New SAT Reading Practice Test 23: Cell transfer from mother to baby

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The following article is adapted from Robert Martone, "Scientists Discover Children's Cells Living in Mothers' Brains," in Scientific American (December 4, 2014).

*a neurogenerative disease that, among other symptoms, causes problems with memory.

Various types of microchimerisms affect humans. The common mother-Mc and fetus-Mc and the organs/presumed cell types affected by them are shown.

1. What is the rhetorical effect of the opening line of the passage?

  • A. To elicit a response from the reader about his or her personal experience
  • B. To cast doubt on a cliché idea that is now outmoded
  • C. To introduce a well-known topic to which the author will add new information
  • D. To question the fallacy that a mother is closer to her children than a father is

2. Which of the following models the structure of the author's argument throughout the passage?

  • A. He outlines a common misconception, shows new evidence to the contrary, then offers a new solution.
  • B. He presents his own original research, discusses his methods for acquiring it, then critiques earlier studies.
  • C. He questions a new set of data, shows its inconsistencies, then offers his own new hypothesis.
  • D. He starts from a point of basic agreement, introduces new information, and speculates about that new information.

3. What is the primary purpose of the passage?

  • A. To explain how, while we each have a unique genetic code, cells from other unique individuals may live inside our bodies
  • B. To suggest that Alzheimer's disease is caused by cells with "Y" chromosomes
  • C. To illustrate the difficulty of drawing conclusions from scientific research
  • D. To show how the common conception of the bond between mothers and children is wrong

4. As used in line 22, "autonomous" most nearly means

  • A. self-governing.
  • B. reliant.
  • C. independent.
  • D. sovereign.

5. According to the passage, what is one potential outcome of a woman's brain containing dormant male cells?

  • A. Women with such cells may be less susceptible to memory disorders.
  • B. Women with such cells are less likely to suffer from immune disorders.
  • C. Women with such cells tend to be more aggressive and physically stronger.
  • D. Women with such cells are more likely to live with men for several decades at a time.

6. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 16-18 ("These…disorders")
  • B. Lines 30-34 ("What…brain")
  • C. Lines 51-54 ("This…pregnancy")
  • D. Lines 72-76 ("Microchimerism…nursing")

7. Which idea best describes the function of the statement "We all…strange" (lines 35-37)?

  • A. Many people with certain disorders prefer not to come into contact with strangers.
  • B. After birth, children often help their mothers and fathers through difficult times.
  • C. The idea that everyone is unique in some way is no longer scientifically provable.
  • D. The notion of total individuality may be inconsistent with scientific reality.

8. According to the passage, non-twin siblings may have some cells in common because they

  • A. share at least the mother's half of their genetic makeup.
  • B. are present for one another's significant illnesses.
  • C. are less likely to suffer from the memory disorders that afflict the elderly.
  • D. may have exchanged unique cells as the younger sibling was in the womb.

9. Which choice provides the best evidence for the answer to the previous question?

  • A. Lines 55-57 ("Since…gestation")
  • B. Lines 64-69 ("Since…disease")
  • C. Lines 76-81 ("In addition…gestation")
  • D. Lines 81-85 ("Women…mother")

10. Based on the information in the passage and the graphic, which of the following most accurately describes an effect of microchimerism?

  • A. It is possible that a mother's cells would be found in the brain of an infant to whom she has given birth.
  • B. A women and her fetus exchange an equal number of liver cells during gestation.
  • C. It has been firmly established that fetus cells can migrate to the brain of the mother, as well as to several other organs.
  • D. It is due to the lack of cells produced and transferred from mother to fetus that children can be born with immune disorders.