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Biol 120 - Ch1 Textbook.pdf

6 Pages

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BIOL 120
Simon Chuong

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Textbook Notes: Biol 120 – Plant Biology “Introduction to Botany” by M. W. Nabors Chapter 1: The World of Plants • Many plant bi-products (alkaloids), are used commercially, as well as narcotics. o caffeine, ephedrine, morphine, nicotine, cocaine, etc. • word botany, derived from Greek word meaning “plant”. • photosynthesis: the process by which plants and certain other organisms use solar energy to usable energy by converting CO2 and H2O into chemical energy. o ~ ¼ of the 1.5m known species of living organisms are photosynthetic. o plants, bacteria, and algae carry out most of the photosynthesis – but mostly plants. • biosphere: the thin layer of air, land, and water occupied by living organisms • Photosynthesis supports life in 3 ways: 1. it produces almost all of the world’s oxygen. 2. almost all organisms attain their energy directly or indirectly from photosynthesis: herbivores consume plants, carnivores consume herbivores, etc. 3. The sugars produced via photosynthesis are the building blocks of life. They are combined with minerals from the soil to make a large variety of structural compounds. • Humans began to cultivate crops ~12-14kybp. o agriculture became the foundation for human civilization. o began to select crops with specific features/benefits, and increase yield. o most human food focuses on corn, wheat, and rice. o 80% of human caloric intake is provided by 6 crops: wheat, rice, corn, potatoes, manioc/cassava, and sweet potatoes. o alcoholic drinks are also derived from fermented plant material. o dried herbs and spices used for flavoring. • Plants are used for medicinal purposes. o aspirin – similar to salicylic acid, found in tree bark. o 1500’s - books documented practical uses for plants and plant products. o 1600’s – quinine powder from the bark of cinchona tree, began to be used for malaria treatment. o ephedrine – antihistamine produced by plant genus Ephedra. o ~25% of prescribed drugs contain at least one product derived from plants. • Wood is used extensively in both developing and industrial countries. o most important use of fuel for cooking and eating, as much of the world still does not have access to electricity. o fossil fuels are fossilized remains of plants. o Wood is main use for construction material. o paper is made from mostly the pulp of woody plants. • Conservation Biology: is the multidisciplinary field of science that studies ways to counter the widespread extinction of species and loss of habitats. It studies the impact of human activity on all facets of the environment. o ~ ½ of the world’s forests are gone. o rainforests are cleared through “slash-and burn” methods. o clearings are used for agriculture until the soil is depleted of nutrients, and then it is abandoned. o estimates say that ~ 2700 species of organisms go extinct each year. o 20% of all tropical species became extinct between 1952-1992. Plant biotechnology: focuses on efforts to obtain improved plants and plant products using scientific techniques. DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid): a self-replicating material present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information. genes: a unit of heredity that is transferred from a parent to offspring and is held to determine some characteristic of the offspring. genetic engineering: a new method of biotechnology; the deliberate modification of the characteristics of an organism by manipulating its genetic material. • “Golden Rice” – engineered rice, in which the addition of two daffodil genes and one bacterial gene enabled the rice plant to produce carotene, a source of vitamin A. • Pest resistant plants – the addition of Bt gene makes crops resistant to particular insects, therefore allowing farmers to avoid the use of excessive pesticides. • Edible Vaccines – genes of certain bacterial diseases can be inserted into plants that people eat; ie, E.Coli gene entered into potatoes triggered an immune response in those that consumed them, and produced antibodies that made them resistant to the disease. • Herbicide resistant plants – crops are made resistant to herbicides that are used to kill weeds. Questions are on pg. 11 Evolution - the process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth. Characteristics of Plants: • Plants are multicellular eukaryotes. o eukaryotes: organisms that have a nucleus, and membrane bound organelles. o prokaryotes: do not have a nucleus that encases their DNA, or membrane bound organelles. • Plants are photosynthetic. o autotrophs: an organism that is able to form nutritional organic substances from simple inorganic substances such as carbon dioxide. – plants are autotrophs. o heterotrophs: an organism deriving its nutritional requirements from complex organic substances. • Plants have walls composed of cellulose. o cellulose: consists of a chain of glucose molecules. o cellulose is distinctive of plants among the eukaryotes, because algae and fungi normally have cell walls composed of other materials. • Plants have two adult forms that alternate in producing eachother o Gametophyte and Sporo
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