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2009

Introductory Biology I

Chapter 1: Exploring Life

1. Question: What is biology?

Answer: The word biology means, "the science of life", from the Greek bios, life, and logos,
word or knowledge. Therefore, Biology is the science of Living Things. That is why Biology is
sometimes known as Life Science.

2. Question: what is evolution?

Answer: Evolution is the process of change in all forms of life over generations, and
evolutionary biology is the study of how evolution occurs. An organism inherits features (called
traits) from its parents through genes. Changes (called mutations) in these genes can produce a
new trait in the offspring of an organism. In biology, evolution is the process of change in the
inherited traits of a population of organisms from one generation to the next.

3. Question: What is a living thing?

Answer: All living things are composed of matter structured in an orderly way where simple
molecules are ordered together into much larger macromolecules.
An easy way to remember this is the acronym GRIMNER C
All organisms; - Grow, Respire, Interact, Move, Need Nutrients, Excrete (Waste), Reproduce,
Cells (Made of)
4. Question: What are some characteristics of living things?

Answer:
• Living things are sensitive, meaning they are able to respond to stimuli.
• Living things are able to grow, develop, and reproduce.
• All known living things use the hereditary molecule, DNA.
• Internal functions are coordinated and regulated so that the internal environment of a
living thing is relatively constant. This is referred to as homeostasis.
4. Question: Define the levels of biological organization from molecules to the biosphere.

a. Living things are organized in the microscopic level from atoms up to cells.
b. Atoms are arranged into molecules
c. Molecules into macromolecules
d. Macromolecules make up organelles
e. Organelles work together to form cells.
f. Beyond this, cells are organized in higher levels to form entire multicellular organisms.
g. Cells together form tissues
h. Tissues make up organs
i. Organs are part of organ systems
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j. Organ Systems work together to form an entire organism. Beyond this, organisms form
populations Populations make up parts of an ecosystem.
k. All of the earth's ecosystems together form the diverse environment that is the earth.
5. Question: provide an example for each level of biological organization from molecules to
the biosphere

Answer:

a. Sub-atomic particles like neutrons and protons make up atoms of elements, like hydrogen
b. Hydrogen atoms make up molecules of the phospholipid membrane of mitochondria
c. Mitochondria are present in large quantities in cardiac muscle cells
d. Cardiac muscle tissue is made from cardiac muscle cells
e. Cardiac tissue makes up the human heart, an organ
f. The human heart is part of the circulatory system, a key organ system in the human body
g. The circulatory system is one of many that makes up the human body
6. Question: What are emergent properties?

Answer: An emergent property is a property which a collection or complex system has, but
which the individual members do not have. It's the property where living things become more
and more complex as they go from the cellular level (cardiac cells) to the organ system level
(circulatory system).

Emergent properties are based on the concept that "the whole is greater than the composition of
its parts." For example, the heart is made of cardiac cells, but if we were to just have heart cells,
they won't do anything. However, if we have the whole heart, it will perform the function of
pumping blood.

7. Question: Define reductionism.

Answer: Reductionism tries to understand the nature of complex things by reducing them to the
interactions between their different parts. For example, in the sciences, most aspects of chemistry
are based on physics, and similarly many aspects of microbiology are based on chemistry. This is
reductionism.

8. Question: What are the limitations of Reductionism in the study of biology?

Answer: Emergent properties expose the limitations of Reductionism. For example, memory and
consciousness can be emergent properties of the brain. However, when a person dies, their
consciousness and memory are extinguished. Their brain is intact; Reductionism cannot explain
this phenomenon.

9. Question: What is systems biology?

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Answer: Systems biology is a biology-based inter-disciplinary study field that focuses on the
systematic study of complex interactions in biological systems, thus using a new perspective
(integration) instead of Reductionism, to study these complex interactions.

9. Question: What is Science?

Answer: Science is a methodology for learning about the world. It involves the application of
knowledge.
10. Question: What is the Scientific Method?

Answer: The scientific method is not a step by step, linear process. It is an intuitive process, a
methodology for learning about the world through the application of knowledge. Scientists must
be able to have an "imaginative preconception" of what the truth is.

Scientists will often observe and then hypothesize the reason why a phenomenon occurred. They
use all of their knowledge and a bit of imagination, all in an attempt to uncover something that
might be true.

Therefore, the scientific method deals with systematic investigation, reproducible results, the
formation and testing of hypotheses, and reasoning.

11. Question: What process does the scientific method follow?

Answer: Scientists first make observations that raise a particular question. In order to explain the
observed phenomenon, they develop a number of possible explanations, or hypotheses. This is
the inductive part of science, observing and constructing plausible arguments for why an event
occurred. Experiments are then used to eliminate one of more of the possible hypotheses until
one hypothesis remains. Using deduction, scientists use the principles of their hypothesis to
make predictions, and then test to make sure that their predictions are confirmed. After many
trials (repeatability) and all predictions have been confirmed, the hypothesis then may become a
theory.

12. Question: Define Observation

Answer: Observation refers to Quantitative and qualitative measurements of the world.

13. Question: Define Inference


Answer: Inference is the step of deriving new knowledge based upon old knowledge.

14. Define Hypothesis


Answer: A hypothesis is a suggested explanation.

15. What is a Rejected Hypothesis

Answer: A rejected hypothesis is an explanation that has been ruled out through experimentation.

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16. What is an accepted hypothesis?

Answer: An Accepted Hypothesis is an explanation that has not been ruled out through excessive
experimentation and makes verifiable predictions that are true.

17. What is an experiment?


Answer: An Experiment is a test that is used to rule out a hypothesis or validate something
already known.

18. What is the Scientific Method


Answer: It is the process of scientific investigation.

19. What is a Theory?


Answer: A Theory is a widely accepted hypothesis that stands the test of time. It is often tested,
and usually never rejected. Theories are hypotheses which have withstood repeated attempts at
falsification. Common theories include evolution by natural selection and the idea that all
organisms consist of cells. The scientific community asserts that much more evidence supports
these two ideas than contradicts them.

20. Question: How do organisms interact with their environments? What do they exchange
with each other?

Answer: Living organisms interact with their environment continuously, exchanging matter and
energy. This is one of the fundamental principles of any ecosystem. Organisms can be either
producers or consumers in terms of energy flow through an ecosystem. Producers convert energy
from the environment into carbon bonds, such as those found in the sugar glucose. Plants are the
most obvious examples of producers; plants take energy from sunlight and use it to convert
carbon dioxide into glucose (or other sugars).

21. Question: What are two processes involved in the machinery of ecosystems?

Answer: An individual ecosystem is composed of populations of organisms, that interact within


communities, and contribute to

a. The cycling of nutrients

b. The flow of energy within the ecosystem.

22. Question: How are structure and function related in biology?

Answer: The structure of cells, organ systems or organs, can be closely related to their function,
in biology. For example, neurons, which are cells found in the nervous system, have long,
thread-like extensions, which aid in passing information to other neurons in close proximity.

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Another example would be the shape of the teeth of various organisms. Structure, the shape of
the teeth, is related to the function or diet. If the function is to grind grass, the structure of the
teeth is shaped to do that function. Hence, form fits function.

23. True or False: The Cell is an organism's basic unit of structure and function.

Answer: True. The word cell comes from the Latin word "cella", meaning "small room", and it
was first coined by a microscopist observing the structure of cork. The cell is the basic unit of all
living things, and all organisms are composed of one or more cells.

Cells are so basic and critical to the study of life, in fact, that they are often referred to as "the
building blocks of life". Organisms - bacteria, amoebae and yeasts, for example - may consist of
as few as one cell, while a typical human body contains about a trillion cells.

24. Question: What does Cell Theory state?

Answer:
a. All life consists of cells.
b. All cells come from previously living cells, all vital functions (chemical reactions)
of organisms are carried out inside of cells
c. Cells contain necessary hereditary information to carry out necessary functions
and replicate themselves.
25. Question: What do all cells contain?

Answer: All cells contain:


• Lipid bilayer boundary (plasma membrane)
• Cytoplasm
• DNA (hereditary information)
• Ribosomes for protein synthesis

Eukaryotic cells also contain:


• At least one nucleus
• Mitochondria for cell respiration and energy

Cells may also contain:


• Lysosomes
• Peroxisomes
• Vacuoles
• Cell walls
26. Question: what is a eukaryotic cell?

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Answer: The term "eukaryote comes from the following combining terms:
"eu-": well, normal, with "karyote": nut, kernel (refers to nucleus)
Thus, eukaryotes are, in the broadest sense, cells with nuclei. Specifically, in order for a cell to
be classified as eukaryotic, it must have the following characteristics:
a. Contain a membrane-bound nucleus
b. Be composed of membrane-bound organelles
27. Question: what are prokaryotic cells?

Answer: Prokaryotes or prokaryotic cells are a group of organisms that lack a cell nucleus, or
“karyon”. They also do not possess any other membrane-bound organelles. They differ from
eukaryotes, which possess a cell nucleus. Most prokaryotes are single-celled (unicellular), but a
few prokaryotes such have stages in their life cycles when they have more than a single cell.

28. Question: what does the acronym DNA represent?

Answer: DEOXYRIBONUCLEIC ACID

29. True or false? RNA is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the
development and functioning of all known living organisms and some viruses. The main
role of RNA molecules is the long-term storage of information.

Answer: False! Genetic information is carried by DNA which is copied and inherited across
generations. Traits are carried in DNA as instructions for constructing and operating an
organism. These instructions are contained in segments of DNA called genes.

30. Question: describe the structure of DNA.

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Answer: DNA is a long molecule that looks like a twisted ladder. It is made of four types of
simple units and the sequence of these units carries information, just as the sequence of letters
carries information on a page.

Nucleotides form the rungs of the DNA ladder and are the repeating units in DNA. There are
four types of nucleotides (Adenine, Thymine, Guanine and Cytosine) and it is the sequence of
these nucleotides that carries information.

31. Question: what does the acronym RNA stand for?

Answer: RIBONUCLEIC acid

32. True or False? A gene is the basic unit of heredity in a living organism.

Answer: True. Genes correspond to regions within DNA. A gene is the basic unit of heredity in a
living organism. All living things depend on DNA to pass on their traits to offspring. Loosely
speaking, a gene is a segment of genomic information that must be taken as a whole to define
traits.

Fill in the blanks. The total complement of genes in an organism or cell is known as its
____________.

Answer: Genome.

33. True or false? The human genome has 6 billion nucleotides

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Answer: False! The human genome has 3 billion nucleotides

34. Question: What is gene sequencing?

Answer: Gene sequencing, or DNA sequencing, consists of biochemical methods for


determining the order of the nucleotide bases, adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine, in a
DNA molecule.

35. Question: Advances in technology have made gene sequencing possible. What are these
advances?

Answer:

a. Modern automated DNA sequencing instruments

b. Massive computing power

36. Question: What is systems biology?

Answer: Systems biology is a biology-based inter-disciplinary field that focuses on the


systematic study of complex interactions in biological systems, thus using integration instead of
reduction to study them.

37. Question: What is a systems map in biology?

Answer: An example of a systems map is a map of interactions among proteins in a cell.

38. Question: Define Bioinformatics

Answer: Bioinformatics is the application of information technology to the field of molecular


biology. Bioinformatics entails the creation and advancement of databases, algorithms,
computational and statistical techniques, and theory to solve formal and practical problems
arising from the management and analysis of biological data.

39. Question: What is feedback regulation?

Answer: Feedback is a circular causal process in which some portion of a system's output is
returned (fed back) to the input. This is often used to control the behavior of the system.
Examples of feedback are found in most complex systems, such as engineering, architecture,
economics, thermodynamics, and biology.

40. Question: what is negative feedback?

Answer: In biological systems such as organisms, ecosystems, or the biosphere, most parameters
must stay under control around a certain optimal level under certain environmental conditions.

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Negative feedback feeds part of a system's output, inverted, into the system's input. This results
in the parameters of the system staying under control in a narrow range. Fluctuations in these
parameters are reduced.

Here is an example of negative feedback: As we eat, we become less hungry, eventually


resulting in our stopping. Between meals we become hungrier and hungrier, eventually resulting
in our looking for food. Without this seemingly simple negative feedback system, we would not
be able to survive.

41. Question: What is positive feedback?

Answer: Positive feedback feeds part of a system’s output (without inversion), into the systems
input. This causes an amplification in the output of the system. A small upward change drives the
system away from its set point.

Positive feedback results in instability. A common example occurs during conferences when a
microphone gets too much sound from a speaker. The speaker sound is amplified, resulting in
even more speaker sound to the microphone. The sound level quickly increases in volume,
eventually overdriving the amplifier, resulting in that awful squeal we all hate.

42. True or false? Feedback is a regulation process common only to the eukaryotes

Answer: False! Feedback is a regulation method common to life at all levels, from the molecular
level to the ecosystems and the biosphere. Feedback ensures that living systems are much greater
than the sum of their parts

43. Question: What are the three main domains of life?

Answer: Domain bacteria, Domain Archaea, Domain Eukarya.

44. Question: What are the kingdoms that comprise Domain Eukarya?

Answer: Protists, Fungi, Plantae, Animalia.

45. Question: How do biologists classify life?

Answer: Biological classification or scientific classification in biology is a method by which


biologists group and categorize species of organisms.

There are 8 main taxonomic ranks that biologists use to classify life: domain, kingdom, phylum,
class, order, family, genus, species.

46. Question: 'On the origin of species' by Charles Darwin postulated three main
observations. What were they?

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Answer:
• Reproduction generates more individuals than needed to maintain a stable population.
○ yet population sizes are generally stable
• Not all individuals survive to reproductive age
• Resources are limited.
○ competition for those resources, leads to a struggle for existence
47. Question: Based on his observations, what inferences did Charles Darwin make?

Answer:

• Reproduction generates more individuals than needed to maintain a stable population.


○ But populations remain mostly in steady-state
• Resources limited, especially food, space, mates
Inference 1: There is a struggle for existence among individuals of a population

• Uniqueness of individuals within population


• Most parental variation inherited in offspring
Inference 2: favorable heritable traits become more common in successive generations of
a population of reproducing organisms, and unfavorable heritable traits become less
common, due to differential reproduction. This is the Theory of Natural Selection.

Inference 3: There are changes seen in the inherited traits of a population from one
generation to the next. This is Descent with Modification, commonly referred to as
evolution.
48. Question: What is Discovery Science?

Answer: Discovery science (also known as discovery-based science) is a scientific methodology


which emphasizes analysis of large volumes of experimental data with the goal of finding new
patterns or correlations

49. Question: What is Hypothesis-based science?

Answer: Hypothesis-based science is an approach where

a. observations are made,


b. hypotheses (premises) are arrived at to explain the observations,
c. predictions are made and
d. fair tests designed to determine the validity of the predictions.
50. Question: What is data?

Answer: Data refers to a collection of organized information, usually the result of experience,
observation or experiment. Data may consist of numbers, words, or images, particularly as
measurements or observations of a set of variables.

51. Question: What is inductive reasoning?

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Answer: Induction is a type of logic. Through inductive reasoning, we can induce generalizations
from a huge number of particular observations.

Discovery science gathers data and generalizations are derived by induction; these steps lead to a
greater understanding of nature and of living things.

52. Question: Define deductive reasoning.

Answer: Deductive reasoning operates from the general to the specific. We can call it a “top-
down” approach. We may propose theory about a certain topic. We then narrow it down to more
specific hypotheses that we can test. We narrow down even further when we collect observations
that support the hypotheses. This leads us to test the hypotheses with specific data – what results
is either a confirmation or a negation of our original theory.

Example: Premise one: All organisms are made of cells

Premise two: Humans are organisms

Deductive prediction: Humans are composed of cells

53. Question: what is a controlled experiment?

Answer: A scientific investigation in which variables are controlled is a controlled experiment.


In its simplest form, a controlled experiment is done when the investigator consciously changes
one variable (the independent or manipulated variable), which will likely cause another variable
to change (dependent or responding variable). To the extent possible, all other variables are kept
the same (constants).

54. Question: what is a scientific theory?

Answer: A scientific theory is a coherent statement or set of statements that attempts to explain
observed phenomena.

In science a theory is a testable model of the manner of interaction of a set of natural phenomena,
capable of predicting future occurrences or observations of the same kind, and capable of being
tested through experiment or otherwise verified through empirical observation.

55. Question: what are scientific models?

Answer: A model is a simple system which reveals important properties of a more complex
system that you wish to understand better. More than one type of model can be used to study the
same complex system, each model shedding light on some different aspect of the complex
system but each model has limitations on what kind of information it can give you.

Scientific modeling is the process of generating abstract, conceptual, graphical and or


mathematical models.

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