Humans have been figuring out the world around us since the beginning of civilization. They’ve made remarkable discoveries in the last century. Actually more progress has been made in the last 100 year than all the previous years put together. However, there are still some common things they just can’t quite figure out.
We all know that women have two X chromosomes, one from their mother and one from their father. Every cell in a woman’s body contains both chromosomes, and in 1949, it was discovered that in every cell one of those chromosomes is inactive, whether it be the one from the mother or the one from the father. This means that most of the inactive chromosome’s genetic information is ignored. How the cells decide which chromosome to deactivate is still unknown. At first it was thought that the cell chose at random which chromosome to make inactive, however a study done on mice has shown that an entire organ is made up of cells with the same inactive chromosome. Meaning, the stomach could be the mother’s chromosomes, while the lungs could be the father’s. Also, X chromosomes contain versions of genes not found on its partner, and since women have two, this makes them more genetically diverse than men.
19. ANIMAL MAGNETORECEPTION
Magnetoreception is the animal’s ability to perceive direction, altitude or location, by sensing magnetic fields. How they sense these fields is still a mystery. One theory is that the animals that have this ability, also have tiny bar magnets on some of their cells, working similarly to that of a compass, communicating with the brain. While still possible, this theory falls short. Research on pigeons found these bar magnets on some of their beak cells, however, it was found that these were immune system cells that don’t communicate with the brain. Another theory is that there is a protein in the eye that can sense magnetic fields. The science for this study is still new and it’s possible that both these theories could hold some truth.
Researchers have known for some time that blushing is the result of widened blood vessels, what they don’t know is what triggers these blood vessels. Alpha-adrenoceptors are found in facial veins and in 1982 it was discovered that they also have beta-adrenoceptors, which are triggered by adrenaline and molecules associated with emotional response. To determine if they had actually found the cause, some experiments were done. One group was given drugs to block the alpha-adrenoceptors, and the other was given drugs to block the beta-adrenoceptors. At the end of the experiment, both groups were still blushing and research is back at square one.