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Chapter 1

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Boston University
CAS BI 108
Francis Monette

What is Biology? 1. Biology is the scientific study of living things, organisms a. Organisms i. Made up of carbohydrates, fatty acids, nucleic acids, amino acids, etc. ii. Building blocks are cells – individual things surrounded by a plasma membrane iii. Contain genetic information to help specify the assembly of proteins iv. Self-regulate their internal environment to help them survive b. Viruses i. Not composed of cells and cannot carry out physiological functions of their own c. Earth i. Formed between 4.6 and 4.5 billion years ago ii. The first living things were nucleic acids which could reproduce and serve as templates for the synthesis of larger molecules iii. The next thing was the production of membranes which enclosed the complex proteins and protected the cell from the harsh environment iv. Fatty acids paved a new way for cells to form: when agitated, they create a spherical structure d. Prokaryotes (unicellular and have a single outer membrane) i. Bacteria 1. ii. Archaea e. Eukaryotes (internal membrane and outer membrane) i. The internal membrane encloses specialized organelles such as the nucleus and the mitochondria) f. Cellular specialization – when cells specialized in functions such as reproduction, absorption of nutrients, etc. g. Photosynthesis provides the power to produce large molecules which are later broken down to provide energy h. O 2as deadly back then but as prokaryotes began to produce O , as a pr2duct of photosynthesis, those prokaryotes that could handle it reproduced and carried on. i. Aerobic metabolism (uses O to ex2ract energy from nutrient molecules) >> anaerobic metabolism (does not use O ) 2 j. Biological information i. Contained in an organism’s genome – the sum total of all the DNAmolecules contained in each of its cells ii. DNA(deoxyribonucleic acid) molecules are comprised of four different subunits called nucleotides 1. Sequence of the nucleotides contain genetic information iii. Genes are segments of DNAthat encode the information for creating amino acids and turning them into proteins 1. In essence: a. Nucleotides produce protein molecules which form structures which are responsible for specific
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