By Chitwan Khosla, Features Editor
Science is about questions and looking for their answers. If Newton hadn’t wondered and looked for why the apple fell to the Earth instead of going up, we might have never found out about gravity. So, like Newton, this section is a quest to find answers in the field of science, logic, and theories. If you have a question about science that you’d like answered, send it to Chitwan at email@example.com
What is mutation breeding in plants?
Mutation occurs when inheritable changes in organisms perpetuate and alter genetics. This gives way to new traits which are not found in the parent. Mutation breeding improves the quality of the crop by removing the defective traits in them. Mutation breeding is the most viable way to improve the quality of seedless plants, as reported on Academia.edu by Ranjith Pathirana. The agents used to induce the mutation are called mutagens. UV rays, gamma rays and X-rays are common physical mutagens while chemical mutagens like base analogues, alkylating agents, and acridine dyes are also popular. New varieties of crops like wheat-NP 836, Todd’s Mitcham peppermint (high oil content and disease resistant), Aruna castor, and Atomita-2 rice are some which have newly developed with the help of mutation breeding.
What are petroleum plants?
Living in a world constantly being stripped of its resources, the human race needs to find alternatives. Nobel laureate Melvin Calvin suggested that the issue can be tackled by extracting petroleum from certain plants: petroleum plants. These hydrocarbon-producing plants produce large amounts of latex. Latex is made up of long hydrocarbon chains which can be used directly or can be broken down, similar to those hydrocarbon chains present in petrol. Commercial use of these plants is not feasible at present because it is too expensive produce, but there is hope for the future.
What are some sexually transmitted diseases other than AIDS and syphilis?
While AIDS and syphilis are terrifying sexual diseases, there are, unfortunately, a great deal more out there: genital herpes, genital warts, chancroid, gonorrhoea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis, to name a few. None are anything one would like to be better acquainted with, but being aware of the dangers is a good first defence. Genital herpes is caused by the herpes simplex virus (HSV); it is treated by pain relievers, saline compresses, and other oral drugs. Genital warts are another sexual disease caused by a virus called the human papillomavirus (HPV). It increases the risk of vaginal, vulvar, penile, and cervical cancers. Chanroid is caused by Gram-negative streptobacillus Haemophilus ducreyi. Gonorrhoea is caused by the Neisseria gonorrhoeae bacterium. It is dangerous if not treated, causing infertility and arthritis. Chlamydia is caused by an unusual bacterium, Chlamydia trachomatis, that cannot reproduce outside the cells of the host. Painful discharge and urination in males and cervicitis in females are common results. If not treated properly, it can cause sterility in males. In females, it can cause infections in the urethra too. Uterine tubes can be infected as well, which may cause increased risks of ectopic pregnancy thereby, resulting in complications in conceiving. Trichomoniasis is caused by a protozoan called Trichomonas vaginalis which leads to inflammation of the mucous membrane of the vagina in females and the urethra in the males. Men can experience no symptoms yet transfer the disease to females during sexual intercourse.
All of these have different oral and physical treatments and can be avoided by adopting some simple preventive measures. Using condoms prevents many bacteria from transmitting. Other contraceptives help in avoiding pregnancy but not always with these infectious sexual diseases. Once cured, individuals must use condoms (male and female) to avoid any re-occurrences. Symptoms must not be ignored and medical help should be sought immediately. Dental dams and condoms should be used during oral sex to reduce the risks. As many of these diseases do not have early symptoms, it is highly advisable to test regularly for them during the periods of high sexual activity, or when you get a new sexual partner. Proper sexual hygiene is also essential: avoid using any unnecessary chemical creams and gels on genitals as they may increase the risk of infection.