Vocabulary

alternation of generations

production of alternating asexual and sexual reproductive stages, consisting of a multicellular gametophyte (haploid) generation and a multicellular sporophyte (diploid) generation

analogous

similarities between organisms based on similar evolutionary pressures

autotroph

an organism that can make its own food

binomial nomenclature

two-word naming convention for each type of organism that includes genus and species name

biodiversity

number and variety of species in a given area

capsid

protein covering that encloses viral genetic material

chemotroph

organism that obtains energy through chemical reactions with certain organic or inorganic compounds, such as those containing sulfur

chitin

polysaccharide used for structure in fungi and some animals, such as insects

clade

a taxonomic group that includes an ancestor and all of its descendants

conjugation

direct transfer of genetic material between two bacteria

decomposer

an organism that breaks down dead materials and organic wastes

domain

the largest taxonomic grouping

extremophile

an organism that thrives in extreme conditions such as extreme salinity, pressure, chemical concentration, or temperature

Gram stain

a method of staining used to differentiate between types of bacteria based on cell wall structure

heterokaryotic

having nuclei from multiple individuals in the same cell

heterotroph

organism that obtains energy and carbon from consuming other organisms

histone

protein used to package DNA in condensed chromosomes

homologous

similarities between organisms, anatomical structures, or DNA, based on common ancestry

horizontal gene transfer

the direct transfer of DNA between individuals without reproduction

hypha (plural, hyphae)

small filament that makes up a fungal body

intron

DNA sequence within a gene sequence that does not code for a specific protein; these must be removed from the mRNA during processing

kingdom

the second largest taxonomic grouping, under domain

methanogen

organism that uses carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas for energy

mycorrhiza

the symbiotic relationship between plant roots and fungus found within the soil

phototroph

organism that obtains energy from the sun

PhyloCode

set of rules that states that all taxonomic groups should be based on common ancestry

phylogeny

the evolutionary history of groups of organisms

plasmid

small, circular piece of bacterial DNA that replicates on its own and can be transferred between cells

spore

haploid reproductive structure of plants, algae, and fungi that divides by mitosis into a multicellular gametophyte; can travel long distances or remain dormant for a long time

taxonomy

area of study for naming and categorizing life