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# Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate

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Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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22 Jun 2010, 05:34
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I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly difficult RCs. Please Participate actively. Make sure you post your time taken along with the answers. The OAs are available with me but not sure how much authenticated. So lets defete the RCs. Together We Can. I will try to post my resoning while posting answers.

Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separated an invertebrate animal embryo into two parts at an early stage of its life, it would survive and develop as two normal embryos. This led them to believe that the cells in the early embryo are undetermined in the sense that each cell has the potential to develop in a variety of different ways. Later biologists found that the situation was not so simple. It matters in which plane the embryo is cut. If it is cut in a plane different from the one used by the early investigators, it will not form two whole embryos.

A debate arose over what exactly was happening. Which embryo cells are determined, just when do they become irreversibly committed to their fates, and what are the “morphogenetic determinants” that tell a cell what to become? But the debate could not be resolved because no one was able to ask the crucial questions in a form in which they could be pursued productively. Recent discoveries in molecular biology, however, have opened up prospects for a resolution of the debate. Now investigators think they know at least some of the molecules that act as morphogenetic determinants in early development. They have been able to show that, in a sense, cell determination begins even before an egg is fertilized.

Studying sea urchins, biologist Paul Gross found that an unfertilized egg contains substances that function as morphogenetic determinants. They are located in the cytoplasm of the egg cell; i.e., in that part of the cell’s protoplasm that lies outside of the nucleus. In the unfertilized egg, the substances are inactive and are not distributed homogeneously. When the egg is fertilized, the substances become active and, presumably, govern the behavior of the genes they interact with. Since the substances are unevenly distributed in the egg, when the fertilized egg divides, the resulting cells are different from the start and so can be qualitatively different in their own gene activity.
The substances that Gross studied are maternal messenger RNA’s—products of certain of the maternal genes. He and other biologists studying a wide variety of organisms have found that these particular RNA’s direct, in large part, the synthesis of histones, a class of proteins that bind to DNA. Once synthesized, the histones move into the cell nucleus, where section of DNA wrap around them to form a structure that resembles beads, or knots, on a string. The beads are DNA segments wrapped around the histones; the string is the intervening DNA. And it is the structure of these beaded DNA strings that guide the fate of the cells in which they are located.
1. The passage is most probably directed at which kind of audience?
(A) State legislators deciding about funding levels for a state-funded biological laboratory
(B) Scientists specializing in molecular genetics
(D) Marine biologists studying the processes that give rise to new species
(E) Undergraduate biology majors in a molecular biology course
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

2. It can be inferred from the passage that the morphogenetic determinants present in the early embryo are
(A) located in the nucleus of the embryo cells
(B) evenly distributed unless the embryo is not developing normally
(C) inactive until the embryo cells become irreversibly committed to their final function
(D) identical to those that were already present in the unfertilized egg
(E) present in larger quantities than is necessary for the development of a single individual
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

3. The main topic of the passage is
(A) the early development of embryos of lower marine organisms
(B) the main contribution of modern embryology to molecular biology
(C) the role of molecular biology in disproving older theories of embryonic development
(D) cell determination as an issue in the study of embryonic development
(E) scientific dogma as a factor in the recent debate over the value of molecular biology
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

4. According to the passage, when biologists believed that the cells in the early embryo were undetermined, they made which of the following mistakes?
(A) They did not attempt to replicate the original experiment of separating an embryo into two parts.
(B) They did not realize that there was a connection between the issue of cell determination and the outcome of the separation experiment.
(C) They assumed that the results of experiments on embryos did not depend on the particular animal species used for such experiments.
(D) They assumed that it was crucial to perform the separation experiment at an early stage in the embryo’s life.
(E) They assumed that different ways of separating an embryo into two parts would be equivalent as far as the fate of the two parts was concerned.
[Reveal] Spoiler:
E

5. It can be inferred from the passage that the initial production of histones after an egg is fertilized takes place
(A) in the cytoplasm
(B) in the maternal genes
(C) throughout the protoplasm
(D) in the beaded portions of the DNA strings
(E) in certain sections of the cell nucleus
[Reveal] Spoiler:
A

6. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is dependent on the fertilization of an egg?
(A) Copying of maternal genes to produce maternal messenger RNA’s
(B) Synthesis of proteins called histones
(C) Division of a cell into its nucleus and the cytoplasm
(D) Determination of the egg cell’s potential for division
(E) Generation of all of a cell’s morphogenetic determinants
[Reveal] Spoiler:
B

7. According to the passage, the morphogenetic determinants present in the unfertilized egg cell are which of the following?
(A) Proteins bound to the nucleus
(B) Histones
(C) Maternal messenger RNA’s
(D) Cytoplasm
[Reveal] Spoiler:
C

8. The passage suggests that which of the following plays a role in determining whether an embryo separated into two parts will develop as two normal embryos?
I. The stage in the embryo’s life at which the separation occurs
II. The instrument with which the separations is accomplished
III. The plane in which the cut is made that separates the embryo
(A) I only
(B) II only
(C) I and II only
(D) I and III only
(E) I, II, and III
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

9. Which of the following circumstances is most comparable to the impasse biologists encountered in trying to resolve the debate about cell determination (lines 12-18)?
(A) The problems faced by a literary scholar who wishes to use original source materials that are written in an unfamiliar foreign language
(B) The situation of a mathematician who in preparing a proof of a theorem for publication detects a reasoning error in the proof
(C) The difficulties of a space engineer who has to design equipment to function in an environment in which it cannot first be tested
(D) The predicament of a linguist trying to develop a theory of language acquisition when knowledge of the structure of language itself is rudimentary at best
(E) The dilemma confronting a foundation when the funds available to it are sufficient to support one of two equally deserving scientific projects but not both
[Reveal] Spoiler:
D

[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #4 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #5 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #6 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #7 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #8 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #9 OA
If you have any questions
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14 Jul 2010, 00:28
very difficult for me.
I would post the text again to show number of lines:

Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they
separated an invertebrate animal embryo into two parts
at an early stage of its life, it would survive and develop
as two normal embryos. This led them to believe that the
(5) cells in the early embryo are undetermined in the sense
that each cell has the potential to develop in a variety of
different ways. Later biologists found that the situation
was not so simple. It matters in which plane the embryo
is cut. If it is cut in a plane different from the one used
(10) by the early investigators, it will not form two whole
embryos.
A debate arose over what exactly was happening.
Which embryo cells are determined, just when do they-
become irreversibly committed to their fates, and what
(15) are the “morphogenetic determinants” that tell a cell
what to become? But the debate could not be resolved
because no one was able to ask the crucial questions
in a form in which they could be pursued productively.
Recent discoveries in molecular biology, however, have
(20) opened up prospects for a resolution of the debate.
Now investigators think they know at least some of the
molecules that act as morphogenetic determinants in
early development. They have been able o show that,
in a sense, cell determination begins even before an egg
(25) is fertilized.
Studying sea urchins, biologist Paul Gross found
that an unfertilized egg contains substances that func-
tion as morphogenetic determinants. They are located
in the cytoplasm of the egg cell; i.e., in that part of the
(30) cell’s protoplasm that lies outside of the nucleus. In the
unfertilized egg, the substances are inactive and are not
distributed homogeneously. When the egg is fertilized,
the substances become active and, presumably, govern
the behavior of the genes they interact with. Since the
(35) substances are unevenly distributed in the egg, when the
fertilized egg divides, the resulting cells are different
from the start and so can be qualitatively different in
their own gene activity.
The substances that Gross studied are maternal
(40) messenger RNA’s --products of certain of the maternal
genes. He and other biologists studying a wide variety
of organisms have found that these particular RNA’s
direct, in large part, the synthesis of histones, a class
of proteins that bind to DNA. Once synthesized, the
(45) histones move into the cell nucleus, where section of
DNA wrap around them to form a structure that resem-
segments wrapped around the histones; the string is the
intervening DNA. And it is the structure of these beaded
(50) DNA strings that guides the fate of the cells in which
they are located.

OA:

[Reveal] Spoiler:
E
E
D
E
A
B
C
D
D

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Last edited by PTK on 22 Jul 2010, 19:41, edited 1 time in total.
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10 Jan 2011, 11:51
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23 Apr 2011, 02:13
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i still have a damn problem with the inference questions . i cant tolerate this kind of questions spoiling my score . it can be inferred... cow dung that inference.

need to develop some strategy to handle this inference creep .
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23 Apr 2011, 02:17
and one more question... what exactly in this passage hints about the target audience ? undergraduate students as the target audience , how come ?

and 1 more pattern , in questions which i get wrong ... i narrow down to 2 options out of which 1 is correct answer... and i choose the incorrect of the two.

in this passage 1 and 2 i got wrong, rest were correct. time was 12 mins without anything to take notes.
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05 Jun 2012, 05:57
I got number 1, 2 and 5 wrong in 12 mins.

And yes, I don't agree with number 1 and 2. How come the target audience is undergraduate student?
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Re: I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2012, 03:51
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Can someone please xeplain answers to Question# 1(how can we infer who is the targetted audience), # 6 & #9(bw B & D) ...
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11 Sep 2012, 03:55
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And Guys, it will not be of much use to just post RCs and their OAs, lets keep on explaining our reasoning for the benefit of ours and others ..
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Re: I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2012, 20:41
can anyone explain why not C

It can be inferred from the passage that the morphogenetic determinants present in the early embryo are
(A) located in the nucleus of the embryo cells
(B) evenly distributed unless the embryo is not developing normally
(C) inactive until the embryo cells become irreversibly committed to their final function
(D) identical to those that were already present in the unfertilized egg
(E) present in larger quantities than is necessary for the development of a single individual

i got C from this text. . . . When the egg is fertilized, the substances become active and, presumably, govern the behavior of the genes they interact with. . i hope substances refer to mgt dtrmnts
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Re: I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2012, 20:48
It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is dependent on the fertilization of an egg?
(A) Copying of maternal genes to produce maternal messenger RNA’s
(B) Synthesis of proteins called histones
(C) Division of a cell into its nucleus and the cytoplasm
(D) Determination of the egg cell’s potential for division
(E) Generation of all of a cell’s morphogenetic determinants

how can we infer B from this thing

He and other biologists studying a wide variety of organisms have found that these particular RNA’s direct, in large part, the synthesis of histones, a class of proteins that bind to DNA.
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Re: I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2012, 20:50
The main topic of the passage is
(A) the early development of embryos of lower marine organisms
(B) the main contribution of modern embryology to molecular biology
(C) the role of molecular biology in disproving older theories of embryonic development
(D) cell determination as an issue in the study of embryonic development
(E) scientific dogma as a factor in the recent debate over the value of molecular biology

i was confused b/w C and D for this atlast I marked C because it takes first para into consideration too and i think D does not represent whole passage. . any clarification please
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Re: I am starting one thread where I will post seemingly [#permalink]

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02 Oct 2012, 20:54
@ anshunadir 9th I can explain . . The scientists were not able to resolve because of lack of knowledge. molecular biology had not advanced that much and they were totally without any knowledge on subject. there was no issue of a theory being discovered and then some errors found in there . first para might suggest that but this was the issue before the real problem in 2nd para. the issue of first para had been resolved there itself.
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02 Oct 2012, 20:59

and target audience is like tone of passage. find tone and also check key words like so many scientific terms used here. . the tone is just informing, there are no sides to take at all, nothing to criticize or nothing to support. its just knowledge sharing . some knowledge being given to a person interested in this subject. we are down to B and E. I eliminated B because scientists specializing in subject will be already knowing all this but this looks nice like a lecture to students. just a brief introduction before a lesson on subject. so E. other options are easily eliminated. kindly revert back if u have doubt with any of those ??
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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07 Mar 2014, 03:30
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Bumping for review and further discussion*.

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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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26 Apr 2014, 10:57
It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following is
dependent on the fertilization of an egg?
(A) Copying of maternal genes to produce maternal messenger RNA’s
(B) Synthesis of proteins called histones
(C) Division of a cell into its nucleus and the cytoplasm
(D) Determination of the egg cell’s potential for division
(E) Generation of all of a cell’s morphogenetic determinants

Why synthesis of protein histones is dependent on fertilization.........How can I infer this?
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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02 May 2014, 12:38
This was a neat question. Bumping for others to see. Thanks!
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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03 May 2014, 01:33
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I got question 2 & 5 wrong. Not surprsingly these two were tad technical in nature. Completed the whole RC in 13.5mins. The 1st question was tricky one. The closest options were between scientists & undergrad students. The fact that the author had to explain the difference between cytoplasm and protoplasm, kind of indicates to the fact that the piece is not meant for professionals. That was my take.
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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12 May 2014, 02:58
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Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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26 Oct 2014, 05:13
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For all the people who think... How can "Undergraduate biology majors in a molecular biology courses" be the answer for the first question.....

Here is my explanation.

In the very beginning of the passage it is clearly mentioned "A century ago..."

1. The passage is most probably directed at which kind of audience?

(A) State legislators deciding about funding levels for a state-funded biological laboratory ---> Out of Scope

(B) Scientists specializing in molecular genetics ----> We don't really teach a hundred year old concept and observation to Scientists who Specialise in this very same field. Since this is an old and fundamental concept, the scientists must already have known about these issues and discoveries much better than anyone else and so they don't need to be explained about these concepts..Hence they are not the target audience

(D) Marine biologists studying the processes that give rise to new species ----> This passage is not just directed towards Marine organisms. Also 'new species' is OFS

(E) Undergraduate biology majors in a molecular biology course ---> Yes, it is very logical to essay that we really teach hundred year old scientific discoveries to students in that field. SO they can be the target audience....
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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28 Oct 2014, 00:21
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Expert's post
1
This post was
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2. It can be inferred from the passage that the morphogenetic determinants present in the early embryo are
(A) located in the nucleus of the embryo cells
(B) evenly distributed unless the embryo is not developing normally
(C) inactive until the embryo cells become irreversibly committed to their final function
(D) identical to those that were already present in the unfertilized egg
(E) present in larger quantities than is necessary for the development of a single individual

One tricky thing here is that we have several places to look for an answer. However, since the question is about embryos, not eggs, we are better off looking at the first paragraph. (E) is supported because in some cases we can get two individuals from one embryo. If that's true, there must be more than enough MD to make one.

(A) We don't know anything about the nucleus of embryo cells, but we're told that the MD lie outside the nucleus of egg cells.
(B) The egg part says that the MD are not evenly distributed.
(C) We never find out when the cells become irreversibly committed.
(D) We are never told if the MD are all the same. Maybe some MD are created, replaced, or destroyed, or maybe the dad provides some.
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate   [#permalink] 28 Oct 2014, 00:21

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