Survival of the sickest Part 3

What did you think of the reading?

I really hope they decide to make this book into a movie. Oh wait, they can’t make this book into a movie because there is no storyline. The information that is in the book is very interesting, but the way thDr. Moalem writes it, is god awful. When I am reading the book, I feel like I am inside his train of thought with him surrounded by all of this neat information, and he is talking about it with me as the train jumps off ramps and dives into pools of seemingly random topics. Then a group of people from pop culture appear and water down all the cool science stuff. For example of microbes and men instead of Of Mice and Men.

What did you learn from the reading?

In the first chapter “Of microbes and men” Dr. Moalem started and ended with the relationships between humans and other organisms. The middle of the chapter discussed how parastic microorganisms could manipulate their hosts. A lot of this chapter was examples of how these relationships where animals are manipulated by parasitic microorganisms. I learned this is done only for reproduction, but done in a variety of different ways. For example a parasitic worm that lives in our bodies and transports to other humans in our water, starts off by being drunk in the water. Then it grows in the human body, but in order to produce non competitive children it has to get them in the water. It does this by causing aburning sensation on the skin. When the skin then comes in contact with water to cool off the burning the larvae are released into the water. A different parasite that lives in cats releases its offspring into the cat feces. A rat would then eats the feces, and it becomes infected with the parasite. The parastic bacteria then goes to the brain where it makes the cat become a fat and lethargic. In addition to that it becomes less afraid of cats, and it will be easily eaten by one. Evvery harmful bacteria and virus is trying to take advantage of us and force us into suitable conditions forthem to reproduce. The less virulent (or damage causing) a microorganism is the more we walk move around and spread from person to person, but the less virulent ones are those that don’t need us to transport them around. After understanding how these microorganisms take advantage of us, we try to figure out away to weaken them and make them less virulent. If a virus or bacteria is more virulent, the easiest way for us to weaken it is to make it dependant on us for transportation from person to person. For example, if the malaria virus was unable to get back to the mosquitos  when we are sick in bed, then it would need us to be weaker so we get out of the house and get bitten by mosquitos.

In the second chapter, “Jump into the gene pool” Dr. Moalem began with describing what junk DNA was. In the end of the chapter he told us what junk DNA does, and in the middle he had bits and pieces thatled up to the end. In the end I learned that this junk DNA is made of jumping genes, and in the middle I learned that jumping genes are genes that change when there is evolutionary pressure for them to. I also learned at the end that that junk DNA is from viruses. In the middle I learned that viruses DNA/RNA could incorporate their genes into our cells permanetly. When you combine these two facts you realize that viruses are responsible for causing our mutations that grew us into the species we are today.

What questions do you still have?

This reading I actually have any questions. Mayybe it is because I read slower, and sometimes read a part three or more times. It also might be that a lot of these two chapters had portions of what Ms. Mathew taught us in regular biology.


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