Applied Science

Effects of Genetic and Pathogenic Diseases on Cells

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03/04/2016

Christopher J. Paradise and A. Malcolm Campbell

Several genetic and pathogenic diseases are described to illustrate how diseases can and do disrupt normal molecular and cellular functions, and how those disruptions affect entire organisms. In the case of genetic diseases, how they arise and are maintained in populations is discussed. In the case of pathogenic and parasitic organisms, understanding their complex life cycles and their modes of transmission is critical to understanding their effects on individuals and how disease outbreaks occur in ecological systems.

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Evolutionary History

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03/04/2016

Christopher J. Paradise and A. Malcolm Campbell

This book describes how evolutionary history is studied using several well-known examples and also using evolutionary trees. Evolutionary trees are analyzed and used to explain adaptive radiations of orchids and the diversification of bats over geologic time. Evolutionary trees and genetic evidence is used to infer when and from what ancestors terrestrial plants evolved and invaded land. Specific adaptations of early land plants led to the evolution of terrestrial plants and their success on land.

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Evolution of Interactions in Communities

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03/04/2016

Christopher J. Paradise and A. Malcolm Campbell

Pairwise and diffuse coevolution are defined, with examples that include mutualisms and predator-prey interactions. In any example of coevolution, the costs and benefits to both species involved in the interaction must be assessed in order to understand evolution of the interaction. Models to explain coral bleaching are examined in the context of a coevolutionary mutualism, as are the implications for the possible extinction of coral reefs. Data are examined in order to determine which model is best supported.

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Cells in Tissues

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03/04/2016

Christopher Paradise, A. Malcolm Campbell

Two systems illustrate how individual cells of an organ system function, communicate, and coordinate activities. The digestive system breaks down and absorbs nutrients, and some specialized cells break down and absorb nutrients. The case of parietal cells in the stomach and epithelial cells in the small intestine are used to describe how cells function as a unit within organ systems, coordinating activities and communicating with one another.

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Plant Physiology

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

This book examines three ways plants respond to their changing environment. The first example can be found in all plants. Despite the extreme changes in weather, plants have to stay where they are and respond to whatever nature produces. Plants have the capacity to respond quickly and yet they can evolve in a single generation. The second example addresses how an individual leaf has to respond rapidly and repeatedly to maintain the proper balance of carbon dioxide (CO2) and water so that it can photosynthesize but not dry out.

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Molecular Switches

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

This book introduces the concept of emergent properties, which are unexpected traits found only when two or more biological components interact. Experimental evidence of several emergent properties explains how hemoglobin can act like a high affinity oxygen carrier some times and then switch to a low affinity carrier exactly when and where it should. The second example presents how one particular virus determines whether it should stay latent within its host or whether it should kill its host and spread its progeny into the environment.

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Cell Networks

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

It is common for most people to mistakenly think that humans are the only species that can coordinate their behavior and build structures that protect them from the environment. Students of nature will think of birds building nests, but very few people know that bacteria are able to communicate and restructure their environment in complex ways that improve their ability to survive. This book presents experimental evidence of quorum sensing, biofilm formation, self-assembly of microbes into visible and mobile creatures.

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Animal Physiology

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

This book examines four examples of animal physiology that illustrate emergent properties in whole organisms. The first example shows how mammals coordinate the activity of all their cells using a daily rhythm. The second case explains an apparent contradiction that happens every time a woman gets pregnant and delivers a healthy baby—how the immune system tolerates a foreign tissue such as the fetus. The next case study in this book shows how bodies regulate the amount of fat using a complex interaction of proteins that function as a lipostat, a self-regulating fat maintenance system.

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Molecular Structure and Function

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

One of the overarching themes in nature is that form meets function, meaning that the shape of an object determines how well the object can perform its function. This book begins with some basics about specificity of shapes and the four increasing levels of protein structure. Most of this book examines how epinephrine (adrenaline) can cause the liver to release glucose when a person experiences a fight or flight response. Whenever someone gets scared, all of their cells are bathed in epinephrine.

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Reproduction and Cell Division

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03/24/2016

A. Malcolm Campbell, Christopher Paradise

Why do some children look more like one parent than another? How can two parents with dark hair have a child with red hair? How can two dark-skinned parents have a baby that has light skin? Everyone has wondered these questions, but in order to understand such unexpected outcomes, an understanding of what Gregor Mendel discovered—the rules of genetics—is necessary. This book reproduces Mendel’s original data that Mendel used to discover how traits are passed from one generation to the next.

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