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# Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have

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Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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23 Apr 2012, 23:47
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Question 1
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Question Stats:

67% (03:05) correct 33% (01:56) wrong based on 30

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Question 2
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55% (01:23) correct 45% (01:01) wrong based on 29

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Question 3
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96% (01:13) correct 4% (00:35) wrong based on 26

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Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have had to deal with many uncertainties. In the first place, most behaviors are governed by more than one gene, and until recently geneticists had no method for identifying the multiple genes involved. In addition, even when a single gene is found to control a behavior, researchers in different fields do not necessarily agree that it is a “behavioral gene.” Neuroscientists, whose interest in genetic research is to understand the nervous system (which generates behavior), define the term broadly. But ethologists—specialists in animal behavior—are interested in evolution, so they define the term narrowly. They insist that mutations in a behavioral gene must alter a specific normal behavior and not merely make the organism ill, so that the genetically induced behavioral change will provide variation that natural selection can act upon, possibly leading to the evolution of a new species. For example, in the fruit fly, researchers have identified the gene Shaker, mutations in which cause flies to shake violently under anesthesia. Since shaking is not healthy, ethologists do not consider Shaker a behavioral gene. In contrast, ethologists do consider the gene period (per), which controls the fruit fly’s circadian (24-hour) rhythm, a behavioral gene because files with mutated per genes are healthy; they simply have different rhythms.
1. The passage suggests that neuroscientists would most likely consider Shaker to be which of the following?
A. An example of a behavioral gene
B. One of multiple genes that control a single behavior
C. A gene that, when mutated, causes an alteration in a specific normal behavior without making the organism ill
D. A gene of interest to ethologists but of no interest to neuroscientists
E. A poor source of information about the nervous system

[Reveal] Spoiler:
A

2. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following, if true, would be most likely to influence ethologists’ opinions about whether a particular gene in a species is a behavioral gene?
A. The gene is found only in that species.
B. The gene is extremely difficult to identify.
C. The only effect of mutations in the gene is to make the organism ill.
D. Neuroscientists consider the gene to be a behavioral gene.
E. Geneticists consider the gene to be a behavioral gene.

[Reveal] Spoiler:
C

The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. summarize findings in an area of research
B. discuss different perspectives on a scientific question
C. outline the major questions in a scientific discipline
D. illustrate the usefulness of investigating a research topic
E. reconcile differences between two definitions of a term

[Reveal] Spoiler:
B

I kind of got why OA of the question 1 is correct, but still confused with b.
Both are taking about behavioral genes.
Help me figure out this problem.
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #1 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #2 OA
[Reveal] Spoiler: Question #3 OA
If you have any questions
New!
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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11 Sep 2013, 15:49
The only answer I got correct was #1 and #3, and I guess #1

Can anyone attempt this question, and give me the reasons why the OA are correct for #1, 2 and how??

Thanks
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2013, 09:30
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If you read the passage, you'll notice the keyword "But ethologists..."

What was happening before? In the prior sentence, we were talking about NEUROSCIENTISTS. But now, we are talking about ETHOLOGISTS. They have DIFFERENT opinions.

What exactly is the difference? Well, later on, we see that ETHOLOGISTS do not consider Shaker a behavioral gene. Since ethologists and neuroscientists differ in the terms/scope of the word "behavioral gene" -- and ethologists do not consider Shaker a "behavioral gene". Then, well, it's likely that NEUROSCIENTISTS DO consider shaker to be a "behavioral gene".

The key to getting this question correct was to see that the passage compared the perspectives of NEUROSCIENTISTS vs ETHOLOGISTS -- and most of the passage elaborated on the perspective of the ETHOLOGISTS.
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2013, 09:40
Quote:
2. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following, if true, would be most likely to influence ethologists’ opinions about whether a particular gene in a species is a behavioral gene?

THis is an inference question -- GMATPill Framework #8 Inference

The ETHOLOGISTS' opinion is ....where?

Well, it's not going to be in the beginning -- we have what researchers think in the beginning. But what is crucial to this question is not going to be here. We want to jump to the point in the passage where we talk about the ethologists' opinion and what they really care about.

Quote:
But ethologists—specialists in animal behavior—are interested in evolution, so they define the term narrowly. They INSIST that mutations in a behavioral gene must alter a specific normal behavior and not merely make the organism ill, ...

So there you have it. We got the point where the ethologists INSIST -- this is a strong word. It indicates what they care about. And they care whether mutations make a change beyond just making them "ill".

So in #2, if (C) is true:
The only effect of mutations in the gene is to make the organism ill.

Then ETHOLOGISTS would INSIST that this is not a behavioral gene. It satisfies the question -- which MOST LIKELY INFLUENCES the ethologists' opinion.
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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13 Sep 2013, 10:01
Quote:
The primary purpose of the passage is to
A. summarize findings in an area of research
B. discuss different perspectives on a scientific question
C. outline the major questions in a scientific discipline
D. illustrate the usefulness of investigating a research topic
E. reconcile differences between two definitions of a term

What is this passage talking about? Well, we are not summarizing findings here. This whole passage was talking about how ethologists' opinion differed from neuroscientists. What was considered a behavioral gene actually is NOT -- then an example of what IS towards the end.

This sentence in the first half of the passage:
"even when a single gene is found to control a behavior, researchers in different fields do not necessarily agree that it is a 'behavioral gene.' "

So you can see, these are all "different" perspectives....on what? on what a "behavioral gene" is.
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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06 Jul 2014, 08:01
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GMATPill wrote:
If you read the passage, you'll notice the keyword "But ethologists..."

What was happening before? In the prior sentence, we were talking about NEUROSCIENTISTS. But now, we are talking about ETHOLOGISTS. They have DIFFERENT opinions.

What exactly is the difference? Well, later on, we see that ETHOLOGISTS do not consider Shaker a behavioral gene. Since ethologists and neuroscientists differ in the terms/scope of the word "behavioral gene" -- and ethologists do not consider Shaker a "behavioral gene". Then, well, it's likely that NEUROSCIENTISTS DO consider shaker to be a "behavioral gene".

The key to getting this question correct was to see that the passage compared the perspectives of NEUROSCIENTISTS vs ETHOLOGISTS -- and most of the passage elaborated on the perspective of the ETHOLOGISTS.

I cannot contradict you on this, but I am little convinced.

The only information we have regarding NEUROSCIENTISTS is that they define the term 'Behavioral gene' broadly.
And on the other hand ETHOLOGISTS define the term 'Behavioral gene' narrowly.

Now, shaker is not considered as BG by ETHOLOGISTS, but that doesn't mean that shaker will be considered by NEUROSC as BG.

Broadly is not OPPOSITE of narrowly, it is just the difference in scope.

NEUROSC may or may not consider Shaker as a BG.

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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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13 Jul 2014, 07:42
I too selected the wrong answer for question #2....but I didn't read the question properly....heres my explanation about the correct answer C ....the important word in the question is 'whether' ....in gmat we use 'whether' wrt either 'yes' or 'no'. The passage clearly states" They insist that mutations in a behavioral gene must alter a specific normal behavior and not merely make the organism ill" .
So think of it as a yes or no question....
Yes - the gene does more than merely making the organism ill i.e.altering specific behaviour. (so its a behavioural gene)
No - the gene does not anything other than make the organism ill. (so its not a behavioural gene) ...Hope this helps
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Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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15 Jul 2014, 23:06
I had the same problem with question 1, and it took me a few readings before I could imply that A is corrrect
here's my take on why question 1's OA is A

this excerpt's idea, as mentioned in the first two sentences, is that the study of behavioral genes are uncertain

and this is because 1. behavior genes are hard to identify, and 2. experts in different fields disagree with each other

and then the author supports this by listing the example of Neuroscientists and Ethologists, neuro's views are broad while etho's views are narrow

this is followed by the example of the shaker gene, author's purpose of using the shaker gene example is to point out the uncertainty of study due to these experts' disagreements.

so the answer choice to question 1 must be something in contrast of the Ethologist viewpoint

B doesn't feature enough conflict, also behaviors can also be dictated by a single gene as mentioned sentence 3.
C is too specific of an implication and is not as 'safe' as A
D and E are fillers

A is then a somewhat general answer
and I think it only works because the author's purpose of "Neuro vs Etho" is to point out conflicting perspectives
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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18 Mar 2015, 05:30
Very tough passage. Can someone pls explain the second question?
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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15 Apr 2015, 13:15
Ergenekon wrote:
Very tough passage. Can someone pls explain the second question?

Yes, it's really tough. I got all correct but in almost 9 min!!!
Let me try the second question.

2. It can be inferred from the passage that which of the following, if true, would be most likely to influence ethologists’ opinions about whether a particular gene in a species is a behavioral gene.

A. The gene is found only in that species.
Only in that species? There is no evidence in the passage to support this.

B. The gene is extremely difficult to identify.
The difficulty is not mentioned in the passage. This one can not influence ethologist's opinions.

C. The only effect of mutations in the gene is to make the organism ill.
The author says that the ethologists insist that mutations in a behavioral gene must alter a specific normal behavior and not merely make the organism ill. Then an example is given in the passage. In the example, the author says that ethologists do not consider Shaker a behavioral gene because shaking is not healthy.
Based on these evidences, we can infer that the effect of mutations do influence ethologists' opinons. If the effet of a mutation is not healthy, ethologists will not consider such mutation (gene) behavioral.

D. Neuroscientists consider the gene to be a behavioral gene.
Neuroscientists define the term, behavioral gene, broadly, but ethologists define it narrowly. Thus, the fact that neuroscientists consider a gene behaviroral can not influence ethologist's opinions.

E. Geneticists consider the gene to be a behavioral gene.
There is no sufficient information in the passage about how the opinions of ethologists could be similar with or different from those of geneticists.

Hope it helps.
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Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have [#permalink]

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01 Apr 2016, 19:00
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TGC, do you find out a convincing answer? I am stuck in this point like you.

TGC wrote:
GMATPill wrote:
If you read the passage, you'll notice the keyword "But ethologists..."

What was happening before? In the prior sentence, we were talking about NEUROSCIENTISTS. But now, we are talking about ETHOLOGISTS. They have DIFFERENT opinions.

What exactly is the difference? Well, later on, we see that ETHOLOGISTS do not consider Shaker a behavioral gene. Since ethologists and neuroscientists differ in the terms/scope of the word "behavioral gene" -- and ethologists do not consider Shaker a "behavioral gene". Then, well, it's likely that NEUROSCIENTISTS DO consider shaker to be a "behavioral gene".

The key to getting this question correct was to see that the passage compared the perspectives of NEUROSCIENTISTS vs ETHOLOGISTS -- and most of the passage elaborated on the perspective of the ETHOLOGISTS.

I cannot contradict you on this, but I am little convinced.

The only information we have regarding NEUROSCIENTISTS is that they define the term 'Behavioral gene' broadly.
And on the other hand ETHOLOGISTS define the term 'Behavioral gene' narrowly.

Now, shaker is not considered as BG by ETHOLOGISTS, but that doesn't mean that shaker will be considered by NEUROSC as BG.

Broadly is not OPPOSITE of narrowly, it is just the difference in scope.

NEUROSC may or may not consider Shaker as a BG.

Re: Researchers studying how genes control animal behavior have   [#permalink] 01 Apr 2016, 19:00
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