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intro & sci method - Introduction to the study of...

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Introduction to the study of biology Biology is the study of life and living things. So… what are living things? How do you know that something is alive? All living things share some of the same characteristics. 1. All living things need energy; thus all living things must use METABOLISM, to generate and utilize energy. This would be taking in of food, respiration, etc. (not all organisms use O2!) 2. Living things are made of CELLS; these are the smallest units capable of carrying out physiological (metabolic) processes. 3. All living things move, or have MOTILITY – this may be either external (visible) or internal movement. (do plants move?) 4. Living things are RESPONSIVE, and react to changes in their environment. 5. Living things REPRODUCE, either sexually (like us) or asexually (like bacteria). 6. We, like all living things, started out small and got bigger; thus living things GROW and DIFFERENTIATE (a term for cells that specialize for particular jobs). 7. When living things reproduce, they pass on their genetic information to the next generation, thus HEREDITY is a characteristic of life. 8. Living things, in their responsiveness to their environment, can ADAPT to that environment – this does not change their genetic makeup, however it allows them to utilize their makeup to become more comfortable in their environment. 9. Individual living things adapt; however, populations of organisms EVOLVE. This is a term for the interaction of genes and environment; a population with a diverse genetic makeup will interact with the environment, and the individuals with the best genes for that environment will survive to pass on those genes. Eventually the genetic makeup of the entire population will shift toward one that is more appropriate for the given environment… thus, genetic makeup changing over time is the definition of evolution. (this is why individuals cannot evolve!) 10. At the very root of things, life has ORGANIZATION. This is why life requires energy – it takes much more energy to be organized than to go towards
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