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Biology is the Science of living organisms (including animals, plants, fungi and microorganisms) and their interactions with each other and the environment. The study of biology involves collecting and interpreting information about the natural world to identify patterns and relate possible cause and effect. It is used to help humans improve their own lives and to understand the world around them.
Young people should be helped to understand how, through the ideas of biology, the complex and diverse phenomena of the natural world can be described in terms of a number of key ideas which are of universal application. These are illustrated in the separate topics set out below.
Health, disease and the development of medicines
Coordination and control
Evolution, inheritance and variation
These ideas include:
- life processes depend on molecules whose structure is related to their function
- the fundamental units of living organisms are cells, which may be part of highly adapted structures including tissues, organs and organ systems, enabling life processes to be performed more effectively
- living organisms may form populations of single species, communities of many species and ecosystems, interacting with each other, with the environment and with humans in many different ways
- living organisms are interdependent and show adaptations to their environment
- life on Earth is dependent on photosynthesis in which green plants and algae trap light from the Sun to fix carbon dioxide and combine it with hydrogen from water to make organic compounds and oxygen
- organic compounds are used as fuels in cellular respiration to allow the other chemical reactions necessary for life
- the chemicals in ecosystems are continually cycling through the natural world
- the characteristics of a living organism are influenced by its genome and its interaction with the environment
- evolution occurs by the process of natural selection and accounts both for biodiversity and how organisms are all related to varying degrees