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Lanolin Molecules

  1. Jul 22, 2014 #1

    Is there anywhere a reference to get an idea, why wool fat consists of over 200 different molecules?

    Is there some sort of a general law or ruling, like the Darwin's evolution, that nature produces nothing more and nothing less as what is required for the propose?

    If so, how is such a diversity of molecules produced in organic body and for what propose(s)?

    Thanks for looking.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 22, 2014 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    This is worded to reflect your approach to your question.

    There are many more than 200 molecules in a single cell in your hand.

    Organic bodies do not have purpose-driven chemical reactions. Organic bodies are following a blueprint in the genetic material. There is no defined purpose or pre-thought behind it. Humans assign meaning and purpose there because we work that way mentally. You assign meaning. Sheep epidermal glands secrete a given molecule (pick one) because somewhere long ago some sheep ancestral animals that secreted molecule A did better and had more baby animals than the beasties that secreted molecule B.

    Those conditions that favored molecule A may not even exist today but the sheep's oil glands still produce molecule A. Along with all of the others.

    Mammals secrete sebum (skin oils) - Human sebum, secreted by sebaceous glands mostly on the face, is composed of:
    triglycerides, wax esters like squalene and various sloughed off cellular materials. Sebum can break down because of skin bacterial action, creating even more compounds. So. Sheep are mammals just like us.
  4. Jul 22, 2014 #3
    That's a misconception that perhaps we can clear up for you. What remains in the genome and continues to be expressed phenotypically are not just traits that aid survival, but traits that don't interfere with survival. The reason that people continue to be born with poor eyesight, appendixes, and wisdom teeth is that we've found work-arounds to these pesky issues. If we weren't so stinkin' smart, these inconveniences would have probably been selected out a long time ago.


    Granted, parsimony is a welcomed friend of natural selection, but what sticks around is what works, whether it's a sloppy fix or a parsimonious one.
  5. Jul 23, 2014 #4
    Lanolin and Energy

    Thanks for your contributions. Why have i come up with the question of propose of these lanolin molecules? There are some signs as energetic measurements, that these fat molecules may have photosynthetic features. Remember the day-night cycle of photosynthesis involving CO2 and H2O, accompanied with energy consumption and release based on glucose for instance. This would give them not only a meaningful propose as cooling the animal skin during the day and warming it in the night. Is such a cycle possible based on the molecules involved?
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