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2.2 Vitamin A

Activity 4

Look back at Table 1 and identify the foods that contain vitamin A. On the basis of this information, try to predict where vitamin A is stored in the human body.

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1.1 Introduction to vitamins and why we need them

Before the 19th century, one of the hazards of long sea voyages was a condition called scurvy, whose symptoms were loss of hair and teeth, bleeding gums, very slow healing of wounds, and eventually death. Hundreds of sailors and explorers died from scurvy until a Scottish physician, James Lind, in the 1750s discovered that adding a daily portion of citrus fruit to the rations of those at sea could prevent the condition, whereas adding cider, vinegar or various other substances that he tested,
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1.8 Enter aspirin!

Aspirin is able to release part of its ester group (Figure 15) in a hydrolysis reaction. Look again at the structure of aspirin, 2.8, and identify this group on the molecule. It is known as an acetyl group and accounts for aspirin also being called acetylsalicylic acid. The acetyl group on aspirin is fairly easily removed and can be available for forming another ester with an —OH group on another molecule; in this case, part of the structure that makes up the inside of the cavi
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1.2 How does it hurt?

This is a useful question because once we know the mechanism of pain sensation we can do something about alleviating it.

When tissue is injured there follows a rapid release of ‘messenger’ chemicals that stimulate the nerve endings. Electrical impulses are relayed through the nerves to the spinal column and to the brain, which registers the sensation of pain. It usually, but not always, also directs our attention to the site where the damaged tissue initiated the pain message.


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Introduction

In this unit you will find out that the sensation of pain is caused by the release of a chemical called prostaglandin that stimulates the nerve endings and sends an electrical message to the brain. Inhibiting the formation of prostaglandin reduces pain and we will see, by looking at the specific shape of the molecules involved, how aspirin can so inhibit the formation of prostaglandin. To make the most of the material of this unit you will need to use an organic molecular modelling kit such a
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1.2.3 The transmission of genetic material

The full complement of 46 chromosomes in the human genome, the diploid number, is restored at fertilization. As Figure 3.1 shows, all the somatic cells and cells in the testes and ovaries arise from the same fertilized egg by the process of mitosis; the cells all contain copies of the same genetic material (with some exceptions).

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1.1.1 Inheritance of characters

Imagine you have found some old family photograph albums which span many generations. What are the distinctive family features, or characters, that demonstrate the relatedness of individuals? In other words, what characters do they have in common? For example, they might have brown eyes, a white forelock in their hair, ears that are closely attached to the head, that is, without lobes. But you will also notice the striking differences between related individuals. For example, they may differ
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit you should understand:

  • that genes are the units of inheritance for individual characteristics and also may contribute to susceptibility to certain diseases;

  • the number of chromosomes that make up the human genome and where they are located within the cell;

  • something of the immense scale of the human genome project;

  • how gametes are produced by the process of meiosis and how the full complement of 46 chromosomes
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1.7.1 Research methods in context

Any established discipline has a tradition of practice. Many disciplines have established methodologies which prescribe the selection, combination and sequencing of the methods and techniques to be employed. Others select methods and techniques less prescriptively and borrow more broadly across domain boundaries. All disciplines require an appropriate application of methods, in order to ensure rigour. Hence, one key skill is the demonstration of an appropriate knowledge and competence
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Introduction

The material presented in this unit is taken from SD805 ‘Issues in Brain and Behaviour’ – a 60-point postgraduate course within the Frontiers in Medical Science strand of The Open University's M.Sc in Science Programme. SD805 consists of two topics that are of immense worldwide social, economic, ethical, and political importance – ‘Addiction’ and ‘Author(s): The Open University

2.1.2 Diffraction and interference of light

When light, or indeed any type of wave, passes through a narrow aperture, it will spread out on the other side. This is the phenomenon of diffraction. For example Figure 17 shows the diffraction of water waves in a device called a ripple tank. The extent to which waves are diffracted depends on the size of the aperture rel
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1.2.1 The molecular level

It is common knowledge that the freezing point of pure water is 0°C. Often, however, the temperature of water can fall below 0°C without it freezing, for two reasons:

  1. Any solvent containing a dissolved substance has a lower freezing point than when pure, which is why the sea freezes at a lower temperature than clean freshwater.

  2. The occurrence of supercooling, the phenomenon by which a fluid remains liquid at a temperature below
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Introduction

In this unit, we study one aspect of the fluctuating nature of an organism's environment. We consider how organisms living in a temperate climate, such as that in Britain, are adapted to cope with winter. You will see that there is much diversity of adaptations among organisms, with different species coping with the demands of a fluctuating environment in quite different ways. As cyclic variations are a widespread feature of environments, the range of adaptations to them is an important sourc
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3.2 Number of progeny

Female guppies begin to breed as soon as they become mature at about three months old; they then produce clutches of eggs, most of which become fertilized, at roughly one-month intervals until they die or become too old. Clutches vary in size from one to 40 eggs; the average clutch contains about 10 eggs. Thus, female guppies produce a large number of offspring during their lives, far more than can survive to maturity.

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1 Charles Darwin

Charles Darwin (1809–1882) briefly studied medicine in Edinburgh before going to Cambridge intending to become an Anglican clergyman. Soon after the voyage of the Beagle (1831–1836), during which he was gentleman companion to Captain FitzRoy, Darwin became convinced that biological evolution had occurred and saw how it could have been brought about by natural selection. Despite having gathered massive amounts of supporting evidence, Darwin refrained from publishing his revol
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1.3.2 Search Engines and Subject Gateways

Although both search engines and subject gateways will help you find the resources that you need, the types of information that you find will differ.

Search engines such as Google and Yahoo! search the internet for keywords or phrases, and then show you the results. These results are not mediated by the search engines, and therefore you need to use your own judgement on the reliability of the results. You may, for example, find websites written by experts, alongside websites written by
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1.3.1 Introduction

You can find a lot of information about science and nature on the internet.

To find this information you might choose to use:

  • search engines and subject gateways;

  • books and electronic books;

  • databases;

  • journals;

  • encyclopedias.

  • news sources

  • internet resources


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3.1.1 (A) Science and certainty

Pupils should appreciate why much scientific knowledge, particularly that taught in school science, is well established and beyond reasonable doubt, and why other scientific knowledge is more open to legitimate doubt. It should also be explained that current scientific knowledge is the best that we have but may be subject to change in the future, given new evidence or new interpretation of old evidence.


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1 Unit overview

In this unit we'll be concerned with what type of science forms the basis of science education, and for what purpose. You'll explore these issues by reading the text that follows and by tackling the activities that are included; there are also a number of readings. In the latter part of this unit (Sections 10–14) we'll consider some of the practical problems involved in delivering an effective curriculum in science and look at key questions relevant to all three educational tiers –
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Learning outcomes

After studying this unit, you should be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of problems associated with defining the Nature of Science;

  • write in an informed way about the purposes of compulsory science education;

  • be aware of the educational complications and implications associated with the phrase ‘the public understanding of science’;

  • show an ability to comment critically on curriculum proposals that aim to promote science citi
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