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Interesting Facts - Biology

Babies in the womb all grow a mustache before the hair eventually goes on to cover the rest of the body.

One gram of DNA can hold 700 terabytes of data!

You don’t need to be a scientist to know that DNA is important. But prior to the discovery that deoxyribonucleic acid was the primary conveyor of genetic information between cells, not everyone was convinced. The biologist Max Delbruck once called it a “stupid molecule.”

You may be disgusted to learn that whenever another person farts near you, and you smell it, you have actually inhaled gasses from their digestive tract. These gases — nitrogen, oxygen, methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide — have passed out of their rectum and into your nose. Volatile methyl sulfides are primarily responsible for the odor, with hydrogen sulfide gas and methanethiol being lesser contributors.

Gas may not be the only thing you inhale, depending on the circumstances. A nurse who was wondering if her farts in the operating room were contaminating the environment asked a microbiologist to study the flatulent issue. In the name of science, the microbiologist (probably quite awkwardly) asked a colleague to take his pants off and direct a fart toward two petri dish from a distance of five centimeters. He had the experiment repeated, this time time with his pants on.

The petri dish that had been tagged with the nude fart (poor petri dish) grew bacteria overnight, and a closer investigation revealed some of these bacteria are typically found in the lower digestive tract. The stinky conclusion: if someone drops their pants and lets one rip close to you, you could actually inhale bacteria droplets of airborne poop.

In a single human cell there are between 10,000 and 100,000 coded messages known as genes. If all the directions contained in all these genes were written down, the words would fill the equivalent of 10,000 volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Scientists at the Institute for Cancer Research in Philadelphia have bred mice that have more than one set of parents. Known as "multimice," these creatures are spawned by taking two embryos created by two sets of parent mice, placing them together in such a way that the embryos grow together, then transplanting the entire organism into the womb of a third female mouse. The result is a baby mouse born with genetic characterisitics of both set of parents.

During experiments conducted in 1962 at the University of Michigan, scientists successfully extracted memory from one animal and transferred it to another. The experiment was conducted in the following manner. Over a period of time planarian worms were trained to behave in a particular way when exposed to light. These worms were then cut into pieces and fed to untrained planarians, and the untrained worms were put through the same learning paces as their predecessors. The second batch of worms, those that had dined on the first, learned many times faster than the originals, indicating that knowledge had somehow been transferred through body tissue. Similar experiments were later conducted at Baylor University: mice were trained to run through a maze, and an extract was then made of their brains. This extract was fed to untrained mice, which then learned the same maze twice as fast as their predecessors. If placed in a different maze, the untrained mice showed no particular aptitude for learning the layout. The implication of these experiments is that memory can be transferred from one being to another somatically as well as experientially.

10 percent of all human beings ever born are alive at this very moment.

Three-quarters of 70-year-old men are still able to impregnate a woman. Nearly a third of women over 80 still have intercourse with their partners.

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