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The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report

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The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jul 2017, 23:09
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73% (03:01) correct 27% (01:49) wrong based on 137

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Question 2
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61% (00:49) correct 39% (00:48) wrong based on 144

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62% (01:03) correct 38% (01:08) wrong based on 141

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The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in reports of the bacterial strains known as “super-bugs,” so called not because of enhanced virulence, but because of their resistance to many antimicrobial agents. In particular, researchers have become alarmed about NDM-1 (New Delhi metallo-beta-lactamase), which is not a single bacterial species, but a transmittable genetic element encoding multiple resistance genes. A resistance “cocktail” such as NDM-1 could bestow immunity to a bevy of preexisting drugs simultaneously, rendering the bacterium nearly impregnable.

However, in spite of the well-documented dangers posed by antibiotic-resistant bacteria, many scientists argue that the human race has more to fear from viruses. Whereas bacteria reproduce asexually through binary fission, viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction, and so are known as “intracellular obligate parasites.” Virus particles called virions must marshal the host cell’s ribosomes, enzymes, and other cellular machinery in order to propagate. Once various viral components have been built, they bind together randomly in the cellular cytoplasm. The newly finished copies of the virus break through the cellular membrane, destroying the cell in the process. Because of this, viral infections cannot be treated ex post facto in the same way as bacterial infections, since antivirals designed to kill the virus could do critical damage to the host cell itself. In fact, viruses can infect bacteria (themselves complete cells), but not the other way around. For many viruses, such as that responsible for the common cold sore, remission rather than cure is the goal of currently available treatment.

While the insidious spread of drug-resistant bacteria fueled by overuse of antibiotics in agriculture is nothing to be sneezed at, bacteria lack the potential for cataclysm that viruses have. The prominent virologist Nathan Wolfe considers human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which has resulted in the deaths of more than thirty million people and infected twice that number, “the biggest near-miss of our lifetime.” Despite being the most lethal pandemic in history, HIV could have caused far worse effects. It is only fortunate happenstance that this virus cannot be transmitted through respiratory droplets, as can the pathogenic viruses that cause modern strains of swine flu (H1N1), avian flu (H5N1), and SARS.


1. The main purpose of the passage can be expressed most accurately by which of the folowing?

(A) To contrast the manner by which bacteria and viruses infect the human body and cause cellular damage

(B) To explain the operations by which viruses use cell machinery to propagate

(C) To argue for additional resources to combat drug-resistant bacteria and easily transmissible pathogenic viruses

(D) To highlight the good fortune experienced by the human race, in that the HIV pandemic has not been more lethal.

(E) To compare the relative dangers of two biological threats and judge one of them to be far more important.
During review, it can be worth it to review the passage paragraph by paragraph. The first paragraph introduces bacterial "super-bugs" with some alarm. The second paragraph increases the alarm, noting how "many scientists argue that the human race has more to fear from viruses." This paragraph describes the way in which viruses hijack the cell, in order to illustrate how tough viruses are to treat. The last paragraph continues the comparison and puts a stake in the ground: "bacteria lack the potential for cataclysm that viruses have." This last point is illustrated by the "near-miss" we have had with the HIV pandemic.

(A) We are never told how bacteria infect the body. This is one way in which the two "bad guys" (bacteria and viruses) are not treated in parallel ways in the text. Again, the way in which viruses infect cells is described in order to show how hard it is to kill viruses.

(B) The hijacking process is certainly described, but to make a larger point: why it's hard to eradicate viruses, in comparison with bacteria.

(C) After reading this passage, you may want to call up the CDC and donate money, but the passage itself only raises a warning, if even that: it is not a call to action.

(D) The last paragraph does highlight our good fortune, but this is not the larger point of the whole passage.

(E) CORRECT. This passage compares the two threats (bacteria and viruses) and judges viruses to be far more important (after all, viruses have the "potential for cataclysm").




2. It can be inferred from the passage that infections by bacteria

(A) result from asexual reproduction through binary fission

(B) can be treated ex post facto by antimicrobial agents, unlike viral infections

(C) can be rendered vulnerable by a resistance cocktail such as NDM-1

(D) are rarely cured by currently available treatments, but rather only put into remission

(E) mirror those by viruses, in that they can both do critical damage to the host cell



3. According to the passage, intracellular obligate parasites

(A) are unable to propagate themselves on their own

(B) assemble their components randomly out of virions

(C) reproduce themselves through sexual combination with host cells

(D) have become resistant to antibiotics through the overuse of these drugs

(E) construct necessary reproductive structures out of destroyed host cells

This Specific Detail question requires us to determine what is true about "intracellular obligate parasites" (or IOPs, to give them a temporary abbreviation). Going back to the passage, we read this: Whereas bacteria reproduce asexually through binary fission, viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction, and so are known as “intracellular obligate parasites.” The word "so" toward the end tells us that the reason viruses are called IOPs is that they "lack the necessary structures for reproduction." We are looking for this idea, perhaps slightly restated.

(A) CORRECT. If we know that viruses "lack the necessary structures for reproduction," then we know that they cannot reproduce (or propagate themselves) on their own.

(B) What we are told about virions is that they are "virus particles" and that they "must marshal the host cell's... cellular machinery in order to propagate." However, we don't know that the viruses are themselves then assembled out of virions. Moreover, IOPs seem like a more general class of thing than viruses, and so we wouldn't be able to conclude that something true about viruses would necessarily be true of all IOPs.

(C) We know that bacteria reproduce themselves asexually, in contrast to how viruses do so, but that doesn't mean that viruses necessarily do so sexually.

(D) Certain bacteria have become resistant to antibiotics, but we don't know that this is true of IOPs.

(E) This choice mixes up language from the passage. Viruses need reproductive structures, and they destroy host cells, but that doesn't mean that they first structures, and they destroy host cells, but that doesn't mean that they first destroy the host cells, then make reproductive structures out of the carcasses. (In fact, what they do is hijack living host cells, taking over their cellular machinery.)

The correct answer is A.


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Re: The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2017, 05:26
For the 3rd question, narrowed own to 2 choices:
Quote:
A) are unable to propagate themselves on their own

and
Quote:
C) reproduce themselves through sexual combination with host cells


Now is C wrong just for this part of the option: with host cells ?

How is A correct? It is mentioned
Quote:
Whereas bacteria reproduce asexually through binary fission, viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction, and so are known as “intracellular obligate parasites.”

Dows this mean intracellular obligate parasites are viruses and thus the next line from passage which refers to virus also applies to intracellular obligate parasites:
Quote:
Virus particles called virions must marshal the host cell’s ribosomes, enzymes, and other cellular machinery in order to propagate.


Thanks!
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Re: The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report  [#permalink]

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New post 15 Jul 2017, 07:53
1
Akshay,

For the 3rd question, because this is a simple "according to the passage" detail question you must read carefully and not use any outside knowledge when answering the question. Choice A is clearly supported by the line "Viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction, and so are known as “intracellular obligate parasites,”" which is accurately paraphrased as "intracellular obligate parasites (A) are unable to propagate themselves on their own"

However, it seems as though you are relying on this part of the passage - "Virus particles called virions must marshal the host cell’s ribosomes, enzymes, and other cellular machinery in order to propagate. Once various viral components have been built, they bind together randomly in the cellular cytoplasm," to support choice C which states "reproduce themselves through sexual combination with host cells." Analyzing this information would require outside knowledge of how sexual reproduction occurs as there is no mention of sexual reproduction in the passage as pertaining to viruses and it seems you are assuming that "bind together" means sexual reproduction. However, if anything, the relevant outside knowledge would lead you to eliminate choice C as since "viruses lack the necessary structures for reproduction" they are therefore incapable of sexual reproduction and are literally only binding to the "cellular machinery" not engaging sexually with them.

Hopefully this explains why choice A, and not C, is the correct choice.

Good luck as you continue your GMAT journey!
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Re: The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report  [#permalink]

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New post 13 Jan 2018, 23:00
7 minutes, all Qs correct. I struggle with biology passages.
Re: The past decade has seen a statistically significant uptick in report &nbs [#permalink] 13 Jan 2018, 23:00
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