zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog calcium bones

“GFP” and Calcium

Calcium is an abundant and important element

“GFP”? No, it does not mean ‘Guns for Peace’ or ‘Golden Flower Pot’. It stands for Green Fluorescent Protein, a substance for the discovery of which the three scientists O. Shimomura, R.Tsien and M. Chalfie were awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2008. The GFP is inextricably connected with indicating the presence of calcium ions and calcium is one of the most important elements with multiple functions in our body ad that of animals. —>

zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog moving in water Florian Nock

Moving in water : Screwing up (and down of course)

And spiralling around as well

A look at the diminutive, fantastically diverse life forms and their activity in a single drop of water can be a truly amazing experience – provided of course you have not chosen tap or rainwater. A drop of water from the edge of a weedy pond (or a puddle near a penguin rookery, which was my source for a study) examined under a simple light microscope does, however, reveal a microcosm of hidden life. In amongst the jittering soup of miniature plants and animals, it is the group of ciliated protozoans that are the greatest attention getters. The smallest may not even reach 50 microns, while Paramaecium and Euplotes maximally attain 1 mm and the biggest like Spirostomum may reach a length of 3-4 mm.


The Third Eye Comes First

But where is the third eye and what does it do?

My colleague swears by melatonin for alleviating jet lag and recommended I take a dose before departing on a flight across several time zones. The French 17th century philosopher and mathematician Rene Descartes was convinced he had at last found it: the soul. Hindi and Jain women wear a “bindi” (a small red spot on the forehead between their eyes) as a “third eye” to fend off evil (and to look pretty). What do these three statements have to do with each other? Well, we shall see. The organ Descartes regarded as the soul was the “pineal”, also called “epiphysis” – a tiny appendage on the upper side of the brain, located between fore- and midbrain. Though we no longer believe it is the seat of the soul, we still don’t have all the answers regarding its function. In humans and other mammals this small glandular structure appears to be involved in suppressing the maturation of the sex organs, for a pineal tumour or the surgical removal of the structure can result in precocious puberty. —>