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Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate

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

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New post 19 Mar 2015, 02:24
Text wansn't that tough, the questions however were not easy. It was a nice read. One wrong overall, took me some time though. I went for E on the second one too :)
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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New post 09 Jul 2015, 09:11
DmitryFarber wrote:
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.


I agree with ur explanation regarding option E.
But if u see below sentences

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.

cant we say that since morphogenetic determinants exist in early development and cell determination begins even before an egg is fertilized, morphogenetic determinants present in the early embryo are identical to those that were already present in the unfertilized egg.

According this I feel option D is correct.
Please explain?
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2015, 09:36
On 6th question: we need to choose the best possible answer. My strategy was whichever step that, mentioned in the passage, happens later during the process of fertilization is more (or should) be dependent on fertilization. Hence the option B.

(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

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

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New post 13 Aug 2015, 04:55
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New post 09 Sep 2015, 23:53
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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New post 11 Sep 2015, 02:34
rohitmanglik wrote:
In Question 2, para 2 last line states that cell determination begins even before the fertilization of eggs is started. Therefore, option D that unfertilized and fertilized eggs both must be identical.

Where is the reasoning going wrong?


Hi Rohit,

The question is about the morphogenetic componenents and hence they could be in different states inspite of being identical in number.

Also though the components of unfertilized and fertilized eggs are the same,they need not be identical.definitely the components would have undegone some change

after fetilization of the egg.Hope this helps

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New post 13 Feb 2016, 20:49
A very interesting passage - looking forward to many more!

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New post 12 Aug 2016, 23:30
Can somebody please explain how to solve this type of question.

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

Thanks in advance.

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This is my first post so pardon me if I am not up to the general standards of the club.

Following is how I went about solving question #9

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)?

Prethinking: As the passage quotes , the debate was “.....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......”
Above quote means that scientists were basically not knowing what they had to pursue / analyze / prove or determine.

(A) The problems faced by a literary scholar who wishes to use original source materials that are written in an unfamiliar foreign language
------ Incorrect. The choice does not match with our prethinking. Foreign language could be learnt and translated.

(B) The situation of a mathematician who in preparing a proof of a theorem for publication detects a reasoning error in the proof
------ Incorrect. The choice does not match with our prethinking. Here, the mathematician knows about the reasoning error and also knows what has to be proved.

(C) The difficulties of a space engineer who has to design equipment to function in an environment in which it cannot first be tested
------ Incorrect. The choice does not match with our prethinking. From this choice we can’t infer that the space engineer does not know what has to be designed. The choice states that in space, the equipment can’t be first tested. It may so happen that we may think a bit more than required and assume that testing is necessary for designing.

(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
---- CORRECT. This choice matches our prethinking. If the structure of the language itself is rudimentary (meaning: fundamental; basic ; being in the early stages of development) , there is no point in developing a theory of language acquisition as the developing language may acquire many things that would render the theory incredible.

(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
------ Incorrect. The choice does not match with our prethinking. The foundation knows that the fund allocation has to be made to one of the 2 deserving scientific projects. Moreover, it’s the foundation which will decide to whom the fund is allotted.

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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.
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


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


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


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


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


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
(E) No beaded intervening DNA

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C


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

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New post 23 Mar 2017, 08:14
All correct except the 3rd one in 20 mins... Need to work with my pacing..... Can anyone please explain the ans of question 3? It seems easy to others, but I have definitely messed up with something.

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

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New post 24 Mar 2017, 17:43
Explanation of question 3:

the passage states,
"an unfertilized egg contains substances that function as morphogenetic determinants. They are located in the cytoplasm of the egg cell;"
"The substances that Gross studied are maternal messenger RNA’s"
"these particular RNA’s direct, in large part, the synthesis of histones"
It follows that the since the RNA is located in the cytoplasm, the histones are synthesized in the cytoplasm.

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New post 03 May 2017, 18:09
an explanation of qn 1 would be really nice :)

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

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New post 04 May 2017, 05:07
Explanation of all OA's would be helpful. I got absolutely destroyed in this passage, especially with inference Q's.

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

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New post 19 May 2017, 20:51
arunavamunshi1988 wrote:
All correct except the 3rd one in 20 mins... Need to work with my pacing..... Can anyone please explain the ans of question 3? It seems easy to others, but I have definitely messed up with something.


As per Q3, 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.

As mentioned in the 1st para, especially these sentence "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.", the problem is that the biologists use result of a particular case to emphasize generalization for all cases. They did not consider what will happen if the cut is made in a different plane (different ways of separating an embryo.......). That's why (E) is correct.

All other options cannot be inferred from the passage.

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

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New post 28 May 2017, 22:51
Can anyone explain question 1?.
Where is it mentioned remotely about the quantity of morphogenetic determinants?
Is the logic this :- an embryo can be separated to form two separate individual embryos and so morpho-determinants are subsequently used for tow embryos instead of one?

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

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New post 02 Jun 2017, 13:58
Quote:
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

kkrrsshh wrote:
Can anyone explain question 1?.
Where is it mentioned remotely about the quantity of morphogenetic determinants?
Is the logic this :- an embryo can be separated to form two separate individual embryos and so morpho-determinants are subsequently used for tow embryos instead of one?

Yes, that's the correct logic! Although the "substances that function as morphogenetic determinants" are not evenly distributed, when the fertilized egg splits, at least some of the substances will go to each of the two new embryos if both are to "survive and develop as two normal embryos". If an early embryo only contained the exact quantity necessary for development, it would be impossible for the embryo to split and develop as two normal embryos.
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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separate [#permalink]

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New post 08 Jun 2017, 23:28
Hi, can anybody explain me how Maternal Messenger RNA's are considered the morpho determinants?

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

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veepee wrote:
Hi, can anybody explain me how Maternal Messenger RNA's are considered the morpho determinants?


Hi,

Just read the 2nd paragraph and the beginning of the 3rd paragraph, then you're gonna see why

"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"


Hope this helps.

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