Login

Join for Free!
118822 members


Life

Discussion of all aspects of biological molecules, biochemical processes and laboratory procedures in the field.

Moderator: BioTeam

Life

Postby josalsam » Wed Aug 25, 2010 5:40 pm

Hi, I am a 65 year old retired engineer, average education, non university living in the UK.
I do not have a religion and do not believe in a god. I do believe in evolution.
If this is not the right forum for this Topic, perhaps it could be re directed.
Could any one explain to me in Laymans Terms how life in a foetus begins. I understand a bunch of cells get together to form the foetus, but what changes the foetus from a bunch of cells to something that has life. When does life begin? Is it that the foetus inherits life and has it at conception, I have no idea. Hope someone can satisfy my curiosity.
josalsam
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Aug 25, 2010 4:16 pm

Postby JackBean » Thu Aug 26, 2010 6:55 am

well, the life does not start. It's there for several bilions of years since it originated, because even the singular cell is alive (see unicellular organisms). So, the egg is still alive and stays alive while dividing. If it wasn't alive, it would not grow ;)
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5689
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Postby sorin » Sat Aug 28, 2010 10:04 am

that's the point. Life, as it is defined by modern biology, likely developed only once some 3-4 billion years ago. Thereafter, living cells did only arise from other living cells. But what distinguishes us from a bacterium, which is also a living organism but consists only of one single cell is that our genome. It possesses the all the information to built up a bunch of differentiated cells, making different tissues and organs. And that is what happens in a developing fetus. It's the usage of different genes at different stages of development, giving each cell subset a defined identity, ultimately together bulding up a mature human being, which will be viable on its own.
Nice to see that someone from a different background is interested in things like this. I think this is it what makes biology so fascinating, the ability of a single cell to perform complex processes and of a whole lot of differentiated cells to act together building up organisms.
sorin
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 18
Joined: Thu May 13, 2010 12:01 pm


Re: Life

Postby jevg » Mon Aug 30, 2010 6:47 pm

Hi josalsam

How life began is not a question science has been able to answer. There are different ideas on how it may have originated, in scientific terms these are referred to as hypotheses. However all that can be scientifically stated is that life exists and new life always comes from a pre-existing life. This if you like is the scientific fact of life. :) There is no evidence that a new life originates from any other source.

Now in human terms a new living organism begins when a male sperm and a female egg interact. What we commonly refer to as conception. The biological information in the sperm joins up with the biological information in the female egg setting off an incredibly complex process. This egg cell begins to divide and multiply in a very controlled way that eventually results in the development and birth of a new child.

During this process of division different types of cells emerge that form the different organs and tissues in the growing foetus.( i.e.a skin cell is different from a kidney cell) In humans there are some 200 or so different cell types, all having originated from that initial division.

Clearly some kind of a blueprint or body plan controls this whole process. Where this blueprint resides or how it originated is unknown to science.

We do know that a lot of the information that is needed is contained in the genome of the cell. This genome resides in the nucleus of each cell. It is clear that other information exists outside the nucleus of the cell.

It is also clear that some form of communication exists between cells. This becomes self evident when we think of the development process. Not only do different cell types have to be created but also each type of cell has to find it’s way to different parts of the growing foetus as the build takes place.

Then there is also the question of timing of all of this activity. Different things happen at different stages in the growing foetus.

The study of this process is the subject of a particular branch in biology known as developmental biology.

Whether you have a religion or not is a matter of belief. If the evidence from science supports a particular belief then that belief becomes a fact and therefore no longer a belief. :)

Hope this gets you started.
jevg
Death Adder
Death Adder
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: South Wales United Kingdom

Re: Life

Postby JackBean » Tue Aug 31, 2010 6:22 am

jevg wrote:It is clear that other information exists outside the nucleus of the cell.


Really? Which one?
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5689
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: Life

Postby jevg » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:01 am

Mitochondria have their own genome and reside outside the nucleus.

In plants Chloroplasts too have their own genome
jevg
Death Adder
Death Adder
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: South Wales United Kingdom

Postby JackBean » Tue Aug 31, 2010 3:17 pm

OK, it sounded like something outside of the cell...
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5689
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Postby kolean » Tue Aug 31, 2010 7:01 pm

Are there developmental genes encoded in the mitocondrial DNA? I was under the impression that only metabolic genes (housekeeping genes) were on the mito DNA?
kolean
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 345
Joined: Thu Jun 25, 2009 3:15 am

Re: Life

Postby jevg » Tue Aug 31, 2010 11:15 pm

I am not too familiar with mtDNA but as I understand matters it does play a role in development as well.
jevg
Death Adder
Death Adder
 
Posts: 50
Joined: Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:51 pm
Location: South Wales United Kingdom

Postby david23 » Thu Sep 09, 2010 4:53 am

Since mr. josalsam has mentioned religion in his question with "life" I presume he is talking about how cells go from clumps of machines to the point of obtaining consciousness, rather than the definition of "life" for just one cell, is that right mr. josalsam.

Since you are an engineer I hope you can appreciate the fact of information processing, receiving and distribution leading a sequence of binaries involving organization and management from center point to the periphery. Thats technically a very superficial idea of how consciousness began.
david23
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 430
Joined: Thu May 03, 2007 8:15 am

Re: Life

Postby maverick123 » Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:44 am

Biotechnology is not limited to medical/health applications (unlike Biomedical Engineering, which includes much biotechnology). Although not normally thought of as biotechnology, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the production of food and goods through farming. Agriculture was the key development that led to the rise of human civilization, with the husbandry of domesticated animals and plants creating food surpluses that enabled the development of more densely populated and stratified...

clearly fits the broad definition of "using a biotechnological system to make products
maverick123
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Sep 16, 2010 8:40 am

Postby JackBean » Tue Sep 21, 2010 1:17 pm

what does that have to do with the question? :roll:
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5689
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Next

Return to Molecular Biology

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest