Cells and Cell structure
a) Most human and animal cells have the following parts:
a nucleus, which controls the activities of the cell, cytoplasm, in which most of the chemical reactions take place
■ a cell membrane, which controls the passage
of substances into and out of the cell
■ mitochondria, which are where most energy is
released in respiration
■ ribosomes, which are where protein synthesis
b) Plant and algal cells also have a cell wall made of
cellulose, which strengthens the cell. Plant cells
■ chloroplasts, which absorb light energy to
■ a permanent vacuole filled with cell sap.
c) A bacterial cell consists of cytoplasm and a
membrane surrounded by a cell wall; the genes
are not in a distinct nucleus.
d) Yeast is a single-celled organism. Yeast cells have
a nucleus, cytoplasm and a membrane surrounded
by a cell wall. e) Cells may be specialised to carry out a particular function.
a) Dissolved substances can move into and out of
cells by diffusion.
b) Diffusion is the spreading of the particles of a gas, or
of any substance in solution, resulting in a net
movement from a region where they are of a higher
concentration to a region with a lower concentration.
The greater the difference in concentration, the faster
the rate of diffusion.
c) Oxygen required for respiration passes through cell
membranes by diffusion.
Tissues, organs and organ systems
The cells of multicellular organisms may differentiate and become adapted for specific functions. Tissues are
aggregations of similar cells; organs are aggregations of tissues performing specific physiological functions.
Organs are organised into organ systems, which work together to form organisms.
Large multicellular organisms develop systems for exchanging materials. During the development of a
multicellular organism, cells differentiate so that they can perform different functions. b) A tissue is a group of cells with similar structure and function.
Examples of tissues include: muscular tissue, which can contract to bring about movement, glandular tissue, which can produce substances such as enzymes and hormones, epithelial tissue, which covers some parts of
c) Organs are made of tissues. One organ may contain several tissues. The stomach is an organ that contains:
■ muscular tissue, to churn the contents
■ glandular tissue, to produce digestive juices
■ epithelial tissue, to cover the outside and the inside of the stomach.
d) Organ systems are groups of organs that perform a particular function. The digestive system is one example of a system in which humans and other mammals exchange substances with the environment.
The digestive system includes:
■ glands, such as the pancreas and salivary glands, which produce digestive juices
■ the stomach and small intestine, where digestion occurs
■ the liver, which produces bile
■ the small intestine, where the absorption of soluble food occurs
■ the large intestine, where water is absorbed from the undigested food, producing faeces.
Plant organs include stems, roots and leaves.
b) Examples of plant tissues include:
■ epidermal tissues, which cover the plant
■ mesophyll, which carries out photosynthesis
■ xylem and phloem, which transport substances
around the plant.
Green plants and algae use light energy to make their own food. They obtain the raw materials they need to make
this food from the air and the soil. The conditions plants are grown in can be changed to promote growth.
a) Photosynthesis is summarised by the equation: light energy carbon dioxide + water glucose + oxygen
b) During photosynthesis: light energy is absorbed by a green substance called chlorophyll, which is found in chloroplasts in some plant cells and algae this energy is used by converting carbon dioxide (from the air) and water (from the soil) into sugar (glucose) oxygen is released as a by-product.
c) The rate of photosynthesis may be limited by: shortage of light, low temperature, shortage of carbon dioxide.
d) Light, temperature and the availability of carbon dioxide interact and in practice any one of them may be the factor that limits photosynthesis.
e) The glucose produced in photosynthesis may be converted into insoluble starch for storage. Plant cells use some of the glucose produced during photosynthesis for respiration.
f) Some glucose in plants and algae is used: to produce fat or oil for storage to produce cellulose, which strengthens the cell wall, to produce proteins.
g) To produce proteins, plants also use nitrate ions that are absorbed from the soil.
Organisms and their environment
Living organisms form communities, and we need to understand the relationships within and between these
communities. These relationships are affected by external influences.
Distribution of organisms
Physical factors that may affect organisms are:
■ availability of nutrients
■ amount of light
■ availability of water
■ availability of oxygen and carbon dioxide.
b) Quantitative data on the distribution of organisms can be obtained by:
■ random sampling with quadrats
■ sampling along a transect.
Proteins - their functions and uses
Proteins have many functions, both inside and outside the cells of living organisms. Proteins, as enzymes, are now used widely in the home and in industry
Protein molecules are made up of long chains of
amino acids. These long chains are folded to produce
a specific shape that enables other molecules to fit
into the protein. Proteins act as:
■ structural components of tissues such as muscles
b) Catalysts increase the rate of chemical reactions.
Biological catalysts are called enzymes. Enzymes are
The shape of an enzyme is vital for the enzyme’s function. High temperatures change the shape. b) Different enzymes work best at different pH values. c) Some enzymes work outside the body cells. The digestiveenzymes are produced by specialised cells in glands and in the lining of the gut. The enzymes then pass out of thecells into the gut where they come into contact with food molecules. They catalyse the breakdown of large molecules into smaller molecules. d) The enzyme amylase is produced in the salivary glands, the pancreas and the small intestine. This enzyme catalyses the breakdown of starch into sugars in the mouth and small intestine. e) Protease enzymes are produced by the stomach, the pancreas and the small intestine. These enzymes catalyse the breakdown of proteins into amino acids in the stomach and the small intestine. f) Lipase enzymes are produced by the pancreas and small intestine. These enzymes catalyse the breakdown of lipids (fats and oils) into fatty acids and glycerol in the small intestine. g) The stomach also produces hydrochloric acid. The enzymes in the stomach work most effectively in these acid conditions. h) The liver produces bile, which is stored in the gall bladder before being released into the small intestine. Bile neutralises the acid that is added to food in the stomach. This provides alkaline conditions in which enzymes in the small intestine work most effectively. i) Some microorganisms produce enzymes that pass out of the cells. These enzymes have many uses in the home and in industry. In the home: biological detergents may contain protein-digesting and fat-digesting enzymes (proteases and lipases) biological detergents are more effective at low temperatures than other types of detergents. In industry: proteases are used to ‘pre-digest’ the protein insome baby foods carbohydrases are used to convert starch into sugar syrup isomerase is used to convert glucose syrup intofructose syrup, which is much sweeter and therefore can be used in smaller quantities in slimming foods. j) In industry, enzymes are used to bring about reactions at normal temperatures and pressures that would otherwise require expensive, energy-demanding equipment. However, most enzymes are denatured at high emperatures and many are costly to produce.
Aerobic and Anaerboic respiration
a) The chemical reactions inside cells are controlled
b) During aerobic respiration (respiration that uses
oxygen) chemical reactions occur that:
■ use glucose (a sugar) and oxygen
■ release energy.
c) Aerobic respiration takes place continuously in both
plants and animals.
d) Most of the reactions in aerobic respiration take place
e) Aerobic respiration is summarised by the equation:
glucose + oxygen ➞ carbon dioxide + water (+ energy)
The chemical reactions inside cells are controlled by enzymes.
b) During aerobic respiration (respiration that uses oxygen) chemical reactions occur that:
■ use glucose (a sugar) and oxygen, release energy.
c) Aerobic respiration takes place continuously in both plants and animals.
d) Most of the reactions in aerobic respiration take place inside mitochondria.
e) Aerobic respiration is summarised by the equation:
glucose + oxygen ➞ carbon dioxide + water (+ energy)
f) Energy that is released during respiration is used by the organism. The energy may be used:
■ to build larger molecules from smaller ones in animals, to enable muscles to contract
■ in mammals and birds, to maintain a steady body temperature in colder surroundings
■ in plants, to build up sugars, nitrates and other nutrients into amino acids which are then built up into proteins.
g) During exercise a number of changes take place:
■ the heart rate increases
■ the rate and depth of breathing increases.
h) These changes increase the blood flow to the muscles and so increase the supply of sugar and oxygen and increase the rate of removal of carbon dioxide.
i) Muscles store glucose as glycogen, which can then be converted back to glucose for use during exercise.
a) During exercise, if insufficient oxygen is reaching the
muscles they use anaerobic respiration to obtain energy.
b) Anaerobic respiration is the incomplete breakdown
of glucose and produces lactic acid.
c) As the breakdown of glucose is incomplete,
much less energy is released than during
aerobic respiration. Anaerobic respiration
results in an oxygen debt that has to be
repaid in order to oxidise lactic acid to
carbon dioxide and water.
d) If muscles are subjected to long periods of vigorous
activity they become fatigued, ie they stop contracting
efficiently. One cause of muscle fatigue is the build-up
of lactic acid in the muscles. Blood flowing through
the muscles removes the lactic acid.
Cell Division and Inheritance
Characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next in both plants and animals. Simple genetic diagrams can be used to show this. There are ethical considerations in treating genetic disorders.
In body cells the chromosomes are normally found in pairs. Body cells divide by mitosis.
b) The chromosomes contain the genetic information. c) When a body cell divides by mitosis:
■ copies of the genetic material are made
■ then the cell divides once to form two genetically identical body cells.
d) Mitosis occurs during growth or to produce replacement cells.
e) Body cells have two sets of chromosomes; sex cells (gametes) have only one set.
f) Cells in reproductive organs – testes and ovaries in humans – divide to form gametes.
g) The type of cell division in which a cell divides to form gametes is called meiosis.
h) When a cell divides to form gametes:
■ copies of the genetic information are made
■ then the cell divides twice to form four gametes, each with a single set of chromosomes.
i) When gametes join at fertilisation, a single body cell with new pairs of chromosomes is formed. A new individual then develops by this cell repeatedly dividing by mitosis.
j) Most types of animal cells differentiate at an early stage whereas many plant cells retain the ability to differentiate throughout life. In mature animals, cell division is mainly restricted to repair and replacement.
k) Cells from human embryos and adult bone marrow, called stem cells, can be made to differentiate into many different types of cells, eg nerve cells.
l) Human stem cells have the ability to develop into any kind of human cell.
m) Treatment with stem cells may be able to help conditions such as paralysis.
n) The cells of the offspring produced by asexual reproduction are produced by mitosis from the parental cells. They contain the same alleles as the parents.
a) Sexual reproduction gives rise to variation because, when gametes fuse, one of each pair of alleles comes from each parent.
b) In human body cells, one of the 23 pairs of chromosomes carries the genes that determine sex. In females the sex chromosomes are the same (XX); in males the sex chromosomes are different (XY).
c) Some characteristics are controlled by a single gene. Each gene may have different forms called alleles.
d) An allele that controls the development of a characteristic when it is present on only one of the chromosomes is a dominant allele.
e) An allele that controls the development of characteristics only if the dominant allele is not present is a recessive allele.
f) Chromosomes are made up of large molecules of DNA (deoxyribo nucleic acid) which has a double helix structure.
g) A gene is a small section of DNA.
h) Each gene codes for a particular combination of amino acids which makes a specific protein.
i) Each person (apart from identical twins) has unique DNA. This can be used to identify
individuals in a process known as DNA fingerprinting.
Some disorders are inherited.
b) Polydactyly – having extra fingers or toes – is caused by a dominant allele of a gene and can therefore be passed on by only one parent who has the disorder.
c) Cystic fibrosis (a disorder of cell membranes) must be inherited from both parents. The parents may be carriers of the disorder without actually having the disorder themselves. It is caused by a recessive allele of a gene and can therefore be passed on by parents, neither of whom has the disorder.
d) Embryos can be screened for the alleles that cause these and other genetic disorders
Changes in the environment of plants and animals may cause them to die out. The fossil record shows that new
organisms arise, flourish, and after a time become extinct. The record also shows changes that lead to the
formation of new species.
Old and New Species
a) Evidence for early forms of life comes from fossils.
b) Fossils are the ‘remains’ of organisms from many years ago, and are found in rocks. Fossils may be formed in various ways: from the hard parts of animals that do not decay easily, from parts of organisms that have not decayed because one or more of the conditions needed for decay are absent, when parts of the organism are replaced by other materials as they decay, as preserved traces of organisms, eg footprints, burrows and rootlet traces.
c) Many early forms of life were soft-bodied, which means that they have left few traces behind. What traces there were have been mainly destroyed by geological activity.
d) We can learn from fossils how much or how little organisms have changed as life developed on Earth.
e) Extinction may be caused by: changes to the environment over geological time, new predators, new diseases, new, more successful, competitors, a single catastrophic event, eg massive volcanic eruptions or collisions with asteroids; through the cyclical nature of speciation.
f) New species arise as a result of:
■ isolation – two populations of a species become separated, eg geographically
■ genetic variation – each population has a wide range of alleles that control their
■ natural selection – in each population, the alleles that control the characteristics which
help the organism to survive are selected
■ speciation – the populations become so different that successful interbreeding is no