Describe the process of initiating and controlling a muscle contraction.

Instructions: These questions are assigned as an open book, open computer assignment but is meant to be completed ON YOUR OWN. All sources must be cited to receive full credit. You must complete the first four questions. You may choose to type your answers or handwrite them. If you wish to include a diagram or picture as part of an answer it must be your own work and may not be scanned from the text or downloaded from the Internet. This assignment is due IN HARD COPY at the beginning of the final exam.
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1. Describe the process of initiating and controlling a muscle contraction. Start at the spinal cord with a motor neuron sending an action potential down its axon. From there, relate all the steps required to cause a contraction in a muscle fiber. Then discuss how force is maintained over time and graded so the appropriate amount of force is used for each task. Graphs of both the action potential and the muscle force are required.
2. How do cells divide? Explain both mitosis and meiosis with in text or with labeled diagrams. Then go on to explain how cells “know” when to divide and how the body controls this process. What happens when control of cell division breaks down? In cancer, many treatments focus on killing the most rapidly dividing cells in the body. Does this strategy make sense? What normal cell types would be harmed by this type of treatment?
3. Describe the information flow in a cell from DNA to functional protein. A complete answer will include the structure of each of the polymers and what they are made of as well as how the information is encoded in each instance. How is DNA organized to make a library of protein instructions and how can one gene make multiple different proteins?
4. Homeostasis is the natural balance of a living organism. Disease, however, is a departure from that balance. First, give a more accurate description of homeostasis. Second, pick a disease if interest from one of the chapter we have covered this semester. (The diseases used in case studies and disease fact sheets are off limits.) Discuss the disease in terms of etiology. You may have to go outside your text here. Give a description of how the disease causes a departure from homeostasis.
5. (Bonus) This question is not required and incorrect answers will not be penalized.

Describe the process by which a child can have three biological parents. Would it be two mothers and a father or two fathers and a mother? Why would this be done? Please describe the state of this research (ex. Where is it approved for human trials? Etc.).

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