Study Guide for Comprehensive Exam

General Biology 1010 Main Concepts

Unit One Concepts

Students should understand:

1.  the ways in which all living things are alike, and the differences by which living organisms are classified into one of

     the Domains or Kingdoms.

2.  the nature and limitations of scientific endeavors with a

     particular emphasis on knowing how to use the scientific method to design experiments and solve problems.

3.  the structure and reactivity of the atom related to bonding and the formation of biological compounds.

4.  characteristics of, examples of, and the importance of the four classes of organic compounds, with attention to the     monomers and polymers of each and the mechanisms by which polymers are formed and degraded.

5.  the structure of and properties of the water molecule with a focus of the importance of water to living organisms.

6. the first two laws of thermodynamics and how living organisms overcome entropy.

7. the importance of enzymes as biological catalysts with particular attention to how the shape or structure of the enzyme affects its ability to function.

8.  that metabolic reactions within a cell can be endergonic or exergonic, and are often coupled by the energy carrier molecule of the cell: ATP.

Unit Two Concepts

Students should understand:

1.  the precepts of the Cell Theory

2.  the difference between procaryotic and eucaryotic cells with regard to their structures and their capabilities, as well as their evolutionary relationship to each other.

3.  the structure of the unit membrane and the function of each of its parts (lipids-selective permeability; proteins-transport, cellular recognition, cytoskeleton attachment; carbohydrates-cellular recognition).

4.  the basic structure and function of all the organelles of eucaryotic cells, making note of the relationship of structure to function, as well as an ability to predict which types of cells contain more of certain organelles based on the primary function of the cell.

5.  the basic principles of passive and active transport, with regard to energy requirements, carrier proteins, and concentrations gradients.

6.  the principles of osmosis (as a subcategory of passive transport) in relation to the flow of water into and out of the cell.

7.  the overall functions of photosynthesis and how these functions relate to intermediary metabolism and to the overall concept of energy transfer on earth.

8.  the basic pathways of both the light-dependent and light-independent parts of photosynthesis, with special emphasis on their relationships with each other. 

Unit Three Concepts:

Students should understand:

1.  the historical importance of research endeavors leading to the understanding  of nucleic acids as the genetic material and the structure of the DNA molecule, with particular attention to the works of Rosalind Franklin, Maurice Wilkins, James Watson and Frances Crick.

2.  the basic structure of the DNA molecule, including the types of monomers, chemical bonds and the mechanism by which DNA is replicated in the cell. Students should also note the relationship between the structure of DNA and its marvelous ability to function as a repository of genetic information. 

3. the structure of the RNA molecule with attention to differences and similarities between RNA and DNA.

4.  the mechanism by which protein synthesis occurs, including the processes of transcription and translation (the interaction of  tRNA, mRNA and rRNA resulting in amino acid chains).

5.  the importance and implications of biotechnology that have resulted from our understanding of DNA.

6.  the basic pathways by which energy is harvested from glucose, with particular attention to the differences between anaerobic and aerobic pathways, the role of energy carriers, and the role of the electron transport system and chemiosmosis.

7. the relationship between photosynthesis and cellular respiration with regards to energy transfer, and recycling of carbon, oxygen and hydrogen.

Unit Four Concepts:

Students should:

1.  Understand the steps in cell division in both somatic and gametic cells, including similarities (interphase- G1, S, G2; prophase; metaphase; anaphase; telophase) and differences; function (growth and repair vs reductional division for reproduction), number of cycles (one vs two), and outcome (production of two identical vs four unique haploid cells).

2.  understand and correctly utilize the unique vocabulary associated with chromosomal replication and cell division: haploid, diploid, homologous chromosomes, chromatid, sister chromatid, centromere, mitotic spindle, asters, cell plate, cleavage furrow.

3.  understand the mechanisms for genetic variation in meiosis (crossing over and independent assortment of homologous chromosomes), and associate this physical behavior of chromosomes in meiosis with the inheritance of genetic traits in the offspring.

4. determine phenotype and possible gametes produced when given a genotype and mode of inheritance (complete or incomplete); identify homozygous and heterozygous states; differentiate between gene and allele.

5.  utilize problem-solving and critical analysis skills in determining the inderitance of one or two autosomal traits and sex-linked traits using the Punnett square or cross products method.

6.  analyze a human karyotype for sex (XX-female; Xy-male) and classic trisomies (Klinefelters, turners, Downs syndrome).

Unit Five Concepts

Students should understand:

1. the nature of pre-Darwinian thought concerning the origin of species and evolution.

2.  the main bodies of evidence which support evolution, including: the fossil record, comparative anatomy, biochemical analysis, and embryological studies.

3.  the mechanisms by which evolution occurs and examples, including: mutations, genetic drift resulting from small populations, nonrandom mating, natural selections, and migration.

4.  how gene frequency changes can be measured in populations.

5.  the strengths and weakness of the proposed evolutionary mechanism for the origin of life, based on findings such as: the Stanley Miller experiment, production of microspheres in the laboratory, RNA as an enzyme, and the endosymbiotic theory.

6.  what constitutes a "species."