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Janessa Guzman

Bio 1308

Essay Question 1

The conditions on early earth were conducive to Biogenesis because early earth produced

a lot of chemical bonds and/or compounds including water, nitrogen gases, carbon dioxide,

methane, ammonia, hydrogen gas, and hydrogen sulfide. Biogenesis occurred then, simply

because of chemistry. These bonds and/or compounds, occur because of chemical reactions that

cause an atom to take, give, or share electrons with other atoms. Indefinitely, chemistry is the

reason behind the creation of organic monomers, such as nucleotides or amino acids. When all of

these organic monomers were mixed together, they formed organic polymers. These organic

polymers formed the first signs of life, RNA. RNA specifically represents life because it can

duplicate itself, it reproduces and carries on information to the next generation. Lipids created in

oceans then came together, and bubbles created by the coming together of the lipids formed

bubbles. The water trapped in this water contained self-replicating molecules, resulting in the

very first living cells, which consisted of simply cytoplasm surrounded by a membrane. Without

the occurrence of chemistry between organic molecules, and without the evolution of these

molecules, biogenesis never could have occurred.


Essay Question 2

Bacteria and viruses are both parasitic pathogens because they both require a host (being

parasitic) in order to be a pathogen (causing serious illness). Major differences between bacteria

and viruses are that not all bacteria are harmful, whereas most viruses are harmful. Furthermore,

bacteria do not need hosts to survive like viruses do. Viruses do not consist of cells, therefore

cannot perform binary fission like a bacteria can. Viruses reproduce by infecting living cells and

directing the cells internal machinery to make more. Viruses can actually infect bacteria cells,

these viruses are known as bacteriophages. Once it has infected the bacteria cell it can perform

one of two life cycles, the lyctic cycle or the lysogenic cycle. The lytic cycle occurs when viral

dna instructs the bacteriums cells to make copies of itself along with capsid proteins. These are

then assembled into new viruses. Once all of these viruses have assembled the host cell bursts,

releasing the bacteriophage to infect a new host cell and repeat the lytic cycle or the lysogenic

cycle. In the lysogenic cycle, the viral DNA inserts itself into the bacterial DNA and remains

dormant. This is called a prophage. As the bacteria multiplies, that copy of the viral DNA present

in the bacteriums DNA is copied as well. At a later time, the viral DNA removes itself from the

bacterias DNA. Bacteria can independently reproduce through binary fission, as mentioned

earlier, or through transformation, transduction, conjugation, or plasmids. Transformation occurs

when a bacterium takes the DNA of another bacteria and transforms its own DNA with the

foreign DNA. Transduction occurs through bacteriophages, once the host cell bursts, a

bacteriophage infects the new cell with the host cells DNA. Conjugation occurs when two

bacterial cells use a sex pilus to form a physical connection, a donor cell transfers a copy of its

DNA to the recipient cell. Plasmids are small DNA molecules and can reproduce and then be

passed to another cell to carry out a certain function, carrying genes along with it.
Essay Question 3

Kingdom Protista is considered the junk drawer of the eukaryotic world because it

consists of all eukaryotes that were not classified as belonging to the plant kingdom, the animal

kingdom, or the fungus kingdom. Kingdom Protista is all the leftover eukaryotes. However,

these eukaryotes are still extremely important in the aspect of life. This kingdom essentially

invented multicellularity through the evolution of a unicellular protist. When ancient protists

formed colonies, some individuals then went on to become specialized for special tasks, such as

gathering food. When these specific tasks continued to be carried out, it led to the formation of

gametes, cells only used for the purpose of reproduction. This led to an organism that was now

multicellular, one individual cell was incapable of surviving on its own. These multicellular

organisms then continued to evolve, and eventually animals were formed, and then plants and

fungus. This evolution also represents the creation of endosymbiosis, which is when one species

lives inside another host species. After a cell became specialized in a colony, it benefited more

from living in the colony then it did by itself. The colony also benefited more from having the

cell there, as it carried out a specific task that the multicellular organism needed to be done.
Essay Question 4

Fungi are considered both the masters of reproduction and decomposition for many

reasons. Fungi can reproduce either asexually or sexually. They can reproduce asexually through

spores, which are haploid structures. Once they are carried by the wind or by water to a moist

place with food, it can germinate to produce a new haploid mycelium. They can produce

sexually when the hyphae of two parents join and fuse, forming a zygote with diploid cells.

These diploid cells then divide and form two unique haploid spores that then go on to repeat

either process. Fungi are the masters of decomposition because they give off powerful enzymes

into the environment which then digest biological molecules and break them down. Once the

molecules have been broken down, the small nutrient molecules are absorbed by the cell of the

fungus. Without fungi, ecosystems would not be able to obtain access to nutrients, and these

nutrients would accumulate in nonliving matter instead of being recycled and returned to the

food chain. Fungi directly influenced the process of human civilization by producing essential

medicines such as penicillin. They also produce foods such as mushrooms, corn smut, blue

cheese and black truffles. They influence the decay of human civilization simply by

decomposing. For example, a house that I lived in when I was young was not built properly and

due to moisture inside the walls, mold started to grow. The walls became covered by the rapid

growing fungi and the builder of the house bought the house back from my parents and then had

to knock it down due to health violations.


Essay Question 5

There is a variety of similarities and differences between green algae and plants,

similarities including that both plants are green, have chloroplasts and chlorophyll, and are

capable of photosynthesis, or producing their own foods. The differences are also numerous and

include the difference in moisture, as algae grow in water where moisture is always available.

Plants must have stiff structures to support themselves against gravity while algae plants do not

require much stiffness. They also differ in reproduction as algae gametes are not in danger of

drying out, whereas plants gametes must be protected from drying out. Plants require roots so

that they can stay in place, algae do not require as much anchorage and use holdfasts. Plants use

roots to obtain their nutrients, and instead algae use their entire body surface since they are in

water. Finally, photosynthesis occurs only in the leaves by plants, but algae can perform

photosynthesis in their whole body. The first land plants are closely related to algae, in fact the

charophytes are a group of algae that are land plants closing living relatives. Obstacles that

plants had to overcome in order to survive on land were obtaining resources from the air and soil

instead of water, which led to the different structures seen earlier between algae and land plants.

Land plants also faced exposure to elements such as rain and wind, again requiring a new

structure that included roots and lignin. They also had to develop new reproductive structures,

which initially required water in nonvascular plants, but eventually evolved to create

angiosperms, plants that can produce flowers.


Bonus Question

The history and evolution of life has influenced how unified life is on our planet because

every living organism evolved from another living organism in one way or another. Single celled

organisms developed into multicellular organisms which then developed into animals, and then

fungi and plants. We each share a common ancestor, but have become unique through natural

selection and over time evolution. Some similarities between cellular life and the biology of

viruses includes the fact that we both use DNA and/or RNA. Like cells, viruses have a highly-

ordered structure with parts that each have their own function. Similarities between the cellular

kingdoms of life bacteria, protists, fungi and plants lies in their make-up, that they all consist of

cells. Additionally, all reproduce. Because of their ability to reproduce, they all also undergo

natural selection as well as evolution (over time). Without bacteria, plants would starve for

nitrogen. Without Protists, there would be no seaweed, a major component to the oceans

ecosystem. Without Fungi, there would be no way for organisms to recycle nutrients. Without

plants, Earth would be left without oxygen. Bacteria, Protists, Fungi, and Plants are all essential

to not only human life, but life in general, because they are in some way or another the basis of

it.