About Life: Concepts in Modern Biology - download pdf or read online

By Paul S. Agutter, Denys N. Wheatley

ISBN-10: 9048173639

ISBN-13: 9789048173631

This e-book makes use of glossy organic wisdom to take on the query of what distinguishes dwelling organisms from the non-living global. The authors first draw on fresh advances in mobilephone and molecular biology to improve an account of the residing country that applies to all organisms (and in basic terms to organisms). This account is then used to discover questions on evolution, the starting place of existence, and the potential of extraterrestrial lifestyles. the radical technique taken by way of this ebook to concerns in biology will curiosity and be obtainable to either the final reader in addition to scholars and experts within the box.

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Additional info for About Life: Concepts in Modern Biology

Sample text

Moreover, as we have seen, living cells are vastly complex, so to describe any cell fully would require an impossible amount of detail. A manageable definition or characterisation must cut through this morass of specifics to generalities; so our answer must be general as well as abstract. We have already used a number of general terms. The phrase cell structure and organisation denotes all the membrane systems of the cell (mitochondria, lysosomes and so forth), the numerous fibres of the cytoskeleton, the ribosomes, chromsosomes, metabolons and other multimolecular constituents, and their relative dispositions in space.

The components of real cells, in contrast, are very active and dynamic. In this chapter we shall start to survey this dynamism. Everything inside a living cell is continually moving and changing, forming and breaking down. At any instant, many or most of the cell’s elementary machines - the protein molecules - are busily engaged in specialised individual activities. The proteins themselves are continually being produced and destroyed (“turned over”). At any instant, each mitochondrion, lysosome and segment of endoplasmic reticulum, every little region in the nucleus and in the cytoplasm, is buzzing with activity, each of its numerous proteins pursuing its appointed task.

First, parts of the cytoskeleton are fastened to the inside of the cell membrane; these are attached to longer cytoskeletal fibres anchored to more robust objects inside the cell. Second, the pressures on the inside and the outside of the cell membrane balance each other precisely. These are reasonable explanations; nevertheless, the stability and durability of an animal cell are remarkable. We promised a comparable model of a plant cell. For this, use a bigger box (30-40 cm edges), put into it the same contents as you put into the animal cell, and add a fully-inflated party balloon.

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About Life: Concepts in Modern Biology by Paul S. Agutter, Denys N. Wheatley


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