Biggest Breakthroughs In The Field Of Biology In 2016

The field of biology had a big year in 2016 with several amazing breakthroughs making the news all around the world. Here are two of the biggest advancements biology saw last year.

The origin of multicellular life

When scientists found GK-PID, a molecule almost as old as life on this planet, they knew right away it was special. It was found that this particular molecule was a catalyst for what was to be one of the most important steps in the evolution of life on the planet. Around 800 million years ago, GK-PID was responsible for the transformation of single-celled organisms into multi-cellular organisms. GK-PID acted as a molecular carabiner by pulling chromosomes together before latching them onto the inner wall of a cell membrane. This leads to non-cancerous cell division. However, what scientists find fascinating is the fact that the ancient GK-PID wasn’t always like that. It only became a carabiner because it mutated.

Image source: unicellularorganisms7thblock.weebly.com

Stem cells and stroke patients

One of the most important discoveries last year happened at a clinical trial at Stanford University School of Medicine. Modified human stem cells were injected into the brains of several patients who suffered from chronic stroke. The experiment was a success, with no negative side-effects afflicting the patients. The worst were mild headaches due to the procedure. All the patients (18 in total) had a much more significant rate of healing, which included those confined to wheelchairs to stand up and walk.

Image source: sciencemag.org

Anouk Govil is a biology major at California State University Channel Islands. For more on her, visit this blog.

Colossal Investment Risks And How To Deal With Them

There are a lot of risks when it comes to investment. They can be confusing and intimidating. Some moves may seem conservative, but if increasing interest rates factored in, then it would seem like a bad idea in the first place.

Take for instance the volatility of the stock market. The prices of stocks and bonds can change at a moment’s notice. This is enough to cool the jets of even the most iron-willed investor. However, with a bit of research, this can be handled. How long can the money grow before it’s accessed? Questions like that arising from research can prepare people and help them avoid panicking and making bad decisions.

Image source: cu.edu

Another huge risk is a total loss, which can be easily achieved through being reckless. A total loss can end any plans a person has for the future, even ones made for retirement. A risk management strategy for this is to look into companies that pay dividends with high rates. Budget restructuring and lifestyle changes are also some ways of avoiding a total loss.

Image source: Forbes.com

Inflation is one of the biggest headaches investors encounter since it involves a lot of computation, and it’s a sure thing. Inflation causes people to buy less and fewer things. People should stay clear of bonds when it seems that a high inflation rate is on the horizon.

Anouk Govil is a risk analyst. Learn more about Anouk by subscribing to this Twitter account.

Five Fascinating Facts About Coral Reefs

Image Source: geneticliteracyproject.org
Image Source: geneticliteracyproject.org

Coral reefs occupy only around one percent of the world’s oceans yet play a huge role in the planet’s biodiversity. These structures are composed of the skeletons of marine invertebrate animals. The reefs that most people are familiar with have taken millennia to form. Listed below are five fascinating facts about them.

They are being studied for medicine: It is still unknown how reefs form and develop into their own unique structures. Scientists are only recently finding that some coral reef plants are excellent sources of new medicines. Initial tests have found that some plants help in the treatment of certain conditions such as arthritis and some bacterial infections.

It is one of the most biodiverse marine areas: Reefs are the homes of more than thousands of marine species. Coral reefs are important locations for food, shelter, and act as protective locations for reproduction and even nurseries for large fish species.

It has economic value: Several studies concluded that the destruction of a single kilometer of coral reefs means an economic loss of around $137,000 to $1.2 million over a 25-year period. Coral reefs play a crucial role to the fishing and tourism industries. This is why many government and local groups fight for the preservation of coral reefs.

Image Source: inhabitat.com
Image Source: inhabitat.com

There is a symbiotic relationship: The reefs survive by forming a symbiotic relationship with microscopic algae that lines the structure. These bacteria provide most of the structure’s energy.

Corals are animals: Many people think that corals are plants, but they are more closely related to jellyfish and anemones.

Coral reefs are one of the more wonderful natural structures in our planet. It is important that people understand this and take better care of them.

Anouk Govil is majoring in Biology and is extremely passionate about marine biodiversity. Learn more when you follow this Twitter account.