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Bio 103, Week 8

Paul Grobstein's picture

Welcome to the on-line forum for Biology 103.  This is a place for thoughts in progress, a place to leave thoughts and questions that others may find useful and find ones that you might find useful, a place for conversation.  Join in, and let's see what we can make of life together.  If you're registered for the course, be sure to sign in before posting.  Others are welcome to join in as well but posting of comments will be delayed to check for spam.  You're free to write about whatever has struck you.  If you need something to get you started though, we've wrapped up (for now) our discussion of evolution and are moving on to what we can learn about life starting at small scales and moving progressively to larger ones.  We've moved form atoms to molecules to macromolecules.  What have we been able to account for?  What can't be accounted for at these levels of scale, and so perhaps need observations at larger scales to make sense of? 

achiles's picture

what have we been able to acount for?

  •  All living and non-living things are made of the same materials
  • Everything is in motion
  • Every component of life is an improbable assembly
  • We can account for differentiation in life with our understanding of proteins and the amino acid sequences
  • Sequence matters in the grand scheme- understanding this is key to interpreting classifications and evolution

achiles, jmstuart, sophiebalis, kristel

JPierre's picture

Biology and Race

In class we talked about variations within DNA and the impact of evolution, yet this only made me wonder what explains the variations between races and ethnicities? As a Haitian-American woman, how does my biological makeup differ from my white, Latina or Asian counterparts?

jingber's picture

Jesse Ingber, Mariah Casias, Heather Lewis

Learning about the interactions between atoms has allowed for us to account for the existence of different forms of matter (solids, liquids, and gases) and well as explain their properties.  We can also explain why things appear to be stable even when all atoms are constantly moving.  On a slightly larger scale, different configurations of the same elements result in different molecules with different properties, because of the importance of three dimensional physical shape.

cejensen's picture

cejensen, dchin, JyL, Lili, lcorhan

An understanding of improbability at such a small scale is necessary to understanding improbable assembly at a large scale. Despite the improbable assembly, it is amazing that life has so many factors in common. With so many possible combinations of amino acids, it is amazing that (relatively) only a few compose life. To look at this differently, one could also say that improbable assembly as such a small scale merely highlights the improbable assembly of life.

(If I left anything out, feel free to add on!)

paoli.roman's picture

 Kalyn, vdonely, Terrible2s,

 Kalyn, vdonely, Terrible2s, paoli.roman


While discussing/ answering the question- what have we been able to acount for from atoms/molecules/macromolecules? This is what we came up with:

-life is a building block and without the smaller elements, larger elements would not be able to exist.

-building blocks of life allow us to understand how things connect with one another creating a hierarchical system.

-understanding this  you can also take into account perspective and from this you can create ideas or thoughts that can help build concepts or topics in biology.

- one is able to realize behavior scales of organisms thus being able to understand the coexistence of life in general.

-assembly rules affect the way they interact within a given environment allowing them to fulfill their purpose or function.


cejensen's picture


I think that it is interesting to look at the improbability of assembly at this scale. Not only that, it is necesary to do this before we can look at the improbability of assembly at larger scales. I don't have much more to say at this stage.