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Questions tagged [biochemistry]

For questions regarding the chemistry of living organisms.

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0answers
69 views

Can you replace goethite with something else in limpet teeth to decrease its density and maintain its strength?

The limpet teeth's microscopic structure is analogous to man-made short-fiber composites. Its strength depends on the direction of the force, relative to the orientation of the fibers. https://www....
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5answers
5k views

What would a life-form be like if it's antimatter-based

I've been thinking of the idea of creating and adding an alien species that's antimatter-based (being from a universe where antimatter became the majority instead of "normal matter"). However, I'm ...
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1answer
71 views

Symbiotic fungus causing rapid mutations within the human body

A group of scientists discover a heretofore unknown species of fungus. unbeknownst to them, let's say it is of extraterrestrial origin but it operates very much like certain fungi on Earth (e.g. ...
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1answer
102 views

How to prevent vampires from catching bloodborne diseases? [duplicate]

Vampires are known to be humanoid creatures to whom the nutrients in blood are essential. I will assume that, for the purpose of this question, vampires are entirely human but consume blood, may it ...
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4answers
95 views

Designing the properties of a biological agent that could wipe out 90% of the population without being stopped

I'm interested in coming up with a plausible agent of destruction, virus or fungus or engineered weapon or what have you, that could conceivably wipe out a majority of the human race. What physical ...
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3answers
112 views

What are my “viral” humans harvesting from from my uninfected humans?

The following scenario takes place on Earth, sometime in the next few decades. An unethical biotech company has developed a deadly bioweapon that uses humans as a vector, almost like a suicide bomber ...
6
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1answer
94 views

How could a scientifically plausible Rust Monster quickly erode iron-based metal objects?

Rust Monsters are one the few original monsters in D&D that didn't fade into obscurity. Probably because of their ability to turn James' favourite metal items into dust. Rust monsters are ...
20
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15answers
3k views

What could a technologically advanced but outnumbered alien race do to destroy humanity? [closed]

Scenario: an alien race has traveled across the gulf of time and space, let's say from the Alpha Centauri system, fleeing their own dying world and looking for a suitable replacement. They find out ...
6
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1answer
92 views

Could a blood transfusion from immune survivors of a deadly, bioengineered virus grant the same immunity to those who don't have it?

First question so hope I'm doing this right! Working on a setting right now where a bio-engineered virus/plague is wiping out a large portion of humanity. Most died upon first exposure. Some survived, ...
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8answers
4k views

Can a species eat ice? [duplicate]

At age 9, I drew an alien which I described as "eating ice". Occasionally I've wondered if that's possible. Carbon-based Earth life only uses water as a solvent and consumes carbon compounds for ...
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5answers
146 views

How can the epidermis be manipulated at will to become clothing-like material?

In this world, elves developed along similar lines of homo sapiens, with some major differences that allow for a small metamorphic ability. Their epidermis, the outermost layer of skin, can be shaped ...
2
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1answer
127 views

Does a life form not using a food-based metabolism still need to saturate its cells with respiratory gases?

I've quite a few alien species that utilize a non-food-based metabolism (one of them being nuclear power). Does a species that has a metabolism not based-on plants or meat (such as using nuclear ...
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2answers
134 views

How Would Ammonia-Based Life Evolve? [closed]

EDIT: The planet/moon has a high mass, and has a similar atmosphere to Jupiter or Saturn. These organisms will be silicon-ammonia based, and breathe hydrogen. There will be very little oxygen in the ...
2
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2answers
67 views

UTH Ceramic Bones/Exoskeleton?

Why and how could an organism evolve to make its bones or exoskeleton out of a UTH (Ultra High Temperature) ceramic like TiB2, WC, B4C, or TaHfC? Is it even possible?
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5answers
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A drug that allows people to survive on less food

In this near-future setting, biotechnology is slightly more advanced than our own. Genetic engineering is cheap as well, but due to an ecological disaster the environment just doesn't have enough ...
5
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2answers
267 views

Electrosynthetic Autotrophs

Photosynthesis has an abysmal efficiency with regards to converting solar energy into useful fuel for a plant, and I was wondering: 1) If it would be possible to engineer a plant to accept electrical ...
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2answers
96 views

The Requiem quietly plays: Is it possible for molecular machines to read and modify proteins in the brain?

So, I had a concept (a bit large for a single question). One of it's parts is nanomachines rewiring the brain of the subject. Since we don't know much about the exact workings of the human brain, we ...
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2answers
170 views

What metals other than calcium can be used to create alien bones that won't also engender a human-toxic environment?

Edit: Okay, truth be known that this question was part of a set of 5 related questions that I was recommended to break up into individual posts (in their original form, the comments had no trouble ...
9
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2answers
794 views

Alternative to Magnesium's Role in Photosynthesis

It is a known fact that magnesium is a very important part of photosynthesis and chlorophyll. I have looked everywhere to try to find out this question but I have never really gotten a solid answer. ...
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6answers
370 views

What kind of “fog” could be harvested (and processed) for fuel?

In my setting, a permanent "fog" hangs over the ocean. It is thick, granting low visibility to anyone within it. Instead of water droplets, however, this fog would consist of some substance or ...
3
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2answers
99 views

Effects of Ammonia

This is a continuation of a question I made earlier! The atmosphere consists of 80% N2, 17% O2, 1% CO2, 1% NH3. I am not extremely familiar with the chemistry of ammonia, but I do know that it ...
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2answers
105 views

Interesting Atmosphere Chemicals

I am currently working on world-building a planet, and I wanted to try to diverge from Earth's atmosphere a little bit, but not extremely. I am planning on still having it be a oxygen-nitrogen rich ...
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1answer
148 views

We need help with our xenoforming weapon of mass destruction

Our empire has been at the mercy of violent marauders who are not working with the Will of Dozin and instead trying to break away from our cosmic union. In our archives, we have found a xenoforming ...
4
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5answers
418 views

The anatomy of an organic microwave generator

I have a concept for a species of arctic-dwelling organism (let’s just call it a polar bear) that evolved an organ that was able to produce microwaves, which it uses to tunnel through ice. If such a ...
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3answers
198 views

Could a living creature produce silicon carbide?

Silicon carbide is a ceramic often used in vehicle and body armor, but could a living creature produce and use it the same way? Assume the creature was genetically engineered.
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4answers
344 views

What is more plausible, viruses in a host brain or a viral colony becoming conscious?

In my story I have a strain of virus capable of stealing parts of or changing its hosts DNA, so it could copy the abilities in nature for its next host of choice by taking the genes which control the ...
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4answers
231 views

Is this atmospheric composition breathable on a planet with 50% more surface pressure?

I've read all the related questions on here and as far as I can tell this should be breathable on my planet Liskuel, which has 1.5 bars of pressure. However, I'm really bad at maths and don't really ...
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3answers
382 views

Fertilizing desert in magical medieval world

Suppose there exists a magic-based civilization. Their mining techniques are medieval and their understanding of organic chemistry and biology are on the Enlightenment era level. However, they are ...
10
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1answer
157 views

Would A Biological “Cold Haber” Process Deplete an H2/N2 World of its H2 or N2?

Based on my reading on some science papers, large, wet terrestrial planets likely exist that are swathed in a thin atmosphere of nitrogen/hydrogen ($H_2$ & $N_2$). If life evolved on such worlds, ...
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2answers
627 views

How Efficient Could Anaerobic Megafauna Be?

Obviously, if available, atmospheric oxygen is a great source of energy. However, I'm surely not the first worldbuilder who wants an alien species which doesn't depend on it (whether due to having ...
3
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4answers
244 views

“Realistic” Dwarfs Part One: Bioluminescence for active Vision

I've been thinking about dwarfs and their depiction in classical fantasy for while now and concluded that I find it unrealistic and lazy. Some research showed me that the current fantasy dwarfs have ...
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3answers
170 views

How can I fast-track the growth of a human being with an artificial womb?

A homoculus is an artificial human being that is created through the magical science of alchemy. These creatures are born in artificial wombs by a dark ritual that requires various materials, and the ...
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2answers
203 views

External ATP Synthesiser Plausibility

Assume a civilisation with futuristically advanced knowledge of biochemistry. Assume it wants to develop a cybernetic device meant to facilitate the organism's ability to perform high-power activities ...
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9answers
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Could a Weapon of Mass Destruction, targeting only humans, be developed?

Specifically, if deployed on a town. The buildings, animals (flora and fauna) would be completely untouched, but not a single human would survive the blow. Secondly, if this is possible, what gene, ...
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2answers
264 views

Is it possible for a creature to exist that uses lye instead of acid to digest food?

As far as I could gather the digestion relies on enzymes which in turn set requirements for pH. Is it possible for an alien creature to have a different set of enzymes that require basic environment ...
8
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6answers
865 views

What would prevent chimeras from reproducing with each other?

There exists a polymerization spell that allows distinct animals to combine with each other, creating an entirely new creature. The beasts in question are held in transumutation circles linked by ley ...
6
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3answers
305 views

How to produce milk that's similar to blood?

How could a mammal produce milk which resembles blood? The blood milk should keep as many properties of milk as possible, curding for example, while resembling blood as much as possible. The mammal ...
4
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2answers
112 views

If oxygen is extracted from blood, would the process cause any hormones within it to be extracted as well? [closed]

Let's say oxygen is continuously being extracted from the blood of a Giant Pacific, 1-and-a-third years old octopus and will be injected into a human using a process similar to this: https://www....
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2answers
144 views

How could the hormones of an octopus affect an adult man? [closed]

Let's say the hormones of a Giant Pacific Octopus, 1-and-a-third years old, enter the bloodstream of an adult male. How would or could that affect him?
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3answers
292 views

The Ancient Guardian

In my world there is an old human guarding something of great significance. All chemical reactions in their body have been slowed down to a microscopic fraction of what is deemed usual*. Once the ...
10
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4answers
305 views

Membrane impermeable to $N_2$ but permeable to $CO_2$ and $O_2$?

I'm looking for a way to bypass the bidirectional diffusive gas exchange that happens in human alveoli, to allow aquanauts to breathe a standard Nitrogen-Oxygen air mix at very high pressures (up to ...
7
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8answers
3k views

Need a suitable toxic chemical for a murder plot in my novel

I need ideas for a chemical or disease which kills the victim upon holding it in the palm for about 4 or 5 seconds. The death isn't necessarily immediate, as it might take days to kill the victim in ...
7
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3answers
341 views

Are healing potions scientifically plausible?

As clarification we're talking about those common fantasy healing potions that recover health over time and their scientific plausibility. Here are some results from my research on the subject: ...
5
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1answer
200 views

Could genetic engineering enable humans to make use of titanium or some similar material instead of calcium for bone formation?

I'm planing to create "super powers" born out of genetic engineering, but I don't want magic miracle stuff like an x-man, I'm looking for a realistic approach, so overall can you modify the materials ...
5
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2answers
206 views

Creating a scientifically semi-valid super-soldier, addendum: Metabolism

A while back Demigan had a running series of posts about various aspects biological enhancement for the purpose of designing super-soldiers with an element of (pseudo) science behind them. You can ...
4
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4answers
126 views

Anti-decomposition mechanisms?

Suppose that due to some kind of magical force I'll leave handwaved, (non-sapient) organisms are able to practice necromancy, reanimating their fallen peers as undead bodyguards. However, the magic ...
18
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5answers
429 views

Could a living creature produce graphene?

The thing about organics is that they can very precisely build themselves up, from a molecular level. They can take various, otherwise useless stuff like goethite and chitin and, through the power of ...
3
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4answers
184 views

Can you create a living vehicle fueled by organic material?

In this world, the vehicles are effectively re-engineered insects; enlarged bio-manufactured nervous systems used instead of engines; factory grown lightweight chassis / [wheels]. The fuel station ...
3
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1answer
164 views

Could a human grow up larger by manipulating their endocrine system?

In my world there are a group of female warriors with an unusual ability: the resources of their bodies are fungible. For instance, they can make the muscles in one part of their bodies stronger at ...
8
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1answer
155 views

Carbon cycle in a sulphur-based biochemistry

I'm designing a world with advanced life forms that use a sulphur-based biochemistry (see this link for context). I would like to create a carbon cycle analogous to Earth, where: Photosynthesis ...