; small climatic changes can also alter the photosynthesis rate and reduce the availability of food in the ecosystem. 

372. What is the main evolutionary innovation presented by nematodes? What is the advantage of that innovation?

The main evolutionary innovation of nematodes is the complete digestive system, with two openings (mouth and anus).

Since the ingestion and the defecation processes can occur in different extremities of the digestive tube, beings with a complete digestive system have the advantage of ingesting new food while residuals of already eaten food are still inside the body and not yet eliminated.


373. Why is the uricotelic excretion essential for avian and reptile embryos?

In reptiles and birds the excretory system is uricotelic since uric acid is insoluble, less toxic and suitable to be stored within the eggs where their embryos develop.


374. What are the anatomical relationships between the organs of the female reproductive system from the external vulva to the ovaries?

The external female genitalia is called the vulva. The vulva is the external opening of the vaginal canal, or vagina. The vagina is the copulation organ of the females and its posterior extremity communicates with the uterus through the uterine cervix. The uterus is divided into two portions: the cervix and the uterine cavity. The lateral walls of the uterine fundus communicate with the Fallopian tubes. The other extremity of each Fallopian tube ends in fimbria forming fringes in the abdominal cavity. Between the uterine tube and the ovary there is still intra-abdominal space.

375. According to Mendel’s law phenotypical characteristics would be determined by pair of factors (alleles) that separate independently in gametes. What are the main types of inheritances that are exceptions to Mendel’s rules?

There are many types of inheritance that do not follow the mendelian pattern. Notable among them are: multiple alleles, gene interactions (complementary genes, epistasis and quantitative, or polygenic, inheritance), linkage with or without crossing over and sex-linked inheritance.

Pleiotropy, lacking of dominance and lethal genes do not fit as variations of inheritance since genes can have these behaviors and at the same time obey mendelian laws.

Mutations and aneuploidies are abnormalities that also alter the mendelian pattern of inheritance as well as mitochondrial inheritance (passage of mitochondrial DNA from the mother through the cytoplasm of the egg cell to the offspring).

376. What is the relationship between environmental resistance and the population growth according to the biotic potential curve and the real population growth curve?

The difference between the real population growth curve (number of individuals x time) and the population growth according to the biotic potential curve of a given population is a result of environmental resistance. 

377. Compared to platyhelminthes which physiological problem have the cylindrical body of nematodes brought? How was that problem solved?

The cylindrical shape of nematodes made impossible the respiration exclusively by simple diffusion among cells since there are tissues far from the exterior. This problem was solved by the presence of an inner cavity in the body filled with fluid, the pseudocoelom. The pseudocoelom has the function of distributing gases and nutrients to the body and to collect residuals, besides serving as a hydrostatic base to keep the worm shape.

(For the fact that the pseudocoelom fluid and the pseudocoelom do not characterize a true circulatory system with blood and heart it is not said that in nematodes the respiration is cutaneous; it is considered that these animals still make respiration by diffusion).

378. Which are the organs of the excretory system?

The excretory system is formed of kidneys (two), ureters (two), bladder and urethra.

379. What is the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is the periodic succession of interactions between hormones and the organs of the female reproductive system that, after the beginning of puberty, regulates the release of the female gametes and prepares the uterus for fecundation and pregnancy.

380. What is pleiotropy?

Pleiotropy (or pliotropy) is the phenomenon in which a single gene conditions several different phenotypical traits.

Some phenotypical traits may be sensitive to pleiotropic effects (for example, inhibition) of other genes, even when conditioned by a pair of alleles in simple dominance. In these cases a mixture of pleiotropy and gene interaction is characterized.

381. How do populations of predators and prey vary in predatism?

Whenever a predator population increases at the first moment the prey population tends to decrease. At a second moment the decrease of the prey population and the bigger population density of predators cause the predator population to decrease. The prey population then reverts the tendency to decrease and begins to grow.

If variations in the size of populations occur in an unexpected intensity (different from the usual intensity of the ecological interaction) for example, due to ecological accidents killing many prey, the prey-predator equilibrium is disturbed and both species can be harmed. The existence of the predator sometimes is fundamental for the survival of the prey population, since the absence of predatism favors the proliferation of the prey and, in some cases, when the excessive proliferation creates a population size over the sustenance capacity of the ecosystem, environmental degradation occurs and the entire prey population is destroyed. 

382. How does the excretory system of nematodes work?

The metabolic residuals of nematodes are collected by two longitudinal lateral excretory channels that open in one single excretory pore near the mouth. 

383. How do embryos of placental mammals excrete nitrogen wastes?

Placental animals, including embryos, excrete urea. In the adult placental mammal urea is excreted through the urine. In embryos the molecule passes to the mother’s blood through the placenta and it is excreted in the mother’s urine.

384. After menses what is the hormone that influences the maturation of the ovarian follicles?

The maturation of the ovarian follicles after menses is stimulated by the action of FSH (follicle stimulating hormone).

385. What are lethal genes?

Lethal genes are genes having at least one allele that, when present in the genotype of an individual, causes death. There are recessive lethal alleles and dominant lethal alleles. (There are also genes having alleles that are dominant when in heterozygosity but lethal when in homozygosity, i.e., the dominance related to the phenotype does not correspond to the dominance related to lethality.)

386. How different is the growth according to the biotic potential of a viral population from the growth according to the biotic potential of a bacterial population?

The growth curve according to the biotic potential of virus and bacteria both present a positive exponential pattern. The difference between them is that in each time period bacteria double their population while the viral population multiplies dozens or hundreds of times. The viral population growth curve thus has more intense growth. This happens because bacteria reproduce by binary division, each cell generating two daughter cells, while each virus replicates generating dozens or even hundreds of new viruses. 

387. How is the nervous system of nematodes organized? Where are the neural chords located in their body?

Roundworms have a ganglial nervous system with an anterior neural ring representing (evolutionarily) a primitive cephalization.

Nematodes have two main longitudinal ganglial chords that extend one dorsally and the other ventrally under the epidermis. There may also be nerves lateral to these main chords. The nervous system of a free living nematode, “Caenorhabditis elegans”, has been well-studied in neurophysiological research and presents 302 neurons.

The nematode “C. Elegans” was the organism used in the research on the genetic regulation of organogenesis and apoptosis whose researchers won the Nobel prize of Medicine in 2002 (Brenner, Horvitz and Sulston).

388. What are the vessels that carry blood to the kidneys? Is this blood arterial or venous?

The arterial vessels that carry blood to be filtrated by the kidneys are the renal arteries. The renal arteries are ramifications of the aorta and so the blood filtered by the kidneys is arterial (oxygen-rich) blood.

389. What are the endocrine glands involved in the menstrual cycle? What are the hormones in action?

The endocrine glands that secrete hormones involved in the menstrual cycle are the hypophysis (pituitary) and the ovaries. The hormones from adenohypophysis are FSH (follicle-stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) and the hormones from the ovaries are estrogen and progesterone.

390. What are gene interactions? What are the three main types of gene interactions?

Gene interaction is the phenomenon in which a given phenotypical trait is conditioned by two or more genes (do not confuse with multiple alleles in which there is a single gene having three or more alleles).

The three main types of gene interaction are: complementary genes, epistasis and polygenic inheritance (or quantitative inheritance).

391. What are age pyramids?

Age pyramids are graphical representations in form of superposed rectangles each representing the number of individuals included in age ranges into which a population is divided. Generally the lower age ranges are represented more to the bottom of the pyramid, always below higher ranges, and the variable dimension that represents the number of individuals is the width (there are age pyramids however in which the variable dimension is the height).

392. What is the type of reproduction that occurs in roundworms? What typical feature do nematode sperm cells have?

Nematodes reproduce sexually. The nematode sperm cell does not have cilia nor flagella and they move by amoeboid movement forming pseudopods.

393. What is the main nitrogen waste of humans?

Human beings excrete mainly urea eliminated with the urine.

394. What is the hormone secreted by the growing ovarian follicles? What is the action of that hormone upon the uterus?

The follicles that are growing after menses secrete estrogen. These hormones act upon the uterus stimulating the thickening of the endometrium (the internal mucosa of the uterus).

395. What are multiple alleles? Is there dominance in multiple alleles?

Multiple alleles is the phenomenon in which the same gene has more than two different alleles (in normal mendelian inheritance the gene has only two alleles). Obviously these alleles combine in pairs to form the genotypes.

In multiple alleles relative dominance among the alleles may exist. A typical example of multiple alleles is the inheritance of the ABO blood group system, in which there are three alleles (A, B or O, or IA, IB and i). IA is dominant over i, which is recessive in relation to the other IB allele. IA and IB lack dominance between themselves.

Another example is the color of rabbit fur, conditioned by four different alleles (C, Cch, Ch and c). In this case the dominance relations are C > Cch > Ch> c (the symbol > means “dominates over”).

396. What are the main characteristics of the age pyramids of developed countries?

In a stabilized human population the age pyramid has a narrower base since the reproduction rate is not so high. The adult age ranges are generally wider than the infantile ranges showing that in practice there is no population growth. There is a proportionally high number of older individuals meaning that the life quality is elevated and the population has access to health services and good nutrition. These are features of the age pyramids of developed countries. 

397. What are the main human diseases caused by roundworms?

The main human diseases caused by nematodes are ascariasis, ancylostomiasis (hookworm infection) and filariasis (commonly known by its consequence, elephantiasis).

398. Which are the vessels that drain filtered blood from the kidneys?

The venous vessels that collect the blood filtered by the kidneys are the renal veins. The renal veins carry the blood that has been reabsorbed in the nephron tubules.

399. What event marks the beginning of the menstrual cycle? What is the blood concentration of FSH, LH, estrogen and progesterone in this phase of the cycle?

By convention the menstrual cycle begins at the day that menses begins. (Menses is the endometrial hemorrhage excreted through the vaginal canal.) At these days the hormones FSH, LH,  estrogens and progesterone are in low concentration.

400. What are the analyses provided by the study of human age pyramids?

The study of human age pyramids can provide the following analyses: proportion of individuals at an economically active age; proportion of elderly (indicating the quality of the pension and health systems); proportion of children and youth (indicating need for job generation and educational services); reproductive profile (shows the population growth tendency); postnatal survival rate (indicates quality of the health system, hygiene conditions, nutrition and poverty); longevity profile; etc.

It is possible to predict whether a population belongs to a rich and industrialized society or to a poor country since the patterns of the age pyramids differ according to these conditions. 

401. Nematode identity card. How are nematodes characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, germ layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: ascaris, hookworms, filaria, pinworms. Basic morphology: cylindric (round) body, not segmented.

Type of symmetry: bilateral.  Germ layers and coelom: triploblastics, pseudocoelomates.

Digestive system: complete. Respiratory system: respiration by diffusion.

Circulatory system: circulating fluid within the pseudocoelom. 

Excretory system: excretory channels and excretory pore. 

Nervous system: ventral and dorsal ganglial chord, primitive cephalization. Types of reproduction: sexual.


402. What is the functional unity of the kidneys?

The functional (filtering) unity of the kidneys is the nephron. A nephron is made of afferent arteriole, efferent arteriole, glomerulus, Bowman's capsule, proximal tubule, loop of Henle, distal tubule and collecting duct. In each kidney there are about one million nephrons.

403. What is the relationship between the estrogen level and the LH level in the menstrual cycle? What is the function of LH in the menstrual cycle and when does its blood concentration reach a peak?

The increase in the blood concentration of estrogen with the growing of the ovarian follicle causes the hypophysis to secrete LH. In this phase LH acts together with FSH promoting the maturation of the follicle that at the 14th day ruptures releasing the female gamete (ovulation). After the release of the ovum LH acts stimulating the formation of the corpus luteum, a structure made from the remaining follicular mass. The LH concentration is at maximum at the 14th day of the cycle.

404. What is epistasis? What is the difference between dominant epistasis and recessive epistasis?

Epistasis is the gene interaction in which a gene (the epistatic gene) can disallow the phenotypical manifestation of another gene (the hypostatic gene). In dominant epistasis the inhibitor allele is the dominant allele (for example, I) of the epistatic gene so inhibition occurs in dominant homozygosity (II) or in heterozygosity (Ii). In recessive epistasis the inhibitor allele is the recessive allele of the epistatic gene (i) so inhibition occurs only in recessive homozygosity (ii).


405. What is the typical conformation of the age pyramids of underdeveloped countries?

The age pyramids of peripheral countries or underdeveloped countries have characteristics related to the poverty of such populations, with a wider base and narrow apex. The base age range, if much wider than the other levels, indicates a high birth rate. The levels just above the base may present an impressive reduction in poorer populations due to infant mortality.

Ranges that represent the youth are also wide showing future pressure on job and habitation needs. The widths of the rectangles diminish as age increases to the apex that represents the elderly, demonstrating difficult life conditions, precarious health services and low life expectancy.


406. What are some examples of annelids?

Earthworms, leeches and lugworms.

407. How long after ovulation must fecundation occur to be effective?

If fecundation does not occur approximately 24 hours after ovulation the released ovum often dies.

408. What is pollution?

Pollution is the contamination of an ecosystem by factors that are harmful for the equilibrium of its biotic or abiotic constituents. 

409. Which are the morphological features that differentiate the beings of the phylum Annelida from nematodes and platyhelminthes?

Platyhelminthes are worms with flat bodies (flatworms), nematodes are worms with cylindrical but not segmented bodies (roundworms). Annelids are cylindrical worms with segmented bodies (they are metameric).

410. What is the main transformation presented by the glomerular filtrate in comparison to the blood?

Glomerular filtrate is the name given to the plasma after it has passed the glomerulus and entered the Bowman’s capsule. The glomerular filtrate has a different composition compared to urine since the fluid has not yet undergone tubular resorption and secretion. The main difference between the blood and the glomerular filtrate is that in the latter the amount of proteins is at a minimum and there are no cells or blood platelets.

411. What are the hormones that promote the release of the female gamete from the follicle and at which day of the menstrual cycle does this phenomenon happen? What is this event called?

The hormones that promote the release of the ovum from the follicle are FSH and LH, hormones found in maximum blood concentration around the 14th day of the cycle. The release of the female gamete from the ovary is called ovulation. Ovulation happens at (around) the 14th day of the menstrual cycle.

412. Is pollution always caused by humans?

In most cases pollution is caused by human activity. Other species and some abiotic factors however can also pollute an ecosystem. For example, the red tide is created by proliferation of some algae and volcanic dust is a consequence of the internal activity of the planet.


413. What is the main evolutionary novelty presented by annelids?

The main evolutionary novelty presented by the beings of the phylum Annelida is the coelom, the internal body cavity totally covered by mesoderm, a feature also present in arthropods, molluscs, echinoderms and chordates. Platyhelminthes are acoelomate and nematodes are pseudocoelomate (their internal cavity is partially covered by mesoderm).

Another important evolutionary novelty of the annelids is the closed circulatory system.

414. What is proteinuria? Why is proteinuria a sign of glomerular renal injury?

Proteinuria means losing of proteins through urine. Under normal conditions proteins are too big to be filtered by the glomerulus and they are practically absent in the urine (the few filtered proteins may also be resorbed in the nephron tubules). Proteinuria is an indication that a more than expected amount of proteins is passing the glomerulus suggesting glomerular disease, e.g., in diabetic nephropathy. The glomerulus also blocks the passage of blood cells and platelets (hematuria is often a sign of urinary disease although less specific of kidneys since the blood may come from the lower parts of the excretory tract).

415. What is the structure into which the follicle is transformed after ovulation? What is the importance of that structure in the menstrual cycle?

The follicle that released the ovum suffers the action of LH and is transformed into the corpus luteum. The corpus luteum is very important because it secretes estrogen and progesterone.

These hormones prepare the uterine mucosa, also known as endometrium, for nidation (implantation of the zygote in the uterine wall) and embryonic development since they stimulate the thickening of the mucous tissue, increase its vascularity and make the appearing of uterine glycogen-producing glands.

416. How to find the number of pair of alleles involved in polygenic inheritance using the number of phenotypical forms of the trait they condition?

Considering “p” the number of phenotypical forms and “a” the number of involved alleles of the polygenic inheritance. The formula p = 2a + 1 is then applied.

(Many times it is not possible to determine precisely the number of phenotypical forms, p, due to the multigenic feature of the inheritance, since often the observed variation of phenotypes seems to be on a continuum or the trait suffers environmental influence.)


417. Why is waste considered one of the major environmental issues?

The environmental problem concerning waste worsens with industrial development and the global growth of consumption societies in the 20th and 21st centuries, factors that cause the immense volume of residuals produced by mankind in the last decades. The increased waste generation raises the issue about what to do with waste since nature is not able to degrade and resorb with adequate speed and efficiency most of the residuals. Therefore the various kinds of waste accumulate, polluting the environment and creating danger to humans and nature. (The present destination of waste has been public waste depositories where the waste volume is compressed and buried underground, an environmentally risky method. Another method has been incineration, with the grave consequence of causing air pollution.) 

418. What is the morphological characteristic that evolutionarily approximates the beings of the phylum Annelida to arthropods?

The metameric feature, i.e., the body segmentation in metameres, approximates annelids to arthropods since these animals are segmented beings too. (Bristles present in oligochaete and polychaete annelids are also covered with chitin, the same substance of the arthropod exoskeleton.)


419. Where does most of the water resorbed after glomerular filtration go? What are the other substances resorbed by the nephron tubules?

Only 0.5 to 1% of the glomerular filtrate is eliminated as urine. The remaining volume, containing mainly metabolic ions, glucose, amino acids and water, is resorbed through the nephron tubules (by means of active or passive transport) and gains the blood circulation again. The convolute tubules of the nephron are responsible for the resorption of substances.

420. How does the female gamete move from the ovary to the uterus?

The female gamete released from the ovary falls into the surrounding abdominal cavity and is collected by the Fallopian tube. The internal epithelium of the uterine tubes has ciliated cells that move the ovum or the fecundated egg cell towards the uterus.

421. What is the most probable inheritance pattern of a trait with gaussian proportional distribution of phenotypical forms?

If a trait statistically has a normal (gaussian, bell-shaped curve) distribution of its phenotypical forms it is probable that it is conditioned by polygenic inheritance (quantitative inheritance).

In quantitative inheritance the effects of several genes add to others making it possible to represent the trait variation of a given population in a gaussian curve with the heterozygous genotypes in the center, i.e., appearing in larger number, and the homozygous in the extremities.


422. How does digestion in beings of the phylum Annelida work and which type of digestive system do they have?

Digestion in beings of the phylum Annelida is extracellular. These animals have a complete digestive system, with mouth and anus.

423. Why do cells of the nephron tubules present a great amount of mitochondria?

The cells of the tubule wall have high number of mitochondria because many substances are resorbed or secreted through them by means of active transport (a process that spends energy). Therefore many mitochondria are necessary for the energetic supply (ATP supply) of this type of transport.

424. What is the importance of the uterine glycogen- producing glands?

The uterine glands produce glycogen that can be degraded into glucose to nourish the embryo before the complete development of the placenta.

425. Why is sex-linked inheritance an example of nonmendelian inheritance?

Sex-linked inheritance is a type of nonmendelian inheritance because it opposes Mendel’s first law, which postulates that each trait is always conditioned by two factors (alleles). In nonhomologous regions of the sex chromosomes the genotypes of the genes contain only one allele (even in the case of the XX karyotype, i.e., in women, one of the X chromosomes is inactive).

426. What is selective waste collection?

Recyclable waste is waste that can be reprocessed and used again. Waste recycling depends on the separation of the recyclable residuals from non recyclable ones and on the classification of the recyclable into plastics, metals, papers, etc. The function of the selective waste collection is to simplify that separation for the waste to be sorted at the point of origin. Selective collection also helps the creation of an environmental conscience in the people that produce the waste.

427. Which are the characteristics and organs of the digestive system of earthworms related to the type of diet of these animals?

Earthworms eat decomposing organic material and small organisms ingested together with soil particles. The digestive tubes of earthworms have special structures, like a muscular wall and a gizzard, that triturate the food and scratch it against the ingested soil particles. Since annelid digestion is exclusively extracellular earthworms also present in the posterior part of their digestive system structures like the cecum and the typhlosole that have the function of increasing the absorption surface of the intestine.

428. What is tubular secretion? What are some examples of substances secreted through the renal tubules?

Tubular secretion is the passage of substances from the blood capillaries that surround the nephron tubules to the tubular lumen for these substances to be excreted with urine. Ammonia, uric acid, potassium, bicarbonate and hydrogen ions, metabolic acids and bases, various ingested drugs (medicines) and other substances are secreted by the nephron tubules.

429. How does the hypophysis- corpus luteum negative feedback work? What is the name given to the atrophied corpus luteum after this feedback process?

After ovulation the estrogen and progesterone secretions from the corpus luteum inhibit the hypophyseal FSH and LH secretions (this happens by inhibition of GnRH, gonadotropin-releasing hormone, a hypothalamic hormone). The blood concentration of these adenohypophyseal hormones falls to basal levels again. As LH lowers the corpus luteum (luteum means “yellow”) becomes atrophic and turns into the corpus albicans (“white”). With the regression of the corpus luteum the production of estrogen and progesterone ceases.

430. What is mitochondrial inheritance?

Mitochondrial inheritance is the passage of mitochondrial DNA molecules (mtDNA) to the offspring. All stock of mtDNA an individual has have come from the mother, the maternal grandmother, the maternal great grandmother and so on, since mitochondria are inherited from the cytoplasm of the egg cell (that later constitutes the cytoplasm of the zygote). There are several genetic diseases caused by mitochondrial inheritance, like Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy, that leads to loss of the central vision of both eyes, and the Kearns-Sayre syndrome, a neuromuscular disease that causes ophthalmoplegia and muscle fatigue. Mitochondrial inheritance is an excellent means of genetic analysis of the maternal lineage (just like the Y chromosome is an excellent means of study of the paternal lineage).

431. What is the cost-benefit relationship regarding sewage treatment as a strategy to fight water pollution?

To treat sewage is much cheaper for society. The non treated sewage pollutes rivers, lakes and the sea, being a cause of diseases transmitted through water. For the society the costs of these diseases are much higher than the cost of the sewage treatment.

One of the most economical systems to treat sewage is the aerobic treatment system, reservoirs kept very oxygenated for aerobic bacteria to decompose organic material. 

432. The vascular lesions caused by leeches upon the blood vessels of their host cause blood naturally to coagulate. How does the leech solve this problem since it could be expected that the ingested blood would coagulate inside its body?

Ingested blood does not coagulate inside the leech (Hirudo medicinalis) because in its saliva there is a potent anticoagulant substance, a protein called hirudin.

In the past leeches were largely used as medical treatment. Nowadays hirudotherapy is being used in patients with extensive and chronic inflammation of the skin, in prevention against tissue necrosis after some surgeries and in several others fields of Medicine.

433. In which nephron portion does the regulation of acidity and alkalinity of the plasma occur?

The regulation of the acid-basic equilibrium of the body is done by the kidneys and depends upon the tubular resorption and secretion.

434. Which are the phases of the menstrual cycle?

The menstrual cycle is divided into two main phases: the follicular (or menstrual) phase and the luteal (or secretory) phase. The menstrual phase begins at the first day of menses and lasts until ovulation (around the 14th day). The luteal phase begins after ovulation and ends when menses begins (around the 28th day).

435. What is linkage?

Two genes are said to be under linkage, or linked, when they reside in the same chromosome.

For example, the research of the human genome discovered that the factor III of clotting gene and the factor V of clotting gene are located in the same chromosome (the human chromosome 1). The factor VII gene however is not linked to those genes since it is located in the chromosome 13.

436. What is eutrophication?

Eutrophication is the process of excessive increasing of nutrients, like phosphate and nitrate, in water due to direct deposit of non treated sewage. The nutrients act as fertilizers leading to abnormal proliferation of aquatic algae. With the exaggerated growth of the alga population the number of aerobic bacteria that cause decomposition of organic material also increases. The proliferation of these bacteria depletes the dissolved oxygen killing fishes and other animals. Besides, the lack of oxygen causes the decomposition to be assumed by anaerobic bacteria.

Anaerobes multiply and release hydrogen sulfide that makes water improper to other living beings and creates a putrid smell.


437. How is the respiratory system of beings of the phylum Annelida characterized?

Respiration in annelids can be cutaneous or branchial. Cutaneous respiration occurs due to the rich vascularity under the epidermis. The gills, present in aquatic annelids, are located in the parapodia (false claws) that have an extensive capillary net.

438. How do kidneys participate in the regulation of the acid-basic equilibrium of the body? How are alkalosis and acidosis respectively corrected by the kidneys?

Kidneys can regulate the acidity or alkalinity of the plasma varying the excretion of hydrogen and bicarbonate ions. In alkalosis (abnormally high level of the plasma pH) the kidneys excrete more bicarbonate and the equilibrium of formation of bicarbonate from water and carbon dioxide shifts towards formation of more hydrogen ions and bicarbonate and then the plasma pH is lowered. When the body undergoes acidosis (abnormal low level of the plasma pH) the kidneys excrete more hydrogen ions and retain more bicarbonate thus the equilibrium of formation of bicarbonate from water and carbon dioxide shifts towards more hydrogen consumption and the plasma pH is increased.

439. In hormonal terms why does menses occur?

Menses is the endometrial monthly desquamation that occurs as the estrogen and progesterone levels fall after the regression of the corpus luteum because these hormones, mainly progesterone, can no longer support and maintain the thickening of the endometrium.

440. Why is not Mendel’s second law always valid for two or more phenotypical traits of an individual?

Mendel’s second law, or the law of the independent assortment, is valid for genes located in different chromosomes. These genes during meiosis segregate independently.

Mendel’s second law however is not valid for phenotypical features conditioned by genes located in the same chromosome (genes under linkage), since these genes, known as linked genes, do not separate in meiosis (except for the phenomenon of crossing over).

441. Besides mercury which other heavy metals cause toxic pollution?

Examples of other heavy metals that cause toxic pollution are lead, cadmium and chromium. 

442. What is meant when it is said that beings of the phylum Annelida are vascular beings? From which other phyla of the animal kingdom does this feature differentiate them?

The classification of these beings as vascular beings means that they have a circulatory system, with vessels that distribute substances throughout the body.

Poriferans, cnidarians and flatworms do not have a circulatory system. In nematodes there is circulation of gases and nutrients through the pseudocoelom fluid.

443. How do kidneys participate in the blood volume control? How is the blood volume of the body related to the arterial pressure?

The kidneys and the hormones that act upon them are the main physiological regulators of the total blood volume of the body. As more water is resorbed in the nephron tubules the more the blood volume increases; as more water is excreted in urine the more the blood volume lowers. The blood volume in its turn has a direct relation to blood pressure. The blood pressure increases when the blood volume increases and it lowers when the blood volume lowers. That is the reason why one of the main groups of antihypertensive drugs is the diuretics. Doctors often prescribe diuretics for the hypertensive patients to excrete more water and thus lower their blood pressure.

444. What is the explanation for the bleeding that accompanies menses?

The hemorrhage that accompanies menses occurs because the endometrium is a richly vascularized tissue. The rupture of blood vessels of the uterine mucosa during the menstrual desquamation causes the bleeding.


445. Why is drosophila a convenient animal for the study of linked genes?

The fruit fly drosophila is suitable for the study of Genetics because it presents many distinct traits but only four chromosomes (one sex chromosome and three autosomes).

446. What is a biodigester?

A biodigester is equipment that produces carbon dioxide, hydrogen sulfide and fuel gases (biogases) like methane from organic material under decomposition (dung, food waste, sugar cane waste, etc.). The biogas is used in heating, as energy for motors and machines and it even has industrial uses. Biodigesters are widely used in public waste depositories and in rural areas. Besides producing biogas the organic waste can be turned into good quality fertilizer. 

447. How are the circulatory systems of animals classified?

A circulatory system is classified as open or closed. In open circulatory systems blood gets out of vessels and flows also to large cavities that perfuse the tissues to be irrigated. In closed circulatory systems blood circulates only within blood vessels and through the heart.


448. Which are the three hormones that participate in the regulation of the renal function?

Antidiuretic hormone (or ADH, or vasopressin), aldosterone and atrial natriuretic factor (or ANF) are hormones that participate in the regulation of the excretory system.

449. Including main events and hormonal changes how can the menstrual cycle be described?

One can imagine a cycle like an analog clock at which at 0 o’clock is the beginning and the end of the menstrual cycle and that 6 o’clock corresponds to the 14h day of the cycle. At 0 o’clock the menses and so the menstrual cycle begins and FSH blood level begins to increase. Around 2 o’clock the maturing follicles under FSH action are already secreting estrogen and the endometrium is thickening. Around 3 o’clock estrogen is intensely stimulating the increase of LH blood level. At 6 o’clock (the 14th day) LH is at its maximum concentration and FSH also at high levels to promote ovulation, LH then stimulates the formation of the corpus luteum. Around 7 o’clock the corpus luteum is already secreting a great amount of estrogen and progesterone and the endometrium thickens even more, concomitant lowering of FSH and LH occurs with the increasing of the ovarian hormones. Around 11 o’clock the reduced LH and FSH levels make the corpus luteum turn into the corpus albicans, the production of estrogen and progesterone ceases and the endometrium regresses. At 0 o’clock again (28th day) the endometrium desquamates and a new menstrual cycle begins.

450. What are persistent organic pollutants POPs?

POPs, or persistent organic pollutants, are toxic substances formed from organic compounds. POPs are made in several industrial processes, like the production of PVC, paper whitened by chlorine, herbicides, insecticides and fungicides, and also in the incineration of waste. Examples of POPs are dioxins, furanes, chlordane, DDT, dieldrin, heptachloride, toxaphen and hexachlorbenzene.

POPs are toxic and highly harmful since, like the heavy metals, they are bioaccumulative, i.e., they are not degraded by the body and accumulate even more in each following trophic level of the food chains. In humans POPs can cause cancer and nervous, immune and reproductive impairments. 

451. What is the type of circulatory system present in annelids?

In beings of the phylum Annelida the circulatory system is closed, i.e., blood circulation takes place only within specialized vessels.

452. What is the function of the antidiuretic hormone? Where is it made and which are the stimuli that increase or reduce its secretion?

The antidiuretic hormone is secreted by the hypophysis (also known as pituitary) and it acts in the nephron tubules increasing the resorption of water. When the body needs to retain water, for example, in cases of blood loss and abrupt blood pressure lowering or in cases of abnormally high blood osmolarity, there is stimulus for ADH secretion. When the body has an excess of water, as in cases of excessive ingestion or in abnormally low blood osmolarity, the secretion of ADH is blocked and the diuresis increases. ADH is also known as vasopressin since it increases the blood volume and thus heightens the blood pressure.


453. What is the part of the female reproductive system where fecundation occurs?

Fecundation generally occurs in the Fallopian tubes but it can also take place within the uterus. There are cases when fecundation may occur even before the ovum enters the uterine tube, a fact that may lead to a severe medical condition known as abdominal pregnancy.

454. Why does the recombination frequency of genes vary with the distance between them in the chromosome?

The farther the distance between the loci of two genes in a chromosome the higher the recombination frequency between these genes. This is true because once alleles are nearer in the chromosome it is more probable that they are kept united when chromosomal extremities are exchanged by crossing over. On the other hand, if they are farther apart it will be easier for them to separate by crossing over.


455. What are the environmental harms caused by mercury pollution? What are the main sources of mercury pollution?

Mercury is a metal that when present in the water of rivers, lakes and seas contaminates fishes, crustaceans, molluscs and other living beings. The mercury accumulates along the food chain and in each following trophic level the amount of the metal within the individuals is higher. When humans eat contaminated animals they also become contaminated and severe nervous system injuries may emerge. The main sources of mercury pollution are gold mining and the use of derived substances in industry and agriculture. 

456. Is there a respiratory pigment in the annelid blood?

The blood in beings of the phylum Annelida contains the respiratory pigment hemoglobin (the same found in chordates) and other pigments too.

457. Why does the ingestion of alcohol increase diuresis?

Alcohol inhibits the secretion of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) by the pituitary. That is why when it is drunk to excess the person urinates too much.

458. How does the sexual arousal mechanism in women facilitate fecundation?

During sexual arousal in women the vagina secretes substances to neutralize its acidity thus allowing the survival of sperm cells within it. During the female fertile period hormones make the mucus that covers the internal surface of the uterus less viscous to help the passage of sperm cells to the uterine tubes. During copulation the uterine cervix advances inside the vagina to facilitate the entering of male gametes through the cervical canal.

459. In genetic recombination by crossing over what is the difference between parental gametes and recombinant gametes?

Parental gametes are those gametes that maintain the original linkage of genes (alleles) in the chromosome. Recombinant gametes are those in which the original linkage is undone due to exchange of chromosomal pieces by crossing over during meiosis.

460. Is the upward move of warm air good or bad for the dispersion of pollutants?

The upward movement of warm air is a natural method of dispersion of pollutants. The air near the ground is hotter because the sun heats the soil and the soil heats the air nearby. Since it is less dense, the warm air tends to move towards higher and colder strata of the atmosphere. Such movement helps the dispersion of pollutants.

461. How can the presence, localization and function of muscular tissue in beings of the phylum Annelida be explained?

In these beings there are a longitudinal muscular layer under the epidermis and, internally juxtaposed and perpendicular to it, another circular (radial to the axis) muscular layer. The circular muscle layer has the function of elongating the body while the longitudinal shortens it. By alternating actions both promote movement.

462. What is an evolutionary explanatory hypothesis for the secretion by the heart of a hormone that regulates the renal function? Which is that hormone?

The renal regulator hormone secreted by the heart is the atrial natriuretic factor (or ANF). The ANF increases the excretion of sodium in the nephron tubules causing less resorption of water, more urinary volume, and thus lowering the blood pressure. The atrial natriuretic factor is secreted when there is an increase of the length of the heart muscle fibers in response to high blood pressure. The ANF is a natural antihypertensive substance. Since the health of the heart depends largely upon the stability of the normal blood pressure the evolution should have preserved the atrial natriuretic factor to allow information from the heart to be an additional mechanism for the renal control of the blood pressure.

463. In general what is the phase of the menstrual cycle when copulation may lead to fecundation?

Although this is not a rule, to be effective fecundation in general must occur within about 24 hours after ovulation (that occurs around the 14th day of the menstrual cycle). Fecundation may occur even if copulation took place up to 3 days before ovulation since the male gametes remain viable for about 72 hours within the female reproductive system. The fertile period of the women however is considered the period from 7 days before ovulation to 7 days after ovulation.

464. What is a centimorgan?

Centimorgan, or recombination unit, by convention is a distance between two linked genes that corresponds to 1% of recombination frequency of these genes.

465. What is the role of the ozone layer for living beings?

Ozone, O3, is a gas of the atmosphere that filters ultraviolet radiation from the sun disallowing most of that radiation from reaching the surface of the planet. Ultraviolet radiation is harmful for living beings because it is a mutagen and can cause cancer (mainly skin cancer), other DNA mutations and even burns. 

466. How can the excretory system of annelids be described?

In each segment (metamere) of the being a pair of complete excretory structures called metanephridium exists. The metanephridium has an extremity, the nephrostoma, which collects residuals from the coelom, filtering them and causing reabsorption along its extension (similar to human nephron tubules). The material to be excreted goes out through a pore, the nephridiopore, which opens in the body surface.

467. Why does the ingestion of alcohol increase diuresis?

Alcohol inhibits the secretion of ADH (antidiuretic hormone) by the pituitary. That is why when it is drunk to excess the person urinates too much.

468. What is nidation? In which phase of the menstrual cycle does nidation occur?

Nidation is the implantantion of the embryo in the uterus. Nidation occurs around the 7th day after fecundation, i.e., 7 to 8 days after ovulation (obviously, it occurs only if fecundation also occurs). Since it occurs in the luteal phase the progesterone level is high and the endometrium is in its best condition to receive the embryo.

469. What is recombination frequency?

Recombination frequency, or crossing over rate, is the percentage of recombinant gametes made by crossing over (in relation to the number of parental gametes made). It always refers to two genes located in the same chromosome.

470. Does thermal inversion occur in the winter or in the summer?

Pollutant low altitude thermal inversion occurs in the winter. In this period of the year the sun heats the soil less and the natural upward move of warm air decreases. Therefore the pollutants form a low altitude layer between the cold air layer near the ground and another layer of warmer air above. The pollutant layer over industrial areas or big urban concentrations reduces the penetration of the sun's energy and the air bellow takes an even longer time to warm. 

471. How is the nervous system characterized in beings of the phylum Annelida? How can one compare cephalization in annelids to cephalization in nematodes and platyhelminthes?

Annelids have a nervous system made of two ventral chords and one relatively big nervous cell concentration in its anterior portion resembling a primitive brain.

Nematodes have an anterior neural ring connected to two neural chords, a ventral and a dorsal one, while in planarias (platyhelminthes) there are only two small anterior “cerebral” ganglia from which neural chords split. Cephalization in annelids thus is more outstanding than in nematodes or in flatworms.


472. How does aldosterone act and where is it produced?

Aldosterone is a hormone that acts upon the nephron tubules stimulating the resorption of sodium. Therefore it contributes to the increase of the blood osmolarity and consequently to the increase of the blood pressure. Aldosterone is made by the adrenals, glands located over the superior portion of the kidneys.

473. What is tubal pregnancy?

Many times fecundation takes place in the Fallopian tubes. Generally the newly formed zygote is taken to the uterus where nidation and the embryonic development occur. In some cases however the zygote cannot go down to the uterus and the embryo implants itself in the uterine tube tissue, characterizing the tubal pregnancy. Tubal pregnancy is a severe clinical condition since often the tube ruptures during gestation causing hemorrhage and even death of the woman. The most common treatment for tubal pregnancy has been surgery.

474. How can the concept of recombination frequency be used in genetic mapping?

Genetic mapping is the determination of the location of the genes in a chromosome. By determining the recombination frequency between several different linked genes it is possible to estimate the distance between them in the chromosome. For example, if a gene A has a recombination frequency of 20% with the gene B, this gene B has recombination frequency of 5% with the gene C and this gene C has recombination frequency of 15% with the gene A, it is possible to assert that the gene A is 20 centimorgans distant from the gene B and that between them lies the gene C at 15 centimorgans of distance from the gene A.


475. What are the main chemical compounds that destroy the ozone layer?

The mains chemical compounds that destroy the ozone layer are the CFCs, chlorofluorocarbons, or freons, substances used in the past in refrigerators, airconditioners and spray cans. Chlorofluorocarbons react with ozone in the high atmosphere releasing molecular oxygen and therefore the amount of ozone in the atmosphere is reduced. Another substance that destroys the ozone layer is methyl bromide, used in agricultural insecticides.


476. What is the clitellum of earthtworms and where it is located?

The clitellum is a special region of the annelid constituted by rings (metameres) with reproductive function. It can be found in the anterior portion of the animal and it is characterized by a lighter color in comparison to the normal color of the other segments.

477. What is hemodialysis?

Hemodialysis is the artificial blood filtration made by specific machines in substitution of the kidneys. Hemodialysis may be necessary in patients suffering from diseases that cause renal failure, like diabetic renal complications, lupic renal complications and others. During hemodialysis the blood of the patient is deviated to the filtering machine and after the filtration it returns to the body. Hemodialysis is generally done two, three or more times a week in a process that takes several hours. Sometimes kidney transplantation is an alternative to hemodialysis.

478. How do hormonal tests to detect pregnancy work?

Laboratory tests to detect pregnancy commonly test for human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) concentration in blood or urine samples. If the level of this hormone is abnormally high, pregnancy is likely.

479. Is crossing over important for the diversity of biological evolution?

Sexual reproduction and recombination of linked genes (crossing over) are, along with mutations, the main instruments of biological variability. Sexual reproduction allows many combinations between genes situated in different chromosomes. Crossing over, however, is the only means to provide recombination of alleles located in a same chromosome. Crossing over probably emerged and has been maintained by the evolution because of its importance to biological diversity.

480. Why does thermal inversion increases air pollution? What harm can thermal inversion cause to humans?

Thermal inversion confines at low altitude a layer of pollutants that would have been dispersed by the natural upward move of warm air. The solid particles present in the atmosphere cause health problems, like the exacerbation of asthma and other pulmonary diseases, cough, respiratory unease and ocular discharges; later the pollution can also trigger the appearance of cardiovascular and neoplastic diseases. 

481. What is the ecological role of earthworms?

Earthworms have an important ecological role as they eat decomposing organic material. They also dig tunnels in the subsoil allowing the entrance of gases and nutrients that are useful for plant roots and other living beings. So they act as decomposers and as fertilizers too.


482. What is the function of the skin in humans?

The skin is the external covering of the body. In humans its main functions are protection, perception of information from the environment, control of the body temperature and secretion of substances.

483. Does the hypophysis- ovaries endocrine axis work in the same way during pregnancy as in non-pregnant women? If pregnancy does not occur how does another menstrual cycle begin?

The functioning of the hypophysis is altered during pregnancy. Since estrogen and progesterone levels remain elevated during the gestational period the production of GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) from the hypothalamus is inhibited. The lack of GnRH thus inhibits the secretion of FSH and LH from the hypophysis and a new menstrual cycle does not begin. If pregnancy does not occur the lowering of estrogen and progesterone levels stimulates the production of GnRH by the hypothalamus. This hormone then hastens the adenohypophyseal secretion of FHS and LH that in their turn stimulate the maturation of follicles and the beginning of a new menstrual cycle.

484. Concerning the sex chromosomes of the XY system which type of gamete do the male and the female individuals respectively produce?

The individual of the male sex is XY so he forms gametes containing either the X chromosome or the Y chromosome in a 1:1 proportion. The individual of the female sex is XX and thus she forms only gametes containing an X chromosome.

485. What is nuclear pollution?

Nuclear pollution consists of radiations emitted from atomic nuclei, these radiations are highly injurious to living beings. They can be originated from the extraction of radioactive minerals, nuclear plant reactors, nuclear research centers, hospitals and medical centers that use radioisotopes, nuclear bomb explosions or accidents with transportation, handling or storage of nuclear material. Nuclear materials remain dangerous for many years, contaminating the environment with radiation that can cause cancer, immune impairment, congenital deficiencies, burns and even death. The damage is proportional to the intensity of the exposition to the radiation. Its persistent feature and high aggression power make nuclear pollution one of the major environmental problems of our time. 

486. Concerning the occurrence of separated sexes how are the beings of the phylum Annelida classified?

These beings may be dioecious (the majority of polychaetes) or hermaphrodite monoecious (oligochaetes and hirudineans).

487. What are some functions of the epithelium?

The epithelial tissues can perform covering, impermeability and protection against the environment, for example, in the skin, resorption, as in the guts and renal tubules, gas exchange, for example, the amphibian skin, thermal regulation, like sweating, secretion of substances, as in the epithelium of glands. In some animals the skin also has the important function of camouflage and mimicry .

488. What is the endocrine function of the placenta?

The placenta besides being the organ through which the exchange of substances between the mother and the fetus is done also has the function of secreting estrogen and progesterone to keep a high level of these hormones during pregnancy. (The placenta still secretes other hormones like human placental lactogen, that act similarly to the hypophyseal hormones that regulate reproduction, and HCG, human chorionic gonadotropin.)

489. How is the genetic determination of sex established in humans?

In the diploid genome of human beings there are 46 chromosomes, 44 of them are autosomes and two are sex chromosomes. The individual inherits one of these chromosomes from each parent. The human sex chromosomes are called X chromosome and Y chromosome. Individuals having two X chromosomes (44 + XX) are female. Individuals having one X chromosome and one Y chromosome (44 + XY) are male. (Individuals 44 + YY do not exist since the chromosome Y is exclusively from paternal lineage.)

490. What is transgenic food?

Transgenic beings are animals, microorganisms and plants that contain recombinant DNA, i.e., genes from other plants, microorganisms or animals artificially inserted into their genetic material. Transgenic beings are made for scientific and economic purposes, in this last case with the intention of improving their commercial features. For example, bacteria that produce human insulin are transgenic beings made by biotechnology. The main targets of the transgenic technology are edible vegetables, like soy, corn, potato and tomato. 

491. Into which classes is the phylum Annelida divided?

The phylum is divided into three classes: oligochaetes (for example, earthworms), hirudineans (e.g., leeches) and polychaetes (these are mostly marine aquatic with parapodia, like nereis).

492. What are the tissues that form the skin in vertebrates?

The skin of vertebrates is made of epidermis, an external layer of epithelial tissue, and dermis, a layer of connective tissue under the epidermis. One can cite also the hypodermis, a layer of adipose tissue under the dermis. Skin annexes may exist in some phyla and classes, like hair, sweat glands and sebaceous glands.

493. How do contraceptive pills generally work?

Contraceptive pills generally contain the hormones estrogen and progesterone. If taken daily from the 4th day after menses the abnormal elevation of these hormones acts upon the hypophysis- hypothalamus endocrine axis inhibiting the FSH and LH secretions. Since these hormones then do not reach their normal high levels during the menstrual cycle ovulation does not occur ( Treatment with contraceptive pills must be initiated under medical supervision.)

494. What are the homologous and the heterologous portions of the human sex chromosomes?

Homologous portion is that in which there are genes having alleles in both Y and X sex chromosomes. The homologous portions are situated more in the central part of the sex chromosomes, near the centromere.

495. What is plutonium reprocessing? Why is it a big environmental issue?

Plutonium is the highly radioactive chemical element produced from uranium by nuclear plants. Plutonium can be reprocessed to be used again in nuclear plants or in other destinations, like the making of nuclear bombs. Plutonium reprocessing nowadays, however, is done only in some countries like France, Russia and Britain. The countries that have nuclear plants, like Japan, Australia, etc., send their atomic waste by ship to those plutonium reprocessing centers. Besides the inherent risks of the storage of nuclear waste, plutonium reprocessing brings the risks of the transport of radioactive material across the oceans. The “nuclear ships” often travel near the coast of many countries posing danger to their populations. 

496. Is the embryonic development in earthworms direct or indirect?

In earthworms there is no larval stage, so the embryonic development is direct.

497. What is the typical feature of the epithelia? How different is it from the connective tissue?

The typical feature of the epithelium is the absence or almost absence of space between cells. The epithelial cells are compactly positioned side-by-side with the help of specialized structures for cell adhesion like desmosomes and interdigitations. This feature relates to the fact that these tissues are generally exposed to an exterior surround and so they need more resistance and impermeability against the entrance of strange material into the body. The connective tissue presents opposite features due to its filling function. It has much interstitial material (the matrix) and relatively large space between cells.

498. How does the contraceptive diaphragm work? What are the limitations of this contraceptive method?

The contraceptive diaphragm is an artifact made of latex or plastic that when placed on the vaginal fundus covers the uterine cervix forbidding the passage of sperm cells through the cervical canal. To be more effective the diaphragm needs to be used together with spermicide. This method however does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

499. Is it possible that an X chromosome of a woman can have come from her father?

It is not only possible that an X chromosome of a woman is from her father, it is certain. Every woman has an X chromosome from her father and the other X chromosome from her mother.

In men however the X chromosome comes always from his mother and the Y chromosome is always from his father.


500. Why are transgenics considered a threat to the environmental safety?

Transgenics can be dangerous to the entire biosphere since the transfer of genes between species may have immediate and long term unpredictable consequences. The creation of new species by nature is a slow process, dependent on causal mutations and natural selection, a relatively safe process for the ecological equilibrium. It is impossible to know how the fast and artificial introduction of transgenic beings in nature affects ecosystems.

Pathogenic agents may be involuntarily created in laboratories, spreading unknown diseases; transgenic species may uncontrollably proliferate destroying ecological interactions that have taken thousands of years to be established; the ingestion of transgenic food also has unpredictable effects.

501. What is the name of the larval stage of polychaetes?

Among the annelid classes only polychaetes present a larval stage. Their larva is called trocophore.

502. Besides the skin what are the other coverings of the body?

Besides the skin there are other covering tissues made of epithelium over other tissue layers. They are the tissues that cover the internal surfaces of hollow organs, like the organs of the digestive tube, the airway, the renal tubules, the ureters, the bladder, the urethra and the blood vessels. The glands and the serous membranes are made of epithelial tissue too.

503. What are the common contraindications of the contraceptive pills?

There are medical reports associating the use of contraceptive pills with vomiting, nausea, vertigo, headaches, hypertension and other pathological conditions. Some research has attempted to relate the medical ingestion of estrogen and progesterone with increased propensity to cardiovascular diseases (like infarction, strokes and thrombosis) and to malignant neoplasias (cancers). Doctors must always be asked about the risks and benefits of the contraceptive pill prior to use.


504. Is it more indicated for a geneticist desiring to map the X chromosome of the mother of a given family (the researcher does not have access to her DNA, only access to the genetic material of the offspring) to analyze the chromosomes of her daughters or of her sons?

To analyze the X DNA of a mother (assuming no access to her own material) it is more indicated to study the genetic material of her sons since all X chromosomes of males come from the mother while the daughters have X chromosomes from the mother and from the father. By researching the material of the sons it is ensured that the studied X chromosome is from the mother.

505. What is biological control?

Biological control is a natural method to control the size of animal, microorganism or plant populations. Biological control is based on the knowledge of inharmonious (negative) ecological interactions between species. Using such knowledge a parasite, competitor or predator species is introduced in an ecosystem in order to attain reduction of the population of another species with which it has inharmonious ecological interaction. The biological control presents the advantage of substituting the use of pesticides and other toxic chemical products in the control of plagues and diseases. It however should be employed with caution under serious previous study to avoid harmful ecological disequilibrium. A kind of biological control of some species can be done by the introduction of previously sterilized males, that do not generate offspring. 

506. Annelid Identity card. How are they characterized according to examples of representing beings, basic morphology, type of symmetry, germ layers and coelom, digestive system, respiratory system, circulatory system, excretory system, nervous system and types of reproduction?

Examples of representing beings: earthworms, leeches, lugworms. Basic morphology: cylindrical body, segmented (metameric). Type of symmetry: bilateral. Germ layers and coelom: triploblastics, coelomates.

Digestive system: complete. Respiratory system: cutaneous or branchial.

Circulatory system: closed, with hemoglobin. Excretory system: a pair of metanephridia in each metamere.

Nervous system: neural chords, a pair of ganglia per metamere, anterior concentration of neurons (primitive brain). Types of reproduction: sexual, with dioecious and monoecious beings.



507. What are the specialized structures that help the adhesion between cells?

The structures responsible for the union of the epithelial cells are called cell junctions. The main cell junctions are interdigitations, desmosomes, zonula adherens (adherens junction), tight junctions (zonula occludens) and gap junctions.

508. Why is the use of condoms not just a contraceptive method but also a health protection behavior?

The use of condoms besides being an efficient contraceptive method also helps the prevention of diseases caused by sexually transmitted agents (STDs), like syphilis, gonorrhea, HPV (human papilloma virus that may lead to genital cancers) infestation, HIV infection, etc.


509. Do the genes of the X and Y chromosomes determine only sex characteristics?

Besides sex genes the sex chromosomes have also autosomal genes, genes that codify several proteins related to nonsexual traits.

510. What is bioremediation?

Bioremediation is the use of microorganisms, like bacteria, protists and fungi, to degrade noxious substances turning them into non toxic or less toxic substances. Bioremediation employs microorganisms whose metabolism uses contaminants as reagents.

Bioremediation is used, for example, in the decontamination of environments polluted by oil spills. In this process bacteria that use hydrocarbons as substrate for their cellular respiration are employed.

511. What are some examples of arthropods?

Ants, flies, cockroaches, shrimps, crabs, spiders and scorpions are examples of arthropods.

512. Is the epithelium vascularized? How do nutrients and oxygen reach the epithelium? Why is this feature an important evolutionary acquisition?

Epithelia are not vascularized (capillaries do not directly reach their cells). The epithelium exchanges substances by diffusion with the connective tissue situated under it. Since the epithelia are not vascularized minuscule skin injuries or scratches that happen all the time do not trigger bleeding and do not expose the blood to contamination from external agents. This is an important protective strategy discovered by evolution.

513. What are the most common methods of male and female surgical sterilization?

Vasectomy is the most common method of surgical sterilization in men. In vasectomy the vas deferens inside the scrotum are sectioned and closed at a section which will forbid the sperm cells to follow to the ejaculatory duct but still allowing the release of seminal fluid during ejaculation.

Surgical sterilization of women is often done by bilateral tubal ligation. With tubal ligation the ovum does not pass to the uterus so the sperm cells cannot reach it.

514. What are the main diseases caused by errors of the number of sex chromosomes in the cells of an individual?

Diseases caused by abnormal number of sex chromosomes are called sex aneuploidies. The main sex aneuploidies are: 44 + XXX, or trisomy X (women whose cells have an additional X chromosome); 44 + XXY, or Klinefelter's syndrome (men whose cells have an extra X chromosome); 44 + XYY, or double Y syndrome (men whose cells have an additional Y chromosome); 44 + X, Turner’s syndrome (women whose cells lack an X chromosome).

515. Concerning germ layers and the presence of coelom how are arthropods characterized?

Arthropods are triploblastic (they have three germ layers) and coelomate beings.

516. How are the epithelial tissues classified?

The epithelial tissues are classified according to the shape of the cells that form it (epithelial cells may be cuboidal, columnar, or squamous) and according to the number of layers in which those  cells are placed in the tissue (into simple or stratified). The main types of epithelial tissues are simple cuboidal, simple columnar, simple squamous, stratified squamous and pseudostratified columnar (resembling more than one layer but actually having only one). There are also stratified cuboidal and stratified columnar epithelia (rare).

517. What is the normal duration of the menstrual cycle? How does the calendar contraceptive method work?

The normal duration of the menstrual cycle is 28 days but it can vary among different women or in different cycles of the same woman.

In the calendar contraceptive method the date n-14 (n minus 14) is taken considering n the number of days of the normal menstrual cycle of the woman (generally n=28). The safety margin +3 or –3 refers to the days around n-14 that intercourse should be avoided to prevent pregnancy. (This method is not exempt from failures. A doctor must always be consulted before relying on any contraceptive method.)

518. What is the inactivation of the X chromosome? What is a Barr body?

Inactivation of the X chromosome is a phenomenon that occurs in women. Since women have two X chromosomes only one of them remains active and functional mixed to the chromatin while the other remains condensed and inactive. In the same woman in some cell lineages the functional X chromosome is the one from the father and in other cell lineages the functional chromosome is the X from the mother characterizing a condition known as mosaicism (related to the X chromosome). Under the microscope the inactive X  chromosome is seen as a granule generally in the periphery of the nucleus. This granule is called the Barr body.


519. What is the criterion used to classify hosts as intermediate hosts or as definitive hosts?

The criterion used to classify hosts as intermediate hosts or as definitive hosts is the kind of reproduction of the parasite, sexual or asexual, within the host. The host within which the sexual reproduction stage of the parasite occurs is the definitive host. The host within which the asexual reproduction stage of the parasite occurs is the intermediate host. 

520. Considering the presence of segmentation (metameres) in their body to which other already studied phylum are arthropods proximal?

Considering their metameric feature arthropods are proximal to annelids that also have segmented bodies. In the embryonic development of some arthropods there are fusions of metameres forming structures like, for example, the cephalothorax of arachnids.

521. How different is the simple cuboidal epithelium from the columnar epithelium? Where can these epithelia be found in the human body?

The simple cuboidal epithelium is made of a single layer of cuboidal epithelial cells. The simple columnar epithelium is made of a single layer of prismatic cells. The simple cuboidal epithelium can be found, for example, in the renal tubules and in the walls of the thyroid follicles. The simple columnar is the epithelium that covers internally the intestines, the stomach and the gallbladder, for example.

522. Generally how does a male animal realize that the female is receptive to copulation?

In most vertebrate species with internal fecundation the females have reproductive cycles with fertile periods. During this period the female secretes pheromones (odoriferous substances that attract the male of the species) from the skin and mucosae. The presence of the male individual and his pheromones also stimulates the release of pheromones by the female. (Many animals also use pheromones for territorial demarcation and for signal transmission between individuals about the location of dangers and food.)

523. What is the difference between ectoparasite and endoparasite?

Ectoparasites are parasites that explore the external surface of the host (like, for example, mites that parasite the skin). Endoparasites are parasites that live within the body of the host (like the taenias). 

524. What are the main morphological features of arthropods?

Arthropods present three distinguishing features: they are metameric beings (segmented body), they have an exoskeleton made of chitin and they present articulated limbs.

525. How different is the simple squamous epithelium from the stratified squamous epithelium? Where can these epithelia be found in the human body?

The simple squamous epithelium is made of a single layer of flat (squamous) cells. The stratified squamous epithelium is made of the same type of flat cells placed in several superimposed layers. The simple squamous epithelium is found in the pulmonary alveoli. The stratified squamous epithelium can be found in the moist mucosae, like the mucosae of the mouth, esophagus and vagina, and it is the epithelium of the skin.


526. How is the ovulation date estimated with the control of the woman's body temperature?

One method to estimate the exact ovulation day is daily control of the body temperature taken always under same conditions. At the ovulation day the body temperature often increases about 0.5 degrees centigrade.

527. What is the clinical deficiency presented by hemophilic people? What is the genetic cause of that deficiency?

Hemophilia is a disease characterized by impaired blood clotting and the affected person is more prone to internal and external hemorrhages.

Patients with hemophilia A have alteration in the gene that codifies the factor VIII of blood clotting, a gene located in the non-homologous portion of the X chromosome. Patients with hemophilia B present a defect of the gene that codifies the factor IX of clotting, a gene also located in the non- homologous region of the X chromosome. Thus both diseases are X- linked diseases.

528. What are vectors of parasites?

Vectors of a parasite are organisms able to transport the parasite during stages of its life cycle mediating the infection of other hosts. For example, the mosquito Aedes aegypti is the vector of the dengue virus; triatomine bugs are vectors of the Trypanosoma cruzi, protozoan that causes Chagas’ disease; mice are vectors of leptospira, bacteria that cause leptospirosis.


529. What is the external rigid carapace of arthropods called? Of which substance is it made? Which type of organic molecule is that substance?

The external carapace of arthropods is called exoskeleton. The arthropod exoskeleton is made of chitin, a nitrogen-containing polysaccharide. 

530. What is the function of keratin in the epidermis?

The epidermis is the outer layer of the skin made of epithelial tissue. In the epidermis there are keratin-secreting cells (keratinocytes). Keratin is an insoluble protein that impregnates the surface of the skin providing protection and impermeability. In mammals keratin also forms the hairs. The keratinized cells of the skin surface form the corneal layer. These cells die and are continuously replaced by others.

531. What is parthenogenesis?

Parthenogenesis is the reproduction or formation of a new individual from the egg cell but without fecundation by the male gamete. According to the species, individuals born by parthenogenesis may be male or female, or of any sex. In bees the drone (the single male bee) is haploid and born by parthenogenesis while the females (queen and workers) are diploid.


532. What are X-linked traits?

X-linked traits are phenotypical traits conditioned by genes located in the nonhomologous (heterologous) portions of the X chromosome.

533. Concerning the number of hosts how are parasites classified?

Parasites that require only one host are called monoxenous parasites. Parasites that need more than one host for their life cycle are called heteroxenous parasites. 

534. How do arthropods grow?

Due to the presence of exoskeleton the growth of an arthropod is periodical. During the growth period the animal loses the exoskeleton, grows and develops a new exoskeleton. This process is named ecdysis, or molting.

535. How different is the fish epidermis from the amphibian epidermis?

The fish epidermis is very thin and contains mucus-secreting cells. The fish skin does not present keratin. The mucus has a protective function and it also helps the sliding of the animal under water. (The fish scales originate from the dermis and not from the epidermis.) 

In amphibians there is already a slight keratinization of the skin, probably an additional adaptation to the terrestrial environment. Amphibians have smooth and wet epidermis without scales. These features facilitate their cutaneous respiration.

536. What is the contraceptive mechanism of the IUD?

The IUD (intrauterine device) is a piece of plastic coated with copper that is inserted within the uterus by a doctor. Copper is then gradually released (IUD may last 5 to 10 years) and since it has a spermicidal action sperm cells are destroyed before fecundation. Besides this mechanism the movement of the IUD inside the uterus causes slight endometrial inflammation that helps to prevent nidation.

537. How many alleles of genes that condition X-linked traits do female and male individuals respectively present?

For each correspondent gene to an X- linked trait women present always two alleles since they have two X chromosomes. Men present only one allele of genes related to X-linked traits since they have one X chromosome.

538. What is an etiological agent of disease?

An etiological agent of disease is the agent that causes the disease. It may be a living being, substance or environmental fact. 

539. What is the type of digestive system present in beings of the phylum Arthropoda? Are these animals protostomes or deuterostomes?

The digestive tube of arthropods is complete, containing mouth and anus. Arthropods are protostome animals, i.e., in their embryonic development the blastopore originates the mouth.

540. Which are the glands present in the epidermis of mammals, birds and reptiles?

In the epidermis of birds and reptiles there are practically no glands. In mammals there are sweat glands and sebaceous glands.

541. What is the cell division process directly related to the embryonic growth?

The embryonic growth depends directly on mitosis. Through this type of cell division the zygote divides itself giving birth to a series of cells that by mitosis also compose differentiated tissues and organs until the formation of a complete individual.

542. What is the clinical deficiency presented by hemophilic people? What is the genetic cause of that deficiency?

Hemophilia is a disease characterized by impaired blood clotting and the affected person is more prone to internal and external hemorrhages.

Patients with hemophilia A have alteration in the gene that codifies the factor VIII of blood clotting, a gene located in the non-homologous portion of the X chromosome. Patients with hemophilia B present a defect of the gene that codifies the factor IX of clotting, a gene also located in the non- homologous region of the X chromosome. Thus both diseases are X- linked diseases.

543. What is the difference between the concepts of epidemic disease and endemic disease?

Endemic diseases are those that often affect people of a given place, many or few individuals. Epidemic diseases are those of rapid spread and elevated number of new cases. An endemic disease can turn into an epidemic disease.


544. How does the presence of exoskeleton explain the general small size of arthropods?

Since they have exoskeleton and periodic ecdysis, the growth of arthropods is limited to avoid the animal becoming vulnerable to environmental harm. There are however some arthropod species with relatively large- sized individuals, like “giant” cockroaches, crabs and spiders.

545. From the zygote, pluricellular organisms are formed by serial mitosis. Would this formation be possible if each cell made by mitosis had an identical life in relation to its antecedent cells? How did evolution solve that problem?

The formation of complex and distinct pluricellular organisms would not be possible if mitosis in embryos produced only daughter cells with an identical life history as the mother cell, since there would not be differentiation and structural or functional specialization among cells.

Evolution solved the problem creating the cellular differentiation process by which, motivated by stimulus not yet well-known by science, different and specialized cell lineages gave birth to different tissues, organs and systems that, as a whole, form the pluricellular organisms.

Cellular differentiation probably is a very intricate process that activates and inactivates some genes within the cell in response to some stimulus.

546. What are melanocytes?

Melanocytes are epithelial cells of the skin specialized in secretion of melanin. Melanin is a pigment that besides coloring the skin, the iris of the eye and the hair, also works as a filter against the ultraviolet radiation of the sun thus protecting the body against the harmful effects of this radiation (mainly burns and carcinogenic mutations). Melanocytes are the cells affected in one of the more deadly skin cancers: melanoma.

547. What are the four initial stages of the embryonic development?

The four initial stages of the embryonic development are the morula stage, the blastula stage, the gastrula stage and the neurula stage.


548. What are all possibilities of genotypes and phenotypes formed in the combination of alleles responsible for the production of factor VIII?

Considering the alleles Xh and X, where Xh represents the allele that conditions hemophilia A, in women the possible genotypes are XX, XXh and XhXh. In men the possible genotypes are XY and XhY. Concerning the phenotypes, factor VIII is produced in every individual with at least one nonaffected X chromosome. So the women XX and X Xh and the men XY are normal. Only women XhXh and men XhY have the disease.

549. What are some human diseases caused by bacteria and what are their respective modes of transmission?

The main human bacterial infections transmitted by respiratory secretions (sneezes, cough) and saliva drops are: bacterial pneumonias, tuberculosis, whooping cough (pertussis), diphtheria, bacterial meningitis. Main bacterial diseases transmitted by blood or sexual contact are: gonorrhea, syphilis. Main bacterial diseases transmitted by animal vectors are: bubonic plague, endemic typhus, leptospirosis. Some bacterial diseases transmitted through fecal-oral route and contaminated food are: cholera, typhoid fever. Other important bacterial infections: Hansen's disease, possibly transmitted by saliva drops and contact with injured skin and mucosae; trachoma, eye disease transmitted by ocular secretions; tetanus, transmitted when the etiological agent enters the body through skin wounds. 

550. How is the extracorporeal digestion associated to predation in arachnids?

Arachnids can inoculate poison to paralyze or kill their preys using structures called chelicerae. The prey is partially digested outside the body of the arachnid by digestive enzymes inoculated together with the venom or injected posteriorly. After this extracorporeal digestion the food is ingested and gains the digestive tube of the predator where the extracellular digestion continues.

551. What are the main types of animal tissue?

The main animal cell tissues are the epithelial tissue, the nervous tissue, the muscle tissue and the connective tissue.

552. Which are the organs that are part of the musculoskeletal system?

The main organs and tissues that are part of the musculoskeletal system in humans are the cartilages, the bones and the muscles.

553. What is the cell division during the first stage of the embryonic development called? How is this stage characterized?

The cell division in the first stage of the embryonic developments is called cleavage, or segmentation. In this stage several mitoses occur from the zygote forming the new embryo.

554. Why is it rare to find hemophilic women?

There are more hemophilic men than hemophilic women because women need to have two X chromosomes affected to develop the disease while in men the disease manifests when the single X chromosome is affected.

555. Is there vaccine against tuberculosis?

The vaccine against tuberculosis is called BCG (bacillus Calmette-Guérin). BCG is not used in some countries where tuberculosis is not so prevalent because it can distort later diagnostic studies of the disease; in other countries, like Brazil, it is obligatory for children. The vaccine is made of attenuated TB bacteria. 

556. How can the features of the arthropod exoskeleton explain the terrestrial adaptation of some species of the phylum?

In the arthropod exoskeleton there is a layer of wax which is impermeable. This feature was fundamental for primitive arthropods from the sea to survive on dry land without losing excessive water to the environment.

557. What are epithelial tissues? What are their general function and how is that function associated to the features of the tissue?

Epithelial tissues, also called epithelia, are tissues specialized in the covering of external and internal surfaces of the body.

The general function of the epithelium is to provide protection and impermeability (or selective permeability) to the covered structure. This justifies the epithelium's typical features: the cellular juxtaposition forming layers of very proximate cells with diminished or none intercellular space between each two neighbor cells.

558. What are the cells that form the cartilaginous tissue?

The main cells of the cartilages are the chondrocytes, originated from the chondroblasts that secrete the intersticial matrix. There are also chondroclasts, cells with many lisosomes and responsible for the digestion and remodelation of the cartilaginous matrix.

559. What are the cells produced in the first stage of the embryonic development called?

The cells that result from the cleavage (the first stage of the embryonic development) are called blastomeres. In this stage the embryo is called morula (similar to a “morus”, mulberry).

560. What is the type of genetic inheritance of daltonism? Is daltonism more frequent in men or in women? What is the physiological explanation for the daltonism?

Daltonism is a recessive X-linked inheritance (gene situated in the nonhomologous portion of the X chromosome). Daltonism is more frequent in men since in them only the single X chromosome needs to be affected for the disease to manifest. In women it is necessary for both X chromosomes to be affected for the disease to come out. The disease appears due to a defect in the gene that codifies a retinal pigment sensitive to red.

561. Which organs or respiratory adaptations do aquatic and terrestrial arthropods respectively present?

In crustaceans, typical aquatic beings, there are richly vascularized gills that make contact with water and permit gas exchange. In terrestrial insects the respiration is tracheal and gases flow inside small tubes that connect the animal external surface and ramify to tissues and cells without the participation of blood. In arachnids, besides the tracheal respiration, book lungs (thin folds resembling leaves in a book) may also exist.

562. Of which cells is the nervous tissue constituted? How is the generic function of this tissue related to the characteristics of the main cell type that forms it?

The nervous tissue is formed of neurons and glial cells. The function of the nervous tissue is to receive and to transmit neural impulses (reception and transmission of information). This function justifies the characteristic morphology of neurons, with membrane projections (dendrites) to get information and an elongated membrane projection (axon, or nerve fiber) to transmit information at distance. In their turn, the glial cells support the neurons and facilitate their work (sometimes acting as insulators).

563. What are the functions of the musculoskeletal system?

The musculoskeletal system has the functions of supporting and protecting organs, maintenance of the body spatial conformation, motion of organs, limbs and bodily portions and nutrient storage (glycogen in muscles, calcium and phosphorus in bones).

564. What are the animal pole and the vegetal pole of the vertebrate egg?

The animal pole of a telolecithal egg is the portion of the egg with little vitellus, it is opposite to the vegetal pole which is the region where the yolk is concentrated.

565. Is it possible for any son of a couple formed by a hemophilic man (XhY) and a nonhemophilic noncarrier (XX) woman to be hemophilic?

If mothers are not affected by the disease and noncarriers of the gene (do not have an Xh allele) it is impossible for their sons to be hemophilic since the X chromosome of males always comes from the mother. Hemophilic sons are only possible when the mother is hemophilic (homozygous for the hemophilic gene, a very rare situation) or carriers of an affected X chromosome (XXh).

566. Are all pneumonias caused by bacteria?

Pneumonia is the generic name of inflammation of the lungs. Besides bacterial pneumonias, there are pneumonias caused by virus, fungi, toxic pneumonias, etc. 

567. What are respiratory pigments? What is the respiratory pigment present in some arthropods? Which is the analogous molecule in humans?

Respiratory pigments are molecules able to carry oxygen and other respiratory gases present in circulatory fluids.

In crustaceans and in arachnids hemocyanin is the respiratory pigment. In humans the analogous pigment is hemoglobin.

568. What are muscle tissues? How is the function of this tissue related to the typical characteristics of its cells?

Muscle tissues are tissues made of cells able to perform contractions and thus to generate movement.

The function of the muscle tissue is to pull bones (skeletal striated muscle), to contract and move viscera and vessels (smooth muscle) and to make the heart to beat (cardiac striated muscle). The muscle cells have internal structures called sarcomeres where there are myosin and actin molecules disposed to create contraction and distension (movement).

569. What is the constitution of the cartilaginous matrix?

The cartilaginous matrix is made of collagen fibers, mainly collagen type II, and of proteoglycans, proteins associated to glycosaminoglycans, chiefly hyaluronic acid. The proteoglycans provide the typical rigidity of the cartilages.

570. What is the function of the vitellus in the vertebrate egg? How are these eggs classified according to the amount of vitellus within them?

Vitellus (yolk) is the nutritive material that accumulates in the cytoplasm of the egg (zygote) with the function of nourishing the embryo. According to the amount of vitellus in them, the vertebrate eggs are classified as oligolecithal (little yolk), centrolecithal, or heterolecithal (more yolk diffusely distributed) and telolecithal (more yolk concentrated in one end of the egg).

571. Are sex-linked diseases associated only to genes of the X chromosome?

There are many X-linked diseases, like hemophilia A, hemophilia B and adrenoleukodystrophy, but known Y- linked diseases are few and very rare.

572. What is the etiological agent and the main manifestations of cholera?

Cholera is a bacterial disease caused by the Vibrio cholerae. The disease is transmitted by fecal-oral route and the main mode of transmission is ingestion of contaminated water or food. It is most prevalent in places that lack adequate sanitary conditions.

Inside the human gut the cholera vibrion releases toxins called enterotoxins. The infection can cause intense diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration and even death in more severe cases. 

573. In arthropods why isn't gas exchange done through cutaneous diffusion?

In arthropods the impermeability of the exoskeleton makes the passage of gases difficult. In addition the new methods of respiration present in arthropods were preserved by evolution because they were more efficient for those animals.

574. What is the typical biological function of the connective tissues? How is this function associated to the main features of its cells?

The typical function of the connective tissues is to fill empty spaces among other body tissues.

This function is related to the great capability of the cells of the connective tissue to secrete substances that constitute extracellular material, like collagen and elastic fibers, creating a significant spacing between these cells.

(There are other important biological features of the connective tissues, such as substance transportation, defense of the organism, etc.)

575. Which type of tissue are the cartilaginous and the osseous tissue?

The cartilaginous and the osseous tissues are considered connective tissues since they are tissues in which the cells are relatively distant from others with a great amount of extracellular matrix in the interstitial space.

576. After the morula stage what is the next stage? What is the morphological feature that defines this stage?

After passing the morula stage in which the embryo is a compact mass of cells, the next stage is the blastula stage. In the blastula stage the compactness is lost and an internal cavity filled with fluid appears inside, the blastocele.

577. What is the clinical manifestation of the disease known as daltonism?

The X-linked daltonism is a disease in which the affected individual sees the red color as green or confounds these two colours.

578. What is meningitis?

Meningitis is the generic name given to inflammation of the meninges, membranes that cover the central nervous system. Meningitis can have several causes (infectious, toxic, traumatic, neoplastic infestation, autoimmune). Bacterial infections caused by meningococcus, haemophilus, pneumococcus or by tuberculosis bacteria are severe and contagious.

The main symptoms of bacterial meningitis are high fever, nuchal rigidity, intense headache, vomiting and sometimes convulsions. The disease should be treated with antibiotics. 

579. What is the type of circulatory system present in arthropods? Do these animals have heart and respiratory pigments?

In arthropods the respiratory system is open (lacunar). Blood, also known as hemolymph, is pumped by a heart and falls into cavities (lacunas) irrigating and draining tissues.

All arthropods have a heart. Crustaceans and arachnids have respiratory pigments. Insects do not have respiratory pigments since their blood does not carry gases (in them gases reach tissues and cells through tracheal structures).

580. Of which type of tissue are cartilages and bones made?

Bones and cartilages, tissues with great amount of intercellular material, are formed of connective tissue.

581. What are some functions of the cartilages in the human body?

Cartilages are responsible for the structural support of the nose and ears. The trachea and the bronchi are also organs with cartilaginous structures that prevent the closing of these tubes. In joints there are cartilages that cover the bones providing a smooth surface to reduce the friction of the joint movement. In the formation of bones the cartilages act as a mold and they are gradually substituted by the osseous tissue.

582. What are the archenteron and the blastopore? What is the stage of the embryonic development in which these structures are formed? What are the destinations of the archenteron and of the blastopore?

Archenteron is the tube formed during gastrulation by means of invagination of the blastula wall inside the blatocele. It is the origin of the gastrointestinal tract. Blastopore is the opening of the archenteron to the exterior. The blastopore gives birth to one of the extremities of the digestive tube: the mouth in protostome beings, or the anus in deuterostome beings.

583. What are holandric genes?

Holandric genes are genes situated in the nonhomologous region of the Y chromosome. Holandric genes condition phenotypes that emerge only in men since individuals of the female sex do not present in their X chromosomes genes from the nonhomologous portion of the Y chromosome (existent only in men). A widely known holandric gene is the one that conditions hypertrichosis pinnae (hair in the ears), a phenotype inherited from fathers to sons through the Y chromosome.

584. What is Hansen’s disease (etiological agent, mode of transmission, clinical manifestations and prevention)?

The etiological agent of Hansen’s disease is bacteria called Mycobacterium leprae. The mode of transmission is not yet totally known but it is believed that respiratory secretions and saliva drops can spread the disease. Hansen’s disease is a chronic disease (slow progression) that generally attacks the skin and the peripheral nerves although other areas of the body can be affected. In the skin nodules, reddish spots, thickening of the dermis and lack of sensitivity appear; the mucosae, especially the nasal mucosa, may be injured and also the viscera may be affected. The main form of prevention is information, since there is available treatment; infected people should, as soon as possible, look for health services for evaluation and treatment of the disease. In the past Hansen’s disease was called leprosy. 

585. How is the respiratory system of insects (with its independence between circulation and respiration) related to the motor agility of some species of this arthropod class?

Even having low speed and low pressure circulatory system, since it is a lacunar (open) circulatory system, insects perform extremely fast and exhaustive movements with their muscle fibers, like wing beating. This is possible because in these animals the respiration is independent from the open circulation. Gas exchange is done with great speed and efficiency by the tracheal system that puts cells in direct contact with air. Muscles can then work fast and hard.


586. Are the cells of the connective tissue far or near to the others?

The relative great spacing between cells is a typical feature of the connective tissue. There are much intercellular material generally secreted by the tissue cells.

587. What are the Haversian canals and the Volkmann’s canals of the bones? Is the osseous tissue vascularized?

The Haversian canals are longitudinal canals present in the osseous tissue within which blood vessels and nerves pass. The osseous tissue distributes itself in a concentric manner around these canals. The Volkmann’s canals are communications between the Harvesian canals. The osseous tissue is highly vascularized in its interior. 


588. After the blastula stage what is the following stage of the embryonic development? What is the passage from blastula to the next stage called?

The blastula turns into gastrula in a process known as gastrulation.

589. What is sex-influenced dominance?

Sex-influenced dominance is the phenomenon in which the manifestation of a phenotype of a gene in heterozygosity depends on the sex of the individual. For example, hereditary baldness is a dominant phenotypical form if the individual is male and it is a recessive form if the individual is female.


590. How are the excretory systems of the three main arthropod classes constituted?

In crustaceans a pair of excretory organs called green glands exists. The green glands collect residuals from the blood and other parts of the body. They are connected by ducts to excretory pores located under the base of the antennae and these pores release the excretions outside.

In insects small structures called malpighian tubules gather wastes from the blood and throw them into excretory ducts that open in the intestine. In these animals excretions are eliminated together with feces.

In arachnids, besides malpighian tubules, there are coxal glands located in the cephalothorax near the limbs that also participate in excretion.

591. What are the general functions of the connective tissues?

The main functions of the connective tissues are: supporting and filling of spaces; cellular nutrition; energetic storage (fats); hematopoiesis (formation of blood, blood cells and blood components); immune defense (specialized cells).

592. What are the three main cell types that form the osseous tissue? What are their functions?

The three main cell types of the osseous tissue are the osteoblasts, the osteocytes and the osteoclasts. Osteoblasts are known as bone-forming cells since they are the cells that secrete the proteinaceous part of the bone matrix (collagen, glycoproteins and proteoglycans). The bone matrix is the intercellular space where the mineral substances of the bones are deposited. Osteocytes are differentiated mature osteoblasts formed after these cells are completely surrounded by the bone matrix. Osteocytes have the function of supporting the tissue. Osteoclasts are the giant multinucleate cells that remodelate the osseous tissue. They are originated from monocytes and they contain many lisosomes. Osteoblasts secrete enzymes that digest the osseous matrix creating canals throughout the tissue.

593. How is the mesoderm (third germ layer) of triploblastic animals formed?

The mesoderm appears from differentiation of endodermal cells that cover the dorsal region of the archenteron.

594. What are the main human blood group systems?

In humans the main blood group systems are the ABO system, the Rh system and the MN system.

595. What is an antibiogram?

Antibiogram is a laboratory test intended to guide the choice of adequate antibiotic to treat a given bacterial infection. In the antibiogram cultures of bacteria obtained from tissues contaminated by the infection under study are submitted to the action of different antibiotics. After some time it is verified which of the antibiotics were successful in interrupting the bacterial growth or in killing the bacterial population.

The antibiogram is very important to avoid exaggerated and inefficient use of antibiotics and the emergence of multiresistant bacteria.

596. What are compound eyes?

Arthropods have compound eyes made of several visual units called ommatidia. Each ommatidium transmits visual information through the optic nerve to the brain, which interprets the image. Because they are round and numerous, these ommatidia, whose external surfaces point in different directions creating independent images, cause arthropod eyes have a large visual field, larger than the visual field of vertebrates. Some insects have one or more simple eye besides their pair of compound eyes.

597. What are the three types of protein fibers of the connective tissue proper?

The matrix of the connective tissue proper is made of collagen fibers, elastic fibers and reticular fibers.

598. What is the bone matrix? What are its main components?

Bone matrix is the content that fills the intercellular space of the osseous tissue. The bone matrix is made of mineral substances (about 5%), mainly phosphorus and calcium salts, and organic substances (95%), mainly collagen, glycoproteins and proteoglycans.

599. What are the three types of germ layers that form tissues and organs in animals?

The three germ layers are the ectoderm, the mesoderm and the endoderm.

600. What are the blood types of the ABO blood system?

The blood types of the ABO blood system are the type A, the type B, the type AB and the type O.

601. Which is the kingdom of the parasites that cause malaria and Chagas’ disease?

Those diseases are caused by the protozoans, beings of the kingdom Protista.

602. How is arthropod reproduction characterized?

Reproduction in beings of the phylum Arthropoda is sexual, with larval stage in some insects and crustaceans (arachnids present only direct development).

603. What is connective tissue proper?

The name connective tissue proper is used to designate the connective tissue that fills interstitial spaces as opposed to the specialized connective tissues (blood, bones, cartilage, adipose tissue, etc.). The connective tissue proper secretes collagen, elastin and reticular fibers.

604. What are the functions of the osseous tissue?

The main functions of the osseous tissue are: to provide structural rigidity to the body and to delineate the spatial positioning of the other tissues and organs; to support the body weight; to serve as a site for mineral storage, mainly of calcium and phosphorus; to form protective structures for important organs like the brain, the spinal cord, the heart and the lungs; to work as a lever and support for the muscles, providing movement; to contain the bone marrow where hematopoiesis occurs.

605. What is gastrulation? How during gastrulation are the first two germ layers formed? What are these germ layers?

Gastrulation is the process through which a portion of the blastula wall undergoes invagination inside the blastocele, forming a tube called archenteron (primitive intestine). The cells of the inner side of the tube form the endoderm (germ layer) and the cells of the outer side form the ectoderm (another germ layer). It is the beginning of the tissue differentiation in embryonic development.

606. Why is the determination of the blood types of the donor and of the recipient important in transfusions?

Red blood cells have different antigens in the outer surface of their plasma membrane; for example, the antigens A and B of the ABO system are glycoproteins of the membrane. If a donor has red blood cells with antigens not present in the red blood cells of the recipient (lacking of transfusion compatibility) the immune system of the recipient recognizes these molecules as actual antigens (i.e., foreign substances) and triggers a defense response producing specific antibodies against those antigens. The transfused red blood cells then are destroyed by these antibodies and the recipient individual may even die.

607. What is the scientific name of the etiological agent of Chagas’ disease?

The etiological agent of Chagas’ disease is the Trypanosoma cruzi. The name “cruzi” was given in honor of the Brazilian doctor Oswaldo Cruz. The disease was named after the Brazilian doctor Carlos Chagas.


608. What are the noteworthy features of the nervous system of arthropods?

In arthropods the nervous system has more sophisticated sensory receptors with well- advanced cephalization. In the anterior region of the body there is a fusion of ganglia forming a brain connected to two ventral ganglial chains having motor and sensory nerves.

The boosted development of the sensory system of arthropods provides more adaptive possibilities for these animals to explore many different environments.

609. What is the function of the collagen fibers of the connective tissue?

There are different collagen types. The main function of these proteins is to keep the shape and the structural rigidity of the tissue. (Collagen is the most abundant protein of the human body.)

610. What are the flat bones and the long bones?

The main bones of the body may be classified as flat or long bones (there are bones not classified into these categories). Examples of flat bones are the skull, the ribs, the hipbones, the scapulae and the sternum. Examples of long bones are the humerus, the radius, the ulna, the femur, the tibia and the fibula.

611. How are animals classified according to the germ layers present in their embryonic development?

Cnidarians are diploblastic, i.e., they present only endoderm and ectoderm. With the exception of poriferans, all remaining animals are triploblastic. Poriferans do not present differentiated tissue organization and so they do not classify regarding germ layers (although sometimes they are mentioned as diploblastic).

612. What are the antigens and antibodies of each blood type of the ABO blood system?

Type A: antigen A, antibody anti-B. 

Type B: antigen B, antibody anti-A.

 Type AB: antigens A and B, does not produce antibody A neither antibody B. 

Type O: does not have antigen A neither antigen B, has antibodies anti-A and anti-B.

(Obviously antibodies are made by B lymphocytes not by red blood cells.)

613. Under which forms is the Trypanosoma cruzi found in its hosts?

In the definitive hosts as well as in triatomine bugs (intermediate hosts) the protozoan that causes Chagas’ disease alternates mastigote (flagellate) and amastigote forms and also intermediate forms between these forms. 

614. What are the types of fecundation that occur in arthropods? What is the predominant type?

In arthropods there are species having external fecundation and other species having internal fecundation. Internal fecundation is predominant.


615. What are the main cells of the connective tissue proper? What is the name given to the intercellular material that surround these cells?

The main cells of the connective tissue proper are the fibroblasts, cells that secrete the intercellular material. These cells are the majority of cells of the tissue. Fibroblasts later are transformed into fibrocytes, mature cells with restricted secretory role.

The intercellular substance that fills the interstice is called interstitial matrix, or just matrix.

616. Which is the type of muscle tissue that contracts and relaxes the heart chambers?

The myocardium of the heart is made of cardiac striated muscle tissue.

617. What is the coelom? To which structures do coeloms give birth? Are all animals coelomate?

Coeloms are cavities delimited by mesoderm. Coeloms originate the cavities where the internal organs of the body are located, like the pericardial cavity, the peritoneal cavity and the pleural cavity. Besides coelomate animals, there are acoelomate animals, like platyhelminthes, and pseudocoelomate animals, like nematodes.

618. What are the antigens and the respective antibodies of the ABO blood group system?

The ABO blood system includes the erythrocytic antigens A and B that can be attacked by the antibodies anti-A and anti-B. The antigens A and B are agglutinogens and the antibodies anti-A and anti-B are agglutinins.

619. What is the vector of Chagas’ disease? How is the disease transmitted?

The vector of Chagas’ disease is its intermediate host, a triatomine bug. The main species is Triatoma infestans. Hemipteran insects, like triatiomines, have sucking mouthparts that can be used to suck blood from animals or organic fluids from plants. The vectors of Chagas’ disease are hematophagous hemipterans that have nocturnal habits. The blood-sucking bugs become infected when they bite a contaminated person. The parasites then multiply within the bug gut and are eliminated with its feces. When a contaminated triatomine bites another person it defecates near the bite site and the released protozoans can penetrate into the definitive host through mucosae or through the bite wound. Wild and domestic mammals can also be vessels for the disease. 

620. How is fecundation done in insects (external or internal)? Is there copulation between insects?

Fecundation in insects is internal, with copulation.

621. Of which substance do elastic fibers of the connective tissue are made? What are some functions of these fibers?

The elastic fibers are made of a protein called elastin. Elastic fibers abound in artery walls, helping the maintenance of the arterial blood pressure in these vessels. They are also present in the lungs, providing them with elasticity (some respiratory diseases are caused by destruction of these fibers). In many other organs and tissues the elastic fibers are found in the interstitial matrix.


622. Which is the type of muscle tissue that performs the peristaltic movements of the intestines?

The smooth muscle tissue is responsible for the peristaltic movements of the intestines. The smooth muscles are not controlled by volition.

623. What is the germ layer from which the coeloms originate?

The coeloms are originated from mesoderm.

624. What is the logic of the transfusional compatibility concerning the ABO blood group system?

The transfusional compatibility for the ABO system takes into account the antigens present in the red blood cells of the donor and the antibodies that the recipient can produce. Whenever the recipient is not able to produce antibodies against antigens of the red blood cells of the donor the transfusion is compatible.

So regarding ABO compatibility type A can donate to type A and to type AB. Type B can donate to type B and to type AB. Type AB can donate only to type AB. Type O can donate to all ABO types.

(Blood transfusion must be studied, planned and supervised by doctors.)

625. What is the life cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi?

Trypanosoma cruzi is a heteroxenous parasite, i.e., it has an intermediate host, the triatomine bug, and a definitive host, the human. The triatomine bug becomes infected by sucking the blood of a contaminated person. Within the bug gut the protozoan reproduces itself. When the triatomine bites another person it defecates near the bite site. Generally the bitten person itches the area of the bite and the parasite gains the circulation of the definitive host. Within humans the Trypanosoma cruzi multiply as amastigote form in the cardiac muscle tissue or in the nervous tissue forming pseudocysts. These pseudocysts break releasing flagellate parasites into the circulation and the cycle is repeated.

626. How are the main classes of arthropods classified according to the presence of larval stage in their embryonic development?

In crustaceans there are species with direct and others with indirect development. In insects there are species without larval stage (ametabolic insects), others undergoing indirect development beginning with an egg stage followed by a nymph stage (hemimetabolic insects) and others with indirect development beginning with the larval stage (holometabolic insects).

The transformation of a larva into an adult individual is called metamorphosis. Hemimetabolic insects undergo incomplete metamorphosis while holometabolic insects undergo complete metamorphosis.

627. What are the reticular fibers of the connective tissue and where can they be found?

The reticular fibers are very delicate interstitial fibers made of a special type of collagen known as collagen type III. They can be found in many organs and tissues such as in lymphnodes, in the spleen, in the liver, in blood vessels and also covering muscle fibers.

628. What are the types of muscle tissues? What are the morphological features that differentiate those types?

There are three types of muscle tissue: the skeletal striated muscle tissue, the cardiac striated muscle tissue and the smooth muscle tissue. The striated muscles present under microscopic view transversal stripes and their fibers (cells) are multinucleate (in the skeletal) or may have more than one nucleus (in the cardiac). The smooth muscle does not present transversal stripes and it has spindle- shaped fibers each with only one nucleus.

629. How does the embryo turn from gastrula into neurula? How is the neural tube formed? What is the embryonic origin of the nervous system in vertebrates?

The neurula stage is characterized by the appearance of the neural tube along the dorsal region of the embryo. The growth of mesoderm in that region induces the differentiation of ectodermal cells just above. These cells then differentiate forming the neural tube. So the origin of the nervous system is the ectoderm (the same germ layer that gives birth to the skin).

630. What is the type of genetic inheritance that determines the ABO blood group system? What are the relations of dominance among the involved alleles?

The inheritance of the ABO blood system is a multiple alleles inheritance. There are three involved alleles, IA, IB and i that combine in pairs to form the genotypes.

Concerning dominance, the allele i is recessive in relation to the alleles IA and IB. Between IA and IB however lack of dominance is established with the heterozygous (IAIB) manifesting distinct phenotype.

631. What is the incubation period of an infection?

Incubation period is the time interval between the infection by an agent that causes disease and the first signs or symptoms of the disease.


632. What are nymph and imago?

Nymphs are larvae of hemimetabolic insects (like grasshoppers). They are very similar to the adult insect although smaller. In holometabolic insects (like butterflies) the larva makes a cocoon (chrysalis, pupa) where it lives until emerging into the adult form. Imago is the name given to the adult form of insects with indirect development.

633. What are diseases of the connective tissue? What are some of them?

Diseases of the connective tissue are hereditary or acquired diseases(many of autoimmune cause) characterized by deficiency in structure or function of components of the connective tissue, for example, deficiencies of collagen, elastin, etc. Some of such diseases are lupus, dermatomyositis, cheloid, scleroderma, mixed connective tissue disease, mucinosis and Marfan's syndrome.

634. Which is the type of muscle tissue that moves the bones?

The bones are moved by the skeletal striated muscles. These muscles are voluntary (controlled by volition).

635. What are pleura, pericardium and peritoneum?

Pleura is the membrane that covers the lungs and the inner wall of the chest; pericardium is the membrane that covers the heart; peritoneum is the membrane that covers most organs of the gastrointestinal tract and part of the abdominal cavity. All these membranes delimit coeloms (internal cavities).

636. What are the genotypes and respective blood types of the ABO system?

Since the alleles are IA, IB and i the possible genotypes are IAIA (blood type A),  IAIB (blood type AB), IBIB (blood type B) and ii (blood type O).

637. Is the stage when an insect larva is within a cocoon a stage of total biological inactivity?

The period when the larva is within its cocoon is a time of intense biological activity since the larva is being transformed into an adult animal.

638. What are the main functions of the blood?

The blood is a means of substance transportation throughout the body. The blood distributes nutrients, oxygen, hormones, antibodies and cells specialized in defense to the tissues and collects residuals like nitrogen wastes and carbon dioxide from them.

639. Which is the type of muscle tissue that helps to push the food down through the esophagus?

The esophageal wall in its superior portion is made of skeletal striated muscle. The inferior portion is made of smooth muscle. In the intermediate portion there are skeletal striated and smooth muscles. All of these muscles are important to push the food down towards the stomach.

640. After the neurula stage and from its ventral portion to the dorsal how can the morphology of the embryo be described?

In a schematic longitudinal section of the embryo after the neurula stage, the outermost layer of cells is the ectoderm. In the ventral region comes the archenteron tube formed of endodermal cells. In both sides of the embryo coeloms delimited by mesoderm are present. In the central region above the archenteron and in the middle of the coeloms there is the notochord. In the dorsal region just above the notochord lies the neural tube.

641. What are universal donors and universal recipients concerning the ABO blood system?

Universals donors of the ABO blood type system are the individuals of the type O. Type O blood does not have antigen A neither antigen B in its red blood cells and can be donated to individuals of any ABO type Universal recipients of the ABO blood type system are the individuals of the type AB. Type AB blood does not contain antibody anti-A neither antibody anti-B and people of this group can receive blood from any of the ABO types.

642. What is the average incubation period of Chagas’ disease? What are some signs and symptoms of the acute phase of Chagas’ disease?

Chagas’ disease may or may not present an acute phase. When it is present, the incubation period is about 5 to 14 days. The chronic phase, however, can manifest in more than 10 years after the infection.

At the site where the trypanosoma has penetrated the skin or the mucosa becomes swelled: This sign is known as chagoma. Another sign that may appear in up to 20% of cases after the infection is the Romana’s sign, a swelling of one of the eyelids when infection took place through the ocular route. In the acute Chagas’ disease fever, malaise, inflammation and enlargement of lymph nodes may occur. In more severe cases fatal inflammation of the cardiac muscle or of the meninges may happen.

643. How are the three main arthropod classes characterized according to the presence of wings?

Crustaceans and arachnids do not have wings. Most insects have wings.

644. What are the constituent elements of the blood?

The blood is made of a liquid and a cellular part. The fluid part is called plasma and in it there are several substances, like proteins, lipids, carbohydrates and mineral salts. The cellular constituents of the blood are also known as blood corpuscles and they comprise the erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes and platelets.

645. How is the striped pattern of the striated muscle cells formed?

The functional units of the muscle fibers are the sarcomeres. Within the sarcomeres blocks of actin and myosin molecules are posed in organized manner. The sarcomeres align in sequence forming myofibrils that are longitudinally placed in the cytoplasm of the muscle fibers (cells). The grouping of consecutive blocks of actin and myosin in parallel filaments creates the striped pattern of the striated muscle tissue seen under the microscope.

646. From which germ layer do the epidermis and the nervous system originate? What are other organs and tissues made from that germ layer?

Epidermis and nervous system have the same embryonic origin: the ectoderm. The epidermal appendages (like nails, hair, sweat glands and sebaceous glands), the mammary glands, the adenohypophysis, the cornea, the crystalline lens and the retina are also derived from ectoderm.

647. Is it possible to perform investigation of natural paternity, maternity or brotherhood and sisterhood using the ABO blood typing?

By using the ABO blood typing it is possible only to exclude paternity, maternity or brotherhood/sisterhood but it is not possible to conclude positively about these relationships. 

For example, if an individual has type O blood, ii genotype, he or she cannot have biological parents of the type AB (IAIB genotype) since necessarily one of his/her alleles has come from the father and the other from the mother. Another example: a couple of individuals of the type O (ii) in their turn can only generate direct offspring of the type O blood, since they do not have alleles that condition antigen A neither antigen B.

648. What is prophylaxis?

Prophylaxis are measures taken to prevent diseases. For example, the use of condoms in sexual relations is a prophylaxis against contamination by agents that cause STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

649. Most insects have wings. Which is the other animal phylum that contains creatures with analogous organs?

Besides the phylum Arthropoda another animal phylum with flying creatures is the chordate phylum, birds and chiropterans mammals (bats) have wings. In the past some reptiles that possibly originated the aves had wings too. There are also amphibians and fishes that jump high exploring the aerial environment.


650. What is hematopoiesis?

Hematopoiesis is the formation of blood cells and other constituent elements of the blood.

651. What are sarcomeres?

Sarcomeres are the contractile units of the muscle tissue formed of alternating actin blocks (thin filaments) and myosin blocks (thick filaments). Several sarcomeres placed in linear sequence form a myofibril. Therefore one muscle fiber (cell) has many myofibrils made of sacomeres. The compartments where myofibrils are inserted are delimited by an excitable membrane known as sarcolemma. The sarcolemma is the plasma membrane of the muscle cell.


652. What are somites?

Somites are differentiated portions of mesodermal tissue longitudinally distributed along the embryo. The somites originate the muscle tissue and portions of the connective tissues.


653. How are the antibodies against the Rh factor formed?

Anti-Rh antibodies are made by humoral immune response. When an Rh- individual makes contact with the Rh factor this is recognized as foreign (antigen), the primary immune response begins and small amounts of anti-Rh antibodies and memory B lymphocytes are made. In future contact with the antigen there will already be circulating antibodies and memory immune cells prepared to create an intense and effective attack against the Rh factor.

654. What is the vector of malaria? How different is its behavior from the behavior of the vector of dengue fever?

The vector of malaria is a mosquito of the genus Anopheles, also called anopheline. In opposition to the mosquito vector of the dengue fever, the anopheline has nocturnal habits. 

655. What is the way of life of sponges?

Sponges live exclusively in an aquatic environment and they are attached by their base to a substrate (fixation ground). Sponges are filtering animals, they nourish themselves from nutrients that enter their atrium brought in with water.

656. Where does hematopoiesis occur?

Hematopoiesis occurs in the bone marrow (mainly within flat bones), where erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets are made, and in the lymphoid tissue, responsible for the maturation of leukocytes and found in the thymus, spleen and lymphnodes.

657. What are the positions of actin and myosin molecules in the sarcomere before and during the muscle contraction?

Schematically actin filaments attached perpendicularly to both sarcomere extremities (longitudinal sides) make contact with myosin filaments positioned in the middle of the sarcomere and in parallel to the actin filaments. Before the contraction the sarcomeres are extended (relaxed) since the contact between actin and myosin filaments is only made by their extremities. During contraction actin filaments slide along the myosin filaments and the sarcomeres shorten.

658. From which germ layer do blood cells originate? What are other organs and tissues made from that germ layer?

Blood cells have a mesodermal embryonic origin. Other organs made from mesoderm are: covering serous membranes like the pericardium, the peritoneum and the pleura, muscles, cartilages, dermis, adipose tissue, kidneys, ureters, bladder, urethra, gonads, blood and lymph vessels, bones.

659. Is ABO blood compatibility enough for the safety of blood transfusion?

Besides ABO blood compatibility the compatibility concerning the Rh blood system must also be checked. In addition it is of fundamental importance for the safety of blood transfusion performing tests to detect agents of main blood transmitted infectious diseases, like HIV (AIDS), hepatitis B and C, syphilis, Chagas disease, etc.

(Any transfusion must be studied, planned and supervised by doctors.)


660. What are the etiological agents of malaria?

The etiological agents of malaria are protozoans of the genus Plasmodium. There are four different types of plasmodia that cause malaria: Plasmodium malariae, Plasmodium vivax, Plasmodium falciparum and Plasmodium ovale. 

661. How do sponges try to protect themselves against harm from the environment? Is that method efficient or rudimentary?

Sponges can close their pores to avoid the entrance of water into their bodies in the presence of stimulus that may mean danger. This method however is rudimentary but it is actually a protection attempt against nocent agents.

662. In which bones can bone marrow chiefly be found? Is the bone marrow made of osseous tissue?

Bone marrow can mainly be found in the internal cavities of flat bones, like the vertebrae, the ribs, the scapulae, the sternum and the hips.

The bone marrow is not made of osseous tissue, although it is a connective tissue as bone tissue is.

663. What are the main proteins that constitute the sarcomere? What is the function of those molecules in the muscle cells?

In the sarcomere there are organized actin and myosin blocks. Troponin and tropomyosin also appear associated to actin. The actin molecules when activated by calcium ions liberated in the proximities of the sarcomere are pulled by myosin molecules. This interaction between action and myosin shortens the myofibrils originating the phenomenon of muscle contraction.

664. What are histogenesis and organogenesis?

Histogenesis is the process of tissue formation in the embryonic development. Organogenesis is the process of organ formation. Before histogenesis and organogenesis the primitive embryonic structures have been already formed: germ layers, neural tube, notochord, coeloms, somites.

665. What is blood typing?

Blood typing is the determination, by means of tests, of the classification of a blood sample concerning blood group systems (specially the ABO system and the Rh system).

666. What are the intermediate and the definitive hosts of the plasmodium?

In the life cycle of the plasmodium humans are the intermediate hosts (where asexual reproduction takes place) and the vector mosquito is the definitive host (where sexual reproduction occurs). 

667. What is the typical shape of poriferans?

Sponges have bodies in the form of tubular vases or globes open in the upper extremity. They have an internal central cavity and porous walls. The central cavity is called spongocoel and the opening in the upper extremity is called osculum.

668. What are blood stem cells?

Stem cells are undifferentiated cells able to differentiate into other types of specialized cells.

The stem cells of the bone marrow originate the differentiated blood cells. According to stimulus from specific growth factors the stem cells are turned into red blood cells, leukocytes and megakaryocytes (cells that form platelets). Research shows that stem cells of the bone marrow can also differentiate into muscle, nervous and hepatic cells.

669. From which germ layer do the liver and the pancreas originate? What are other organs and tissues made from that germ layer?

The liver and the pancreas are originated from the endoderm. Also from endodermal origin are the epithelia of the airway, the epithelia of the bladder, of the urethra and of the GI tube (except of the mouth and anus), the alveolar cells of the lungs and the thyroid and parathyroid glands.

670. What is the Rh factor?

RH factor is a protein of the red blood cell plasma membrane that behaves as antigen in blood transfusions triggering a humoral (antibody-based) immune response. Most people present the protein in their red blood cells and are part of the Rh+ group. People that do not have the protein classify as Rh-. 

The origin of the name Rh factor is related to the first researches that discovered this blood antigen was in rhesus monkeys (“Macaca mulatta”).

671. What are the human tissues affected by malaria? What are the main clinical manifestations of the disease?

The plasmodium infects the human blood causing destruction of red blood cells and it also affects the liver. Malaria characterizes by periodical episodes of fever, chills and sweating that can be accompanied by headache, nausea, vomiting and jaundice. The destruction of red blood cells may lead to anemia and hypoxemia.

The infection by Plasmodium falciparum if not treated can cause other complications and even death. 

672. How are animals divided according to their type of digestive process?

Apart from sponges, that do not have a digestive cavity where extracellular digestion takes place, all other animals have a digestive system with an internal cavity in which extracellular digestion occurs.

673. What are the other names by which erythrocytes are known? What is the function of these cells?

Erythrocytes are also known as red blood cells (RBCs), or red corpuscles. Red blood cells are responsible for oxygen transport from the lungs to the tissues.

674. What happens when the oxygen supply is insufficient to maintain aerobic cellular respiration during muscle exercise?

If oxygen from hemoglobin or myoglobin is not enough for the energy supply of the muscle cell the cell then begins to do lactic fermentation in an attempt to compensate the deficiency. The lactic fermentation releases lactic acid and this substance causes muscle fatigue and predisposes the muscles to cramps.

675. What are twins? Genetically what are the two types of twins that can be generated?

Twins are simultaneously generated (within the mother’s uterus) offspring. Twins classify according to zygosity as monozygotic or as dizygotic twins. Monozygotic twins, also known as identical twins, are those originated from one single fertilized ovum (therefore from one single zygote); monozygotic twins are genetically identical, i.e., they have identical genotypes and are necessarily of the same sex. Dizygotic twins, also known as fraternal twins, are those generated from two different ova fecundated by two different sperm cells; so they are not genetically identical and they are not necessarily of the same sex.

676. What is the life cycle of Plasmodium vivax?

The vector mosquito bites a contaminated person and ingests female and male gametocytes of the parasite. Within the insect gut the gametocytes differentiate into gametes and fecundation occurs, forming zygotes. Each plasmodium zygote by mitosis (sporogony) generates numerous infective sporozoites that migrate to the salivary glands of the mosquito. When the mosquito bites a person the sporozoites enter the human circulation and when in the liver they undergo the first asexual reproduction (tissue schizogony), releasing several merozoites into the blood. The merozoites infect red blood cells where the second asexual reproduction of the cycle (erythrocytic schizogony) and the production of many other parasites occur; some of these parasites differentiate into gametocytes. The red blood cells then break (hemolysis), the parasites are released in the blood and the cycle can restart.

677. How are the three main arthropod classes characterized according to the presence of antennae?

Crustaceans have two pairs of antennae; insects have one pair; arachnids do not have antennae.

678. On average what is the life duration of the red blood cells? Where are they destroyed? What is the destination of the heme groups after the destruction of hemoglobin molecules?

On average red blood cells live around 120 days. The spleen is the main organ where old red blood cells are destroyed.

During the red blood cell destruction the heme groups turn into bilirubin and this substance is then captured by the liver and later excreted in the bowels as part of the bile.

679. What is myoglobin? What is the function of this molecule in the muscle tissue?

Myoglobin is a pigment similar to hemoglobin and present in muscle fibers. Myoglobin has a great affinity for oxygen. It keeps oxygen bound and releases the gas under strenuous muscle work. So myoglobin acts as an oxygen reserve for the muscle cell.

680. What is polyembryony?

Polyembryony is the phenomenon in which a single embryo in its initial embryonic stage divides itself forming many new individuals of the same sex and genetically identical. This is the way, for example, in which reproduction takes place in armadillos of the genus Dasypus. Polyembryony is an example of natural “cloning”.


681. What is the Rh typing of the mother and of the fetus in the hemolytic disease of the newborn?

In the hemolytic disease of the newborn the mother is Rh- and the fetus Rh+. In this disease antibodies produced by the mother attack the fetal red blood cells. The hemolytic disease of the new born is also known as Terythroblastosis fetalis.

682. To which phase of the plasmodium life cycle do the typical chills and fever of malaria correspond?

The typical chills and fever episodes of malaria correspond to the phase when red blood cells are destroyed after the erythrocytic schizogony of the plasmodium life cycle. 

683. How are the three main arthropod classes characterized according to the body division?

In crustaceans and arachnids the head is fused with the thorax forming the cephalothorax. Their body thus is divided into cephalothorax and abdomen.

In insects there are head, thorax and abdomen.

684. What is the name of the molecule that transports oxygen in red blood cells?

The respiratory pigment of the red blood cells is hemoglobin.

685. How does phosphocreatine act in the muscle contraction and relaxation?

Phosphocreatine is the main means of energy storage of the muscle cells. During relaxed periods ATP molecules made by the aerobic cellular respiration transfer highly energized phosphate groups to creatine forming phosphocreatine. In exercise periods phosphocreatine and ADP resynthesize ATP to dispose energy for the muscle contraction.

686. What are extraembryonic membranes?

Extraembryonic membranes are membranous structures that appear in parallel with the embryo and play important roles in the embryonic development. They form from the embryo but do not become part of the individual organism after its birth.

687. What are the inheritance and dominance patterns of the Rh blood system?

The inheritance pattern of the Rh blood system is autosomal dominant, i.e., the heterozygous manifests as Rh+. The dominance is complete (R is dominant over r). The possible genotypes are RR, Rr (both Rh+) and rr (Rh-).

Curiosity: the Rh factor is codified by a gene containing 2790 DNA nucleotides situated in the human chromosome 1.

688. What are the main prophylactic measures against malaria?

The main preventive measures against malaria are the elimination of the vector mosquito, treatment of infected people, avoidance of the mosquito bite, information for travelers to endemic areas and the use of preventive medicines. 

689. How are the three main arthropod classes characterized according to the number of limbs?

Most crustaceans have five pairs of limbs. Insects have three pairs and arachnids present four pairs of limbs.

690. What is the molecular composition of hemoglobin? Does the functionality of hemoglobin as a protein depend upon its tertiary or upon its quaternary structure?

Hemoglobin is a molecule made of four polypeptide chains, each bound to a iron containing molecular group called a heme group. So the molecule contains four polypeptide chains and four heme groups.

As a protein composed of association of polypeptide chains, the functionality of hemoglobin depends upon the integrity of its quaternary structure.

691. What is the neurotransmitter of the neuromuscular junction? How does the nervous system trigger muscle contraction?

The nervous cells that trigger the muscle contraction are the motor neurons. The neurotransmitter of the motor neurons is acetylcholine. When a motor neuron is excited the depolarizing current flows along the membrane of its axon until reaching the synapse at the neuromuscular junction (the neural impulse passage zone between the axon extremity and the sarcolemma). Near the axonal extremity the depolarization allows the entrance of calcium ions into the axon (note that calcium also has a relevant role here). The calcium ions stimulate the neuron to release acetylcholine in the synapse.

Acetylcholine then binds to special receptors in the outer surface of the sarcolemma, the permeability of this membrane is altered and an action potential is created. The depolarization is then conduced along the sarcolemma to the sarcoplasmic reticulum that thus releases calcium ions for the sarcomere contraction.

692. How is the yolk sac formed? What is the function of the yolk sac?

The yolk sac is formed from the covering of the vitellus by some cells originated from the primitive gut. The yolk sac stores vitellus, the main nourishment source of non-placental embryos.

693. How does the immune process that causes the hemolytic disease of the newborn take place?

In the hemolytic disease of the newborn the mother has Rh- blood. This mother when generating her first Rh+ child makes contact, possibly during delivery, with Rh+ red blood cells of the child and her immune system triggers the primary immune response against the Rh factor. In the next gestation in which the fetus is Rh+ the mother will already have much more anti-Rh antibodies in her circulation; these antibodies cross the placental barrier and gain the fetal circulation causing fetal hemolysis (destruction of the red blood cells of the fetus).

694. What are other important human diseases caused by protozoans?

Some other important protozoan infections are amebiasis, giardiasis, trichomoniasis, leishmaniasis,  toxoplasmosis and meningoencephalitis by free-living amoebas.

695. Which arthropod class is the most diversified animal group of the planet? How can this evolutionary success be explained?

The insects are the animal group with most diversity of species. Almost 750000 insect species are known, about 55% of the total already cataloged species of living beings (compare with mammals, with no more than 4000 known species). It is calculated however that the number of unknown species of insects may be over 2 million. The insect population on the planet is estimated to be more than 10 quintillion (1000000000000000000) individuals.

The great evolutionary success of insects is due to factors such as: small size and alimentary diversity, making possible the exploration of numerous different ecological niches; wings that provided more geographic spread; the tracheal respiration that gave them motor agility; high reproductive rates with production of great numbers of descendants.

696. What are the functions of the spleen? Why is a total splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen) compatible with life?

The spleen has many functions: it participates in the destruction of old red blood cells; in it specialized leukocytes are matured; it helps the renewal of the hematopoietic tissue of the bone marrow when necessary; it can act as a spongelike organ to retain or liberate blood from or for the circulation.

Total splenectomy is not incompatible with life as none of the functions of the spleen are vital and at the same time exclusive of this organ.


697. What is the difference between spatial summation and temporal summation of muscle fibers? What is tetany?

Spatial summation is the recruiting of new muscle fibers to increase the muscle strength. Temporal summation occurs when a muscle fiber is continuously stimulated to contract without being able to conclude relaxation.

The permanence of a muscle fiber under a continuous state of contraction by temporal summation is known as tetany (e.g., the clinical condition of patients contaminated by the toxin of the tetanus bacteria). Tetany ends when all available energy for contraction is spent or when the stimulus ceases.

698. What are the extraembryonic membranes present in vertebrates?

The extraembryonic membranes that may be present in vertebrates are the yolk s