Integrated SequencePhysics Chemistry Organic Biology

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DNA Replication and Cellular Reproduction


Animal Development and Embryology

The Reproductive System

By discussing plants within this MCAT course, I am taking a risk that students are going to start 'wasting their time' memorizing a hoard of facts from plant biology, so treat these discussions as reading comprehension, and skip if you are under severe time pressure. For MCAT preparation, read these sections on plant biology to practice interpreting scientific contexts where the factual basis is not the main issue, as on many MCAT passages, but instead, the application of fundamental principles is the main issue. I confess that I think I may have included this discussion of plant biology simply for the reason that leaving it out would make this excellent course of comprehensive study of general science just a test preparation exercise, which seems like a dreary approach to the world. Knowing a bit of plant biology is valuable in itself I say! It makes the world more coherent, which may not make up for screwing up your MCAT if you spend too much time studying plants. Read it for enjoyment! Skip it if you want.

Read for comprehension: In contrast to the life cycle of humans and many other animals, in which a unicellular gamete stage represents the haploid phase, plant life cycles are characterized by alternation between haploid and diploid phases (alternation of generations) with both the haploid and diploid phases being generally multicellular. A haploid, gamete producing plant is called a gametophyte. The diploid, spore producing plant (undergoing meiosis to produce haploid spores) is called the sporophyte. Some plants are even represented by two substantial free living forms in the alternate phases, though generally one phase, usually the sporophyte, predominates with the other existing in a physiologically dependent role.


Animal Development and Embryology

In contrast to differentiated animal cells, most plant cells are totipotent. The essential epigenetic information can be generated by the proliferating plant-cell clone. In animals, all the major organs develop in the embryo. In plants, new organs are constantly generated as meristems proliferate.

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