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# V05-20, V05-21, V05-22

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16 Sep 2014, 01:25
The field of exobiology seeks to understand the origin, evolution, and distribution of life in the universe. Exobiology as a discipline emerged shortly after a 1953 experiment conducted at the University of Chicago that used electricity and simple gases to produce amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and, therefore, organic life as we know it. The experiment was conducted by a biology graduate student, Stephen Miller, in the lab of Harold Urey, a scientist who was already well-known for his theories on the composition of the early earth’s atmosphere. Miller and Urey put three gases believed to have been present in the early atmosphere – methane, ammonia, and hydrogen – into a closed system with an “ocean” of water at the bottom and ran electricity through the gases to simulate the lightening storms believed common on the early earth.At the end of a week, the scientists observed that basic organic compounds, including amino acids, had formed and dissolved in the water, where some of them had even combined to form more complex, though still non-living, substances.

Though parts of the Miller-Urey experiment have been thrown into question by more recent discoveries, exobiology remains a small, close-knit field of dedicated scientists with backgrounds in areas as diverse as biology, chemistry and physics. Much of the current research supported by NASA, the American space agency, focuses on four major areas.The first two speculate about the evolution of compounds necessary to organic life, whether that be the development in space of “biogenic,” or life-generating compounds, or the planetary evolution of compounds that are considered “prebiotic,” or pre-living. A third area seeks to trace steps of transformation from organic compounds to simple forms of life, and a fourth studies the evolution from simple organisms to the complex and diverse forms of life found on earth today.Investigations in all four areas involve a mixture of approaches: observation of simple life-forms, such as bacteria and viruses; examination of materials from space, such as asteroids, which seem to contain evidence of life; speculation based on data gathered from telescopes and space probes; and experimentation.
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(a) speculate about the origin of life in the universe
(b) overturn an outdated, though popular, scientific theory
(c) contrast two approaches to the study of the origin of life
(d) trace the development of a field of study
(e) discuss the origins and goals of a branch of science

2.
Based on information in the passage, which of the following can be concluded about organic compounds?

Organic compounds .

(a) are not living, but are the building blocks of life
(b) were discovered in 1953, as part of a famous experiment
(c) can be formed more quickly than inorganic compounds
(d) combine only in the presence of electricity
(e) contain gases such as ammonia, methane, and hydrogen

3. The author refers to an “ocean” most likely in order to

(a) suggest that gases are not sufficient to create organic compounds.
(b) emphasize that the experiment sought to replicate conditions of early earth.
(c) shed light on the mindset of scientists conducting the experiment.
(d) disprove the theory that early earth’s oceans were of a substance other than water.
(e) provide an example of a substance common to early earth.

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16 Sep 2014, 01:25
Spoiler: :: Question V05-20 explanation
Main Idea questions require a true statement about information provided in the passage as a whole. The first sentence of the paragraph contains a definition of exobiology, and the remainder of the passage further supports this definition by discussing the origins of the field (paragraph 1) and its goals (paragraph 2).
1. This is a goal of exobiology itself, not this passage.
2. The passage does not suggest a single theory; therefore, a theory can not be overthrown.
3. Two approaches are neither introduced nor contrasted in the passage.
4. This is the main idea only of paragraph 1.
5. This option correctly summarizes information contained in both paragraphs of the passage.
Spoiler: :: Question V05-21 explanation
The phrase based on information in the passage in the question stem reveals that the answer to this question can be found by reviewing what is stated explicitly in the passage. This line states that amino acids are the building blocks of proteins and, therefore, organic life as we know it. Combining this information with that provided in this line, which further emphasizes that amino acids are organic compounds, it can be concluded that organic compounds are the building blocks of life even though they are not living.
1. This information can by found by combining relevant sentences in the first paragraph.
2. The paragraph states that the experiment was conducted in 1953, but not that organic compounds were discovered then.
3. This claim is not made in the passage.
4. The passage does not make this claim.
5. Though this is true of the organic compounds discussed in the first paragraph, the passage does not make this claim for all organic compounds.
Spoiler: :: Question V05-22 explanation
The answer to this question depends on drawing a conclusion based on information stated in the passage. To begin, review the text where the ocean is mentioned. The reference occurs within the context of Miller and Urey’s experiment, in which they attempted to re-create conditions present on the early earth to test whether organic compounds could be formed. It can be concluded, then, that the word ocean is meant to be included in the list of conditions replicating the situation of the early earth.
1. Though water and electricity are also used to create organic compounds in this experiment, this has no bearing on the fact that the author chose the word ocean.
2. This option correctly recognizes the placement of the word ocean within the context of an experiment that sought to replicate conditions present on the early earth.
3. The word ocean is in itself irrelevant to the mindset of Miller and Urey.
4. This theory is neither mentioned nor refuted in the passage.
5. This option is close to being correct, but does not correctly evaluate the word ocean in the context of an experiment which sought to recreate certain conditions.

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24 Nov 2016, 17:56
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(a) speculate about the origin of life in the universe
(b) overturn an outdated, though popular, scientific theory
(c) contrast two approaches to the study of the origin of life
(d) trace the development of a field of study
(e) discuss the origins and goals of a branch of science

Hi, where exactly are the goals of a branch of science discussed. This entire passage is focused on current research, not goals!
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26 Nov 2016, 03:27
1
inak wrote:
1. The primary purpose of the passage is to

(a) speculate about the origin of life in the universe
(b) overturn an outdated, though popular, scientific theory
(c) contrast two approaches to the study of the origin of life
(d) trace the development of a field of study
(e) discuss the origins and goals of a branch of science

Hi, where exactly are the goals of a branch of science discussed. This entire passage is focused on current research, not goals!

The word "seeks" in the first line indicates the goal of the branch of science. (In general the first line of an RC passage gives an idea about the content of the passage).
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05 Jun 2017, 02:17
Organic compounds .

(a) are not living, but are the building blocks of life

I read the explanation but seems a bit far from what we can infer
Amino Acid is an organic compound which is the building blocks of life, how can this be generalized for all the organic compunds.?
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24 Feb 2018, 08:02
Hi,
In Q2, Why didn't we choose option D and E?
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13 Aug 2018, 16:12
1
I think this is a poor-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. Claim: Organic compounds: are not living, but are the building blocks of life.

Amino acids are > building blocks of PROTEINS

Amino Acids are > BASIC organic compounds

Question: Wouldn't the proteins technically be the building blocks of life?

Question: Even if amino acids are the building blocks of life, is it far to say that ALL amino acids are building blocks of life? Did I miss the connection?

Question: Can we ignore the BASIC? I would assume that there are other types of organic compounds which again makes the correct answer choice seem overreaching.

Thanks
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02 Sep 2018, 08:23
1
I think this is a poor-quality question and I don't agree with the explanation. "produce amino acids, the building blocks of proteins and, therefore, organic life as we know it".

This means that amino acids are building blocks of life. This should not be generalized for all organic compounds.

Further, "the scientists observed that basic organic compounds, including amino acids, had formed and dissolved in the water, where some of them had even combined to form more complex, though still non-living, substances.".
This means that some of the organic compounds were non-living. This should not be generalized for all.
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12 Sep 2018, 04:57
1
The author refers to an “ocean” most likely in order to
suggest that gases are not sufficient to create organic compounds.
emphasize that the experiment sought to replicate conditions of early earth.
shed light on the mindset of scientists conducting the experiment.
disprove the theory that early earth’s oceans were of a substance other than water.
provide an example of a substance common to early earth.

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Dear Experts,Please suggest how to Choose between choice B & E as both are very close.
Regards
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27 Oct 2018, 06:38
I don't agree with this answer, how are we supposed to assume this is a branch of science? The passage clearly identifies this is as a field.
Re: V05-20, V05-21, V05-22 &nbs [#permalink] 27 Oct 2018, 06:38
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# V05-20, V05-21, V05-22

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