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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.
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
(C) Readers of an alumni newsletter published by the college that Paul Gross attended
(D) Marine biologists studying the processes that give rise to new species
(E) Undergraduate biology majors in a molecular biology course



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



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



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.



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



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
(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



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
(E) Nonbeaded intervening DNA



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



9. Which of the following circumstances is most comparable to the impasse biologists encountered in trying to resolve the debate about cell determination (as in the highlighted portion)?

(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



Originally posted by rahul on 19 Feb 2005, 17:37.
Last edited by SajjadAhmad on 29 Jul 2019, 05:09, edited 5 times in total.
Updated complete topic (26).
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New post 28 Oct 2014, 01:21
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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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New post 10 Jun 2017, 05:25
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1
1. 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 -It is the opposite of what the passage states. The passage states that these are present in the cytoplasm, which is outside the nucleus.
(B) evenly distributed unless the embryo is not developing normally - The are not homogeneous in distribution
(C) inactive until the embryo cells become irreversibly committed to their final function -No such thing stated
(D) identical to those that were already present in the unfertilized egg -This means to say that a new set of determinents were generated which are identical to those present in the cell earlier. This is completely absurd.
(E) present in larger quantities than is necessary for the development of a single individual -CORRECT. When the cells divide they still are able to develop.


2. The main topic of the passage is
(A) the early development of embryos of lower marine organisms - Wrong due to highlighted part of option. Nowhere its stated.
(B) the main contribution of modern embryology to molecular biology - No such thing stated in the passage.
(C) the role of molecular biology in disproving older theories of embryonic development - The molecular biology doesn't disprove anything.
(D) cell determination as an issue in the study of embryonic development - CORRECT. "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. Which embryo cells are determined" - This part states the complete picture of the entire passage
(E) scientific dogma as a factor in the recent debate over the value of molecular biology -Irrelevant


3. 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. -Irrelevant
(B) They did not realize that there was a connection between the issue of cell determination and the outcome of the separation experiment. -They did realise this
(C) They assumed that the results of experiments on embryos did not depend on the particular animal species used for such experiments. -Irrelevant
(D) They assumed that it was crucial to perform the separation experiment at an early stage in the embryo’s life. They did realise this
(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. -CORRECT. They initially did this mistake, because when they came to know that cutting the cell in different ways will lead to different outcomes, they realised there are different ways to cut the cells, and each way won't result in equivalent fate.


4. It can be inferred from the passage that the initial production of histones after an egg is fertilized takes place
(A) in the cytoplasm -CORRECT. The determinants can be found in cytoplasm. RNA, being a determinent, was initially present in cytoplasm. Therefore histones should be in the cytoplasm initially
(B) in the maternal genes -wrong
(C) throughout the protoplasm -wrong
(D) in the beaded portions of the DNA strings -wrong
(E) in certain sections of the cell nucleus -wrong


5. 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 -RNA are products of maternal genes.
(B) Synthesis of proteins called histones -CORRECT. When the eggs are unfertilised, the determinents are inactive. When the eggs fertilize the determinents get into action by synthesis of histones
(C) Division of a cell into its nucleus and the cytoplasm -Wrong
(D) Determination of the egg cell’s potential for division -The cells' seperation potential is not given anywhere
(E) Generation of all of a cell’s morphogenetic determinants -These determinants are already present in the cell


6. According to the passage, the morphogenetic determinants present in the unfertilized egg cell are which of the following?
(A) Proteins bound to the nucleus -Wrong
(B) Histones -Wrong
(C) Maternal messenger RNA’s -CORRECT
(D) Cytoplasm -Wrong
(E) No beaded intervening DNA -Wrong
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New post 29 Jun 2018, 01:13
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[quote="PUNEETSCHDV"]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

A is wrong
b is vague
c is wrong because they become active when the egg fertilizes
d is obviously stated in the passage and not an inference
e is true because once the egg fertilizes they divide and the resulting cells are different from the start and so can be qualitatively different in their own gene activity. from this we can infer that they are present in larger quantities than is necessary for the development of a single individual
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New post 02 Oct 2012, 21:41
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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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New post 02 Oct 2012, 21:48
1
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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New post 02 Oct 2012, 21:50
2
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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New post 02 Oct 2012, 21:54
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@ 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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New post 02 Oct 2012, 21:59
@ anshunadir

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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New post 01 Feb 2013, 06:00
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a toughie...!
@carcass...you must be playing at 40+ when such a passage had appeared. Jealous!!!
Coming back to question.
Its given in the passage that if one cuts an early embryo in proper plane, then the resulting parts may yield two individual beings. This "yielding" is helped by morphogenetic elements. (Sorry for bad English).
For the production of a single individual being, one morphogenetic element is sufficient but since even if you cut an early embryo into two, the two parts become respective individuals then the entire process seems to tell that morphogenetic elements are more than what is required for one individual.
+1E
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New post 02 Feb 2013, 03:49
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C is indeed a close call, if not for a re-read this would have been the (incorrect) choice.
Md's are inactive until the egg fertilization not until the cell determination. Once the egg is fertilized, Md's become active and govern the fate of the cells.
D is just an assertion with no facts. A and B are incorrect choices derived from facts mentioned in the passage moreover either of the choices would not classify as 'inference'.
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New post 14 Apr 2013, 22:09
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Option C is correct answer which can be directly inferred from the following lines:
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?
.........
Now investigators think they know at least some of the molecules that act as morphogenetic determinants in early development.
..............
Studying sea urchins, biologist Paul Gross found that an unfertilized egg contains substances that function as morphogenetic determinants.
..................................
The substances that Gross studied are maternal messenger RNA's products of certain of the maternal genes.

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New post 11 Mar 2014, 23:32
1
Passage wrote:
They are located in the cytoplasm of the egg cell. That part of the cell's protoplasm that lies outside of the nucleus


A is wrong for this reason. The passage clearly says that in the EARLY EMBRYO the morphological determinants lie outside the nucleus.

POE clearly eliminates all other answer choices since all answer choices are not neutral but rather contradictory to what is said in the passage. The only answer we are left with is E.

Passage wrote:
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 statement from the passage serves as the reasoning behind picking E as the right answer.

radhikamittal wrote:
For 2nd question why E ,not A. it says hiostones move to the nucleus and determine th cell determination ,histones secreted fromm rna o basically morphognic dterminats are in nucleus where thy combine with dna.
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New post 03 May 2014, 02:33
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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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New post 26 Oct 2014, 06:13
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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

(C) Readers of an alumni newsletter published by the college that Paul Gross attended -----> The passage is not about Paul alone but about cell determination in molecular genetics as a whole

(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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New post 04 Nov 2014, 04:26
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gmatfighter12 wrote:
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?


DNA wrap around them to form a structure that resem-
bles 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
(50) DNA strings that guides the fate of the cells in which
they are located.

This is really basic info. The passage cannot address scientists and researchers with such basic stuff. Hence, undergrad students. This was my reasoning, you may choose to differ.
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New post 18 Feb 2015, 08:55
It took me 18' and these were my responses:
1. E
2. C WRONG (correct E) --> mistake understood
3. D
4. B WRONG (correct E)--> . I was between B and E, but couldn't decide between the two... Shoud have chosen E, because of the word "experiment" in B.
5. A
6. B
7. C
8. D
9. D

I will explain my line of reasoning in answering 2 of the questions. I chose 6 and 9, because people asked about them and they have not been explained. I think the rest of the questions people wanted an explanation for have been addressed.

Q. 6: These are the parts of the passage I combined to answer B.
" 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" plus in the folowing paragraph "The substances that Gross studied are maternal messenger RNA’s... 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...".

Q. 9: (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.
I got to D because it says in the passage that scentists were asking the wrong questions. So, they didn't have a frim basis to move on from.
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New post 09 Jul 2015, 10:11
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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New post 11 Sep 2015, 03:34
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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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separated an inver  [#permalink]

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New post 26 Sep 2016, 10:25
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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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Re: Nearly a century ago, biologists found that if they separated an inver   [#permalink] 26 Sep 2016, 10:25

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