Introduction to Cell & Molecular Biology (BIOL121) - Dr. S.G. Saupe (; Biology Department, College of St. Benedict/St. John's University, Collegeville, MN 56321

Study Guide - Introductory Unit

My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts, but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain alone, on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive.  A man with a mind more highly organized or better constituted than mine, would not.  I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain not atrophied would have been kept active though use.  The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature.

Charles Darwin

ObjectivesUpon completing this unit you should be able to:

  1. describe the course and requirements
  2. describe the cell theory
  3. describe evolution and natural selection
  4. describe the tree of life & Linnean heirarchy

Major Questions:

Important Terms/Concepts: Can you use the following terms conversationally? 

  • adaptation

  • artificial selection

  • binomial nomenclature

  • cell

  • cell theory

  • descent with modification

  • domain

  • eukaryote

  • evolution

  • experimental control

  • experimental study

  • falsifiable

  • fitness

  • heritable trait

  • hypothesis

  • hypothesis testing

  • microscope

  • natural selection

  • nucleus

  • null hypothesis

  • observational study

  • paradigm


  • phylogeny

  • population

  • prediction

  • prokaryote

  • science

  • speciation

  • spontaneous generation

  • taxon (s.), taxa (pl.)

  • taxonomy

  • theory


Required Materials:

Supplemental Materials:

Supplemental Readings:  (copies available in the file box in the botany lab)

Some Study Questions:

  1. List the categories in the Linnean taxonomic hierarchy (hint:  King David Cried Oh For Goodness Sake).  Which is the most inclusive group?  Least inclusive?

  2. Compare and contrast deductive and inductive logic.  Give examples of each

  3. Identify some of the characteristics of life.

  4. Suggest why it is difficult to define "life"

  5. Define paradigm and give some examples

  6. What is meant that science is a "way of knowing"?

  7. Explain what it means that a hypothesis must be testable and falsifiable

  8. What is Occam's razor?

  9. What is a control group and why are they important?

  10. Describe the four major types of scientific activities and give examples of each

  11. What is a fact?  Why is it difficult to determine what is meant by fact?

  12. Can you outline the major steps of the "scientific method?"

Study Tips:

  1. read the chapters before class

  2. take copious notes in class

  3. reread the chapter after class with your notebook open.  Record any notes from teh book directly into your lecture notes.  Check your lecture notes for accuracy.  Complete unfinished sections, add transistins, etc.

  4. Answer the questions at the end of the chapter

  5. Answer the questions on the CD and website.

Multiple Choice:  (there may be more than one correct answer for some; from Freeman's text)

  1. How does the word theory in science differ from its use in everyday English?

  1. There is no difference � the terms are interchangeable.

  2. All scientific theories have stood the test of time.

  3. Scientific theories are not based on guesswork. They explain scientific laws.

  4. Scientific theories are testable explanations, not speculative guesses.

 2. Environments all over the world are changing as a result of global warming. Will this cause natural selection to occur?

  1. The environment is always changing. Global warming is nothing new.

  2. Traits that help individuals produce more offspring in warmer environments will increase in frequency.

  3. The only change will be that species from hot environments will expand their ranges.

  4. Mutations occur more frequently in hot environments.

3. Why did the five-kingdom system of classification fall out of favor?

  1. It was too complex�the original two-kingdom system of Linnaeus was more useful.

  2. It was too difficult to distinguish plants from fungi and animals from protistans.

  3. There were too many monerans to be included in a single kingdom.

  4. It did not reflect the actual evolutionary relationships among organisms very well.

4. On an evolutionary tree, any group that includes a common ancestor and all of its descendants is called monophyletic (�one-tribe�). Draw the tree for Bacteria, Archaea, and Eukarya. Are prokaryotes monophyletic?

  1. Yes

  2. No

 5. A friend of yours calls to say that his car would not start this morning. He asks for your help. You say that you think the battery must be dead, and that if so, then jump-starting the car from a good battery will solve the problem. In doing so, you are:

  1. stating a hypothesis for why the car won�t start.

  2. searching for observations that might inspire a hypothesis for why the car won�t start.

  3. stating a prediction and a specific hypothesis about why the car won�t start.

  4. performing an experimental test of a hypothesis for why the car won�t start.


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Last updated: July 14, 2009     � Copyright by SG Saupe