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Chapter 1

Exploring Life on Its Many Levels

1. Briefly describe the unifying themes that characterize the biological sciences.

• the cell – an organism’s basic unit of structure and function.

• heritable information – inheritance of biological information in the form of DNA which is encoded in the nucleotide
sequence of DNA
• emergent properties – emerge as result of interactions among components at the lower levels
• regulation – maintains a relatively steady state for internal factors, such as body temperature
• interaction with the environment – organisms are open systems that exchange materials and energy with their
• energy and life – all organisms must perform work, which requires energy
• unity and diversity – diversity is grouped into three domains: Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Unity is found through
universal genetic code
• evolution – explains both unity and diversity of life. The adaptation of population to their environments through the
differential reproductive success of varying individuals
• structure and function – form and function are correlated at all levels of biological organization
• scientific inquiry – includes observation-based discovery and the testing of explanations through hypothesis-based
• sciences, technology, and society – applications of science lead o technology which are create for the society

1. Diagram the hierarchy of structural levels in biological organization.

The hierarchy of structural levels of biological organization, from the bottom upward, is: molecules, organelles, cells, tissues,
organs and organ systems, organisms, population, community, ecosystems, and the biosphere.

2. Explain how the properties of life emerge from complex organization.

At the lowest level are atoms that are ordered into complex biological molecules. Biological molecules are organized into
structures called organelles, the components of cells. Cells are the fundamental unit of structure and function of living things.
A group of a certain kind of cells completing a certain function makes up tissues, which make up the organs of organ systems.
This is needed for all individual living things, also known as organisms. Organisms belong to populations, localized groups of
organisms belonging to the same species. Populations of several species in the same area comprise a biological community.
Populations interact with their physical environment to form an ecosystem. The biosphere consists of all the environments on
Earth that are inhabited by life.

3. Describe the two major dynamic processes of any ecosystem.

The two major dynamics of any ecosystem include two processes: the cycling of nutrients and the flow of energy from
sunlight to the producers to the consumers.

4. Distinguish between prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.

Eukaryotic cells are subdivided by internal membranes into various organelles. In most eukaryotic cells, the largest
organellis the nucleus, which contains the cell’s DNA as chromosomes. The other organelles are located in the cytoplasm,
the entire region between the nucleus and outer membrane of the cell.
Prokaryotic cells are much simpler and smaller than eukaryotic cells. In a prokaryotic cell, DNA is not separated from the
cytoplasm in a nucleus. There are no membrane-enclosed organelles in the cytoplasm.

5. Describe the basic structure and function of DNA.

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is the substance of genes, the units of inheritance that transmit information from parents to
offspring. DNA in human cells is organized into chromosomes. Each chromosome has one very long DNA molecule, with
hundreds or thousands of genes arranged along its length. The DNA of chromosomes replicates as a cell prepares to
divide. In each cell, the genes along the length of DNA molecules encode the information for building the cell’s other
molecules. DNA thus directs the development and maintenance of the entire organism.
6. Describe the dilemma of reductionism.

The dilemma of Reductionism, reducing complex systems to simpler components, is that we cannot fully explain a higher
level of organization by breaking it down into its component parts. At the same time, it is futile to try to analyze
something as complex as an organism or cell without taking it apart.

7. Discuss the goals and activities of systems biology. List three research developments that have advanced systems

The ultimate goal of systems biology is to model the dynamic behavior of whole biological systems. Three key research
developments have led to the increased importance of systems biology:

1. High-throughput technology – systems biology depends on methods that can analyze biological materials very
quickly and produce enormous amounts of data. An example is the automatic DNA-sequencing machines used by
the Human Genome Project.
2. Bioinformatics – the huge databases from high-throughput methods require computing power, software, and
mathematical models to process and integrate information.
3. Interdisciplinary research teams – systems biology teams may include engineers, medical scientists, physicists,
chemists, mathematicians, and computer scientists as well as biologists.

1. Explain the importance of regulatory mechanisms in living things. Distinguish between positive and negative

Regulatory mechanisms in living things is important for the output, or product, of a process through enzymes, specialized
protein molecules that make sure that chemical processes within cells are accelerated, or catalyzed. In negative
feedback, or feedback inhibition, accumulation of an end product of a process slows or stops that process. This type of
feedback is most common. In positive feedback, though less common, an end product speeds up its production

Evolution, Unity, and Diversity

2. Distinguish among the three domains of life. List and distinguish among the three kingdoms of multicellular,
eukaryotic life.

The three domains of life are Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. The first two domains consist of prokaryotes. Eukaryotes
are grouped into the kingdom Eukarya of which there are three more kingdoms: Plantae, Fungi, and Animalia. Plants
produce their own sugars and food by photosynthesis. Fungi are decomposers that absorb nutrients by breaking down
dead organisms and organic wastes. Animals obtain food by ingesting other organisms.

3. Explain the phrase “life’s dual nature of unity and diversity.”

The process of evolution explains both the similarities and differences among living things. There is unity in the kinship among
species that descended from common ancestors and diversity in the modifications that evolved as species branched from their
common ancestors.

4. Describe the observations and inferences that led Charles Darwin to his theory of evolution by natural selection.

Darwin inferred natural selection due to two observations. One observation was individual variation. Individuals in a population
of any species vary in many heritable traits. The second observation was overpopulation and competition which brought him
to the conclusion that any population can potentially produce far more offspring than the environment can support. This
creates a struggle for existence among variant members of a population.
One of the inference he made is unequal reproductive success. Darwin inferred that those individuals with traits best suited to the
local environment would leave more healthy, fertile offspring. The Second had to do with evolutionary adaptation. Unequal
reproductive success can lead to adaptation of a population to its environment. Over generations, heritable traits that enhance
survival and reproductive success will tend to increase in frequency among a population’s individuals. The population
5. Explain why diagrams of evolutionary relationships have a treelike form.

Diagrams of evolutionary relationships have a treelike form because just as individuals have a family tree, each species is one
twig of a branching tree of life.

The Process of Science

6. Distinguish between discovery science and hypothesis-based science. Explain why both types of exploration
contribute to our understanding of nature.

Discovery science is mostly about discovering nature while hypothesis-based science is about explaining nature.
Discovery science describes natural structures and processes as accurately as possible through careful observation and
analysis of data and it can lead to important conclusions based on inductive reasoning. In hypothesis-based science, deduction
usually takes the form of predictions about what we should expect if a particular hypothesis is correct. It must be both testable
and falsifiable to create an ideal so that it can be used to frame two or more alternative hypotheses and design experiments to
falsify them.

7. Distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data.

Quantitative data are numerical measurements and qualitative data are usually in the form of descriptions of certain

8. Distinguish between inductive and deductive reasoning.

In inductive reasoning, generalizations are based on a large number of specific observations. However, in deductive
reasoning, reasoning flows from the general to the specific

9. Explain why hypotheses must be testable and falsifiable but are not provable.

The ideal in hypothesis-based science is to frame two or more alternative hypotheses and design experiments to falsify
them. No amount of experimental testing can prove a hypothesis. A hypothesis gains support by surviving various tests
that could falsify it, while testing falsifies alternative hypotheses.

10. Describe what is meant by a controlled experiment.

In controlled experiments, scientists design experiments to test the effect of one variable by canceling out the effects of
unwanted variables.

11.Distinguish between the everyday meaning of the term theory and its meaning to scientists.

Everyday use of the term theory implies an untested speculation. Theory in terms of science explain many observations
and are supported by a great deal of evidence.

12. Explain how science is influenced by social and cultural factors.

Cultural factors cause new ideas to come up in science, new hypothesis to be tested and falsified, and new theories from same
observations by growth of knowledge and leaving of ignorance. The social factor is the type of scientists now in the field and
the new ideas they bring, such as women in science.

13. Distinguish between science and technology. Explain how science and technology are interdependent.

The goal of science is to understand natural phenomena. Technology applies scientific knowledge for some specific purpose.
Technology results from scientific discoveries applied to the development of goods and services. Scientists put new
technology to work in their research.