Identification of a lifeform

Identification of a lifeform

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There's a video I found on Facebook and I'm unable to figure out what the creature featured happens to be. Adding images that have been taken from the video itself, apologies in advance since they're not high qualify images.

Can anybody shed any light on what it is? The video was shot near Ratan Babu Ghat which is situated along the bank of Hooghly river, Kolkata, West Bengal, India. Here to be precise.

This is a polyclad flatworm.

Here is a video of notoplana vitrea moving similarly to the one in the video that you linked:

Here is a gallery of polyclad flatworms observed in India:

A number of the images in this gallery look similar to the one in your video, but very few of them are identified beyond this order taxon ofpolyclad flatworm.

A Complete Guide to 'Alien' Xenomorph Biology

The Xenomorph, also known as the titular “Alien” in the Alien film franchise, was designed by Swiss surrealist H.R. Giger in the late 1970s. His painting, “Necronom IV”, was used as concept-art inspiration in pre-production for Ridley Scott’s film Alien. In 1980, H.R. Giger co-won an Oscar for his work on film in Visual Effects. He shared the honor with Italian SFX designer Carlo Rambaldi, who crafted the xenomorph’s head and body during Alien’s production.

Though xenomorph biology changed and expanded throughout the franchise, many parts of its structure remained the same. The xenomorph is, as the android Ash (Ian Holm) says in Alien, “a perfect organism,” with a “structural perfection matched only by its hostility.” He adds in the film, “I admire its purity. A survivor, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality.” It is a parasitoid, rather than a technical parasite, because it spends a good portion of its life untethered to a host. It is also an arthropod, similar to a cicada or shrimp, with a segmented body, jointed appendages, and a thick, protective exoskeleton.

Light Microscopes

To give you a sense of cell size, a typical human red blood cell is about eight millionths of a meter or eight micrometers (abbreviated as eight μm) in diameter the head of a pin of is about two thousandths of a meter (two mm) in diameter. That means about 250 red blood cells could fit on the head of a pin.

Most student microscopes are classified as light microscopes (Figure 1a). Visible light passes and is bent through the lens system to enable the user to see the specimen. Light microscopes are advantageous for viewing living organisms, but since individual cells are generally transparent, their components are not distinguishable unless they are colored with special stains. Staining, however, usually kills the cells.

Light microscopes commonly used in the undergraduate college laboratory magnify up to approximately 400 times. Two parameters that are important in microscopy are magnification and resolving power. Magnification is the process of enlarging an object in appearance. Resolving power is the ability of a microscope to distinguish two adjacent structures as separate: the higher the resolution, the better the clarity and detail of the image. When oil immersion lenses are used for the study of small objects, magnification is usually increased to 1,000 times. In order to gain a better understanding of cellular structure and function, scientists typically use electron microscopes.

Figure 1. (a) Most light microscopes used in a college biology lab can magnify cells up to approximately 400 times and have a resolution of about 200 nanometers. (b) Electron microscopes provide a much higher magnification, 100,000x, and a have a resolution of 50 picometers. (credit a: modification of work by “GcG”/Wikimedia Commons credit b: modification of work by Evan Bench)

Optogenetics & the Brain – watch this video!

Thanks, once again, to Ed Yong for his fantastic NotExactlyRocketScience blog. This video is a must-watch for students, especially those taking HL and the Neurobiology option. Once you’ve seen it, go over to Ed’s blog and read the article “Shedding light on sex and violence in the brain“, which is a really interesting look at the balance between sex and aggression in mouse brains, using this method.

You can see why it is the winner of Nature Methods’ 2010 Method of the Year (click for lots of articles).

Although it is way ahead of the syllabus, there are links to:

  • taxis
  • membrane proteins, channels and ions
  • depolarisation and hyperpoloarisation of nerves
  • transgenics (using viruses as a vector for delivering new genes)
  • transcription and translation
  • regions of the brain

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Possibility of Silicon-Based Life Grows

Science fiction has long imagined alien worlds inhabited by silicon-based life, such as the rock-eating Horta from the original Star Trek series. Now, scientists have for the first time shown that nature can evolve to incorporate silicon into carbon-based molecules, the building blocks of life on Earth.

Artist rendering of organosilicon-based life. Organosilicon compounds contain carbon-silicon bonds. Recent research from the laboratory of Frances Arnold shows, for the first time, that bacteria can create organosilicon compounds. This does not prove that silicon- or organosilicon-based life is possible, but shows that life could be persuaded to incorporate silicon into its basic components. Credit: Lei Chen and Yan Liang ( for Caltech

As for the implications these findings might have for alien chemistry on distant worlds, “my feeling is that if a human being can coax life to build bonds between silicon and carbon, nature can do it too,” said the study’s senior author Frances Arnold, a chemical engineer at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. The scientists detailed their findings recently in the journal Science.

Carbon is the backbone of every known biological molecule. Life on Earth is based on carbon, likely because each carbon atom can form bonds with up to four other atoms simultaneously. This quality makes carbon well-suited to form the long chains of molecules that serve as the basis for life as we know it, such as proteins and DNA.

Still, researchers have long speculated that alien life could have a completely different chemical basis than life on Earth. For example, instead of relying on water as the solvent in which biological molecules operate, perhaps aliens might depend on ammonia or methane. And instead of relying on carbon to create the molecules of life, perhaps aliens could use silicon.

Carbon and silicon are chemically very similar in that silicon atoms can also each form bonds with up to four other atoms simultaneously. Moreover, silicon is one of the most common elements in the Universe. For example, silicon makes up almost 30 percent of the mass of the Earth’s crust, and is roughly 150 times more abundant than carbon in the Earth’s crust.

Scientists have long known that life on Earth is capable of chemically manipulating silicon. For instance, microscopic particles of silicon dioxide called phytoliths can be found in grasses and other plants, and photosynthetic algae known as diatoms incorporate silicon dioxide into their skeletons. However, there are no known natural instances of life on Earth combining silicon and carbon together into molecules.

Still, chemists have artificially synthesized molecules comprised of both silicon and carbon. These organo-silicon compounds are found in a wide range of products, including pharmaceuticals, sealants, caulks, adhesives, paints, herbicides, fungicides, and computer and television screens. Now, scientists have discovered a way to coax biology to chemically bond carbon and silicon together.

“We wanted to see if we could use what biology already does to expand into whole new areas of chemistry that nature has not yet explored,” Arnold said.

The researchers steered microbes into creating molecules never before seen in nature through a strategy known as ‘directed evolution,’ which Arnold pioneered in the early 1990s. Just as farmers have long modified crops and livestock by breeding generations of organisms for the traits they want to appear, so too have scientists bred microbes to create the molecules they desire.

Scientists have used directed evolutionary strategies for years to create household goods such as detergents, and to develop environmentally-friendly ways to make pharmaceuticals, fuels and other industrial products. (Conventional chemical manufacturing processes can require toxic chemicals in contrast, directed evolutionary strategies use living organisms to create molecules and generally avoid chemistry that would prove harmful to life.)

Arnold and her team — synthetic organic chemist Jennifer Kan, bioengineer Russell Lewis, and chemist Kai Chen — focused on enzymes, the proteins that catalyze or accelerate chemical reactions. Their aim was to create enzymes that could generate organo-silicon compounds.

“My laboratory uses evolution to design new enzymes,” Arnold said. “No one really knows how to design them — they are tremendously complicated. But we are learning how to use evolution to make new ones, just as nature does.”

Researchers in Frances Arnold’s lab at Caltech have persuaded living organisms to make chemical bonds not found in nature. The finding may change how medicines and other chemicals are made in the future. Credit: Caltech

First, the researchers started with enzymes they suspected could, in principle, chemically manipulate silicon. Next, they mutated the DNA blueprints of these proteins in more or less random ways and tested the resulting enzymes for the desired trait. The enzymes that performed best were mutated again, and the process was repeated until the scientists reached the results they wanted.

Arnold and her colleagues started with enzymes known as heme proteins, which all have iron at their hearts and are capable of catalyzing a wide variety of reactions. The most widely recognized heme protein is likely hemoglobin, the red pigment that helps blood carry oxygen.

After testing a variety of heme proteins, the scientists concentrated on one from Rhodothermus marinus, a bacterium from hot springs in Iceland. The heme protein in question, known as cytochrome c, normally shuttles electrons to other proteins in the microbe, but Arnold and her colleagues found that it could also generate low levels of organo-silicon compounds.

After analyzing cytochrome c’s structure, the researchers suspected that only a few mutations might greatly enhance the enzyme’s catalytic activity. Indeed, only three rounds of mutations were enough to turn this protein into a catalyst that could generate carbon-silicon bonds more than 15 times more efficiently than the best synthetic techniques currently available. The mutant enzyme could generate at least 20 different organo-silicon compounds, 19 of which were new to science, Arnold said. It remains unknown what applications people might be able to find for these new compounds.

“The biggest surprise from this work is how easy it was to get new functions out of biology, new functions perhaps never selected for in the natural world that are still useful to human beings,” Arnold said. “The biological world always seems poised to innovate.”

In addition to showing that the mutant enzyme could self-generate organo-silicon compounds in a test tube, the scientists also showed that E. coli bacteria, genetically engineered to produce the mutant enzyme within themselves, could also create organo-silicon compounds. This result raises the possibility that microbes somewhere could have naturally evolved the ability to create these molecules.

“In the universe of possibilities that exist for life, we’ve shown that it is a very easy possibility for life as we know it to include silicon in organic molecules,” Arnold said. “And once you can do it somewhere in the Universe, it’s probably being done.”

It remains an open question why life on Earth is based on carbon when silicon is more prevalent in Earth’s crust. Previous research suggests that compared to carbon, silicon can form chemical bonds with fewer kinds of atoms, and it often forms less complex kinds of molecular structures with the atoms that it can interact with. By giving life the ability to create organo-silicon compounds, future research can test why life here or elsewhere may or may not have evolved to incorporate silicon into biological molecules.

In addition to the astrobiology implications, the researchers noted that their work suggests biological processes could generate organo-silicon compounds in ways that are more environmentally friendly and potentially much less expensive than existing methods of synthesizing these molecules. For example, current techniques for creating organo-silicon compounds often require precious metals and toxic solvents.

The mutant enzyme also makes fewer unwanted byproducts. In contrast, existing techniques typically require extra steps to remove undesirable byproducts, adding to the cost of making these molecules.

“I’m talking to several chemical companies right now about potential applications for our work,” Arnold said. “These compounds are hard to make synthetically, so a clean biological route to produce these compounds is very attractive.”

Future research can explore what advantages and disadvantages the ability to create organo-silicon compounds might have for organisms. “By giving this capability to an organism, we might see if there is, or is not, a reason why we don’t stumble across it in the natural world,” Arnold said.

The research was funded by the National Science Foundation, the Caltech Innovation Initiative program, and the Jacobs Institute for Molecular Engineering for Medicine at Caltech.

Scientists may have found the earliest evidence of life on Earth

When did life on Earth begin? Scientists have dug down through the geologic record, and the deeper they look, the more it seems that biology appeared early in our planet’s 4.5-billion-year history. So far, geologists have uncovered possible traces of life as far back as 3.8 billion years. Now, a controversial new study presents potential evidence that life arose 300 million years before that, during the mysterious period following Earth’s formation.

The clues lie hidden in microscopic flecks of graphite—a carbon mineral—trapped inside a single large crystal of zircon. Zircons grow in magmas, often incorporating other minerals into their crystal structures of silicon, oxygen, and zirconium. And although they barely span the width of a human hair, zircons are nearly indestructible. They can outlast the rocks in which they initially formed, enduring multiple cycles of erosion and deposition.

In fact, although the oldest rocks on Earth date back only 4 billion years, researchers have found zircons up to 4.4 billion years old. These crystals provide a rare glimpse into the first chapter of Earth’s history, known as the Hadean eon. “They are pretty much our only physical samples of what was going on on the Earth before 4 billion years ago,” says Elizabeth Bell, a geochemist at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), and lead author of the new study, published online today in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the study, Bell and her colleagues examined zircons from the Jack Hills in Western Australia, a site that has yielded more Hadean samples than anywhere else on Earth, searching for inclusions of carbon minerals like diamonds and graphite. The mere presence of these minerals does not prove biology existed when the zircons formed, but it does provide the opportunity to look for chemical signs of life. The team eventually found small bits of potentially undisturbed graphite in one 4.1 billion-year-old crystal. The graphite has a low ratio of heavy to light carbon atoms—called isotopes—consistent with the isotopic signature of organic matter. “On Earth today, if you were looking at this carbon, you would say it was biogenic,” Bell says. “Of course, that’s more controversial for the Hadean.”

The authors list several nonbiological processes that could explain their findings, but they favor the idea that the graphite started out as organic matter in sediments that got dragged into the Earth’s mantle during the collision of tectonic plates. As the sediments melted to form magma, the elevated temperatures and pressures transformed the carbon into graphite, which eventually found its way into a zircon crystal.

If this story is true, and life existed 4.1 billion years ago, Bell says that the new results would corroborate growing evidence of a more hospitable early Earth than scientists once imagined. “The traditional view of the Earth’s first few hundred million years was that this was a sterile, lifeless, hot planet that was constantly being bombarded by meteorites,” she says. But partly thanks to the wealth of information revealed by the Jack Hills zircons in recent years, scientists have come to see the early Earth as much milder and more amenable to life.

“We know there was liquid water,” says Mark van Zuilen, a geomicrobiologist at the Paris Institute of Earth Physics. “There’s nothing that holds us back from assuming life was there.” However, van Zuilen and others say they’re not sure the new study provides compelling evidence that it was.

Some of this circumspection has roots in recent history. In 2008, researchers announced that diamond-graphite inclusions in 4.3-billion-year-old zircons had potentially biological signatures, inspiring Bell and her team to start looking through UCLA’s own collection of Jack Hills crystals. But subsequent analysis showed the 2008 inclusions came from lab contamination, not early Earth. In the new study, the researchers took measures to prevent similar problems.

“That one negative experience doesn’t mean nobody should try again,” says John Eiler, a geologist at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena. “But let’s just say, I’m cautious.” For one, he says, researchers need to settle some important debates, like whether the inclusions in Hadean zircons truly preserve original material, or if they’ve been altered, for example, during a later bout of metamorphism. He also questions whether organic matter can survive in magma chambers long enough to form graphite, casting doubt on the proposed mechanism.

Those issues aside, most scientists—including the authors—agree that the data do not yet exclude nonbiological explanations. Many abiotic processes can produce carbon with isotopic signatures similar to organic matter. For instance, the graphite could contain carbon from certain kinds of meteorites, which have light isotopic compositions. Alternatively, some invoke chemical processes, like the so-called Fischer-Tropsch reactions, in which carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen react with a catalyst like iron to form methane and other hydrocarbons. Such reactions probably occurred near hydrothermal vents in the Hadean, van Zuilen says, and can impart isotopic signatures that are indistinguishable from biological materials.

One way to settle the question that doesn’t rely on isotopes involves studying Mars, which, unlike Earth, still has rocks older than 4 billion years on its surface. “If we can find evidence for the existence of life on Mars at that time, then it will be easier to argue the case that it was also present on Earth,” says Alexander Nemchin, a geochemist at Curtin University in Bentley, Australia, and lead author of the 2008 study on diamond inclusions.

For now, scientists must make do with zircons, the only materials that preserve any record—however cryptic—of the Hadean eon. Bell acknowledges the need to test her team’s hypothesis on additional samples. She says researchers must make a concerted effort to find more Hadean carbon in Jack Hills zircons and see if it too has potentially biological origins. “Hopefully we didn’t just chance on the one freak zircon that had graphite in it,” she says. “Hopefully there is actually a fair amount of it.”

Identification of a lifeform - Biology

The families and genera of native and naturalized spring-flowering herbs, vines, and shrubs of the Raleigh-area

by Dr. Jon M. Stucky and Alexander Krings

Spring time in the southern Piedmont is a wonderful time of year for any wildflower enthusiast. As an aid to plant-lovers of all kinds, we developed this site to facilitate the identification of our spring flora. The presented keys were developed by Jon Stucky and are based on years of fieldwork and teaching classes on the Piedmont spring flora. Included plants are those flowering over the period from February to mid-May in Granville, Johnston, and Wake counties. However, due to the similarity in the floras, the keys should also work well for Chatham, Durham, Franklin, northern Harnett, Lee, and Orange counties. Nomenclature follows the Manual of the Vascular Plants of the Carolinas (Radford et al. 1968). Keys are arranged by lifeform and family. A glossary is also included.

History [ edit | edit source ]

The only known individual of this species was discovered in its crystalline form by archaeologist Vash in the Gamma Quadrant, and brought to the space station Deep Space 9, with the intention of being auctioned. Vash wasn't aware that the crystal was a living creature. Soon, it started to drain energy from the station and convert it into gravitons, creating a graviton field that threatened to hurl the entire station into the nearby Bajoran wormhole. When the mysterious crystal was identified as the source of this emergency, it was successfully beamed into space, where it transformed into its mature form and moved into the wormhole to return to its quadrant of origin.


Lipids are a highly variable group of molecules that include fats, oils, waxes and some steroids. These molecules are made mostly from chains of carbon and hydrogen called fatty acids. Fatty acids bond to a range of other types of atoms to form many different lipids.

Cells require lipids for a number of reasons. Probably the most important role of lipids is the main component of cell membranes. A type of lipid called a phospholipid is the primary molecule found in the membranes of cells.

Other important functions lipids have include insulation of heat, storing energy, protection and cellular communication. The importance of these various functions is why lipids are classed as one of the four molecules of life.

Almost all lipids are insoluble in water. The structure of lipid molecules means they are repelled by water. This is why oils and fats form globules in water and why the vinegar and oil of vinaigrette separate if the mixture is left for a while.


A. Couldn't find any research proving that organic diet improves fibromyalgia. On the other hand, couldn't actually find a research that contradict it (or even dealing with it), so no one can give you any established answer for your answer, so it's your decision.

Anyway, remember to consult a professional (e.g. a doctor) before you start any diet or any other intervention.

You may read more here:

Q. Can a Chiropractor tell if your organs are shutting down?

Q. I'm looking for natural/organic ways to deal with carpal tunnel syndrome. My Boss has Carpal Tunnel syndrome. I'm looking for some natural remedies to help her ease the pain.

A. I have found that MSM (GNC brand) 1500mg per day works for me. I talked to an Orthopedic Surgeon asking him why it works. he said "they really don't know why it works, but it works for many of my patients". When I stop taking my MSM the symptoms return so it is not a cure.

I have tried other brands of MSM and found the GNC brand works the best for me. It takes about 2 weeks to begin to see the results and several more weeks to get the full affect.

Watch the video: Identifikation af aminosyrer sur sidegruppe (July 2022).


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