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This word can be separated as follows: Auto - troph.
Auto - means self, troph - means nourish. Autotrophs are organisms capable of
self nourishment.
2. Cytokinesis
This word can be separated as follows: Cyto - kinesis.
Cyto - means cell, kinesis - means movement. Cytokinesis refers to the
movement of the cytoplasm that produces distinct daughter cells during cell
3. Eukaryote
This word can be separated as follows: Eu - karyo - te.
Eu - means true, karyo - means nucleus. A eukaryote is an organism whose cells
contain a "true" membrane bound nucleus.
4. Heterozygous
This word can be separated as follows: Hetero - zyg - ous.
Hetero - means different, zyg - means yolk or union, ous - means characterized
by or full of. Heterozygous refers to a union characterized by the joining of two
different alleles for a given trait.
5. Hydrophilic
This word can be separated as follows: Hydro - philic.
Hydro - refers to water, philic - means love. Hydrophilic means water-loving.
6. Oligosaccharide
This word can be separated as follows: Oligo - saccharide.
Oligo - means few or little, saccharide - means sugar. An oligosaccharide is a
carbohydrate that contains a small number of component sugars.
7. Osteoblast
This word can be separated as follows: Osteo - blast.
Osteo - means bone, blast - means bud or germ (early form of an organism). An
osteoblast is a cell from which bone is derived.
8. Tegmentum
This word can be separated as follows: Teg - ment - um.
Teg - means cover, ment - refers to mind or brain. The tegmentum is the bundle
of fibers that cover the brain.
Yes, this is an actual word. What does it mean? Biology can be filled with words
that sometimes seem incomprehensible. By "dissecting" these words into

discrete units, even the most complex terms can be understood. To demonstrate
this concept, let's begin by performing biology word dissections on the word
To perform our biology word dissection, we'll need to proceed carefully. First, we
come to the prefix (pneu-), or (pneumo-) which means lung. Next, is ultra,
meaning extreme, and microscopic, meaning small. Now we come to (silico-),
which refers to silicon, and (volcano-) which refers to the mineral particles that
make up a volcano. Then we have (coni-), a derivative of the Greek word konis
meaning dust. Finally, we have the suffix (-osis) which means affected with. Now
lets rebuild what we have dissected:
Considering the prefix (pneumo-) and the suffix (-osis), we can determine that
the lungs are affected with something. But what? Breaking down the rest of the
terms we get extremely small (ultramicroscopic) silicon (silico-) and volcanic
(volcano-) dust (coni-) particles. Thus,
pneumonoultramicroscopicsilicovolcanoconiosis is a disease of the lungs
resulting from the inhalation of very fine silicate or quartz dust. That wasn't so
difficult, now was it?
Now that we've honed our dissection skills, let's try some frequently used biology
terms. For instance:
(Arth-) refers to joints and (-itis) means inflammation. Arthritis is the
inflammation of a joint(s).
(Erythro-) means red and (-cyte) means cell. Erythrocytes are red blood cells.
Okay, let's move on to more difficult words. For instance:
Dissecting, we have (electro-), pertaining to electricity, (encephal-) meaning
brain, and (-gram) meaning record. Together we have an electric brain record or
EEG. Thus, we have a record of brain wave activity using electrical contacts.
Individuals with this disorder suffer from delusions and hallucinations. (Schis-)
means split and (phren-) means mind.
These are ancient bacteria that live in extremely hot and acidic environments.
(Therm-) means heat, next you have (-acid), and finally (phil-) means love.
Together we have heat and acid lovers.
Once you understand the commonly used prefixes and suffixes, obtuse words are
a piece of cake! Now that you know how to apply the word dissection technique,
I'm sure you'll be able to determine the meaning of the word thigmotropism
(thigmo - tropism).

Regulation of Kidney Function

One of the most important aspects of the mammalian kidney is its ability to adjust both the volume
and osmolarity of urine, depending on the animals water and salt balance and the rate of urea
production. In situations of high salt intake and low water availability, a mammal can excrete urea
and salt with minimal water loss in small volumes of hyperosmotic urine. But if salt is scarce and fluid
intake is high, the kidney can get rid of the excess water with little salt loss by producing large volumes
of hypoosmotic urine (as dilute as 70 mosm/L, compared to about 300 mosm/L for human blood).
This versatility in osmoregulatory function is managed with a combination of nervous and hormonal
One hormone that is important in regulating water balance is antidiuretic hormone (ADH).

ADH is produced in the hypothalamus of the brain and is stored in and released from the posterior
pituitary gland, which is positioned just below the hypothalamus. Osmoreceptor cells in the
hypothalamus monitor the osmolarity of blood; when it rises above a set point of 300 mosm/L
(perhaps due to water loss from sweating or to ingestion of salty food), more ADH is released into the
bloodstream and reaches the kidney. The main targets of ADH are the distal tubules and collecting
ducts of the kidney, where the hormone increases the permeability of the epithelium to water. This
amplifies water reabsorption, which reduces urine volume and helps prevent further increase of blood
osmolarity above the set point. By negative feedback, the subsiding osmolarity of the blood reduces
the activity of osmoreceptor cells in the hypothalamus, and less ADH is then secreted. But only the
gain of additional water in food and drink can bring osmolarity all the way back down to 300 mosm/L.
Conversely, if a large intake of water has reduced blood osmolarity below the set point, very little ADH
is released. This decreases the permeability of the distal tubules and collecting ducts, so water
reabsorption is reduced, resulting in increased discharge of dilute urine. (Increased urination is called
diuresis, and it is because ADH opposes this state that it is called anti diuretic hormone.) Alcohol can
disturb water balance by inhibiting the release of ADH, causing excessive urinary water loss and
dehydration (which may cause some of the symptoms of a hangover). Normally, blood osmolarity,
ADH release, and water reabsorption in the kidney are all linked in a feedback loop that contributes to
A second regulatory mechanism involves a specialised tissue called the juxtaglomerular apparatus
(JGA), located near the afferent arteriole that supplies blood to the glomerulus. When blood pressure
or blood volume in the afferent arteriole drops (for instance, as a result of reduced salt intake or loss
of blood), the enzyme renin initiates chemical reactions that convert a plasma protein called
angiotensinogen to a peptide called angiotensin II. Functioning as a hormone, angiotensin II raises

blood pressure by constricting arterioles, decreasing blood flow to many capillaries, including those of
the kidney. Angiotensin II also stimulates the proximal tubules of the nephrons to reabsorb more
NaCl and water. This reduces the amount of salt and water excreted in the urine and consequently
raises blood volume and pressure. Another effect of angiotensin II is stimulation of the adrenal glands
to release a hormone called aldosterone. This hormone acts on the nephrons distal tubules, making
them reabsorb more sodium (Na+) and water and increasing blood volume and pressure. In
summary, the reninangiotensinaldosterone system (RAAS) is part of a complex feedback circuit
that functions in homeostasis. A drop in blood pressure and blood volume triggers renin release from
the JGA. In turn, the rise in blood pressure and volume resulting from the various actions of
angiotensin II and aldosterone reduce the release of renin.
The functions of ADH and the RAAS may seem to be redundant, but this is not the case. Both increase
water reabsorption, but they counter different osmoregulatory problems. The release of ADH is a
response to an increase in the osmolarity of the blood, as when the body is dehydrated from excessive
water loss or inadequate intake of water. However, a situation that causes an excessive loss of both salt
and body fluidsan injury, for example, or severe diarrheawill reduce blood volume without
increasing osmolarity. This will not induce a change in ADH release, but the RAAS will respond to the
fall in blood volume and pressure by increasing water and Na+ reabsorption. ADH and the RAAS are
partners in homeostasis; ADH alone would lower blood Na+ concentration by stimulating water
reabsorption in the kidney, but the RAAS helps maintain balance by stimulating Na+ reabsorption.
Still another hormone, a peptide called atrial natriuretic factor (ANF), opposes the RAAS. The walls of
the atria of the heart release ANF in response to an increase in blood volume and pressure. ANF
inhibits the release of renin from the JGA, inhibits NaCl reabsorption by the collecting ducts, and
reduces aldosterone release from the adrenal glands. These actions lower blood volume and pressure.
Thus, ADH, the RAAS, and ANF provide an elaborate system of checks and balances that regulate the
kidneys ability to control the osmolarity, salt concentration, volume, and pressure of blood. The
precise regulatory role of ANF is an area of active research

Allele and Gene

A gene is a part of the DNA. Alleles on the other hand refer to different versions of the same
gene. There are other more subtle differences between the two and this is what we are going
to explore.

Genes are the different parts of the DNA that decide the genetic traits a person is
going to have. Alleles are the different sequences on the DNA-they determine a single
characteristic in an individual.

Another important difference between the two is that alleles occur in pairs. They are
also differentiated into recessive and dominant categories. Genes do not have any such

An interesting difference between alleles and genes is that alleles produce opposite
phenotypes that are contrasting by nature. When the two partners of a gene are
homogeneous in nature, they are called homozygous. However, if the pair consists of
different alleles, they are called heterozygous. In heterozygous alleles, the dominant allele
gains an expression.

The dominance of a gene is determined by whether the AA and Aa are alike

phenotypically. It is easier to find dominants because they express themselves better when
they are paired with either allele.

Alleles are basically different types of the same gene. Let me explain this to you in
this way- If your eye colour was decided by a single gene, the colour blue would be carried by
one allele and the colour green by another. Fascinating, isnt it?

All of us inherit a pair of genes from each of our parents. These genes are exactly the
same for each other. So what causes the differences between individuals? It is the result of
the alleles.

The difference between the two becomes more pronounced in the case of traits. A
trait refers to what you see, so it is the physical expression of the genes themselves. Alleles
determine the different versions of the genes that we see. A gene is like a machine that has
been put together. However, how it will works will depend on the alleles.
Both alleles and genes play an all important role in the development of living forms. The
difference is most colourfully manifest in humans of course! So next time you see the variety
of hair colour and eye colour around you, take a moment and admire the phenomenal power
of both the gene and the allele!

1. Genes are something we inherit from our parents - alleles determine how they are
expressed in an individual.

2. Alleles occur in pairs but there is no such pairing for genes.

3. A pair of alleles produces opposing phenotypes. No such generalisation can be assigned to
4. Alleles determine the traits we inherit.
5. The genes we inherit are the same for all humans. However, how these manifest
themselves is actually determined by alleles.

Inheritance of SexLinked Genes

In addition to their role in determining sex, the sex chromosomes, especially X
chromosomes, have genes for many characters unrelated to sex. A gene located on
either sex chromosome is called a sexlinked gene , although in humans the term
has historically referred specifically to a gene on the X chromosome. (Note the
distinction between the terms sexlinked gene, referring to a gene on a sex
chromosome, and linked genes, referring to genes on the same chromosome that
tend to be inherited together.) Sexlinked genes in humans follow the same pattern
of inheritance that Morgan observed for the eyecolor locus in Drosophila. Fathers
pass sexlinked alleles to all of their daughters but to none of their sons. In contrast,
mothers can pass sexlinked alleles to both sons and daughters.

The transmission of sexlinked recessive traits. In this diagram, the

superscript A represents a dominant allele carried on the X chromosome, and the
superscript a represents a recessive allele. Imagine that this recessive allele is a
mutation that causes a sexlinked disorder, such as color blindness. White boxes
indicate unaffected individuals, lightcoloured boxes indicate carriers, and dark
coloured boxes indicate individuals with the sexlinked disorder
If a sexlinked trait is due to a recessive allele, a female will express the phenotype
only if she is a homozygote. Because males have only one locus, the terms
homozygous and heterozygous lack meaning for describing their sexlinked genes
(the term hemizygous is used in such cases). Any male receiving the recessive allele
from his mother will express the trait. For this reason, far more males than females
have sexlinked recessive disorders. However, even though the chance of a female
inheriting a double dose of the mutant allele is much less than the probability of a
male inheriting a single dose, there are females with sexlinked disorders. For
instance, colour blindness is a mild disorder inherited as a sexlinked trait. A
colourblind daughter may be born to a colourblind father whose mate is a carrier.
However, because the sexlinked allele for colour blindness is relatively rare, the
A number of human sexlinked disorders are much more serious than colour
blindness. An example is Duchenne muscular dystrophy , which affects about
one out of every 3,500 males born in the United States. The disease is characterised
by a progressive weakening of the muscles and loss of coordination. Affected
individuals rarely live past their early 20s. Researchers have traced the disorder to
the absence of a key muscle protein called dystrophin and have mapped the gene for
Haemophilia is a sexlinked recessive disorder defined by the absence of one or

more of the proteins required for blood clotting. When a person with haemophilia is
injured, bleeding is prolonged because a firm clot is slow to form. Small cuts in the
skin are usually not a problem, but bleeding in the muscles or joints can be painful
and can lead to serious damage. Today, people with haemophilia are treated as
needed with intravenous injections of the missing protein.

Reproductive cycle of the human female

The reproductive cycle of the human female. The figure above shows how (c)
the ovarian cycle and (e) the uterine (menstrual) cycle are regulated by changing
hormone levels in the blood, depicted in parts (a), (b), and (d). The time scale at the
bottom of the figure applies to parts (b)(e).
The hormones at the top levels of control of this dual cycle are the same brain
hormones that control the male reproductive system. These hormones are
gonadotropinreleasing hormone (GnRH), secreted by the hypothalamus, and the
gonadotropins folliclestimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinising hormone (LH),
secreted by the anterior pituitary. The concentrations of FSH and LH in the blood
control the production of two kinds of steroid hormones that are made in the ovaries:
oestrogen (actually a family of closely related hormones) and progesterone. The
ovarian cycle of hormone production in turn controls the uterine cycle of endometrial
growth and loss. The outcome is that ovarian follicle growth and ovulation are
synchronised with preparation of the uterine lining for possible implantation of an
1 The cycle begins with the release from the hypothalamus of GnRH, which
2 stimulates the pituitary to secrete small amounts of FSH and LH.
3 The FSH (true to its name) stimulates follicle growth, aided by LH, and
4 the cells of the growing follicles start to make oestrogen. Notice in the figure that
there is a slow rise in the amount of oestrogen secreted during most of the follicular
phase, the part of the ovarian cycle during which follicles are growing and oocytes
maturing. (Several follicles begin to grow with each cycle, but usually only one

matures; the others disintegrate.) The low levels of oestrogen inhibit secretion of the
pituitary hormones, keeping the levels of FSH and LH relatively low.
The levels of FSH and LH, however, shoot up sharply when
5 the secretion of oestrogen by the growing follicle begins to rise steeply. Whereas a
low level of oestrogen inhibits the secretion of pituitary gonadotropins, a high
concentration has the opposite effect: It stimulates the secretion of gonadotropins by
acting on the hypothalamus to increase its output of GnRH.
6 You can see this response in the figure as steep increases in FSH and LH levels that
occur soon after the increase in the concentration of oestrogen, indicated in the
figure. The effect is greater for LH because the high concentration of oestrogen also
increases the sensitivity of LHreleasing cells in the pituitary to GnRH. By now, the
follicles can respond more strongly to LH because more of their cells have receptors
for this hormone. The increase in LH concentration caused by increased oestrogen
secretion from the growing follicle is an example of positive feedback. The LH
7 The maturing follicle develops an internal fluidfilled cavity and grows very large,
forming a bulge near the surface of the ovary. The follicular phase ends, about a day
after the LH surge, with ovulation: The follicle and adjacent wall of the ovary
rupture, releasing the secondary oocyte.
8 Following ovulation, during the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle, LH stimulates
the transformation of the follicular tissue left behind in the ovary to form the corpus
luteum, a glandular structure. (LH is named for this luteinising function.) Under
continued stimulation by LH during this phase of the ovarian cycle, the corpus
luteum secretes progesterone and oestrogen. As the levels of progesterone and
estrogen rise, the combination of these hormones exerts negative feedback on the
hypothalamus and pituitary, inhibiting the secretion of LH and FSH. Near the end of
the luteal phase, the corpus luteum disintegrates, causing concentrations of estrogen
and progesterone to decline sharply. The dropping levels of ovarian hormones
liberate the hypothalamus and pituitary from the inhibitory effects of these
hormones. The pituitary can then begin to secrete enough FSH to stimulate the
growth of new follicles in the ovary, initiating the next ovarian cycle.
The hormones secreted by the ovariesoestrogen and progesteronehave a major
effect on the uterus. Oestrogen secreted in increasing amounts by growing follicles
signals the endometrium to thicken. In this way, the follicular phase of the ovarian
cycle is coordinated with the proliferative phase of the uterine cycle. Before
ovulation, the uterus is already being prepared for a possible embryo. After
9 oestrogen and progesterone secreted by the corpus luteum stimulate continued
development and maintenance of the endometrium, including enlargement of
arteries and growth of endometrial glands. These glands secrete a nutrient fluid that
can sustain an early embryo even before it actually implants in the uterine lining.
Thus, the luteal phase of the ovarian cycle is coordinated with what is called
the secretory phase of the uterine cycle.
10 The rapid drop in the level of ovarian hormones when the corpus luteum
disintegrates causes spasms of the arteries in the uterine lining that deprive it of
blood. The upper twothirds of the endometrium disintegrates, resulting in
menstruationthe menstrual flow phase of the uterine cycleand the beginning
of a new cycle. By convention, the first day of menstruation is designated day 1 of the

uterine (and ovarian) cycle. Menstrual bleeding usually persists for a few days.
During menstruation, a fresh batch of ovarian follicles are just beginning to grow.
Cycle after cycle, the maturation and release of egg cells from the ovary are
integrated with changes in the uterus, the organ that must accommodate an embryo
if the egg cell is fertilized. If an embryo has not implanted in the endometrium by the
end of the secretory phase of the uterine cycle, a new menstrual flow commences,
marking day 1 of the next cycle. Later in the chapter, you will learn about override
mechanisms that prevent disintegration of the endometrium in pregnancy.
In addition to the roles of oestrogen in coordinating the female reproductive cycle,
this hormone family is responsible for the secondary sex characteristics of the
female. Oestrogen induces deposition of fat in the breasts and hips, increases water
retention, affects calcium metabolism, stimulates breast development, and influences
female sexual behaviour.
After about 450 cycles, human females undergo menopause, the cessation of
ovulation and menstruation. Menopause usually occurs between the ages of 46 and
54. Apparently, during these years the ovaries lose their responsiveness to
gonadotropins from the pituitary (FSH and LH), and menopause results from a
decline in estrogen production by the ovary. Menopause is an unusual phenomenon;
in most species, females as well as males retain their reproductive capacity
throughout life. Is there an evolutionary explanation for menopause? Why might
natural selection have favoured females who had stopped reproducing? One
intriguing hypothesis proposes that during early human evolution, undergoing
menopause after having some children actually increased a womans fitness; losing
the ability to reproduce allowed her to provide better care for her children and
grandchildren, thereby increasing the survival of individuals bearing her genes.

Plant Tissues

A mature vascular plant, e.g., a tobacco plant, contains several differentiated cell types. These are
grouped together in tissues. Some tissues contain only one type of cell. Some consist of several.

The main function of meristematic tissue is mitosis. The cells are small, thin-walled, with no central
vacuole and no specialised features.
Meristematic tissue is located in
-the apical meristems at the growing points of roots and stems.
-the secondary meristems (lateral buds) at the nodes of stems (where branching occurs), and in some
-a ring of meristematic tissue, called the cambium, that is found within the mature stem.
The cells produced in the meristems soon become differentiated into one or another of several types.
Protective tissue covers the surface of leaves and the living cells of roots and stems. Its cells are
flattened with their top and bottom surfaces parallel. The upper and lower epidermis of the leaf are
examples of protective tissue.
The cells of parenchyma are large, thin-walled, and usually have a large central vacuole. They are often
partially separated from each other. They are usually stuffed with plastids.
In areas not exposed to light, colorless plastids predominate and food storage is the main function.
The cells of the white potato are parenchyma cells.
Where light is present, e.g., in leaves, chloroplasts predominate and photosynthesis is the main
The walls of these cells are very thick and built up in a uniform layer around the entire margin of the
cell. Often, the protoplasts die after the cell wall is fully formed. Sclerenchyma cells are usually found
associated with other cells types and give them mechanical support.
Sclerenchyma is found in stems and also in leaf veins. Sclerenchyma also makes up the hard outer
covering of seeds and nuts.
Collenchyma cells have thick walls that are especially thick at their corners. These cells provide
mechanical support for the plant. They are most often found in areas that are growing rapidly and
need to be strengthened. The petiole ("stalk") of leaves is usually reinforced with collenchyma.
Xylem conducts water and dissolved minerals from the roots to all the other parts of the plant.
In angiosperms, most of the water travels in the xylem vessels. These are thick-walled tubes that can
extend vertically through several feet of xylem tissue. Their diameter may be as large as 0.7 mm. Their
walls are thickened with secondary deposits of cellulose and are usually further strengthened by
impregnation with lignin. The secondary walls of the xylem vessels are deposited in spirals and rings
and are usually perforated by pits.
Xylem vessels arise from individual cylindrical cells oriented end to end. At maturity the end walls of
these cells dissolve away and the cytoplasmic contents die. The result is the xylem vessel, a continuous
non-living duct. The vessels carry water and some dissolved solutes, such as inorganic ions, up the
Xylem also contains tracheids. These are individual cells tapered at each end so the tapered end of one
cell overlaps that of the adjacent cell. Like xylem vessels, they have thick, lignified walls and, at
maturity, no cytoplasm. Their walls are perforated so that water can flow from one tracheid to the
next. The xylem of ferns and conifers contains only tracheids.
In woody plants, the older xylem ceases to participate in water transport and simply serves to give
strength to the trunk. Wood is xylem. When counting the annual rings of a tree, one is counting rings
of xylem.

The main components of phloem are
-sieve elements and
-companion cells.
Sieve elements are so-named because their end walls are perforated. This allows cytoplasmic
connections between vertically-stacked cells. The result is a sieve tube that conducts the products of
photosynthesis - sugars and amino acids - from the place where they are manufactured (a "source"),
e.g., leaves, to the places ("sinks") where they are consumed or stored; such as
-growing tips of stems and leaves
-fruits, tubers, corms, etc.
Sieve elements have no nucleus and only a sparse collection of other organelles. They depend on the
adjacent companion cells for many functions.
Companion cells move sugars and amino acids into and out of the sieve elements. In "source" tissue,
such as a leaf, the companion cells use transmembrane proteins to take up - by active transport sugars and amino acids from the cells manufacturing them. Water follows by osmosis. These materials
then move into adjacent sieve elements by diffusion through plasmodesmata. The pressure created by
osmosis drives the flow of materials through the sieve tubes.
In "sink" tissue, the sugars and amino acids leave the sieve tubes by diffusion through plasmodesmata
connecting the sieve elements to the cells of their destination. Again, water follows by osmosis where
it may
-leave the plant by transpiration or
-increase the volume of the cells or
-move into the xylem for recycling through the plant.