Bio QPack Vol 1 Passage 4

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bbiebelberg
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:28 pm

Bio QPack Vol 1 Passage 4

Post by bbiebelberg » Sat Feb 15, 2020 3:33 pm

Hello! This passage involves a detailed process of reproduction involving a cell line that contains both a macronucleus and a micronucleus. I've never encountered the idea of a macronucleus and a micronucleus. Are these concepts ones we should have encountered somewhere in studying, or would I have seen enough background information given in the passage if I had read more closely? (I think I didn't carefully internalize the description of one being germ-line and the other being the site of gene expression, which may have provided enough info?) I can't quite tell.
NS_Tutor_Mathias
Posts: 616
Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 8:39 pm

Re: Bio QPack Vol 1 Passage 4

Post by NS_Tutor_Mathias » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:16 pm

The idea is definitely intended to be novel here. This is a case of using some very familiar concepts in a new context, and being able to recall what the most salient features of meiosis are (the transition from diploid to haploid and the generation of 4 individual strands of genetic material, for instance) as well as those of mitosis (duplication of genetic material), without getting too caught up in the novel concept that we aren't making additional cells here during these phases, and that it is the later instances of binary fission that actually reproduce cells.

Conjugation is a concept you should be lightly familiar with (recognize bacterial conjugation as a process of horizontal transfer). And finally, you want to be able to look at this passage and realize that this is a very odd method of exchange of genetic material in which only a small fraction of the total is ever exchanged (remember that ludicrously high ploidy of the macronucleus!).

There definitely is enough information to answer everything with the information given (I'm not a fan of the phrasing of the answer choices in the first question, but the rest are fine). Was there any particular portion of the mechanism described that gave you trouble? For the most part it is not that complicated, but it is definitely meant to be very, very intimidating.
bbiebelberg
Posts: 19
Joined: Thu Jan 09, 2020 8:28 pm

Re: Bio QPack Vol 1 Passage 4

Post by bbiebelberg » Mon Feb 24, 2020 11:47 pm

Thanks, Mathias! Think it was just the intimidation factor. I think a learning for me is to be more attuned to novel concepts and appreciate the fact that some passages present new ideas within them that nevertheless leverage MCAT testable content.
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