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Photosynthesis

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Photosynthesis

Postby colarris » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:47 pm

Ive just read a basic outline of how plants gain their energy through the sun and was slightly baffled by the complexity of it all but what sprung to mind was this. With all this going on inside a living organism on a minuscule level how on earth was this process monitored and analyzed?
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Postby MrMistery » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:25 am

Through thousands and thousands of hours of lab work by thousands and thousands of different labs. The key point to remember is that each lab was looking only at a particular step of the process, and as the process became better and better understood everyone starting analyzing less things in more detail. From all that work comes our current understanding of this masterpiece of nature which is the biochemical process of photosynthesis.
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Postby jyaron » Wed Aug 12, 2009 12:50 am

Scientific research, particularly in the life sciences often consists of taking a known concept or idea, and then dividing it into smaller components and understanding those. Then, once those are well understood, divide those and understand the components that make up those. And so on..
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Postby colarris » Wed Aug 12, 2009 7:49 am

Many thanks for the replies.
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Re: Photosynthesis

Postby colarris » Wed Aug 12, 2009 2:28 pm

Generally though, how is cell activity monitored?
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Postby MrMistery » Wed Aug 12, 2009 6:24 pm

well, what do you mean by "cell activity"? There are specific procedures for looking at specific molecules, organelles or pathways.
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Postby colarris » Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:39 pm

Actually I guess I mean how can you monitor things that are such a small scale?
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Postby MrMistery » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:23 pm

well you can monitor concentrations of different chemicals by spectrophotometric assays. you can monitor organelles by fluorescence microscopy etc.
What exactly are you talking about? Your questions are so general that it is impossible to answer them.
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Postby colarris » Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:47 pm

Sorry, Im just been reading a biology book for beginners so yes I am probably a little confused by it all. I was just baffled as to how we humans are able to study things like these and what tools / equipment were used.

BTW Whats the medal you have in your pic??
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Postby biohazard » Thu Aug 13, 2009 10:42 am

If you are talking about certain cellular processes or pathways, one common mechanism is to inhibit or knock out certain stage of the pathway and see what happens. Eliminate some receptor with an antibody or make a knock-out organism that lacks a gene for, say, some enzyme, and see what process gets modified/prevented, and then study the mechanism and function further.

Also, cytoplasmic or secreted compounds can be analysed, their structure, concentration, time point of expression and so forth.

Furthermore, nowadays genetic or genomic expression profiles are becoming very popular (i.e. gene chip analyses), where the expression of many linked genes can be detected and analysed.

So, tools that are commonly used, in addition to what MrMistery said, include many of the standard methods of cellular and molecular biology, including PCR, different blottings, monocolonal antibody staining/blocking, knock-out and/or transgenic organisms (cells, bacteria, plants, animals, fungi), gene chips, microscopy (electron, confocal, standard bright field) et cetera.
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Postby colarris » Thu Aug 13, 2009 11:44 am

Appreciate the information, thanks
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