Biology 441, Spring 2014
Sample Examination Questions: NOT yet the complete list; more will be added.For every letter of the alphabet, you should be able to tell what symmetries it has (if it has any),
and draw whatever planes of symmetry it has, or what axes of two fold reflection symmetry, or what combination of symmetry it has.
You ought to be able t do the same for any character that can be typed on the typewriter.
For example * has 6 intersecting planes of reflection symmetry, of two kinds.
And & has no symmetry, but what about %, $ and # ?
You ought to be able to compose a sonnet that contains only words that start with a letter that has a single plane of reflection symmetry. Not really; but notice that rhyme schemes themselves consist of displacement symmetries of pronunciation.
What is Curie's Principle?
You should be sure to know what subdivision of which germ layer each of the following develops from. For example Lens develops from somatic ectoderm, more specifically from a placode.
What symmetries do each of the following have? And for each one, name something else, NOT on the list, that also has that same symmetry or combination of symmetries.
And why do they have this symmetry?
(Don't worry if you haven't had physics, or have forgotten about Wheatstone bridges; but it's no accident they are symmetrical, and I hope you will think about it.)
In general, how are the symmetries of x and y in an equation related to the symmetry of the graph of an equation? Relate this to Weyl's definition of symmetry.
The mathematician Weyl invented the best definition of symmetry, that implies methods or criteria for inventing new kinds of symmetry. Put his definition in your own words. Or in Richard Feynman's words "A thing is symmetrical IF, there is something you can do to it (rotation, reflection, magnification, displacement by a certain distance, etc) After which it looks the same as it did before"
Argue pro or con: Embryonic development depends on many mechanisms that reduce/increase symmetry.
Argue pro or con: Any completely deterministic system keeps whatever symmetry it started with. It can only become less symmetrical by means of some external signal, or by becoming sensitive to random fluctuations, like Brownian movement.
List tissues and organs that develop from each of these three.
Name and describe the process by which the cells of embryos are subdivided into these 3 germ layers.
Contrast this process in embryos of *sea urchins, *frogs & salamanders, *teleost fish, *birds & reptiles, and *mammals. You should be able to make sketches of sequential stages of development in each of these.
Is there any relation between especially large and yolky eggs and the geometry of gastrulation? (Yes) Can you describe the sorts of differences that occur, in embryos with very large amounts of yolk, as compared with those having less yolk.
Is mammal gastrulation more like gastrulation in echinoderm embryos, or frog embryos, or bird embryos?
Neurulation subdivides what into what three subdivisions?
Name these 3 subdivisions; what parts of the body, and what cell types develop from each?
What are primordial germ cells?
What specific cell types develop from them?
What happens if all of an embryo's primordial germ cells are surgically transplanted to another animal?
What is abnormal about the "donor" animal, from which the primordial germ cells are removed?
What will be unusual about offspring of the animal to which the primordial germ cells are transplanted?
From which germ layer do primordial germ cells develop? (Trick question!)
In what sense do embryologists use the word "germ"? Not disease causing micro-organisms!
There must have been a gradual evolutionary transition from embryos with blastopores to embryos with primitive streaks. Suggest what changes in the movements of future mesoderm and endoderm cells would have produced this transition.
Pairs of somites develop along both sides of what mesodermal organ? And also along the sides of what ectodermal organ?
Somite cells all disperse, and later in development you can only see remnants of where they had been: Can you suggest functional or mechanical reasons why the vertebrate body is segmented by transient rather than permanent blocks of cells?
What groups of animals have very regulative development? mammals, echinoderms, amphibia
What groups of animals have very mosaic development?
In what sequence do somites become separated from each other? First on one side, then on the other? First near the front, then one pair after another toward the rear? First at the rear and gradually toward the anterior? First in the middle, and then sequentially toward both ends? Or what?
If you had a drug or treatment that could cause more somites to form on one side of the body than on the other side, then what anatomical abnormalities this would be expected to produce?
Contrast the timing and geometric patterns of early cell divisions in embryos of mammals as compared with embryos of birds, amphibians, and teleost fish.
What is the connection between the blastopore and the archenteron?
What is meant by symmetry "breaking"? Does anything actually have to break? Can something break, in symmetry breaking? What kind of symmetry does a frog egg have before it is fertilized? How much of this symmetry remains after the grey crescent is formed? Does this remaining symmetry remain in the adult frog or salamander? What symmetry does an adult starfish have? What symmetry does a pluteus larva have? What about the symmetry of an unfertilized echinoderm egg? ...Of an unfertilized human egg cell? Turing's "reaction diffusion system" of hypothetical chemical reactions would serve to break what kind of symmetry? Describe & name the kind of symmetry or combination of symmetries of any letter of the alphabet, or other geometric pattern (for example, Z has two-fold rotational symmetry, A has one plane of reflection symmetry, * has six planes of reflection symmetry), and also the symmetries of embryos at different stages of development.
MORE QUESTIONS WILL BE POSTED.
back to syllabus