It was just a joke!

Earlier today I was asked “What’s the difference between a hormone and an enzyme?”

Immediately I tried to recall my old biology classes. I knew that hormones were made in one part of the body for use by another part and that enzymes are sort of made the same way. I couldn’t really distinguish the two in my head, and then I realized the answer that they were looking for: “You can’t hear an enzyme”. Although I actually messed that answer up and said “You can’t always make an enzyme but you can always make a hormone!”

Putting aside the fact that it took me several minutes to realize that I had been asked a joke and not an actual science question, and also the fact that I messed up the answer to said joke, I’m still left wondering, what IS the difference between an enzyme and a hormone?

So I did a little more research once I got home. I was correct in my thinking that hormones are produced in one part of the body for use in another part. They can be formed in glands, or organs and are the “messengers” for receptor proteins.

Enzymes on the other hand exist inside of cells. Their purpose is to allow the chemical reactions inside a cell to be carried out very quickly. Hormones are acting on the outside of the cell while enzymes are acting internally.

So yeah, I guess I over-thought the question (and missed the obvious) but that’s sort of normal for me. But at least I was able to take a seemingly inconsequential snippet from my day and turned it into a chance to learn something new (or in this case, something long forgotten).

What have you learned today?

About additionaddiction

My thoughts on life, atheism, science, and the human race

Posted on August 27, 2011, in Biology, Jokes and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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