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Syracuse University
BIO 121
Jason Wiles

Ch.1 Themes in the study of life 1. Evolution: process of change that has transformed life on earth from its earliest beginnings to the diversity of organisms living today ▯ Allows organisms to adapt ▯ Among diversity there are many shared features o Unity and diversity – sustainability of organisms for their environment – evolution is the scientific explanation ▯ Biology: scientific study of life ▯ Defining life: order, regulation, evolution, growth and development 2. New properties emerge at levels of the biological hierarchy ▯ Emergent Properties: due to the specific arrangement and interactions of parts as complexity increases o Ex. Photosynthesis not only requires all the components but in a specific organized fashion o Thoughts and memories are emergent properties of network of nerve cells o bike parts don’t make a bike – specific assembly ▯ Reductionism: approach of reducing complex systems to simpler components that are more manageable to study o One must remember to keep a holistic objective, a dissected animal no longer functions – although complex things cannot be analyzed without taking them apart ▯ Systems Biology: an approach that attempts to model the dynamic behavior of whole biological systems based on a study of the interactions among the systems part o System: a combination of components that function together – levels of systems within an organism o Successful models allow biologists to predict how one variable change can affect other components of a system ▯ Biological organization levels o The Biosphere o Ecosystem o Communities o Populations o Organisms o Organs (systems) o Tissues o Cells o Organelles o Molecules 3. Organisms interact with other organisms and the physical environment ▯ Ex. Tree: absorbs light energy from the sun, CO2 get absorbed and O2 is released, water and minerals are taken in through the roots, and leaves fall and decomposed by organisms – return minerals to soil = a cycling of nutrients ▯ Humans also interact but many have been negative – burning of fossil fuels ▯ global climate change 4. Life requires energy transfer and transformation ▯ Characteristic of organisms – use of energy to carry out lifes activities o Can transform one form of energy to another o Ex. Chlorophyll molecules – use sunlight ▯ drive photosynthesis 5. Structure and function are correlated at all levels of biological organism ▯ Form fits function – ex. A screw driver is meant to tighten crews o How a device works correlated to its structure 6. The cell is an organisms basic unit of structure and function ▯ At the lowest level of organization – but can still perform all activities required for life ▯ Prokaryotic – smaller o Bacteria o Archea o DNA is not separated from rest of cell ▯ Eukaryotic – plant/animal cells o Subdivided by internal membranes into various organelles o Largest organelle – Nucleus (DNA) 7. The continuity of life is based on heritable information in the form of DNA ▯ Division of cells to form new cells is the foundation for all reproduction and for the growth and repair of multicellular organisms ▯ Chromosomes: stained with a blue-glowing dye and have almost all the cells genetic material ▯ DNA: the units of inheritance that transmit information from parents to offspring ex. Blood group ▯ DNA structure and function o Each has one DNA strand o Gene encodes info – proteins o Proteins play structural roles as well as being responsible for carrying out cellular work – cell identity o DNA replicates as the cell prepares to divide ▯ Gene Expression: DNA▯RNA▯Protein ▯ Genomics: large-scale analysis of DNA sequence (studying whole sets of genes of a species as well as comparing genomes between species) ▯ Genome: the entire “library” of genetic instructions that an organism inherits 8. Feedback mechanisms regulate biological systems ▯ Feedback regulation: output or product of a process regulates that very process o Negative feedback: most common form, accumulation of an end product of a process slows that process o Positive feedback: end product speeds up its own production 1.2 Evolution counts for the diversity and unity of life ▯ Taxonomy: branch of biology that names and classifies species, formalizes the ordering based on to what degree they chare characteristic ▯ Species
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