Cellular and Molecular Biology

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Introduction to the Cell

The cell is the basic unit of all known living organisms. Review basic concepts ranging from cell classification to cellular metabolism in this theme. Also review characteristics of viruses that separate them from living organisms but enable them to interact with living organisms.

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Properties and Classification of Cells

Examine the myriad types of cells, and explore the properties that define and characterize their functions.
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Viruses

While not classified as organisms, viruses can replicate within living cells. Learn about the various types of viruses and how they survive both around and inside of us.
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Chemical Components of the Cell

Biological molecules include organic and inorganic molecules that are necessary for cell survival. Understand the major categories of molecules that form and allow cells to function.
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Biological Macromolecules

Biological macromolecules are synthesized or modified for various functions in the cell. Explore the various locations and uses of the four categories of biological macromolecules: lipids, carbohydrates, proteins, and nucleic acids.
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Catalysis and Cell Energy

Cells need energy to survive, which they obtain through the breakdown or catalysis of molecules. Evaluate how cells break down larger molecules to release and utilize energy.
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Cellular Metabolism

Review the many metabolic pathways that act to maintain essential cellular processes. Compare and contrast metabolic pathway variations and differences in prokaryotes and eukaryotes.
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Properties and Functions of Proteins

Proteins are chains of amino acids that have primary, secondary, and tertiary structures. Learn the different cellular functions of proteins as well as how variations in structure can impact function.
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Genetic Control of the Cell

What genetic material determines how cells develop and behave? How is genetic material translated in prokaryotes and eukaryotes? Explore genetic structures and expression in this theme.

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Structure and Function of DNA

DNA is the genetic material for humans and all other living organisms. Dive into how DNA is structured with a deoxyribose sugar, phosphate, and four nitrogenous bases.
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DNA Replication

Study the process by which DNA replicates semiconservatively with various enzymes.
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Structure and Function of Chromosomes

Determine how chromosomes are structured with supercoiled DNA, centromeres, and telomeres.
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Structure and Stability of the Genome

Assess how the genome is structured and how it can be disrupted by mutations.
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Sequencing Genomes

Investigate the tools that researchers use to sequence and interpret genomes for medical and research purposes.
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Transcription

DNA is transcribed into mRNA and is often further processed in transcription. Review the enzymes and processes involved.
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Translation

Translation results in a peptide or protein that is utilized by the cell. Explore this process and more through this interactive series of questions.
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Control of Gene Expression in Bacteria

Dig into how genetic expression is regulated in bacteria and other microorganisms.
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Control of Gene Expression in Eukaryotes

Learn the genetic regulatory mechanisms, such as post-transcriptional modification, behind gene expression in eukaryotes.
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Transcriptional and Translational Control in Eukaryotes

Apply your knowledge of genetic regulatory mechanisms to how transcription and translation are controlled in eukaryotes.
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DNA Mutations and Repair

Evaluate how mutations can be introduced during replication and expression, as well as how they can be searched for and restored.
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Laboratory Techniques for Studying Cells

Scientists use different tools and techniques to study cells and cellular structures and molecules. This theme covers the myriad of these different methods with emphasis on methodologies to use for specific cellular questions.

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Light Microscope

How can we visualize proteins within a cell? See how researchers use fluorescence and light to localize proteins as well as track their movement in cells.
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Electron Microscopy

Some cellular features and structural details are too small to visualize by light. Explore how scientists use the scattering of electrons to visualize fine structural details of cellular membranes, organelles, and even protein structure.
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Radioisotopes

Radioactive emissions are often used in basic science as well as medicine. Evaluate how we use radioisotopes to gain insights into cell biology and medicine.
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Cell Culture, Centrifugation

Investigate how researchers can use lab-grown cells as a model for studying cell biology as well as disease modeling.
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Isolation, Purification, and Fractionation of Proteins

The cell is packed with thousands of individual proteins and protein complexes. Discover how we separate proteins of interest for detailed functional and structural analyses.
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DNA Lab Techniques

How are gene expression and protein function regulated within cells and tissues? Learn about a wide variety of lab techniques that researchers use to isolate and modify proteins, DNA, and RNA.
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Extraction of Nucleic Acids

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Nucleic Acid Hybridization

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Southern Blots

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Northern Blots

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Western Blots

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Chemical Synthesis of DNA and Recombinant DNA Technology

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Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR)

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DNA Sequencing, Libraries, Transfer into Cells and Embryos

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Analysis of Eukaryotic Gene Function

Knowing the sequence of a gene is only a first step toward understanding its function. Learn how to design experiments and interpret scientific data to draw conclusions about how particular genes function.
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Antibody Probes

Antibodies are used by the immune system to recognize specific pathogens. Find out how researchers make and use antibodies to learn about cell biology.
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Histology

Cells function in the context of larger organs and tissues. Examine how scientists study cell biology in the context of the often complex tissue organization present throughout the organs of the body.
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Internal Eukaryotic Cell Organization

How do different eukaryotes convert and utilize energy? What types of cellular organelles do eukaryotes have, and how do these structures contribute to the survival of the cell? Dive deeper into the world of eukaryotes with this theme's questions.

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Membrane Structure, Properties, and Transport

The fluid mosaic model structure explains the properties and functions of the membrane. Relate structure and function using this selectively permeable barrier.
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Intracellular Compartments and Organelles

The membrane serves to separate as well as link the cell and subcellular components to their respective environments. Review the organelle compartments and their functions.
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Intracellular Vesicular Traffic

Intracellular vesicular trafficking of proteins, lipids, and their combinations is the primary function of the endomembrane system. Explore the different types of vesicles involved in this traffic to and from the plasma membrane and how they balance the phospholipids between the internal membranes and the plasma membrane.
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Energy Conversion

Metabolism is the sum of all chemical reactions that occur in the cell: respiration is catabolic, whereas photosynthesis is anabolic. Determine which energy conversions occur in these processes.
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Cytoskeleton and Motility

The cytoskeleton helps support the cell to give it shape and plays a role in motility of vesicles referred to as cytoplasmic streaming. Learn about the use of such motility in the cell.
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Ctyoplasmic Membrane Systems

The endomembranes and associated vesicles in the cytoplasm are the site of protein and lipid synthesis, modification, and packaging before trafficking. Interpret the various distinct and cooperative functions of the endomembranes in membrane synthesis.
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Cells and Their Environments

Cells consistently interact with their environment in different ways. This theme covers cellular structures used to interact with a cell's environment and how internal and external cell environments impact the development of multicellular organisms.

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General Features of Tissue Organization

Tissues are aggregates of similar cells and intercellular matrices. Analyze the morphology of the four types of tissues, muscle, nerve, epithelium and connective tissue, and how these tissues are organized in order to work together.
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Extracellular Materials, Cell Interactions

Extracellular matrix molecules are important in physical stabilization of cells and signaling. Learn about the types of molecules external to cells, how they interact with cells, and their respective functions.
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Cell-Cell Interactions

Cells require physical interactions for stability and communication. Describe the various molecules involved in intracellular communication and the purposes which these interactions serve.
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Tight Junctions

Tight junctions are proteinaceous “fences” completely encircling individual cells that separate the extracellular spaces on each side of the cell. Explore the components of tight junctions and how they are influenced by the environment.
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Gap Junctions

Cells can share molecules through protein tunnels which connect them. Delve into the biochemical composition and structure of gap junctions, the molecules that can pass through them, and how their molecular traffic is controlled.
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Cell Adhesion

Organized tissues require that cells adhere to one another to maintain the structure and function of the tissue. Dig into the different types of cell adhesion structures, their biochemical composition, and their functions.
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Germ Cells and Fertilization

Organisms that reproduce sexually do so by the combination of gametes from two individuals, thus rendering a mixing of two genomes. Uncover how germ cells become haploid cells, and combine to form diploid cells of a new organism.
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Development of Multicellular Organisms

Multicellular organisms develop from a single cell. Examine the various stages of development of both plants and animals.
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Cell Signaling and Signal Transduction

How do cells transmit intracellular and intercellular signals? Explore the different mechanisms that cells use to communicate with one another as well as how cells transmit signals internally.

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Elements of Cell Signaling

Familiarize yourself with the ways that cells communicate. Learn the basic elements of signaling pathways and the process of signal transduction.
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Communication Between Cells: Hormones, Extracellular Messengers and Receptors

Study the properties of hormones, extracellular messengers, and their receptors as well as the mechanisms by which they interact with each other.
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G Protein-Coupled Receptors and Second Messengers

Answer questions about the mechanism of signal transduction by G protein-coupled receptors and their associated secondary messengers.
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Protein-Tyrosine Phosphorylation

Evaluate the mechanism of signal transduction by protein-tyrosine kinases and their associated secondary messengers, and understand the importance of protein-tyrosine kinase dimerization and role in protein-protein interactions.
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Calcium as an Intracellular Messenger

Discover the many cellular activities in which calcium ions play a role as well as the receptors and other proteins involved in calcium intracellular signaling.
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Nitric Oxide (NO) as an Intercellular Messenger

Determine the role of nitric oxide as an intercellular messaging molecule, and study a major signal transduction pathway involving nitric oxide.
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Signaling Pathway Interactions

Investigate the ways in which many signaling pathways are interconnected, and define convergence, divergence, and crosstalk among signaling pathways.
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Cellular Reproduction in Eukaryotic Cells

Learn about the different stages of eukaryotic cellular reproduction in this theme. Test your knowledge about the stages of the cell cycle. Explore how meiosis enables sexual reproduction while mitosis enables asexual reproduction or organismic growth.

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Cell Cycle

Review the stages of the cell cycle as well as how they are regulated.
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Chromosomes: Diploid Versus Haploid Cells

Compare and contrast diploid and haploid cells with respect to their functions and properties.
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Mitosis and Cytokinesis

Examine how cells duplicate in mitosis and cytokinesis for growth, reproduction, and repair.
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Meiosis

Explore meiosis, the process by which sex cells are formed.
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Apoptosis

Study the process of apoptosis, or programmed cell death, and its role in growth and disease.
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Cancer

What is cancer and why is it such a detrimental condition? How is cancer studied and what treatments are available? Explore how the internal and external environment of a cell can either facilitate or derail controlled cell division or lead to uncontrolled cell division. Test your knowledge about mechanisms that derailment of cell division leading to cancer.

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Status

Your status is based on your weighted accuracy which accounts for the difficulty of the questions.

Your weighted accuracy is based on your most recent attempts compared to everyone else’s first attempts.

Re-answering questions correctly will improve your weighted average status.

Cancer Cell Properties and Behavior

Survey the typical properties and behaviors of cancerous cells with how they affect human body function.
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Cancer Causes

Dig into the molecular basis for cancer and how it can be caused by genetic and environmental factors.
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Cancer as a Microevolutionary Process

Review models that explain cancer as a microevolutionary process that is constantly evolving in populations.
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Research Methods Used to Study Cancer Cells

Analyze data and investigate the various laboratory methods that scientists use to study cancerous cells.
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Cancer Treatment

Familiarize yourself with the options of cancer treatment available currently and in clinical trials.
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Immune Response

All organisms have defense mechanisms against unwelcome intruders. Learn about immune system development, types of immunity, and cellular structures involved in immunity in this theme. Test your knowledge about the different defense mechanisms used by bacteria all the way to humans. Take a tour of infectious diseases and how our bodies send out armies of antibodies and other molecules to fight infection.

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Your status is based on your weighted accuracy which accounts for the difficulty of the questions.

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Re-answering questions correctly will improve your weighted average status.

General Principles of Immune System Development

The immune system functions as an interdependent network of organs, cells, and molecules to provide both rapid and long-term protection against foreign invaders. Discover the basic components of the immune system and how they work together to mediate innate and adaptive immunity.
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Pathogens, Infections, and Host Responses

What determines whether or not we get sick? Explore how host immune responses are used to fight off pathogens to prevent infections.
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Innate Immunity

The recognition and initial interaction of a pathogen and the immune system is critical in determining whether or not an infection is established. Delve into the non-specific mechanisms used by the host to rapidly contain invading pathogens and, if necessary, to initiate an adaptive immune response.
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Acquired Immunity

Examine the remarkable ability of our immune system to generate a response that is specifically tailored to each pathogen and that persists after infection to provide lasting protection.
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Lymphocytes and the Cellular Basis of Adaptive Immunity

Lymphocytes, including B and T cells, are at the heart of acquired immunity. Find out how lymphocytes develop, function, and communicate to provide highly specific immune responses to individual pathogens.
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B Cells and Antibodies

B lymphocytes, or B cells, express antigen-specific surface receptors critical for initiating an adaptive immune response. Interpret how B cells recognize antigen, produce antibodies, and develop immunological memory.
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Antibody Diversity

How is our immune system able to recognize such a vast array of rapidly evolving microbes? Analyze how a diverse and flexible repertoire of antibody molecules are generated to specifically target pathogens.
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T Cells and MHC Proteins

Antigen recognition by T cells is different and more complex than it is by B cells. Investigate the unique mechanism of antigen presentation to T cells through cell-surface MHC proteins expressed on various immune cells.
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Helper T Cells and Lymphocyte Activation

Activation of lymphocytes is required for the development of a full adaptive immune response. Discover the important role of a subset of T cells, called helper T cells, in coordinating activation of immune responses.
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Introduction to Pathogens

What determines whether a microbe is a pathogen? What types of microbes cause infection? Study how microbes are able to overcome the immune system to establish disease.
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Cell Biology of Infection

Cells play a critical role in mounting an immune response and fighting infections. Probe different intracellular molecules and pathways that help recognize and respond to pathogens.
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Vaccinations

Vaccines are one of the most significant medical advancements towards improving global public health. Review the immunological processes at the heart of vaccination, as well as available delivery methods and ultimate goals of vaccination programs.
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AIDS

HIV interacts with, infects, and ultimately kills immune cells in ways that make this infection particularly difficult to overcome. Answer questions about how HIV affects the immune system and leads to the development of immunodeficiency.
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