4.1 Introduction to minerals and why we need them

Both vitamins and minerals are essential in the diet in small quantities and so they are often grouped together as micronutrients.

Activity 24

Which items in the diet are classified as macronutrients?

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3.6.2 Riboflavin (vitamin B2)

Riboflavin or vitamin B2, which was originally known as vitamin G, is found in a wide variety of foods, including milk and dairy products. It is more stable to heat than some of the other B vitamins, but is destroyed by exposure to sunlight. Milk in a glass bottle exposed to sun, loses 10% of its riboflavin per hour. Riboflavin plays a crucial role in the metabolism of carbohydrates and proteins and is involved in many other metabolic reactions in the body.

Although riboflavi
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4 From DNA to RNA: transcription

In the process of transcription, the information in a gene, i.e. the DNA base sequence, is copied, or transcribed, to form an RNA molecule. RNA is therefore an intermediary in the flow of information from DNA to protein. Before we consider the details of transcription, we will first look at the structure of RNA.

The name ribonucleic acid suggests that RNA is chemically related to DNA. Like DNA, RNA is a chain of nucleotides.

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1 Using information stored in DNA

One important property of DNA is that it carries genetic information in the simple coding language of just four bases. These bases, which can be arranged in a huge variety of sequences, represent a vast potential store of information. In this unit, we consider how this information is used by the cell. The key structural feature of complementary base pairs, which plays an important role in both stability and replication, is also the basis for how DNA functions as genetic material.

How do
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1.1.5 Late-onset single-gene disorders

An individual might know that a late-onset disease such as Huntington's disease (HD) is present in their immediate family and that they might have inherited the disease gene(s). The problems of genetic testing for HD revolve around the fact that it is pre-symptomatic.

One dilemma is the long delay between testing positive and developing the clinical symptoms of the disorder in middle age. Is it better not to know and live in hope, or as one victim cried ‘get it over, I'm so tir
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should understand:

  • something of the role of a genetic counsellor and its non-directiveness

  • the difference between pre-natal diagnosis, childhood testing and adult testing and give some examples of diseases that may be tested for

  • the ethical and moral difficulties involved in making decisions on whether or not to carry out such tests


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Acknowledgements

The content acknowledged below is Proprietary (see terms and conditions) and is used under licence. This content is made available under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Licence

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


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5 Summary

Section 1 Superconductivity was discovered in 1911, and in the century since then there have been many developments in knowledge of the properties of superconductors and the materials that become superconducting, in the theoretical understanding of superconductivity, and in the applications of superconductors.

Section 2 A superconductor has zero resistance to flow of electric current, and can sustain a current indefinitely. The magnetic flux remains constant in a completel
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1.9 Summary and conclusion: ‘take-away messages’

It helps to understand the PhD in context: the modern PhD is typically a three-year research training providing evidence of the ability to conduct and bring to fruition an independent programme of research. It requires rigour and an ability to enter the discourse, but its scope is limited and it does not require perfection. Models of study and models of dissertations vary for different universities, disciplines, and topics. The key is to understand what is appropriate for your particular prog
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2.6 Summary

Ecology is the study of the interactions between organisms and their environment (including other organisms). An understanding of ecology is important to inform environmental decision-making.

Soil pH influences the availability of mineral nutrients to plants and hence the distribution of different plant species. Some species may be classified as either calcicoles or calcifuges.

Variation in salinity, exposure to desiccation and biotic interactions (e.g. grazing) influence the zona
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1.11 Summary

Rocks are classified into three types according to how they were formed. Igneous rocks are formed by crystallisation from the molten state; sedimentary rocks are deposited at the Earth's surface from water, air or ice; and metamorphic rocks are rocks of any origin that have been subsequently transformed (metamorphosed) by heat and/or pressure, often several kilometres below the Earth's surface.

Rocks are generally either crystalline, i.e. formed of interlocking mineral crystals, or frag
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1.10 Changing sea-level

Sedimentary rocks reveal how environmental conditions in Britain's geological past were extremely different from those of the present day (in fact ‘Britain’, like the rest of the Earth's geography is transitory when viewed in terms of the very long span of geological time). As well as evidence from sedimentary rocks, recent landforms also indicate that in the more recent geological past (within the Quaternary Period), sea-level was not the same as it is at present.

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1.7 Interlude

Now that we have covered the features found in igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, and seen how these features can be explained by the processes that formed the rocks, here is a useful point at which to have a break before continuing with the next section. Before returning, you might like to see for yourself what types of rock you can find in your area. Can you identify their texture, or spot any fossils? Surfaces that haven't been obscured by grime or lichens are by far the best, as
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1.5.3 Sedimentary strata

We've seen that the detective work of piecing together a part of Earth's history from sedimentary rocks involves detailed investigation of rock samples, but this can give only a partial picture. On the larger scale of a rock exposure, there can be plenty for us to see and to interpret. Sedimentary rocks are usually found as layers referred to as strata (Author(s): The Open University

1.3 Minerals and rocks

To begin with, it is necessary to explain the meanings of the two terms ‘minerals’ and ‘rocks’.


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2.1.3 Reflective diffraction gratings

Although the above description of diffraction has been in terms of light passing through a series of slits in a (transmission) diffraction grating, the type of grating which is currently most common in astronomy is a reflective diffraction grating or reflection grating. This again exploits the wave properties of light, in this case by making adjacent sections of a wavefront travel extra distances as it is reflected off a non-uniform surface. The non-uniform surface is actually a
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1.5.1 Light-gathering power

One of the key benefits of using a telescope is that it enables fainter objects to be detected than with the naked eye alone. The light-gathering power of a simple telescope used with an eyepiece is defined as

where Do is the diameter of the objec
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1.1 A milestone in the advancement of astronomy

Unaided human eyes, well as they may serve the needs of everyday life, are not very suitable for detailed astronomical observation. First, the eye has a limited sensitivity. A distant source of light, such as a star, will not be seen at all unless the intensity of light from it reaching your eye is above the sensitivity threshold of the retina. Second, the ability of the eye to distinguish fine detail is limited by the finite physical size of the detectors on the retina and by the small apert
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1.5.3 Summary of Section 1.5

  1. Some annual plants and insects can spend the winter at juvenile stages, such as seed, egg, larva or pupa. Butterflies in Britain display a variety of juvenile overwintering strategies.

  2. Migration often results in high mortality, but completion of the journey results in higher breeding success, due to increased availability of food and fewer competitors.

  3. Birds increase their body mass, sometimes by up to 50%, prior to migration. T
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1.5.1 Juvenile survival

For organisms that are able to complete their life cycles within a year there is the possibility of spending the winter in various juvenile stages. We have already considered annual plants, the adults of which may die before the onset of winter, with seed not germinating until the spring. Surviving the winter as seeds has the advantages that the seeds are robust, and because they have a low water content they are less affected by freezing temperatures. Disadvantages of this strategy include t
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