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CCS Bio Terms

Bio Terms for the Keystone Exam

Abiotic A term that describes a nonliving factor in an ecosystem.
Active Transport The movement of particles from an area of low concentration to an area of high concentration that uses energy provided by ATP or a difference in electrical charges across a cell membrane.
Adenosine Triphosphate/ ATP A molecule that provides energy for cellular reactions and processes. It releases energy when one of its high‐energy bonds is broken to release a phosphate group
Adhesion The intermolecular attraction between unlike molecules. Capillary action results from the adhesive properties of water and the molecules that make up plant cells.
Agriculture The artificial cultivation of food, fiber, and other goods by the systematic growing and harvesting of various organisms
Allele A variation of a gene’s nucleotide sequence (an alternative form of a gene).
Allele Frequency The measure of the relative frequency of an allele at a genetic locus in a population; expressed as a proportion or percentage
Analogous Structure A physical structure, present in multiple species, that is similar in function but different in form and inheritance
Aquatic A term that describes an organism associated with a water environment
Atom The smallest unit of an element that retains the chemical and physical properties of that element
Biochemical Conversion The changing of organic matter into other chemical forms such as fuels
Bioenergetics The study of energy flow (energy transformations) into and within living systems
Biogeochemical Cycles The movement of abiotic factors between the living and nonliving components within ecosystems; also known as nutrient cycles
Biological Macromolecules A group of biomacromolecules that interact with biological systems and their environments
Biology The scientific study of life
Biome A large area or geographical region with distinct plant and animal groups adapted to that environment
Biosphere The zone of life on Earth; sum total of all ecosystems on Earth
Biotechnology Any procedure or methodology that uses biological systems or living organisms to develop or modify either products or processes for specific use
Biotic A term that describes a living or once‐living organism in an ecosystem
Carbohydrate A macromolecule that contains atoms of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen in a 1:2:1 ratio and serves as a major source of energy for living organisms
Carrier Proteins/Transport Proteins Proteins embedded in the plasma membrane involved in the movement of ions, small molecules, and macromolecules into and out of cells
Catalyst A substance that enables a chemical reaction to proceed at a usually faster rate or under different conditions (e.g., lower temperature) than otherwise possible without being changed by the reaction
Cell The basic unit of structure and function for all living organisms.
Cell Cycle The series of events that take place in a cell leading to its division and duplication. The main phases are interphase, nuclear division, and cytokinesis
Cellular Respiration A complex set of chemical reactions involving an energy transformation where potential chemical energy in the bonds of “food” molecules is released and partially captured in the bonds of adenosine triphosphate (ATP) molecules
Chloroplast An organelle found in plant cells and the cells of other eukaryotic photosynthetic organisms where photosynthesis occurs.
Chromosomal Mutation A change in the structure of a chromosome
Chromosomes A single piece of coiled DNA and associated proteins found in linear forms in the nucleus of eukaryotic cells and circular forms in the cytoplasm of prokaryotic cells; contains genes that encode traits.
Cloning A process in which a cell, cell product, or organism is copied from an original source
Co‐dominance A pattern of inheritance in which the phenotypic effect of two alleles in a heterozygous genotype express each phenotype of each allele fully and equally; a phenotype which would not be expressed in any other genotypic combination
Cohesion The intermolecular attraction between like molecules. Surface tension results from the cohesive properties of water
Community Different populations of organisms interacting in a shared environment
Competition When individuals or groups of organisms compete for similar resources such as territory, mates, water, and food in the same environment
Concentration The measure of the amount or proportion of a given substance when combined with another substance
Concentration Gradient The graduated difference in concentration of a solute per unit distance through a solution
Consumer An organism that obtains energy by feeding on other organisms or their remains
Crossing‐over An exchange of genetic material between homologous chromosomes during prophase I of meiosis; contributes to the genetic variability in gametes and ultimately in offspring
Cytokinesis The final phase of a cell cycle resulting in the division of the cytoplasm
Decomposer An organism that obtains nutrients by consuming dead and decaying organic matter which allows nutrients to be accessible to other organisms
Deoxyribonucleic Acid/DNA A biological macromolecule that encodes the genetic information for living organisms and is capable of self‐replication and the synthesis of ribonucleic acid (RNA).
Diffusion The movement of particles from an area of high concentration to an area of low concentration; a natural result of kinetic molecular energy.
DNA Replication The process in which DNA makes a duplicate copy of itself.
Dominant Inheritance A pattern of inheritance in which the phenotypic effect of one allele is completely expressed within a homozygous and heterozygous genotype.
Ecology The study of the relationships between organisms and their interactions with the environment
Ecosystem A system composed of organisms and nonliving components of an environment.
Embryology The branch of zoology studying the early development of living things
Endemic Species A species that is found in its originating location and is generally restricted to that geographic area.
Endocytosis A process in which a cell engulfs extracellular material through an inward folding of its plasma membrane
Endoplasmic Reticulum/ER An organelle, containing folded membranes and sacs, responsible for the production, processing, and transportation of materials for use inside and outside a eukaryotic cell.
Endosymbiosis A theorized process in which early eukaryotic cells were formed from simpler prokaryotes
Energy Pyramid A model that illustrates the biomass productivity at multiple trophic levels in a given ecosystem
Energy Transformation A process in which energy changes from one form to another form while some of the energy is lost to the environment
Environment The total surroundings of an organism or a group of organisms.
Enzyme A protein that increases the rate of a chemical reaction without being changed by the reaction; an organic catalyst
Eukaryote A type of organism composed of one or more cells containing a membrane‐bound nucleus, specialized organelles in the cytoplasm, and a mitotic nuclear division cycle
Evolution A process in which new species develop from preexisting species or a change in the allele frequencies of a population of organisms from generation to generation
Exocytosis A process in which a cell releases substances to the extracellular environment by fusing a vesicular membrane with the plasma membrane, separating the membrane at the point of fusion and allowing the substance to be released
Extinction A term that typically describes a species that no longer has any known living individuals.
Extracellular Located outside a cell
Facilitated Diffusion A process in which substances are transported across a plasma membrane with the concentration gradient with the aid of carrier (transport) proteins; does not require the use of energy.
Food Chain A simplified path illustrating the passing of potential chemical energy (food) from one organism to another organism
Food Web A complex arrangement of interrelated food chains illustrating the flow of energy between interdependent organisms
Forensics The science of tests and techniques used during the investigation of crimes
Fossils The preserved remains or traces of organisms that once lived on Earth.
Founder Effect A decrease in genetic variation caused by the formation of a new population by a small number of individuals from a larger population
Frame‐shift Mutation/Frame Shift mutation The addition (insertion mutation) or removal (deletion mutation) of one or more nucleotides that is not indivisible by three, therefore resulting in a completely different amino acid sequence than would be normal.
Freezing Point The temperature at which a liquid changes state to a solid
Gamete A specialized cell (egg or sperm) used in sexual reproduction containing half the normal number of chromosomes of a somatic cell.
Gene A sequence of nucleotides composing a segment of DNA that provides a blueprint for a specific hereditary trait
Gene Expression The process in which a nucleotide sequence of a gene is used to make a functional product such as protein or RNA
Gene Recombination A natural process in which a nucleic acid molecule (usually DNA but can be RNA) is broken and then joined to a different molecule; a result of crossing‐over
Gene Splicing A type of gene recombination in which the DNA is intentionally broken and recombined using laboratory techniques.
Gene Therapy The intentional insertion, alteration, or deletion of genes within an individual’s cells and tissues for the purpose of treating a disease
Genetic Drift A change in the allele frequency of a population as a result of chance events rather than natural selection.
Genetic Engineering A technology that includes the process of manipulating or altering the genetic material of a cell resulting in desirable functions or outcomes that would not occur naturally
Genetically Modified Organism An organism whose genetic material has been altered through some genetic engineering technology or technique
Genetics The scientific study of inheritance
Genotype The genetic composition of an organism with reference to a single trait, a set of traits, or the entire complement of traits of an organism
Golgi Apparatus An organelle found in eukaryotic cells responsible for the final stages of processing proteins for release by the cell
Gradualism A proposed explanation in evolutionary biology stating that new species arise from the result of slight modifications (mutations and resulting phenotypic changes) over many generations.
Habitat An area that provides an organism with its basic needs for survival.
Homeostasis The regulatory process in which an organism regulates its internal environment
Homeostatic Mechanism A regulatory mechanism that contributes to maintaining a state of equilibrium (e.g., thermoregulation, water regulation, and oxygen regulation).
Homologous Structure A physical characteristic in different organisms that is similar because it was inherited from a common ancestor
Hypothesis A proposed, scientifically testable explanation for an observed phenomenon
Impermeable Not permitting passage of a substance or substances
Incomplete Dominance A pattern of inheritance in which two alleles, inherited from the parents, are neither dominant nor recessive. The resulting offspring have a phenotype that is a blending of the parental traits.
Inheritance The process in which genetic material is passed from parents to their offspring
Interphase The longest‐lasting phase of the cell cycle in which a cell performs the majority of its functions, such as preparing for nuclear division and cytokinesis
Intracellular Located inside a cell
Isolating Mechanisms Features of behaviors, morphology, or genetics which serve to prevent mating or breeding between two different species
Law A law that generalizes a body of observations. At the time it is made, no exceptions have been found to a law. It explains things but does not describe them; serves as the basis of scientific principles.
Limiting Factor Chemical or physical factor that limits the existence, growth, abundance, or distribution of an individual organism or a population
Lipids A group of organic compounds composed mostly of carbon and hydrogen including a proportionately smaller amount of oxygen; are insoluble in water, serve as a source of stored energy, and are a component of cell membranes
Macromolecule A polymer with a high molecular mass. Within organisms there are four main groups: carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, and nucleic acids
Mechanism The combination of components and processes that serve a common function
Meiosis A two‐phase nuclear division that results in the eventual production of gametes with half the normal number of chromosomes.
Migration The permanent movement of genes into or out of a population resulting in a change in allele frequencies
Mitochondrion A membrane‐bound organelle found in most eukaryotic cells; site of cellular respiration
Mitosis A nuclear division resulting in the production of two somatic cells having the same genetic complement as the original cell.
Molecule The smallest particle of a substance that retains the chemical and physical properties of the substance and is composed of two or more atoms held together by chemical forces.
Monomer A molecule of any compound that can react with other molecules of the same or different compound to form a polymer. Each biological macromolecule has characteristic monomers.
Multicellular Made up of more than one cell.
Multiple Alleles More than two forms of a gene controlling the expression of a trait.
Mutation A permanent transmissible change of genetic material
Natural Selection A process in nature in which organisms possessing certain inherited traits are better able to survive and reproduce compared to others of their species.
Nondisjunction The process in which sister chromatids fail to separate during and after mitosis or meiosis.
Nonnative Species A species normally living outside a distribution range that has been introduced through either deliberate or accidental human activity; also can be known as introduced, invasive, alien, nonindigenous, or exotic.
Nucleic Acid A biological macromolecule (DNA or RNA) composed of the elements C, H, N, O, and P that carries genetic information
Nucleus A membrane‐bound organelle in eukaryotic cells functioning to maintain the integrity of the genetic material and, through the expression of that material, controlling and regulating cellular activities.
Organ An anatomical unit composed of tissues serving a common function
Organ System An anatomical system composed of a group of organs that work together to perform a specific function or task.
Organelle A subunit within a cell that has a specialized function
Organic Molecule A molecule containing carbon that is a part of or produced by living systems
Organism A form of life; an animal, plant, fungus, protist or bacterium
Osmosis The movement of water or another solvent through permeable membranes from an area of higher water concentration (dilute) to an area of lower water concentration (concentrated).
Passive Transport The transportation of materials across a plasma membrane without using energy
pH The measure of acidity or alkalinity (basicity) of an aqueous solution scaling from 1 (highly acidic) to 14 (highly alkaline) with a midpoint of 7 (neutral).
Phenotype The observable expression of a genotype
Photosynthesis A process in which solar radiation is chemically captured by chlorophyll molecules and through a set of controlled chemical reactions resulting in the potential chemical energy in the bonds of carbohydrate molecules
Plasma Membrane A thin, phospholipid and protein molecule bilayer that encapsulates a cell and controls the movement of materials in and out of the cell through active or passive transport
Plastids A group of membrane‐bound organelles commonly found in photosynthetic organisms and mainly responsible for the synthesis and storage of food.
Point Mutation A single‐base substitution causing the replacement of a single‐base nucleotide with another nucleotide (e.g., silent mutation, missense mutation, and nonsense mutation )
Polygenic Trait A trait in which the phenotype is controlled by two or more genes at different loci on different chromosomes
Population A group of individuals of the same species living in a specific geographical area and reproducing.
Population Dynamics The study of short‐ and long‐term changes in the number of individuals for a given population, as affected by birth, death, immigration, and emigration
Principle A concept based on scientific laws and axioms (rules assumed to be present, true, and valid) where general agreement is present.
Producer An organism that uses a primary energy source to conduct photosynthesis or chemosynthesis
Prokaryote A single‐celled organism that lacks a membrane‐bound nucleus and specialized organelles
Protein A macromolecule that contains the principal components of organisms: carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen; performs a variety of structural and regulatory functions for cells
Protein Synthesis The process in which amino acids are arranged in a linear sequence through the processes of transcription of DNA and to RNA and the translation of RNA to a polypeptide chain
Pumps Any of several molecular mechanisms in which ions or molecules are transported across a cellular membrane requiring the use of an energy source
Punctuated Equilibrium A proposed explanation in evolutionary biology stating that species are generally stable over long periods of time. Occasionally there are rapid changes that affect some species which can quickly result in a new species
Recessive Inheritance A pattern of inheritance in which the phenotypic effect of one allele is only expressed within a homozygous genotype. In a heterozygous condition with a dominant allele, it is not expressed in the phenotype
Ribosome A cellular structure composed of RNA and proteins that is the site of protein synthesis in eukaryotic and prokaryotic cells
Science A body of evidence‐based knowledge gained through observation and experimentation related to the natural world and technology.
Selective Breeding The process of breeding organisms that results on offspring with desired genetic traits.
Semiconservative Replication The process in which the DNA molecule uncoils and separates into two strands. Each original strand becomes a template on which a new strand is constructed, resulting in two DNA molecules identical to the original DNA molecule
Sex‐linked Trait A trait, associated with a gene that is carried by either the male or female parent (e.g., color blindness and male pattern baldness).
Speciation A process typically caused by the genetic isolation from a main population resulting in a new genetically distinct species.
Species The lowest taxonomic level of biological classification consisting of organisms capable of reproduction that results in fertile offspring
Specific Heat The measure of the heat energy required to increase the temperature of a unit quantity of a substance by a certain temperature interval
Succession A series of predictable and orderly changes within an ecosystem over time.
Symbiotic Relationship A relationship between two organisms
System A set of interacting or interdependent components, real or abstract, that form an integrated whole. An open system is able to interact with its environment. A closed system is isolated from its environment
Temperature A measure of the average kinetic energy (energy of motion) of particles in a sample of matter
Terrestrial A term that describes an organism associated with a land environment.
Theory An explanation of observable phenomena based on available empirical data and guided by a system of logic that includes scientific laws
Tissue An anatomical unit composed of cells organized to perform a similar function.
Transcription The process in which a strand of messenger RNA (mRNA) is synthesized by using the genetic information found on a strand DNA as a template
Translation The process in which the messenger RNA (mRNA) molecule on a ribosome is decoded to produce a sequence of amino acids for protein synthesis
Translocation The process in which a segment of a chromosome breaks off and attaches to another chromosome
Trophic Level The position of an organism in relation to the flow of energy and inorganic nutrients through an ecosystem (e.g., producer, consumer, and decomposer).
Unicellular Made up of a single cell
Vestigial Structure A physical characteristic in organisms that appears to have lost its original function as a species has changed over time
Created by: MissCianci



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