Toucan Play That Game

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Unit 9 Open Note Exam – Wednesday & Thursday, April 24th-25th

E. coli Bacteria (16578744517)Fungi Diversity
Diversity of plants image version 5Animal diversity
Images from Wikimedia Commons

The exam for Unit 9 will take place on Wednesday, April 24th & Thursday, April 25th. The exam will be open note, meaning that you will be allowed to use any relevant handouts, note packets, and hand-written notes that you have received or created during this unit. The exam will be administered through Canvas and will consist of 30 Matching Questions, 25 Multiple Choice Questions, and 10 Identification Questions.

The Unit 9 Guided Reading Questions, Unit 9 Review Videos, “Exploring Endosymbiosis” Study Sheet, note packets, invertebrate phylum chart, and observational labs from this unit are recommended study materials, along with the other materials available on the Campbell Biology textbook website.

Although we did not play a review game in class, there are a set of questions you can use for review. These questions (and accompanying explanations) can be accessed through Socrative.com (Classroom Code: 91866).

The online quizzes that you took during this unit would also be helpful for you to review. You can access practice versions of those quizzes using the links below:

If you have any questions about the exam, please use the comment form below.


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The Genetics of Alzheimer’s

Alzheimer’s disease is a very physical disease- it’s symptoms are caused by the buildup of proteins in the brain, and you can see the degeneration of the brain when Alzheimer’s affects it.

These proteins can be divided into amyloid plaques and tau tangles. Amyloid plaques are clumps of beta-amyloid proteins which form in the brain, and take over connections between neurons by binding to the synapses, where neurotransmitters would usually land to pass on a message. This means that neuron can no longer “talk” to the others, and the path after it is essentially cut off. The other protein buildup is known as neurofibrillary or tau tangles. These form when tau, the protein that normally supports the structure of neurons, begins to twist and leads to the collapse of that structure, and therefore the collapse of that pathway.

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Mammal Monday – Guess What Day It Is!

Did you know?

Until recently, the Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus bactrianus) was considered to be a domesticated form of the critically endangered Wild Bactrian Camel (Camelus bactrianus ferus). Taxonomists now describe it as a separate species because the DNA of C. ferus differs significantly from C. bactrianus. Herds of C. ferus in the Gashun Gobi are completely isolated from their domesticated cousins. This lack of an opportunity to hybridize is what makes the Wild Bactrian Camel’s survival in the wild so crucial.


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What’s Up, Cuzz?

While most would think that a story talking about the discovery of your long lost cousin’s remains in the Philippines would be straight from an episode of CSI, it’s becoming huge scientific news overnight.  The recent discovery of seven teeth and six small bones has led to the classification of a new species of ancient human, Homo luzonensis. H. luzonensis is believed to have inhabited the island of Luzon in the Philippines around 50,000 to 67,000 years ago.  For evolutionary biologists, this is an incredible discovery, which makes the island of Luzon the third Southeast Asian island in the last 15 years to show signs of ancient human activity, and makes H. luzonensis the first known human presence in the Philippines.

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Frog Friday – Save the Frogs

Tomorrow is “Save The Frogs Day,” the world’s largest day of amphibian education and conservation action. The goal is to make the amphibian extinction crisis common knowledge. Many of the species that have been featured on Frog Fridays throughout the year are listed by the IUCN as endangered, critically endangered, extinct in the wild, or extinct. Please consider doing what you can to contribute to this important cause.


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Having a BLAST with Neoblasts

At the Blue Valley Center for Advanced Professional Studies, I have been researching a flatworm species (or planarian species) called Dugesia dorotocephala. With this species, I have been analyzing some of the special features of planaria, including planarian stem cells called Neoblast cells and how this might help with our own understanding of human stem cells, which might help researchers to find ways to promote human physical regeneration.

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The History of HIV/AIDS and Its Status Today

Pretty recently, I was sick with the common cold. Nothing to write home about, but it got me thinking about other types of sicknesses that plague the world. In particular, one that stood out from the crowd that shook the world when it first came on to the scene was HIV. I didn’t grow up in the time of when this scare took place, but I decided to see how HIV works and find out why this disease made the 1980s quake in its boots.

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Kermit Doesn’t Lichen This Fungi…

Amphibians are often considered one of the most diverse and unique organisms on the planet. Often found in tropical climates, amphibians tend to live near water or in moist, humid conditions, even reproducing in water.

Amphibians encompass hundreds of unique and special species including but not limited to types of frogs, toads, and salamanders. Similar to amphibians, humans also tend to reproduce quickly and spread rapidly to vast corners of the world, usually closer to the equator. With this movement brings the tendencies to introduce pathogens into new areas. These pathogens, their effect amplified through lack of biosecurity and trade regulations regarding wildlife, possess the potential to wreak massive damage on native wildlife species, especially amphibians. The question remaining entails whether humans, one of the most advanced organisms of all time, can aid in stopping the rapid extinction of animal species before it’s too late.

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The Future of Muscle Cell Therapy

As people age, their muscles tissue deteriorates. A possible solution to this problem would be physical activity such as lifting weights which would keep muscle tissue in shape. Around 50,000 people in the United States of America suffer from a condition called muscular dystrophy. Muscular dystrophy inhibits people suffering from this condition to walk properly, stand, higher possibility of cardiac disease and can even lead to death. Unfortunately, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy. However, researchers and scientists have started to experiment with the possibility of therapy involving muscle cells. A team headed by the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) have discovered a new stem cell line that can help with muscle disorders. The team conducted and experiment by implementing muscle stem cell(s) into skeletal muscle. The experiment was conducted by the team tagging two muscle genes (PAX7, MYF5) along with fluorescent proteins to ensure its productivity, efficiency and to track its progress. The way the team was able to add fluorescent proteins to the genes was through a gene-editing method called CRISPR/Cas9.

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I Can Be a Real Fungi!

In AP Biology, we have started talking about fungi. Fungi are eukaryotic organisms that can be unicellular or very complex multicellular organisms. They are found in almost any habitat or ecosystem and have a variety of effects on the other organisms in their ecosystem. Fungi are often known for their parasitic or disease-causing qualities. For example, in plants, fungi cause fungal diseases that can cause monetary loss for farmers or diseased plants. These diseases include mildews, rusts, scabs or cankers. Fungal infections can also infect animals, and in humans, fungi causes skin diseases such as athlete’s foot, ringworm and thrush. However, despite all of the bad rep that fungi gets, it actually has a very important role for many organisms, especially humans. It turns out that fungi are actually really fun guys.

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