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

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By Paul S. Agutter, Denys N. Wheatley

This ebook makes use of glossy organic wisdom to take on the query of what distinguishes dwelling organisms from the non-living international. The authors first draw on fresh advances in mobile and molecular biology to increase an account of the residing country that applies to all organisms (and merely to organisms). This account is then used to discover questions on evolution, the beginning of lifestyles, and the opportunity of extraterrestrial lifestyles. the unconventional strategy taken by way of this e-book to concerns in biology will curiosity and be obtainable to either the overall reader in addition to scholars and experts within the box.

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10 In some cases the equipment for transporting a water-soluble molecule across a membrane requires energy, supplied directly or indirectly by ATP. An energy-requiring membrane transport machine is commonly called a "pump". 44 Chapter 5 Fig. 5-2: upper drawing - one type of cytoskeletal fibre showing the arrangement of the component protein (actin) molecules; lower drawing - the arrangement of such fibrils together with the contractile protein myosin in a muscle cell. However, the assembly and disassembly of cytoskeletal fibres do not normally move large intracellular objects such as mitochondria.

But you breathe more rapidly and deeply to compensate, so a litre of your arterial blood still contains about a fifth of a gram of oxygen. When your body's oxygen demand falls, as it does during sleep, your breathing slows down; once again, the same blood oxygen level is maintained. This is another example of homeostasis that depends on feedback. At the start of chapter 5 we used the analogy of a small lake fed by streams and draining into a river. The water in the lake is continually changing but the level remains constant.

Every single piece of equipment added anywhere in the cell contains at least one new protein, and there are many new pieces of equipment. This means more genes; every new protein has to be encoded in a new gene. So membrane internalisation, the eukaryote’s way of elaborating and extending membrane functions, has a logical consequence: the cell must have many more genes than a prokaryote - in other words, a lot more DNA. We saw this effect in the box model: a greatly expanded total membrane area, many more proteins, a vastly increased genome, and a much bigger cell.

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