LECTURE 02 HOW DO YOU STUDY LIFE

LECTURE 02 HOW DO YOU STUDY LIFE - 2:010 Principles of...

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2:010 Principles of Biology 1 LECTURE 2 How Do We Study Life? You will remember that life has several properties that distinguish it from non-living matter and structure is only one of them. Life also performs many functions that distinguish it from non-living matter. These are listed in the following figure from your text. These functions include: Energy from environment is required to create and maintain the complex biological structures even in the presence of forces that are trying to destroy it. Regulation (homeostasis) is the ability to keep internal conditions at optimum levels. Responses to the environment Reproduction Evolution 1
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We will condense this list to what I consider to be the 2 essential aspects of life: Evolutionary aspect – main topic of 2:011 Principles of Biology 2 Metabolic aspect – main topic of this semester. EVOLUTIONARY ASPECT OF LIFE Changes have occurred in living matter over time. Many of these are large changes that have occurred over a very long time. There are now millions of different forms of life and they all evolved from a single ancestor by the process of Darwinian evolution. This requires that life forms: Reproduce in a manner that enables each new generation to inherit some of the properties of their parents. Each generation there are random mutations (changes) in the genetic material. That produce structural and functional changes in the next generation. Some of these changes are favorable and result in life forms that produce more offspring than others. These faster reproducing life forms will occur in greater number by the process of natural selection. Many of us have a hard time believing this. This is because we do not directly experience these changes in our lifetime. The changes are too slow and our lives are too short. This makes Darwinian counterintuitive regardless of how much scientific evidence supports it. Next semester you will analyze this evidence. One problem arises from considering the ability to evolve as a defining characteristic of life come from the following examples: ARE THESE ALIVE? 2
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Most of you would say yes that these mules and nerve cell are alive. However, neither of these can reproduce and therefore cannot undergo evolution.
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This note was uploaded on 03/30/2008 for the course BIO 2:010 taught by Professor Denburg during the Spring '08 term at University of Iowa.

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LECTURE 02 HOW DO YOU STUDY LIFE - 2:010 Principles of...

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