Open Science Research Excellence

Open Science Index

Commenced in January 2007 Frequency: Monthly Edition: International Paper Count: 19

Gender Differences in Biology Academic Performances among Foundation Students of PERMATApintar® National Gifted Center

PERMATApintar® National Gifted Center is, to the author’s best of knowledge, the first center in Malaysia that provides a platform for Malaysian talented students with high ability in thinking. This center has built a teaching and learning biology curriculum that suits the ability of these gifted students. The level of PERMATApintar® biology curriculum is basically higher than the national biology curriculum. Here, the foundation students are exposed to the PERMATApintar® biology curriculum at the age of as early as 11 years old. This center practices a 4-time-a-year examination system to monitor the academic performances of the students. Generally, most of the time, male students show no or low interest towards biology subject compared to female students. This study is to investigate the association of students’ gender and their academic performances in biology examination. A total of 39 students’ scores in twelve sets of biology examinations in 3 years have been collected and analyzed by using the statistical analysis. Based on the analysis, there are no significant differences between male and female students against the biology academic performances with a significant level of p = 0.05. This indicates that gender is not associated with the scores of biology examinations among the students. Another result showed that the average score for male studenta was higher than the female students. Future research can be done by comparing the biology academic achievement in Malaysian National Examination (Sijil Pelajaran Malaysia, SPM) between the Foundation 3 students (Grade 9) and Level 2 students (Grade 11) with similar PERMATApintar® biology curriculum.

Study Habits and Level of Difficulty Encountered by Maltese Students Studying Biology Advanced Level Topics

This research was performed to investigate the study habits and level of difficulty perceived by post-secondary students in Biology at Advanced-level topics after completing their first year of study. At the end of a two-year ‘sixth form’ course, Maltese students sit for the Matriculation and Secondary Education Certificate (MATSEC) Advanced-level biology exam as a requirement to pursue science-related studies at the University of Malta. The sample was composed of 23 students (16 taking Chemistry and seven taking some ‘Other’ subject at the Advanced Level). The cohort comprised seven males and 16 females. A questionnaire constructed by the authors, was answered anonymously during the last lecture at the end of the first year of study, in May 2016. The Chi square test revealed that gender plays no effect on the various study habits (c2 (6) = 5.873, p = 0.438). ‘Reading both notes and textbooks’ was the most common method adopted by males (71.4%), whereas ‘Writing notes on each topic’ was that mostly used by females (81.3%). The Mann-Whitney U test showed no significant difference in the study habits of students and the mean assessment mark obtained at the end of the first year course (p = 0.231). Statistical difference was found with the One-ANOVA test when comparing the mean assessment mark obtained at the end of the first year course when students are clustered by their Secondary Education Certificate (SEC) grade (p < 0.001). Those obtaining a SEC grade of 2 and 3 got the highest mean assessment of 68.33% and 66.9%, respectively [SEC grading is 1-7, where 1 is the highest]. The Friedman test was used to compare the mean difficulty rating scores provided for the difficulty of each topic. The mean difficulty rating score ranges from 1 to 4, where the larger the mean rating score, the higher the difficulty. When considering the whole group of students, nine topics out of 21 were perceived as significantly more difficult than the other topics. Protein synthesis, DNA Replication and Biomolecules were the most difficult, in that order. The Mann-Whitney U test revealed that the perceived level of difficulty in comprehending Biomolecules is significantly lower for students taking Chemistry compared to those not choosing the subject (p = 0.018). Protein Synthesis was claimed as the most difficult by Chemistry students and Biomolecules by those not studying Chemistry. DNA Replication was the second most difficult topic perceived by both groups. The Mann-Whitney U test was used to examine the effect of gender on the perceived level of difficulty in comprehending various topics. It was found that females have significantly more difficulty in comprehending Biomolecules than males (p=0.039). Protein synthesis was perceived as the most difficult topic by males (mean difficulty rating score = 3.14), while Biomolecules, DNA Replication and Protein synthesis were of equal difficulty for females (mean difficulty rating score = 3.00). Males and females perceived DNA Replication as equally difficult (mean difficulty rating score = 3.00). Discovering the students’ study habits and perceived level of difficulty of specific topics is vital for the lecturer to offer guidance that leads to higher academic achievement.

Implementation of an Undergraduate Integrated Biology and Chemistry Course

An integrated biology and chemistry (iBC) course for freshmen college students was developed in University of Delaware. This course will prepare students to (1) become interdisciplinary thinkers in the field of biology and (2) collaboratively work with others from multiple disciplines in the future. This paper documents and describes the implementation of the course. The information gathered from reading literature, classroom observations, and interviews were used to carry out the purpose of this paper. The major goal of the iBC course is to align the concepts between Biology and Chemistry, so that students can draw science concepts from both disciplines which they can apply in their interdisciplinary researches. This course is offered every fall and spring semesters of each school year. Students enrolled in Biology are also enrolled in Chemistry during the same semester. The iBC is composed of lectures, laboratories, studio sessions, and workshops and is taught by the faculty from the biology and chemistry departments. In addition, the preceptors, graduate teaching assistants, and studio fellows facilitate the laboratory and studio sessions. These roles are interdependent with each other. The iBC can be used as a model for higher education institutions who wish to implement an integrated biology course.

Synchrony between Genetic Repressilators in Sister Cells in Different Temperatures
We used live E. coli containing synthetic genetic oscillators to study how the degree of synchrony between the genetic circuits of sister cells changes with temperature. We found that both the mean and the variability of the degree of synchrony between the fluorescence signals from sister cells are affected by temperature. Also, while most pairs of sister cells were found to be highly synchronous in each condition, the number of asynchronous pairs increased with increasing temperature, which was found to be due to disruptions in the oscillations. Finally we provide evidence that these disruptions tend to affect multiple generations as opposed to individual cells. These findings provide insight in how to design more robust synthetic circuits and in how cell division can affect their dynamics.
Breeding Biology and Induced Breeding Status of Freshwater Mud Eel, Monopterus cuchia
In this study, breeding biology and induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was observed during the experimental period from February to June, 2013. Breeding biology of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was considered in terms of gonadosomatic index, length-weight relationship of gonad, ova diameter and fecundity. The ova diameter was recorded from 0.3 mm to 4.30 mm and the individual fecundity was recorded from 155 to 1495 while relative fecundity was found from 2.64 to 12.45. The fecundity related to body weight and length of fish was also discussed. A peak of GSI was observed 2.14±0.2 in male and 5.1 ±1.09 in female. Induced breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was also practiced with different doses of different inducing agents like pituitary gland (PG), human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG), Gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and Ovuline-a synthetic hormone in different environmental conditions. However, it was observed that the artificial breeding of freshwater mud eel, Monopterus cuchia was not yet succeeded through inducing agents in captive conditions, rather the inducing agent showed negative impacts on fecundity and ovarian tissues. It was seen that mature eggs in the oviduct were reduced, absorbed and some eggs were found in spoiled condition.
Estimation of Fecundity and Gonadosomatic Index of Terapon jarbua from Pondicherry Coast, India

In the present study fecundity of Terapon jarbua was estimated for 41 matured females from the Bay of Bengal, Pondicherry. The fecundity (F) was found to range from 13,475 to 115,920 in fishes between 173-278mm Total length (TL) and 65- 298 gm weight respectively. The co-efficient of correlation for F/TL (log F = - 4.821 + 4.146 log TL), F/SL (log F = -3.936 + 3.867 log SL), F/WF (log F = 1.229 + 0.730 log TW) and F/GW (log F = 0.724 + 1.113 log GW) were obtained as 0.474, 0.537, 0.641 and 0.908 respectively. The regression line for the TL, SL, WF and GW of the fishes were found to be linear when they were plotted against their fecundity on logarithmic scales. Highly significant (P<0.01) relationship was obtained for all the variables. Hence Total Length, Standard Length, Weight of Fish and Gonad Weight were found to be the best indicators of the fecundity of Terapon jarbua. Gonadosomatic indices of Terapon jarbua showed that the spawning took place in February to July. The overall sex ratio of male to female is 1.28:1 with chi-square value 5.719, significant at 5% level.

Physicochemical and Microbiological Assessment of Source and Stored Domestic Water from Three Local Governments in Ile-Ife, Nigeria

Some of the main problems man contends with are the quantity (source and amount) and quality of water in Nigeria. Scarcity leads to water being obtained from various sources and microbiological contamination of the water may thus occur between the collection point and the point of usage. This study thus aims to assess the general and microbiological quality of domestic water sources and household stored water used within selected areas in Ile-Ife, South-Western part of Nigeria for microbial contaminants.             Physicochemical and microbiological examination were carried out on 45 source and stored water samples collected from well and spring in three different local government areas i.e. Ife east, Ife-south and Ife-north. Physicochemical analysis included pH value, temperature, total dissolved solid, dissolved oxygen and biochemical oxygen demand. Microbiology involved most probable number analysis, total coliform, heterotrophic plate, faecal coliform and streptococcus count.

The result of the physicochemical analysis of samples showed anomalies compared to acceptable standards with the pH value of 7.20-8.60 for stored and 6.50-7.80 for source samples. The total dissolved solids (TDS of stored 20-70mg/L, source 352-691mg/L), dissolved oxygen (DO of stored 1.60-9.60mg/L, source 1.60-4.80mg/L), biochemical oxygen demand (BOD stored 0.80-3.60mg/L, source 0.60-5.40mg/L). General microbiological quality indicated that both stored and source samples with the exception of a sample were not within acceptable range as indicated by analysis of the MPN/100ml which ranges between (stored 290-1100mg/L, source 9-1100mg/L). Apart from high counts, most samples did not meet the World Health Organization standard for drinking water with the presence of some pathogenic bacteria and fungi such as Salmonella and Aspergillus spp. To annul these constraints, standard treatment methods should be adopted to make water free from contaminants. This will help identify common and likely water related infection origin within the communities and thus help guide in terms of interventions required to prevent the general populace from such infections.

The Effects of Four Organic Cropping Sequences on Soil Phosphorous Cycling and Arbuscular Mycorrhizal Fungi

Organic farmers across Saskatchewan face soil phosphorus (P) shortages. Due to the restriction on inputs in organic systems, farmers rely on crop rotation and naturally-occurring arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) for plant P supply. Crop rotation is important for disease, pest, and weed management. Crops that are not colonized by AMF (non-mycorrhizal) can decrease colonization of a following crop. An experiment was performed to quantify soil P cycling in four cropping sequences under organic management and determine if mustard (non-mycorrhizal) was delaying the colonization of subsequent wheat. Soils from the four cropping sequences were measured for inorganic soil P (Pi), AMF spore density (SD), phospholipid fatty acid analysis (PLFA, for AMF biomarker counts), and alkaline phosphatase activity (ALPase, related to AMF metabolic activity). Plants were measured for AMF colonization and P content and uptake of above-ground biomass. A lack of difference in AMF activity indicated that mustard was not depressing colonization. Instead, AMF colonization was largely determined by crop type and crop rotation.

Inverse Sets-based Recognition of Video Clips
The paper discusses the mathematics of pattern indexing and its applications to recognition of visual patterns that are found in video clips. It is shown that (a) pattern indexes can be represented by collections of inverted patterns, (b) solutions to pattern classification problems can be found as intersections and histograms of inverted patterns and, thus, matching of original patterns avoided.
Microbiological Contamination of Outdoor Air in Marine Durres's Harbour, Albania

Microbial air contamination of the outdoor air in Marine Durres-s Harbour (Durres, Albania) was estimated by sedimentation technique in August-October 2008. The sampling areas were: Ferry Terminal (FT), Fishery Harbor (FH), East Zone (EZ), Fuel Quay (FQ) and Apollonian Beach (AB). The aim of this study was to measure the number of aerobic plate count (mesophilic aerobic bacteria) and fungi (yeasts and molds) in the outdoor air in these areas. The number of colonies that were formed determines the number of cells at the moment in the outdoor air; respectively the number of mesophilic aerobic bacteria and yeasts and molds. The measure of bacteria and fungi used is CFU (Colony Forming Units) per Petri dish. It is said that marine harbours are very polluted areas. The aim of study was the definition of mesophilic aerobic bacteria and yeasts and molds number, and the comparison of microorganisms number in air sampling areas.

Differentiation between Common Tick Species Using Molecular Biology Techniques in Saudi Arabia
Protein and Esterase electrophoresis were used to genetically identify two Saudi tick species. Engorged females of the camel tick Hyalomma dromedarii (Koch) (Acari: Ixodidae) and the cattle tick Boophilus annulatus (Say) (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks collected from infested camels and cattle in the animals resting house at Hail region in KSA were used. The results showed that there are a variation in both of protein and esterase activity levels and a high polymorphism within and between the genera and species of Hyalomma and Boophilus . In conclusion, the protein and esterase electrophoretic analysis used in the present study could successfully distinguish among tick species, commonly found in Saudi Arabia.
Virtual Laboratory for Learning Biology – A Preliminary Investigation

This study aims to conduct a preliminary investigation to determine the topic to be focused in developing Virtual Laboratory For Biology (VLab-Bio). Samples involved in answering the questionnaire are form five students (equivalent to A-Level) and biology teachers. Time and economical resources for the setting up and construction of scientific laboratories can be solved with the adaptation of virtual laboratories as an educational tool. Thus, it is hoped that the proposed virtual laboratory will help students to learn the abstract concepts in biology. Findings show that the difficult topic chosen is Cell Division and the learning objective to be focused in developing the virtual lab is “Describe the application of knowledge on mitosis in cloning".

Structural Basis of Resistance of Helicobacterpylori DnaK to Antimicrobial Peptide Pyrrhocoricin

Bacterial molecular chaperone DnaK plays an essential role in protein folding, stress response and transmembrane targeting of proteins. DnaKs from many bacterial species, including Escherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium and Haemophilus infleunzae are the molecular targets for the insect-derived antimicrobial peptide pyrrhocoricin. Pyrrhocoricin-like peptides bind in the substrate recognition tunnel. Despite the high degree of crossspecies sequence conservation in the substrate-binding tunnel, some bacteria are not sensitive to pyrrhocoricin. This work addresses the molecular mechanism of resistance of Helicobacter pylori DnaK to pyrrhocoricin. Homology modelling, structural and sequence analysis identify a single aminoacid substitution at the interface between the lid and the β-sandwich subdomains of the DnaK substrate-binding domain as the major determinant for its resistance.

Characterization of an Acetobacter Strain Isolated from Iranian Peach that Tolerates High Temperatures and Ethanol Concentrations

Vinegar is a precious food additive and complement as well as effective preservative against food spoilage. Recently traditional vinegar production has been improved using various natural substrates and fruits such as grape, palm, cherry, coconut, date, sugarcane, rice and balsam. These neoclassical fermentations resulted in several vinegar types with different tastes, fragrances and nutritional values because of applying various acetic acid bacteria as starters. Acetic acid bacteria include genera Acetobacter, Gluconacetobacter and Gluconobacter according to latest edition of Bergy-s Manual of Systematic Bacteriology that classifies genera on the basis of their 16s RNA differences. Acetobacter spp as the main vinegar starters belong to family Acetobacteraceae that are gram negative obligate aerobes, chemoorganotrophic bacilli that are oxidase negative and oxidize ethanol to acetic acid. In this research we isolated and identified a native Acetobacter strain with high acetic acid productivity and tolerance against high ethanol concentrations from Iranian peach as a summer delicious fruit that is very susceptible to food spoilage and decay. We used selective and specific laboratorial culture media such as Standard GYC, Frateur and Carr medium. Also we used a new industrial culture medium and a miniature fermentor with a new aeration system innovated by Pars Yeema Biotechnologists Co., Isfahan Science and Technology Town (ISTT), Isfahan, Iran. The isolated strain was successfully cultivated in modified Carr media with 2.5% and 5% ethanol simultaneously in high temperatures, 34 - 40º C after 96 hours of incubation period. We showed that the increase of ethanol concentration resulted in rising of strain sensitivity to high temperature. In conclusion we isolated and characterized a new Acetobacter strain from Iranian peach that could be considered as a potential strain for production of a new vinegar type, peach vinegar, with a delicious taste and advantageous nutritional value in food biotechnology and industrial microbiology.

Biologically Inspired Artificial Neural Cortex Architecture and its Formalism
The paper attempts to elucidate the columnar structure of the cortex by answering the following questions. (1) Why the cortical neurons with similar interests tend to be vertically arrayed forming what is known as cortical columns? (2) How to describe the cortex as a whole in concise mathematical terms? (3) How to design efficient digital models of the cortex?
Proteins Length and their Phenotypic Potential

Mendelian Disease Genes represent a collection of single points of failure for the various systems they constitute. Such genes have been shown, on average, to encode longer proteins than 'non-disease' proteins. Existing models suggest that this results from the increased likeli-hood of longer genes undergoing mutations. Here, we show that in saturated mutagenesis experiments performed on model organisms, where the likelihood of each gene mutating is one, a similar relationship between length and the probability of a gene being lethal was observed. We thus suggest an extended model demonstrating that the likelihood of a mutated gene to produce a severe phenotype is length-dependent. Using the occurrence of conserved domains, we bring evidence that this dependency results from a correlation between protein length and the number of functions it performs. We propose that protein length thus serves as a proxy for protein cardinality in different networks required for the organism's survival and well-being. We use this example to argue that the collection of Mendelian Disease Genes can, and should, be used to study the rules governing systems vulnerability in living organisms.

Exploring Dimensionality, Systematic Mutations and Number of Contacts in Simple HP ab-initio Protein Folding Using a Blackboard-based Agent Platform
A computational platform is presented in this contribution. It has been designed as a virtual laboratory to be used for exploring optimization algorithms in biological problems. This platform is built on a blackboard-based agent architecture. As a test case, the version of the platform presented here is devoted to the study of protein folding, initially with a bead-like description of the chain and with the widely used model of hydrophobic and polar residues (HP model). Some details of the platform design are presented along with its capabilities and also are revised some explorations of the protein folding problems with different types of discrete space. It is also shown the capability of the platform to incorporate specific tools for the structural analysis of the runs in order to understand and improve the optimization process. Accordingly, the results obtained demonstrate that the ensemble of computational tools into a single platform is worthwhile by itself, since experiments developed on it can be designed to fulfill different levels of information in a self-consistent fashion. By now, it is being explored how an experiment design can be useful to create a computational agent to be included within the platform. These inclusions of designed agents –or software pieces– are useful for the better accomplishment of the tasks to be developed by the platform. Clearly, while the number of agents increases the new version of the virtual laboratory thus enhances in robustness and functionality.
Weighted Clustering Coefficient for Identifying Modular Formations in Protein-Protein Interaction Networks
This paper describes a novel approach for deriving modules from protein-protein interaction networks, which combines functional information with topological properties of the network. This approach is based on weighted clustering coefficient, which uses weights representing the functional similarities between the proteins. These weights are calculated according to the semantic similarity between the proteins, which is based on their Gene Ontology terms. We recently proposed an algorithm for identification of functional modules, called SWEMODE (Semantic WEights for MODule Elucidation), that identifies dense sub-graphs containing functionally similar proteins. The rational underlying this approach is that each module can be reduced to a set of triangles (protein triplets connected to each other). Here, we propose considering semantic similarity weights of all triangle-forming edges between proteins. We also apply varying semantic similarity thresholds between neighbours of each node that are not neighbours to each other (and hereby do not form a triangle), to derive new potential triangles to include in module-defining procedure. The results show an improvement of pure topological approach, in terms of number of predicted modules that match known complexes.
Modeling Biology Inspired Reactive Agents Using X-machines

Recent advances in both the testing and verification of software based on formal specifications of the system to be built have reached a point where the ideas can be applied in a powerful way in the design of agent-based systems. The software engineering research has highlighted a number of important issues: the importance of the type of modeling technique used; the careful design of the model to enable powerful testing techniques to be used; the automated verification of the behavioural properties of the system; the need to provide a mechanism for translating the formal models into executable software in a simple and transparent way. This paper introduces the use of the X-machine formalism as a tool for modeling biology inspired agents proposing the use of the techniques built around X-machine models for the construction of effective, and reliable agent-based software systems.

Vol:13 No:02 2019Vol:13 No:01 2019
Vol:12 No:12 2018Vol:12 No:11 2018Vol:12 No:10 2018Vol:12 No:09 2018Vol:12 No:08 2018Vol:12 No:07 2018Vol:12 No:06 2018Vol:12 No:05 2018Vol:12 No:04 2018Vol:12 No:03 2018Vol:12 No:02 2018Vol:12 No:01 2018
Vol:11 No:12 2017Vol:11 No:11 2017Vol:11 No:10 2017Vol:11 No:09 2017Vol:11 No:08 2017Vol:11 No:07 2017Vol:11 No:06 2017Vol:11 No:05 2017Vol:11 No:04 2017Vol:11 No:03 2017Vol:11 No:02 2017Vol:11 No:01 2017
Vol:10 No:12 2016Vol:10 No:11 2016Vol:10 No:10 2016Vol:10 No:09 2016Vol:10 No:08 2016Vol:10 No:07 2016Vol:10 No:06 2016Vol:10 No:05 2016Vol:10 No:04 2016Vol:10 No:03 2016Vol:10 No:02 2016Vol:10 No:01 2016
Vol:9 No:12 2015Vol:9 No:11 2015Vol:9 No:10 2015Vol:9 No:09 2015Vol:9 No:08 2015Vol:9 No:07 2015Vol:9 No:06 2015Vol:9 No:05 2015Vol:9 No:04 2015Vol:9 No:03 2015Vol:9 No:02 2015Vol:9 No:01 2015
Vol:8 No:12 2014Vol:8 No:11 2014Vol:8 No:10 2014Vol:8 No:09 2014Vol:8 No:08 2014Vol:8 No:07 2014Vol:8 No:06 2014Vol:8 No:05 2014Vol:8 No:04 2014Vol:8 No:03 2014Vol:8 No:02 2014Vol:8 No:01 2014
Vol:7 No:12 2013Vol:7 No:11 2013Vol:7 No:10 2013Vol:7 No:09 2013Vol:7 No:08 2013Vol:7 No:07 2013Vol:7 No:06 2013Vol:7 No:05 2013Vol:7 No:04 2013Vol:7 No:03 2013Vol:7 No:02 2013Vol:7 No:01 2013
Vol:6 No:12 2012Vol:6 No:11 2012Vol:6 No:10 2012Vol:6 No:09 2012Vol:6 No:08 2012Vol:6 No:07 2012Vol:6 No:06 2012Vol:6 No:05 2012Vol:6 No:04 2012Vol:6 No:03 2012Vol:6 No:02 2012Vol:6 No:01 2012
Vol:5 No:12 2011Vol:5 No:11 2011Vol:5 No:10 2011Vol:5 No:09 2011Vol:5 No:08 2011Vol:5 No:07 2011Vol:5 No:06 2011Vol:5 No:05 2011Vol:5 No:04 2011Vol:5 No:03 2011Vol:5 No:02 2011Vol:5 No:01 2011
Vol:4 No:12 2010Vol:4 No:11 2010Vol:4 No:10 2010Vol:4 No:09 2010Vol:4 No:08 2010Vol:4 No:07 2010Vol:4 No:06 2010Vol:4 No:05 2010Vol:4 No:04 2010Vol:4 No:03 2010Vol:4 No:02 2010Vol:4 No:01 2010
Vol:3 No:12 2009Vol:3 No:11 2009Vol:3 No:10 2009Vol:3 No:09 2009Vol:3 No:08 2009Vol:3 No:07 2009Vol:3 No:06 2009Vol:3 No:05 2009Vol:3 No:04 2009Vol:3 No:03 2009Vol:3 No:02 2009Vol:3 No:01 2009
Vol:2 No:12 2008Vol:2 No:11 2008Vol:2 No:10 2008Vol:2 No:09 2008Vol:2 No:08 2008Vol:2 No:07 2008Vol:2 No:06 2008Vol:2 No:05 2008Vol:2 No:04 2008Vol:2 No:03 2008Vol:2 No:02 2008Vol:2 No:01 2008
Vol:1 No:12 2007Vol:1 No:11 2007Vol:1 No:10 2007Vol:1 No:09 2007Vol:1 No:08 2007Vol:1 No:07 2007Vol:1 No:06 2007Vol:1 No:05 2007Vol:1 No:04 2007Vol:1 No:03 2007Vol:1 No:02 2007Vol:1 No:01 2007