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ARTICLE

The body’s first line of defence

Your body has a two-line defence system against pathogens (germs) that make you sick. Pathogens include bacteria, viruses, toxins, parasites and fungi. The first line of defence (or outside ...

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The body’s second line of defence

If the pathogens are able to get past the first line of defence, for example, through a cut in your skin, and an infection develops, the second line of defence becomes active. Through a sequence ...

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Bacteria – good, bad and ugly

Bacteria range from the essential and useful, to the harmful. Essential bacteria Without the key functions of some bacteria, life on earth would be very different: Some bacteria degrade organic ...

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Macronutrients

Nutrients are substances needed for growth, energy provision and other body functions. Macronutrients are those nutrients required in large amounts that provide the energy needed to maintain body ...

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Large intestine function

Recent research has revealed that the large intestine and its resident bacterial population have key roles to play in determining our health and wellbeing. It is much more than just a waste ...

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Digestion – breaking the large into the small

Digestion of food involves both physical and chemical processes. Through digestion, large food particles are converted into smaller components that can be readily absorbed into the bloodstream. ...

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The human digestive system

The human digestive system consists of a long muscular tube and several accessory organs such as the salivary glandspancreas and gall bladder. It is responsible for food ingestion and digestion ...

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Microorganisms – friend or foe?

We can’t see them. We can’t hear them or feel them, but they are with us. There are 10 trillion (10 x 1,000,000,000,000 or a million million) cells in the average body. For every cell, we have 10 ...

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Modern biotechnology

The discovery that genes are made up of DNA and can be isolated, copied and manipulated has led to a new era of modern biotechnology. New Zealand has many applications for modern biotechnologies ...

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Rate of digestion

Digestion of food involves chemical reactions that break up large food molecules into their ‘building block’ components. There are a number of factors that affect the rates of these reactions ...

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Using isotopes as tracers

Radioactive isotopes have many useful applications in a wide variety of situations, for example, they can be used within a plant or animal to follow the movement of certain chemicals. In ...

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Hormonal control of digestion

It has now been well established that gut hormones have a key role in controlling food intake and energy expenditure. The gut is the body’s largest hormone-producing organ, releasing more than 20 ...

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Digestion chemistry – introduction

Food plays an extremely important part in the lives of all humans. After ingestion, the food is mechanically broken down into smaller pieces and then chemically digested through the action of ...

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Energy requirements of the body

The macronutrients (carbohydrates, proteins, fats and oils) we consume in our diet help to supply the energy needed by the body to keep it working. This energy is used to drive the complex ...

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History of xenotransplantation

Xenotransplantation was attempted unsuccessfully in the early 1900s. Several key research developments over the last 100 years now mean that the first xenotransplant treatments could be available ...

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Xenotransplantation – introduction

Xenotransplantation is when living cells, tissues or organs are transplanted between species. To be successful in humans, xenotransplants must overcome issues of transplant rejection ...

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Stem cell research – timeline

The last 10 years have seen a huge increase in research into stem cells, but when did it all begin? 1956 First successful bone marrow transplant between a related donor and recipient is performed ...

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Gel electrophoresis can be used to find genes associated ...

In this simulated case, the researchers are looking for DNA fragments that are only found in patients who have inflammatory bowel disease. These DNA fragments are presented as ‘bands’ in the ...

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Breeding a new apple cultivar

Breeding a new apple cultivar takes a long time and involves many steps. The aim is to produce high-quality fruit that consumers will like and want to buy. Breeding apples to increase quality The ...

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Xenotransplantation – timeline

This timeline features some of the key events in xenotransplantation from the early 1900s until 2017. 1902 – Reconnecting blood vessels for organ transplants Alexis Carrel at the Rockefeller ...

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Developments in medical imaging – timeline

This timeline provides a look at some of major developments in medical imaging. 8 November 1895 - X-rays discovered X-rays are discovered by German physicist Wilhelm Roentgen. He takes the first ...

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Virus strains

A virus is a very simple thing – a coat of protein wrapped around some genetic code (DNA or RNA). It’s not a cell and it’s not living. Hijacking a host cell A virus needs a host cell to be able ...

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