By Paul S. Agutter, Denys N. Wheatley
This booklet makes use of smooth organic wisdom to take on the query of what distinguishes dwelling organisms from the non-living international. The authors first draw on contemporary advances in mobile and molecular biology to advance an account of the residing kingdom that applies to all organisms (and simply to organisms). This account is then used to discover questions about evolution, the starting place of lifestyles, and the potential of extraterrestrial lifestyles. the unconventional technique taken by means of this e-book to matters in biology will curiosity and be available to either the overall reader in addition to scholars and experts within the box.
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Extra resources for About Life: Concepts in Modern Biology
K. But our food produces huge numbers of these tiny molecules. If you eat a meal containing a quarter pound (about 100 grams) of starch - rice, potatoes or bread - and the starch is fully digested to glucose, then the number of glucose molecules produced is around 400,000,000,000,000,000,000,000. ) Even though the number of cells in your body is vast - you might remember the figure ten million million (1013) - this means there are thousands of millions of glucose molecules per cell. And glucose is only one of many nutrients produced by digestion.
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. This could serve as a metaphor for homeostasis. Cellular homeostasis Every cell in the human body must preserve a constant volume and water content.
Membranes therefore act as transport routes for some water-insoluble materials. But they are barriers for water-soluble ones; the first job of the surface membrane is to stop the inside of the cell mixing with the environment. To move, say, a glucose molecule into the cell from the outside, a special piece of equipment is incorporated into the cell membrane. Many protein components of membranes are just such pieces of equipment; 5. DELIGHTS OF TRANSPORT 43 devices for transporting or pumping10 particular water-soluble molecules from one side to the other.