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Tom C.
Rhodes Scholar, Tutor in Classics and Natural Sciences
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Latin
TutorMe
Question:

In helping you understand even the most complex Latin passages, my goal is to help you pick apart the language and understand the rhetorical and literary devices used by the authors. Here's some notes I'd provide on the following AP Aeneid passage, followed by my literal translation: 1 Sopor fessos complectitur artus. 2 Et iam Argiva phalanx instructis navibus ibat 3 a Tenedo tacitae per amica silentia lunae 4 litora nota petens, flammas cum regia puppis 5 extulerat, fatisque deum defensus iniquis 6 inclusos utero Danaos et pinea furtim 7 laxat claustra Sinon.

Tom C.
Answer:

Notes: Line 1- Complectitur is a deponent verb; so, while passive in form, it still takes a direct object. If you're stuck on artus, remember it's 4th declension, and you already have a subject (sopor). Line 2- instructis navibus: ablative of means Line 3- Tenedo: Tenedos is an Aegean island nearby the Trojan shore behind which the Greek fleet hid during the Trojan Horse ploy. Tacitae...lunae- chiasmus (ABBA word order) Line 4- flammas: not just flames, but a signal-fire. Puppis: synecdoche (using a part to refer to the whole) for a ship. Line 5- extulerat: noticeable enjambment (finishing the thought at the beginning of the next line). deum = deorum. fatisque...iniquis: ablative of agent. Line 6- utero: i.e. belly of the Trojan Horse Line 7- Laxat: goes with cum from line 4. Also governs a zeugma, where a verb has two direct objects with two different senses of the word. In this case, Sinon frees (laxat) the Greeks, but also physically releases (laxat) their wooden enclosure. Literal Translation Sleep envelops the tired limbs. And now, the Argive phalanx went from Tenedos, through the friendly silences of the quiet moon seeking the familiar shores, after (cum) the regal ship had raised the signal-fires, and as (cum) Sinon, defended by the unjust fates of the gods, frees the shut-in Greeks from the womb and secretly releases the piney enclosure.

Biology
TutorMe
Question:

Describe how siRNA function in the regulation of protein synthesis.

Tom C.
Answer:

Small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) are small double-stranded RNAs that blocks the expression of certain genes. siRNAs work through a different mechanism than protein repressors of gene expression, functioning through complementary base-pair binding with the targeted gene. The first step in siRNA functionality after transcription is its processing by Dicer. This enzyme comes in and separates each RNA strand. One strand is targeted for destruction, while the inhibitory strand is loaded into a silencing complex, a group of proteins which helps the strand bind to the mRNA of its target gene. How does an siRNA choose its targets? It is largely dependent on the first part of the siRNA sequence, nucleotides 2-8 (known as the seed sequence). mRNAs in the cytosol that contain the complement (i.e., the RNA binding pair) of the seed sequence will be bound by the siRNA silencing complex; complementarity with the downstream part of the siRNA helps further specify targets. The specific sequence of the siRNA thus allows it to only target a few genes in the entire genome. Once the siRNA-silencing complex binds to its target mRNA, it cleaves it, thus preventing the protein from being expressed. A gene whose expression is prevented by this mechanism is said to be "silenced". In lab experiments, genes artificially silenced by similar methods are said to be "knocked down". You may also hear about miRNAs, which are another class of small RNAs that function much like siRNAs. The main differences between siRNAs and miRNAs are in their structure and processing, and in the fact that miRNAs have a less specific binding region, allowing for a wider range of gene targets. siRNAs and miRNAs thus are a useful source of gene regulation, both for organisms and for researchers studying how a certain protein functions.

Folklore and Mythology
TutorMe
Question:

Why do the Greeks and Romans have such similar sky gods?

Tom C.
Answer:

The Greek Zeus and Roman Jupiter have a complex relationship. Certainly, the Romans looked to the Greeks for much of their cultural influence, and religion was no exception. Over time, the Roman Jupiter took on many characteristics of Zeus, including some characteristics of his symbology, worship, and myths about his family and consorts. However, the claim that the Romans simply took Zeus from the Greeks and gave him a Roman name, sometimes given out in introductory classes, is a misleading oversimplification. To find the truth, we must look to the history of the Greeks and Romans themselves. Both ancient peoples actually derived from an even older people, know to scholars as the Indo-Europeans. Descendants of the Indo-Europeans are found not only in Greece and Rome, but also throughout Europe (Germanic and Celtic tribes, among others) and Asia (Indian and Tocharian peoples); they can be recognized by their language, culture and religion, which have related elements that derive from this shared origin. In fact, scholars believe that Zeus and Jupiter did not originate with the Greeks and Romans, but with an Indo-European deity named *Dyēus phter (literally, "Sky Father" or "Shining Father"). As Greek and Latin evolved out from the Indo-European language separately, the Greek god became Zeus pater (Father Zeus) and the Roman god became Jupiter (Ju- coming from Dyeus, piter from phter). From this same Indo-European deity are descended the Vedic (Hindu) god Dyaus Pita, Italic Jupater/Diespater, Lithuanian Dievas, and perhaps even Germanic Tiwaz (later, became Norse god Tyr). Thus, Jupiter was not a copy of Zeus- both Zeus and Jupiter come from an ancient god that developed differently among each native tribes. When these tribes came in close contact each other again later in their history, the Romans assimilated many characteristics of Zeus under the related god Jupiter, but, as we've seen, the situation is much more complicated than a case of ancient plagiarism.

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