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IGCSE (Complete Biology) Chapter 1

IGCSE (Complete Biology) Chapter 1

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Published by Hubbak Khan
IGCSE (Complete Biology) Chapter 1
By Hubbak
IGCSE (Complete Biology) Chapter 1
By Hubbak

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Published by: Hubbak Khan on Jun 03, 2008
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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02/08/2015

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    C   h   a   r   a   c   t   e   r   i   s   t   i   c   s   a   n   d   c   l   a   s   s   i   f   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   o   f   l   i   v   i   n   g   o   r   g   a   n   i   s   m   s
6
Objectives
To understand that living things differ fromnon-living thingsTo be able to list the characteristics of living thingsTo understand that energy must be expended tomaintain life
You may see other similar lists of these characteristics
using slightly different words. You can rememberthis particular list using the word
RINGER
. It gives
Ringer’s solution
its name. This is a solution of ionsand molecules that physiologists use to keep livingtissues in – it keeps the cells alive.As well as the characteristics in the ‘ringer’ list,living things have a
complex organisation
that isnot found in the non-living world. A snowflake or acrystal of quartz is an organised collection of identical molecules, but even the simplest living cellcontains many different complex substancesarranged in very specific structures.Living things also show
variation
– the offspringare often different from one another and from theirparents. This is important in adaptation to theenvironment and in the process of 
evolution
.
How the characteristics of life dependon each other
Each of the characteristics of life is linked to theothers – for example, organisms can only growif they are nourished. As they take nourishmentfrom their environment, they may also producewaste materials which they must then excrete.To respond to the environment they must organisetheir cells and tissues to carry out actions. Becauseof the random nature of reproduction, they arelikely to show variation from generation togeneration.
Depending on energy
The organisation in living things and their ability tocarry out their life processes depends on a supply of 
energy
. Many biologists today define life as a set of processes that result from the organisation of matterand which depend on the expenditure of energy.In this book we shall see:how energy is liberated from food molecules andtrapped in a usable formhow molecules are organised into the structuresof living organismshow living organisms use energy to drive theirlife processes.
The dawn of life
Scientists believe that the Earth was formed from anenormous cloud of gases about 5 billion years ago.Atmospheric conditions were harsh (there was
nomolecular oxygen, for example), the environment
was very unstable, and conditions were unsuitablefor life as we know it.Many scientists believe that the first and simplest
living organisms appeared on Earth about 2.8 billionyears ago. These organisms probably fed on molecules
in a sort of ‘soup’ (called the
primordial soup
)which made up some of the shallow seas on theEarth at that time. A question that has alwaysintrigued
scientists, philosophers and religiousleaders is:
What distinguishes these first living organismsfrom the molecules in the primordial soup?
In other words, what is life?
Characteristics of living organisms
You know that a horse is alive, but a steel girder isnot. However, it is not always so obvious whethersomething is alive or not – is a dried-out seed ora virus particle living or non-living? To try toanswer questions like this, biologists use a listof characteristics that living organisms show.Living organisms:
Respire
show
Irritability
(sensitivity to theirenvironment) and
movementNourish
themselves
Grow
and
developExcreteReproduce
.The opposite page gives more detail of thecharacteristics of life.
Biology is the study of life and living organisms
11
 
    C   h   a   r   a   c   t   e   r   i   s   t   i   c   s   a   n   d   c   l   a   s   s   i   f   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   o   f   l   i   v   i   n   g   o   r   g   a   n   i   s   m   s
7
Respiration
 
is the process bywhich living cells release energyfrom organic molecules. Theform of respiration that releasesthe most energy uses oxygen.Many organisms have
ga
seousexch
a
n
g
e
systems that supplytheir cells with oxygen fromtheir environment.
Irritability (
or
sensitivity)
is theability to detect changes in theenvironment either inside oroutside the organism, and torespond to them. These responsesoften involve movement.
 Nutrition
supplies an organismwith the food it needs forrespiration, growth, repair andreproduction. Plants make theirfoods using the process ofphotosynthesis, whilst animalsobtain their foods ‘ready-made’by eating them.
Growth
and
development
arethe processes by which anorganism changes in size and inform. For example, as a younganimal increases in size (as itgrows), the relative sizes of itsbody parts change (it develops).
Excretion
removes the wasteproducts of processes such asrespiration and nutrition fromthe organism’s body.
Reproduction
is the generation ofoffspring – new individuals. Anorganism may simply split intotwo, or reproduction may be amore complex process involvingfertilisation. Reproduction makesnew organisms of the samespecies as the parents. Thisdepends on a set of chemicalplans (the genetic information).contained within each livingorganism. 
Approxim
a
tely how m
a
ny ye
a
rs p
a
sse
d
betweenthe form
a
tion of the E
a
rth
a
n
d
the
a
ppe
a
r
a
nceof the first livin
g
or
ga
nisms?Wh
a
t sort of molec
u
les
d
o yo
u
think mi
g
ht h
a
vebeen present in the primor
d
i
a
l so
u
p?
RINGER
is
a
wor
d
th
a
t helps people rememberthe ch
a
r
a
cteristics of livin
g
or
ga
nisms. Think ofyo
u
r own wor
d
to help yo
u
remember thesech
a
r
a
cteristics.S
ugg
est
two 
w
a
ys in which repro
du
ction isessenti
a
l to livin
g
or
ga
nisms.
4321
 
    C   h   a   r   a   c   t   e   r   i   s   t   i   c   s   a   n   d   c   l   a   s   s   i   f   i   c   a   t   i   o   n   o   f   l   i   v   i   n   g   o   r   g   a   n   i   s   m   s
8
Objectives
To appreciate why classification is necessaryTo understand the use of a keyTo be able to name the five kingdoms, and describetheir distinguishing characteristicsTo understand the hierarchy of classificationTo know why a binomial system of nomenclatureis valuable
put all living organisms into categories. The scienceof placing organisms into categories on the basisof their observable characteristics is called
classification
. There are so many different types of living organism(i.e. an enormous
varietyof life
)that the study of these organismswould be impossible without an ordered wayof describing them.
Classification keys
Taxonomists
(people who study classification) placeorganisms into groups by asking questions abouttheir characteristics, such as ‘Does the organismphotosynthesise?’ or ‘Does the organism containmany cells?’. A series of questions like this is calleda
classification key
. Examples of such keys areshown below.
The need to classify living things
Variation and natural selection lead to evolution.Evolution, and the isolation of populations, leads tothe development of new species (see page 220).Each species has different characteristics, and someof these characteristics can be inherited bysuccessive generations of this species. Observingthese inherited characteristics allows scientists to
The variety of life
12
A key may be used to place an organism in one of the five kingdoms.
This kind of key, with only two answers toeach question (in this case, YES or NO), iscalled a dichotomous key (‘dichotomousmeans branching). It can be written as abranching or spider key, using the samequestions: 
Br
a
nchin
g
keys
are easy to use, buttake up a lot of spacewhen fully drawn out.For this reason thelisted form of adichotomous key isusually used foridentification oforganisms outsidethe laboratory.It is a fungusIt is an animalYESNOGo to question 4It is a plantYESNOGo to question 3It is a protoctistanYESNOGo to question 2It is a bacteriumYESNODoes the organism have cells with a definite nucleus
?
Is the organism made up of many different cells
?
Is the organism a heterotroph
?
Does the organism have cell walls and does it feed byexternal digestion
?
1342It is a bacteriumIt is a protoctistan3 Is the organism a heterotroph
?
It is a plant4 Does the organism have cell walls anddoes it feed by external digestion
?
 It is a fungus It is an animalNOYESNOYESNOYESNOYESAll living organisms1 Does the organism have cells with a definite nucleus
?
2 Is the organism made up of many different cells
?
The five kin
gd
oms
BacteriaProtoctistansPlantsFungiAnimals

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