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Pop Culture and The Cell Cycle, Cellular Growth, and Cancer

In Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, water goes into the FLDSMDFR (the Flint Lockwood Diatonic Super Mutating Dynamic Food Replicator) and the contraption spits out clones of meatballs, hamburgers or some other type of delicious food. Fun, yes, but a bit too silly. First of all, water (or H2O) only contains hydrogen and oxygen, and you know by now that food molecules require other elements too, such as carbon and nitrogen. While these scrumptious foods may all be made of cells, you'll probably have guessed by now that the FLDSMDFR is not a way that cells could reproduce themselves. We can all agree that science leads to some cool outcomes, not meatball storms (boo).

In one Simpsons' clip, Homer evolves from a simple celled organism to a couch potato. Why is this situation deceiving? It implies that if a single celled organism divided enough, the cells could make up a fish, or a reptile, or a monkey. Evolution happens on a long time scale and it is useful to think of common ancestors. Fish didn't become a lizard, but that rather the present day fish and lizards shared a common ancestor a long time ago. The fish and lizards of today are the product of many, many years of evolution and countless cell division events.

In the Twilight movie, Edward and Bella make mitosis look easy during biology class when they pick out the different phases of mitosis in an onion root. Wow, finally an example of where Hollywood got science right. It is actually a fun lab, which involves looking at a thin slice of an onion root that has been stained so you can easily see the chromosomes. Find yourself a microscope and some slides and you may even win the golden onion, or at least get an A in your biology class.

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