3.1 How do organisms take up iron?

Nearly all organisms are able to take up iron. However, only a handful of organisms have had their iron-uptake chemistry studied. The organism that has received most attention (other than human) is a single-cell, prokaryotic bacterium (found in the human large intestine and elsewhere), called Escherichia coli (abbreviated to E.coli), a high-resolution image of which is shown in Author(s): The Open University

Introduction

In this unit we will see that, despite having a high natural abundance, iron is in very short supply because of the insolubility of its oxides and hydroxides. A result of this is that organisms have developed methods for the uptake, transport and storage of iron. For example, iron storage in mammals, including humans, is achieved by ferritin, which stores iron as a hydrated iron(III) oxide – an example of biomineralisation.

This unit is from our archive and is an adapted extract from
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3.6.2 Experiencing the pregnancy

If a woman does find herself pregnant, what can she expect? Pregnancy is a time of enormous physical and emotional changes, and these are often difficult to cope with. To begin with, the physical effects of early pregnancy can be extremely unpleasant. The nausea and vomiting of morning sickness can be very severe, and although in many women the symptoms abate after a while, in others they persist right through the pregnancy. Sickness is thought to be due to the high levels of progestogen circ
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4.4 Hormonal control of sperm production

The most important hormone involved in controlling sperm production is a steroid called testosterone. This is produced in the testis itself, by the Leydig cells (see Figure 12a). The testosterone is released from the Leydig cells between the tubules, and taken up by the neighbouring Sertoli cells. The Leydig cells are stimulated to make testosterone by two other hormones, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), which are both produced by the pituitary gland and
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1.3.4 Surgical methods of contraception

Surgical methods are by and large the most drastic and irreversible ones, ranging from castration to relatively untraumatic tube-tying. Because of the psychological and physiological side-effects, surgical removal of the testes or ovaries is not generally carried out for contraceptive reasons alone, although these operations may be carried out for other reasons, such as the presence of malignant tumours. Any kind of surgical sterilization can be physiologically traumatic for a woman, as it in
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1.3.2 Chemical contraceptives

These methods rely to a large extent on an understanding of the physiology of the reproductive process. They are targeted at preventing the production or release of gametes, i.e. the sex cells – sperm and eggs – which need to fuse to produce a new individual. To date, most effort in this area has been directed towards preventing a woman from ovulating, i.e. releasing an egg, although more recently trials have begun on ‘male pills’ which block sperm production.

Ovulation i
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Introduction

This unit is from our archive and it is an adapted extract from Human Biology and Health (SK220) which is no longer in presentation. If you wish to study formally at The Open University, you may wish to explore the courses we offer in this curriculum area .

This unit looks at the human being in the context of an individual life cycle, examining some of the processes that
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Acknowledgements

Grateful acknowledgement is made to the following sources for permission to reproduce material in this unit:

This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence. See Terms and Conditions.

Figures

Figure 1 Copyright ©
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3.4.7 Induced earthquakes

Some reservoirs cause earthquakes to occur. This is perhaps not so surprising, as earthquakes are caused by stress in rocks, and the addition of a large mass of water in a reservoir on top of the rocks at the Earth's surface stresses the rocks and can trigger an earthquake. Not all reservoirs induce earthquakes: it is in general only the larger reservoirs, or the deeper ones (over 100m deep), and only if the reservoir is built in an earthquake area, releasing stress already stored in t
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3.4.4 Sediment filling

The lifetime of reservoirs can vary greatly. Many reservoirs have lasted for over a hundred years, but some may be useful for only a much shorter period—fifty years or so — not because of the general deterioration of the dam as it gets older, but because sediment accumulates in the reservoir. Rivers carry large amounts of mud, silt and sand in suspension, particularly during floods, and when a river enters a reservoir it slows down and the sediment carried in suspension is deposited on th
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3.3 Dams

To economize on constructional materials and costs, it is desirable to build a dam at a narrow part of a valley so that the dam can be kept as short as possible. The quantity of constructional materials needed to build dams, and their cost, can be enormous. The Aswan High Dam, built during the 1960s, cost £400 million for a 1.2 km dam. Though shorter than the Aswan High Dam, the longest dam in Britain, the Kielder Dam in Northumberland (Author(s): The Open University

2 River flow

The total land area drained by a river system, including all its tributaries, is called a river catchment. The water in a river comes not only from direct precipitation, springs and overland flow (i.e. water flowing across the ground surface, excluding that in streams and rivers; this is rare in temperate vegetated areas) but also from the underground flow of water, directly to the river. Part of this underground flow is interflow, that part of infiltration which moves th
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3.6.2 The JAK–STAT pathway

Another important protein kinase pathway is the JAK–STAT pathway. Cytokines (Section 2.2), are frequently used for signalling between cells of the immune system. Cytokine-induced signal transduction cascades are often direct pathways to the nucleus for switching on sets of genes. Janus kinases (JAKs, named after the two-faced Roman god) are a particular
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2.6 End-of-unit questions

Question 1

What is the approximate wavelength range (in metres) of microwaves?

5.3 The redshift of the 3 K radiation

The temperature, T, of the radiation is proportional to the most probable photon energy, E, which as we have said is proportional to f, and hence inversely proportional to the wavelength λ. Thus,

According to Equation 1, we have for the redshift, z


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4.2 Evidence for a big bang

Having interpreted the redshift as indicating a recessional speed proportional to distance, one may extrapolate into the future to predict how the positions of the galaxies will evolve with time. One can also run the sequence backwards, so to speak, to discuss what their positions were in the past. Clearly, at former times the galaxies were closer to each other.

But not only that. Because of the proportional relationship between speed and distance (Equation 6), at a certain time in the
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3.2 Some general properties of galaxies

Firstly, we note that galaxies tend to occur in clusters rather than singly. The mutual gravitational attraction of galaxies naturally tends to hold them on paths that remain close to each other. Typically a cluster contains tens or hundreds of galaxies. There are, however, large clusters with thousands of galaxies, and there are some solitary galaxies. Our own Galaxy is a member of a smallish cluster of about 36 galaxies called the Local Group (see Author(s): The Open University

1 Introducing cosmology

General relativity has a very different conceptual basis from that of Newtonian mechanics. Its success in accounting for the precession of Mercury's orbit, and the bending of light by massive objects like the Sun, gives us confidence that our picture of space and time should be Einstein's rather than Newton's. In this and the following units, we turn our attention to the study of the large-scale structure of spacetime. We see how spacetime as a whole is curved by the gross distribution of mas
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5.1.5 Getting agreement with the Ampère–Maxwell law

Finally, our electric and magnetic fields must satisfy the Ampère–Maxwell law in empty space. Using Equations 7.21 and 7.23, we obtain

which requires that

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4.5 Endocrine disruptors

Then he was a she…

(Lou Reed, American rock singer)

In 1996, a book called Our Stolen Future was published, bringing to public attention a debate that had been simmering among biologists for some time. Written by Theo Colborn and two colleagues at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF), this book presented the hypothesis that certain industrial chemicals, commonly found as environmental pol
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