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High School Biology - What You Need to Know< Biology home page
1. The Science of Biology Show More >
The science of Biology is a way of gathering and analyzing information about living things. With this information we can identify patterns and make useful predictions about the natural world.
• Scientific Theory Show More >
You should be able to describe the steps in the scientific method and know the difference between a hypothesis and a scientific theory.
• Revising Scientific Theories Show More >
Understand the reasons that scientific explanations and theories are refined or replaced and know some examples from history that show how our understanding of the natural world has changed.
• Science Methodology Show More >
Understand how variables are controlled and how evidence is used to support conclusions and be able to create, analyze, and interpret tables and graphs from data.
• Science Investigation Show More >
Be able to plan and implement observational or experimental investigations to address a biological question and apply mathematical skills to solve and describe biological phenomena.
2. The Chemistry of Biology Show More >
There are basic chemical principles that affect all living things and to really understand biology you have to know the chemistry of biology. The term "metabolism" refers to all the chemical reactions that occur in a living thing. You should understand the structure and behavior of atoms and compounds, the main types of chemical bonds and what happens to them during chemical reactions, and that all living systems need the constant input of free energy for the biological processes that utilize that energy in an ordered way.
• Matter and Energy Transfer Show More >
Sustaining life requires energy and the transformation of matter. Most biological compounds and life processes involved with this include carbon so you should understand why carbon is so important and why its chemical bonding behavior is so interesting. ATP is an important molecule involved with energy so you should understand its role in cellular activities.
• Carbon Compounds Show More >
Living organisms are made up primarily of carbon compounds so you should be able to describe the structure and functions of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids.
• Monomers to Polymers Show More >
Understand how polymers, like carbohydrates, are formed from monomers, like simple sugars, through dehydration synthesis.
• Protein Structure Show More >
Understand how protein structure is determined as the specific order of amino acids in a polypeptide interacts with the environment around the polypeptide.
• Overview of Photosynthesis Show More >
The capture of energy from the sun by photosynthetic organisms is a major resource base for life on Earth. Organisms that capture energy this way are called autotrophs. Understand the difference between a heterotroph and an autotroph.
• Chemosynthesis Show More >
Chemosynthetic organisms are non-photosynthetic autotrophs that capture free energy from inorganic molecules in their environment like the bacteria that live in deep-sea vents beyond the presence of sunlight. You should be able to compare and contrast the processes of photosynthesis and chemosynthesis.
• The Process of Photosynthesis Show More >
Understand what the overall equation for photosynthesis represents, know the difference between the light-dependent and light-independent reactions, and the role of electron carrier molecules in the entire process.
• Photosystems I and II Show More >
The light-dependent part of photosynthesis in eukaryotes is a complex series of reaction pathways. You should understand where it happens, what the differences is between Photosystem I and Photosystem II, what happens when electrons are passed through the electron transport chain (ETC), and how this is linked to the synthesis of ATP.
• Factors Affecting Photosynthsis Show More >
Know how temperature, light, and water affect the rate of photosynthesis and how this is related to particular environmental conditions.
• Biochemical Adaptations Show More >
Certain extreme conditions require special adaptations and this includes the process of photosynthesis. You should know the difference between C4 plants and CAM plants and understand how they represent adaptations to specific environmental conditions.
• Overview of Cellular Respiration Show More >
Cellular metabolism is the way that living organisms convert food molecules into energy that cells can use. Metabolism in the presence of molecular oxygen (O2) is usually aerobic respiration. You should be able to understand what the equation for respiration represents, outline the basic steps in cellular respiration, and be able to explain the relationship between photosynthesis and respiration.
• Aerobic Respiration vs. Anaerobic Fermentation Show More >
Oxygen is required for the process of respiration but what happens if an organism has a limited supply of oxygen available? You should know what the difference is between aerobic respiration and anaerobic respiration (fermentation) and what the advantages are of each.
• Cellular Respiration in Detail Show More >
The metabolism of carbon compounds, like glucose, is a complex biological process. You should be able to describe what happens to a glucose molecule as it goes through glycolysis, what happens to the product pyruvate, and what occurs during the Kreb's cycle as ATP is synthesized through substrate level phosphorylation.
• Water in Biological Systems Show More >
All living things depend on water for carrying out their life processes. The chemical structure of water results in some unique properties related to its polarity so you should understand how some of these properties (like adhesion, cohesion, and its high heat capacity) affect living systems.
• pH Show More >
Water sometimes splits apart to form ions in solution and this can have an important affect on cell processes. You should kow the difference between an acidic solution and a basic solution and understand why buffers are important to cells.
• Regulation in Biological Systems Show More >
Organisms respond to change in their internal and external environment through various physiological and behaviorial ways. This process is generally called homeostasis. You should understand how the systems in an organism's body work together to maintain homeostasis and how even individual cells have internal feedback mechanisms to keep the internal environment of the cell stable and functioning properly.
• Enzymes Show More >
Enzymes are special proteins that help regulate chemical reactions in living things. You should know what role they play and how pH, temperature, concentration, and regulatory molecules affect their activity.
• Cofactors and Coenzymes Show More >
You should be aware of the interaction of certain molecules, called cofactors and coenzymes, and how they affect the shape of enzymes because they may result in a change of that enzyme's function.
• Cell to Cell Communication Show More >
Cells can communicate across distances, without physical contact, by transmitting and receiving chemical signals. This is another way that biological processes within a multicellular organism can be regulated. You should understand how these chemicals are produced and how they function as feedback mechanisms to regulate specific pathways, and how receptor molecules are involved,
3. The Cellular Basis of Biology Show More >
All living things are made of cells and cells are the smallest part of any organism that demonstrates all the basic characteristics of life. Observations of cells by many scientists led to the development of the Cell Theory. You should know what the Cell Theory states and on what scientific work it's based.
• Microscopes Show More >
The invention of the microscope changed biology forever by making it possible to discover the existence of cells. You should know how all the parts of a microscope works, how electron and light microscopes differ, and how to prepare specimens for viewing under a light microscope.
• Prokaryotes vs. Eukaryotes Show More >
Prokaryotic cells represent the oldest form of life on Earth while eukaryotes are the most complex. You should know which organisms are prokaryotic and which are eukaryotic and know the structural differences between them.
• Basic Cell Structure & Function Show More >
Tiny, specialized structures inside cells, called organelles, can vary from cell-type to cell-type, but you should be able to identify and explain the function of a cell nucleus, vacuoles, lysosomes, cytoskeleton, ribosomes, endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi apparatus, centrioles, cell wall, chloroplasts, and mitochondria.
• Cell Structure in Detail Show More >
For an advanced class you should know that endoplasmic reticulum comes in two forms. You should know that there are organisms, besides plants, which contain chloroplasts and others that have cell walls, and that chloroplasts and mitochondria contain their own DNA.
• Cell Membranes Show More >
Cell membranes control what gets in and out of a cell and cell organelles. You should know the components that make up a typical cell membrane, be able to describe the fluid mosaic model of cell membranes, and understand its significance.
• Internal Membranes Show More >
Internal membranes, in addition to the membrane that surrounds an individual cell, increases the surface area where chemical reactions can occur. They are very important factors in eukaryotic specialization.
• Cellular Homeostasis Show More >
Cell membranes help maintain the internal homeostasis of a cell by regulating what enters and leaves . You should understand the principles behind diffusion and osmosis, understand the difference between active and passive transport, and be able to describe some examples of each kind of phenomenon.
• External Environment of the Cell Show More >
Know what will happen to a cell when it’s placed in an isotonic, hypertonic, or hypotonic environment and be able to give some examples of this phenomenon in living systems.
• Cell Size Show More >
The size of a cell is related to a cell being able to obtain the resources it needs to maintain homeostasis. Given this, you should be able to explain why the surface-area to volume ratio of a cell is important.
• Cell Membrane Proteins Show More >
Membrane proteins play a vital role in the movement of charged and polar molecules through a membrane. The sodium-potassium pump is a good example of this process.
• Cell Growth & Division Show More >
Cells grow and divide when an organism grows larger, as a form of asexual reproduction, or to replace damaged cells. The cell cycle refers to the stages that a cell undergoes during growth and division. You should be able to describe the main events of the cell cycle and specifically what happens during the four phases of mitosis in both plant and animal cells.
• Regulation of the Cell Cycle Show More >
Know how the cell cycle is regulated by a series of checkpoints made up of internal and external cell signals.
• Chromosomes Show More >
Know that eukaryotic chromosomes are made up of DNA and protein complexes.
• Cell Differentiation Show More >
As a multicellular organism grows and develops, its cells become differentiated. You should understand what it means for a cell to be "differentiated" and be able to provide some examples of specialized cells. Stem cells are special, undifferentiated cells. You should be able to explain their importance in cell regeneration and in medical research.
• Regulation of Cell Differentiation Show More >
Differentiation during development of a multicellular organism is due to interactions between external stimuli and gene expression that is affected by intercellular and intracellular chemical signaling. These signals can vary from cell to cell which results in cell differentiation. You should know what some of these internal and external stimuli are.
• Cancer Show More >
Cancer is related to cell growth. You should know that unregulated cell growth leads to cancer, be able to describe how cancer cells behave as compared to normal cells, and understand some of the molecular causes of cancer.
4. Genetics Show More >
The work of Gregor Mendel became the foundation for the modern science of genetics which explains how biological information passes from one organism to another. Many year's after Mendel's work, DNA was determined to be the source of that genetic information. You should know about Mendel as well as the work of the scientists who discovered DNA's structure.
• DNA Structure and Replication Show More >
The elegant structure of DNA is the key to understanding how genetic information is inherited. You should be able to describe the chemical components of DNA, how they fit together, and why the double-helix model is important.
• Discovery of the Genetic Material Show More >
The work of many scientists contributed to our understanding of DNA as the genetic material; and now we know that RNA can also be used by some organisms as genetic material. You should know the work of Griffith, Hershey & Chase, Avery MacLeod and McCarty as well as how retroviruses transmit genetic information.
• DNA Replication Show More >
DNA replication is the process of making a copy of all the chromosomes in a cell. You should be able to summarize the events that take place when a cell copies its DNA and understand that every organism has a characteristic number of chromosomes.
• Replication Lagging and Leading Show More >
DNA is replicated in one direction and in a semi-conservative fashion. You should understand how this creates a leading and lagging strand and the role of both Okazaki fragments and telomeres.
• Chromosomes in Non-Eukaryotes Show More >
Prokaryotes, viruses, and some eukaryotes can contain small extra-chromosomal, circular DNA molecules called plasmids.
• Meiosis Show More >
Meiosis is how the chromosome number is reduced by half for gametes and leads to genetic diversity from sexual reproduction. You should be able to summarize what happens during the phases of meiosis and explain how meiosis is different from mitosis.
• Crossing Over Show More >
The process of crossing over increases genetic variation.
• Principles of Heredity Show More >
The work of Gregor Mendel discovered the basics of how genetic information is passed from one generation to another. You should know what happens to alleles during segregation and understand the principle of dominance.
• Gene Linkage Show More >
Be familiar with the work of Thomas Hunt Morgan which discovered the phenomenon of gene linkage and understand that gene linkage is not explained by simple Mendelian genetics.
• Genetic Probability and Punnett Squares Show More >
The principles of probability can be used to predict the outcome of certain genetic crosses. You should be able to explain the principle of independent assortment and use a Punnett square to solve one-trait and two-trait genetic crosses.
• Non-Mendelian Patterns of Inheritance Show More >
Not all traits follow Mendelian patterns of inheritance and there can be multiple alleles for the same trait. You should know how the following patterns of genetic inheritance operate: codominance, incomplete dominance, sex-linked traits, polygenic inheritance.
• Environmental Influences on Gene Expression Show More >
Know that environmental conditions can affect genetic expression and be able to describe some examples of this phenomenon.
• Protein Synthesis Show More >
The genetic code is primarily a set of instructions for making proteins. RNA has many roles in this process so you should know the structure of RNA, how it differs from DNA, and be able to outline the steps in transcription & translation from the genetic code to the making of a protein.
• RNA Processing Show More >
In eukaryotes, the mRNA transcript undergoes a series of modifications that increases genetic flexibility. Understand the steps in this process and the outcome.
• The Genetic Code Show More >
Know that each codon specifies a specific amino acid and be able to read a genetic code chart.
• Mutations Show More >
Errors in the DNA code can be detrimental but are also a source of genetic diversity. Understand how mutations affect the genetic code and how they affect protein synthesis.
• Biotechnology Show More >
Modern technology can be used to analyze and manipulate DNA, transfer genes from one organism to another, as well as clone genes and whole organisms. You should understand the process of gel electrophoresis, recombinant DNA technology, and be able to describe some examples of gene therapy.
5. Diversity of Life Show More >
The diversity of species on Earth is actually a reflection of an underlying unity and common ancestry, and modern methods of classification are based on evolutionary relationships to create a "tree of life". You should be familiar with the Linnaean system of classification and know how organisms are classified into domains as well as into the current six-kingdom system.
• Scientific Nomenclature Show More >
There are conventions for scientific naming meant to prevent the confusion of having one organism known by several different common names. You should know the rules of binomial nomenclature and how this helps to organize living things into groups that show biological relationships.
• Cladograms and Phylogenetic Trees Show More >
Understand that cladograms and phylogenetic trees are dynamic and constantly being revised. Be able to interpret what they represent.
• Viruses & Microorganisms Show More >
Viruses and microorganisms are present everywhere. Some cause diseases and some are beneficial. You should know the role prokaryotes play in the enviroment and how humans use them for beneficial purposes. You should also be able to summarize the life cycle of viruses.
• Fungi Show More >
Fungi come in all shapes and sizes from huge to microscopic. You should be familiar with some examples of common fungi, their basic characteristics, and the role that fungi play in the environment as decomposers.
• Plants Show More >
Plants haven't always existed on Earth but they're now at the base of all terrestrial food chains and play an indispensible role in the environment. You should know the basic characteristics of plants and how some of these characteristics have adapted to different environments.
• Classes of Plants Show More >
Know the difference between vascular and non-vascular plants as well as seedless plants and seeded plants.
• Angiosperms Show More >
Know the characterisitics of flowering plants, how they reproduce, and the evolutionary advantage of having flowers.
• Animals Show More >
Studying animal structure and function can tell us a lot about the history of life on Earth, as well as about ourselves. You should know the characteristics that are used to classify an organism as an animal.
• Invertebrates vs. Chordates Show More >
Know the difference between invertebrates, chordates, and vertebrates. Know what a chordate is and why they represent an important evolutionary link between invertebrates and vertebrates.
• Animal Phyla Show More >
Understand how the main animal phyla are classified and what this shows about the evolutionary history of animals in general.
6. Biological Evolution Show More >
Evidence that supports a common ancestry of organisms from all domains can be found in structural and functional similarities along phylogenetic trees. You should be able to describe some examples of the evidence used to support this relatedness.
• History of Life on Earth Show More >
The fossil record and geological phenomena can help us understand Earth's biological history. You should understand what fossils can reveal about ancient life and the various ways that fossils can be dated. You should also be able to describe how the environment on Earth has changed and explain how this has influenced the evolution of life. For example, Earth's early atmosphere was devoid of free oxygen until the evolution of photosynthesizing organisms.
• Origin of Life Show More >
There are several hypotheses about the natural origin of life on Earth. You should be able to describe some of these hypotheses as well as the evidence that supports each model.
• Endosymbiont Hypothesis Show More >
This hypothesis proposes that modern eukaryotic cells developed from a symbiotic relationship between primitive prokaryotes. For example, that chloroplasts evolved from a prokaryote with the ability to photosynthesize that developed a symbiotic relationship with a primitive eukaryotic-type cell. You should know what evidence is used to support this hypothesis.
• Natural Selection Show More >
Natural selection is an important mechanism of evolution. This theory was developed by Charles Darwin as a way to explain how and why organisms evolved over the history of Earth. You should be able to describe the observations Darwin used as evidence to support his theory, including those from his voyage on the Beagle, as well as the work from others that shaped his thinking such as Hutton, Lyell, Malthus, and Lamarck.
• Genetic Variation and Fitness Show More >
Mutations, along with other genetic variations within a population, play a very important role in natural selection. You should understand how changes in the environment can favor certain genetic traits over others, how this kind of "fitness" is measured by reproductive success, and why this leads to evolution. Be able to describe some examples of this such as the increase in antibiotic resistent bacteria.
• Evidence for Evolution Show More >
In the 150 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, the work of many scientists from many different fields have supported his basic ideas about evolution. You should be able to describe ways that studying the anatomy and embryology, as well as the genetics and molecular biology of organisms, supports Darwin's idea of a common ancestry.
• Evolution of Populations Show More >
Populations can evolve into new species because of genetic variation within the population that results in some individuals within that population surviving and passing along their genes more frequently than other individuals. You should understand that a population of organisms consists of a gene pool and that competition in the environment or certain isolating mechanisms of the population can lead to speciation. Be able to describe some examples of this (such as the variation and continued evolution of finches on the Galapagos) and to explain how isolating mechanisms, such as geographic isolation, lead to speciation.
• Types of Selective Pressure on Populations Show More >
Natural selection can affect the frequency of alleles within a population in three basic ways. The selection can be known as directional, stabilizing, or disruptive. You should understand how each of these types of selective pressure affects the phenotypic ratio of a population and be able to recognize some examples of each.
• Genetic Drift Show More >
Sometimes a population is affected by something known as genetic drift, when chance events lead to a particular type of allele becoming more common within a population. You should understand how genetic drift can affect a population through what's known as the bottleneck effect and the founder effect.
• The Hardy-Weinberg Principle Show More >
The Hardy-Weinberg Principle is a mathematical way to provide evidence for evolution within a population and to predict the frequencies of certain genotypes if you know the frequency of certain other genotypes. You should know what conditions must be in place for genetic equilibrium and how to apply the Hardy-Weinberg equation.
7. Ecology Show More >
Ecology is the scientfic study of how organisms interact with each other, with their physical environment, and how those interactions affect everything in the biosphere. You should know how biotic and abiotic factors affect an ecosystem and how the biosphere has been organized into a hierarchial system of levels to describe the intersecting relationships of all life on the planet.
• Ecosystem Distribution Show More >
Ecosystem distribution and characteristics are based on various biogeographical factors. You should be able to name and describe the various major biomes.
• Changes in Distribution Show More >
Large-scale events or continuous impact by human activity can cause the distribution of ecosystems to change over time. You should be able to explain how some large-scale, historical events have impacted ecosystem distribution as well as predict the consequences of human activity on local and global ecosystems.
• Producers and Consumers Show More >
The most important interaction an organism has with its environment is how it obtains the energy it needs to sustain life. The energy from one organism flows through an ecosystem to other organisms. You should understand how this flow of energy operates, as primary producers that capture energy from the sun or through chemosynthesis use inorganic compounds to create organic molecules that can be consumed by other organisms. The energy flows through food chains and food webs, ultimately ending with decomposers and detrivores that, through their action, release nutrients back into the environment that can be used up by primary producers.
• Ecological Pyramids Show More >
Each step in a food chain or food web is called a trophic level. The relative amount of energy that is available at each level decreases every time it's tranferred from one level to another. You should be able to interpret an ecological pyramid and understand why there are fewer numbers of organisms at the top of the pyramid.
• The 10% Rule Show More >
In general, only 10% of the energy from one trophic level is available to the next trophic level. You should be able to estimate how changes in a population at one level can affect those upper levels it supports.
• Pyramid of Biomass Show More >
Biomass refers to the actual mass of living organic matter available at each trophic level of an ecological pyramid. You should understand the difference between this and an Ecological Pyramid of Numbers although realize that they both follow the same general pattern.
• Biogeochemical Cycles Show More >
Matter flows through the biosphere within and between ecosystems and is recycled through various biogeochemical cycles. You should be able to describe how water and nutrients such as carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorous cycle through the biosphere.
• Nutrient Limitations Show More >
You should understand how limitations of the availability of resources from biogeochemical cycling can limit the primary productivity in an ecosystem.
• Ecosystem Relationships Show More >
Ecosystems are shaped by the interactions of biotic and abiotic factors. Climate, the niches occupied by various organisms, the way organisms interact with each other through predation or symbiosis all have an effect on how the ecosystem changes or doesn't change. You should be able to describe the factors that affect regional as well as global climate. You should know what a niche is and how niches are the result of competition among organisms for resources.
• Predator-Prey Dynamics Show More >
Any organism that isn't a primary producer must consume other organisms. Carnivores prey on animals and herbivores prey on plants. These interactions can affect the size and distribution of populations and communities of organisms. You should understand the cause and effect relationship that occurs between predators, prey, and the environment.
• Keystone Species Show More >
A keystone species is one who's presence or absence causes a dramatic effect within a community. You should understand why certain species have such an effect and be able to describe some examples (such as sea otters from the Pacific Coast of North American or the wolves in Yellowstone National Park).
• Symbioses Show More >
Symbiosis refers to the relationship that some organisms have when two species live closely together. You should know what the three main classes of symbiosis are (mutualism, parasitism, and commendalism) and be able to describe some examples of each.
• Succession Show More >
Ecological succession refers to how ecosystems recover after a disturbance. This could be a natural disturbance or a human-caused disturbance that causes some species to die out and perhaps new species to move in. You should be able to describe the stages of succession from a primary community, through a secondary community, to a climax community and give examples of each stage.
• Population Ecology Show More >
Changes in the environment can affect the size and distribution of populations of various organisms and changes in populations can affect the environment. In order to begin to understand this dynamic, you should know what factors are used to describe a population such as geographic range, density, growth rate, and age structure.
• Population Growth Show More >
You should know how birth rate, death rate, immigration and emigration of organisms from a population affect the population's size and growth rate. When reproduction occurs without restrictions, growth is exponential. You should understand why this is and how to recognize an exponential growth curve.
• Carrying Capacity Show More >
The resources in an environment limit how many organisms can be supported in an environment. You should understand this concept of carrying capacity and recognize a logistic growth curve.
• Limiting Factors Show More >
Many things can limit population growth. You should know what some of these things are and how they determine carrying capacity.
• Density Dependent and Density Independent Limiting Factors Show More >
The affect of some limiting factors depends on the density of the population and some do not. You should know examples of each and recognize conditions that exacerbate the affects.
• Patterns of Population Growth Show More >
Human populations are often studied by analyzing the age-distribution of a population. You should be able to describe trends in human population growth, why population growth rates differ in countries throughout the world, and be able to recognize the trends represented in different age-structure diagrams.
• Human Impact on the Environment Show More >
All organisms, including humans, affect the environment in which they live. Human activity and use of resources have a profound impact on local and global ecology. It's important to understand what these effects are in order to know how to protect and conserve the quality of Earth's natural resources.
• Renewable vs. Non-renewable Resources Show More >
You should know the difference between a renewable and a non-renewable resource, be able to describe some examples, and understand the concept of sustainable development which can help minimize the negative impact of human activity.
• Soil Resources Show More >
Human agricultural practices and other forms of development can have a negative impact on the quality of soil. You should be able to describe how certain agricultural or forestry practices and development can lead to soil erosion. You should also be able to suggest practices that protect and manage soil resources sustainably.
• Water Resources Show More >
Humans depend on freshwater resources for many things such as drinking water, agriculture, and energy. Oceans are an important source of food. You should be able to describe the causes of water pollution and suggest some ways that our water resources can be protected and conserved.
• Biological Magnification Show More >
Pollutants become concentrated as they are transferred through trophic levels in an ecological pyramid. You should be able to explain this process and apply mathematical analysis to the problem.
• Air Resources Show More >
You should be able to describe some examples of air pollution (such as smog, acid rain, and greenhouse gases) and how they impact the health of organisms living in certain environments. In addition, you should be able to identify some sources of those pollutants and suggest practicies to reduce or eliminate their impact.
• Biodiversity Show More >
Biological diversity really means genetic diversity. You should be able to explain some reasons why biodiversity is a resource to be valued, describe ways in which biodiversity is being threatened or eliminated, and suggest practices for ways in which it can be preserved.
8. Human Anatomy & Physiology Show More >
The structure and function of the human body serves as one big feedback system for the maintenance of homeostasis. You should be able to summarize the way the body is organized into systems and describe the major functions of each system, list the major organs of each system, and know some of the major tissues that compose major organs.
• Digestion & Excretion Show More >
Be able to explain how food provides energy and the raw materials necessary to support biological processes, what essential nutirients a human body needs, and the basic role of the excretory system.
• Process of Digestion Show More >
Be able to describe the process of digestion and absorption that involves the use of enzymes, the role of the pancreas, liver and gall bladder, and how the nutrients from food are absorbed through the walls of the intestine. Be able to relate these processes to chemical reactions and the concepts of membrane function and intercellular transport.
• Process of Excretion Show More >
Be able to describe the struction and function of the kidneys as they filter metabolic wastes, respond to the composition of the blood, and are influenenced by the endocrine system. Understand how this relates to the concept of homeostatis and cellular communication. In addition, recognize that disruption of this complex interaction can lead to serious health problems.
• Response & Movement Show More >
The human body has a nervous system and an endocrine system that both function to regulate and control various biological processes through a system of chemical signaling. You should be familiar with both systems as well as how they function to control movement and body processes.
• The Nervous System Show More >
The nervous system regulates functions in every part of the body. Be able to summarize how the nervous system operates especially with regard to the function of muscles, and how the senses take in information.
• Neurons Show More >
Be able to describe the general structure of a neuron and the fact that they transmit nerve impulses.
• The Nerve Impulse Show More >
The transmission of nerve impulses involve a complex series of events at the molecular level. Be able to explain how a nerve impluse is transmitted (including the concepts of resting potential and action potential, how the sodium-potassium pump and neurotransmitters are involved, and what types of cells are on the receiving end of an impulse.
• The Brain Show More >
The controlling organ of the nervous system is the brain. You should be able to list the major structures of the human brain and summarize their functions.
• The Endocrine System Show More >
The endocrine system is made up of glands that produce hormones. These hormones are chemical messengers that act on specific receptor molecules on cell membranes or within cells to regulate a variety of body processes in many different systems. You should know that hormones are produced by specific glands (be able to name some of those glands) and be able to describe some examples of how hormones regulate some important bodily functions such as the insulin response to glucose as well as their role in the reproductive system.
• Circulation & Respiration Show More >
The circulatory and respiratory systems function together as the respiratory system brings oxygen into the body and the circulatory system transports that oxygen, as well as nutrients and other substances, throughout the body. You should be able to list the main structures of these two system (including the heart, the lungs, veins, arteries) and describe their primary functions. In addition, describe how oxygen and carbon dioxide are exchanged in the lungs and how the circulatory system transports materials and removes wastes from tissues and relate this to the concept of diffusion.
• Relationship of Heart and Lungs Show More >
Be able to trace the path of oxygen molecules into the body and the excretion of carbon dioxide molecules out of the body through the lungs and heart. You should know the structure and function of the parts of the heart and lungs, and be able to describe how heart rate is controlled.
• Immune System Show More >
The human body has various defenses against disease. Some of these are non-specific (lke skin and the inflammatory response) while others are specific and involve the destruction of pathogens. You should know how the inflammatory response produces histamines, interferons, and a fever to inhibit pathogens as well as the general role of antigens and antibodies. In addition, understand how vaccines confer immunity.
• Cell-to-Cell Communication Show More >
The immune system involves complicated chemical signaling between cells. You should understand how lymphocytes (both B cells and T cells) recognize pathogens and the difference between humoral immunity and cell-mediated immunity.
• How Diseases Spread Show More >
Infectious diseases are caused by microorganisms and are spread in a variety of ways. You should be familiar with the germ theory of disease, the types of microorganisms that can cause disease, and the main ways that diseases are spread.
• Fighting Infectious Diseases Show More >
Advances in our understanding of infectious diseases have led to a variety of medications and public health policies to combat them. Know the difference between antibiotic and antiviral medications, the use of vaccines as a public health policy, and why the incidence and pattern of some infectious diseases have changed.
• Acquired Immunity Show More >
There are two basic ways to prevent disease through acquired immunity. You should know the difference between active immunity and passive immunity and understand how each functions.
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