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Yvonne Choo Shuen Lann

November 28, 2009


Light Reaction

During the light reaction, chlorophyll captures light energy which excites
the electrons of chlorophyll molecules to higher energy levels. In the excited
state, the electrons leave the chlorophyll molecules. Light energy is also used to
split the water molecules into hydrogen ions and hydroxyl ions. This reaction is
known as the photolysis of water.

24H2O → 24H++ 24OH-

(light and chlorophyll)

The hydrogen ions then combine with the electrons released by the chlorophyll
to form hydrogen atoms.


The energy from the excited electrons is used to form energy-rich molecules of
ATP. At the same time, each hydroxyl ion loses an electron to form a hydroxyl
group. This electron is then received by the chlorophyll.


The hydroxyl groups then combine to form water and gaseous oxygen.


Oxygen is released into the atmosphere and used for cellular respiration. The
ATP molecules provide energy while the hydrogen atoms provide reducing power
for the dark reaction which takes place in the stroma.

Dark Reaction

The dark reaction is also known as the Calvin cycle. It is light independent.
During the dark reaction, the hydrogen atoms are used to fix carbon dioxide in a
series of reactions catalysed by photosynthetic enzymes. The overall reaction
results in the reduction of carbon dioxide into glucose.


(CH2O) is a basic unit of glucose. Six units of it combine to form one molecule of
glucose. The glucose monomers then undergo condensation to form starch
which is temporarily stored as starch grains in the chloroplast. The entire
process can be represented by the following equation.


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Aerobic Respiration

Aerobic respiration requires a continuous supply of oxygen from the air or

water surrounding the organism. Oxygen that is taken in is delivered by the
blood circulatory system to the body cells. In the cells, glucose molecules are
oxidised by oxygen to release energy. Aerobic respiration can be summarised by
the following chemical equation:


Aerobic respiration involves the oxidation of glucose in the presence of oxygen

to carbon dioxide, water and energy. Organisms that respire aerobically are
called aerobic organisms. Aerobic respiration releases all the available energy
stored within the glucose molecules. The entire process does not only involve a
single chemical reaction, but also driven by a sequence of complex biochemical
reactions which are catalysed by the respiratory enzymes. The energy stored
within the glucose molecules are released gradually. This is far more useful to
the organism than a sudden release of energy.

Only a small portion of energy is lost in maintaining the body temperature. A

larger portion of the energy is used to synthesise ATP from ADP and inorganic
phosphate. ATP which is an instant source of energy is the main supply for all
living cells. Each ATP molecule consists of three phosphate groups and the
phosphate bonds can be easily broken down to release energy.

Anaerobic Respiration

During vigorous exercise such as running a race, the muscles initially

respire aerobically. However, the muscles soon used up all the available oxygen.
In spite of the increased breathing rate and heartbeat rate, the blood cannot
supply oxygen fast enough to meet their requirements. The rate at which oxygen
is used by the muscles exceeds the amount of oxygen supplied by the blood.
The muscles are in a state of oxygen deficiency, and an oxygen debt is incurred.

As such, the muscles obtain extra energy from anaerobic respiration because
oxygen is not available. During anaerobic respiration, the glucose molecules
break down partially into an immediate substance called lactic acid instead of
carbon dioxide and water. Because glucose is not completely broken down, the
energy released during anaerobic respiration is much less than the energy
released during aerobic respiration. In fact, for every molecule of glucose,
anaerobic respiration releases only two molecules of ATP or 150kJ of energy per
mole of glucose. In contrast, aerobic respiration generates 38 molecules of ATP
or 2898kJ of energy per mole of glucose. Thus, in terms of energy yield,
anaerobic respiration is less efficient than aerobic respiration.

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Much of the energy is still trapped within the molecules of lactic acid. The
accumulation of lactic acid can reach a high level of concentration which can
cause muscle cramps and fatigue. This contributes to the exhaustion a person
feels during and after a period of intense exercise. The person needs to breathe
more deeply and rapidly in order to inhale more oxygen. The excess oxygen is
used by the body to oxidise the accumulated lactic acid to carbon dioxide and

Oxidation of lactic acid occurs mainly in the liver where a portion of it is oxidised
to produce energy while the remaining ones is converted into glycogen for
storage in the muscle cells. The oxygen debt is paid off when all the lactic acid is
removed. This happens through the increased breathing rate after vigorous
exercise. Therefore, an oxygen debt is the amount of oxygen needed to remove
lactic acid from the muscle cells.



When a cow feeds on grass, it partially chews the grass. This partially
chewed food is swallowed into the rumen, the largest compartment of the
stomach. Here, cellulose is broken down by the cellulose produced by symbiotic
microorganisms such as bacteria and protozoa. Part of the breakdown products
are absorbed by the bacteria and protozoa, the rest by the cow.

As the food enters the reticulum, the cellulose undergoes further hydrolysis. The
content of the reticulum, called the cud, is then regurgitated bit by bit into the
mouth to be thoroughly chewed again. This process helps soften and break down
cellulose, making it more accessible to further microbial action in other parts of
the stomach.

The cud is then re-swallowed and moves into the omasum. Here, large particles
of food are broken down into smaller pieces by peristalsis. Water is removed
from the cud. The food particles finally move into the abomasums, the true
stomach of the cow. Here, gastric juices containing digestive enzymes complete
the digestion of proteins and other food substances. The food then passes
through the small intestine to be digested and absorbed in the normal way.


In rodents like squirrels, the caecum and appendix are enlarged to store
the cellulose-producing bacteria. The breakdown products pass through the
alimentary canal twice. The faeces in the first batch are usually produced at
night and are soft and watery. Those are eaten again to enable the animals to
absorb the products of bacterial breakdown as they pass through the alimentary
canal for the second time. The second batch of faeces becomes drier and harder.

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This adaptation allows squirrels to recover the nutrients initially loss with the

Colonisation and Succession


*Colonisation: is the process whereby living organisms move into a newly formed
area which is devoid of life.

*Succession: is the gradual process by which one community changed its

environment so that it is replaced by another community.

Mangrove Swamp

The pioneer species of a mangrove swamp are the Sonneratia sp and

Avicennia sp. The presence of these species gradually changes the physical
environment of the habitat. The extensive root systems of these plants trap and
collect sediments, including organic matters from decaying plant parts. As time
passes, the soil becomes more compact and firm. This condition favours the
growth of the Rhizophora sp. Gradually, the Rhizophora sp replaces the pioneer
species. The seeds of the Rhizophora sp show distinct viviparity. The prop root
system of the Rhizophora sp traps silt and mud, creating a firmer soil structure

The ground becomes higher. As a result, the soil is drier because it is less
submerged by sea water. The condition now becomes more suitable for another
mangrove species, the Bruguiera sp, which replaces the Rhizophora sp. The
buttress root system of the Bruguiera sp forms loops which extend from the soil
to trap more silt and mud. As more sediment is deposited, the shore extends
further to the sea. The old shore is now further away from the sea and is like
terrestrial ground. Over time, terrestrial plants like the nipah palm and Pandanus
sp begin to replace the Bruguiera sp. The gradual transition and succession from
a mangrove swamp to a terrestrial forest and eventually to a tropical rainforest,
which is a climax community, takes a long time. That is why we need to
conserve and preserve our mangrove forest.


Succession in a disused pond begins with the growth of pioneer species

such as phytoplankton, algae and submerged plants like the Hydrilla sp,
Cabomba sp and Elodea sp. These plants have special adaptive features which
enable them to colonise the pond. Their fibrous roots penetrate deep into the
soil to absorb nutrients and bind sand particles together. Plenty of sunlight
penetrates through the clear water to allow photosynthesis to take place. When
the pioneer species die and decompose, more organic nutrients are released into

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the pond. The organic matter is converted into humus at the pond base. The
humus and soil which erode from the sides of the pond are deposited on the
base of the pond, making the pond shallower.

The condition becomes more unfavourable for submerged plants but more
suitable for floating plants such as duckweeds (Lemna sp), water hyacinths
(Eichornia sp) and lotus plants (Nelumbium sp). These plants float freely on the
surface of the water. Since these plants receive sunlight directly and can
reproduce rapidly by vegetative propagation, they spread to cover a large area
of the water surface and prevent sunlight from reaching the submerged plants.
As a result, the submerged plants die because they cannot photosynthesise. The
decomposed remains of the submerged plants add more organic matter on the
base of the pond. At the same time, more erosion occurs at the edge which
results in more sediments being deposited on the base of the pond. As a result,
the pond becomes more and more shallow which makes it unsuitable for the
floating plants.

The floating plants are subsequently replaced by emergent (amphibious) plants

which can live in water as well as on land, for example, sedges and cattails. The
rhizomes of these plants grow horizontally across the habitat. Their extensive
roots bind the soil particles together and penetrate deeply to absorb more
mineral salts. These plants spread rapidly and colonise the habitat, changing it.
The emergent plants grow from the edge of the pond towards the middle of the
pond as the pond becomes shallower. When these plants die, their decomposed
remains add to the sediments on the base of the pond. This further reduces the
depth of the pond. The condition of the pond now becomes more favourable for
land plants like small herbaceous weeds, for example, Ageratum conyzoides,
Euphorbia hirta and Oldentandia dichotoma. As time passes, the land becomes
drier and the pond dries up. Land plants such as shrubs, bushes and woody
plants become more numerous. A primary forest emerges and eventually turns
into a tropical rainforest which is also known as a climax community.

Cell Division


The two major phases mainly interphase and mitotic cell division also
known as the M phase which consists of mitosis and cytokinesis begins and ends
according to the cell cycle. Mitosis begins with interphase. Interphase is divided
into three shorter stages, G1, S and G2. In G1 phase, the cell synthesises protein
and new cytoplasmic organelles such as mitochondria and chloroplast. The
chromosomes are not condensed and appear as thread-like structures called
chromatin. In S phase, however, synthesis of DNA occurs. This means that the
DNA in the nucleus undergoes replication. Each duplicated chromosome now
consists of two identical sister chromatid which contain identical copies of the
chromosomes DNA molecule. The cell continues to grow and remain
metabolically active during G2 stage as a preparation for cell division. Interphase

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is followed by the M phase which contains mitosis and cytokinesis. Mitosis can
further subdivided into four phases mainly prophase, metaphase, anaphase and

The mitosis in an animal cell begins with prophase. During prophase, the
chromosomes in the nucleus condense and become more tightly coiled. The
chromosomes appear shorter and thicker. Each chromosome now consists of a
pair of sister chromatids joined together at the centromere. In the cytoplasm,
spindle fibres begin to form and extend between the centrioles. Each pair of
centrioles then migrates to lie at the opposite poles of the cell. The chromatids
are attached to the fibres of the spindle by their centromeres. In most plant cell,
the spindle fibre forms without the presence of centrioles. At the end of
prophase, the nucleolus disappears and the nuclear membrane disintegrates.

Metaphase begins when the centromeres of all the chromosomes are lined up on
the metaphase plate, an imaginary plane across the middle of the cell. The
mitotic spindles is now fully formed. The two sister chromatids are still attached
to one another at the centromere. Metaphase ends when the centromeres
divide. During anaphase, two sister chromatids of each chromosome separate at
the centromere. The sister chromatids are pulled apart to the opposite poles by
the shortening of the spindle fibres that connect the centromeres to the poles.
Once separated, the chromatids are referred to as daughter chromosomes. By
the end of anaphase, the two poles of the cell have completed and have
equivalent sets of chromosomes.

Telophase begins when the two sets of chromosomes reach the opposite poles of
the cell. The chromosomes start to uncoil and revert to their extended state
(chromatin). The chromosomes become less visible. The spindle fibres disappear
and a new nuclear membrane forms around each set of chromosomes. The
nucleolus also reforms in each nucleus; the process of mitosis is now completed.
Cytokinesis, the division of the cytoplasm occurs towards the end of telophase.
In animal cell, the actin filaments in cytoplasm contracts to pull a cleavage
furrow. The cleavage furrow pinches at the equator of the cell and deepens
progressively until the cell is separated into two daughter cells. Although plant
cells undergo the same stages of mitosis as in animal cells, cytokinesis in plant
cells us markedly different. A cleavage furrow does not form. Instead, membrane
enclosed vesicles fuse to form a cell plate. The cell plate grows outwards until its
edges fuse with the plasma membrane of the parent cell. New cell walls and
plasma membranes are formed from the contents of the cell plate, which
eventually divide the cell into two daughter cells. At the end of cytokineses,
cellulose fibres are produces by the cell to strengthen the new cell walls. After
cytokinesis, the new cells enter the G1 stage of interphase, thus completing the
cell cycle. Each daughter cell contains diploid number of chromosomes.


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Meiosis only occurs in gametes which are reproductive cells. This is

because meiosis is a reduction division of diploid cells to produce haploid sex
gametes. Meiosis begins with a single duplication of chromosomes in the parent
cells, followed by two cycles of nuclear and cell division mainly meiosis I and
meiosis II.

In meiosis I, basically, the chromosomes begin to condense. They become

shorter, thicker and clearly visible. Unlike mitosis, the homologous chromosomes
come together to form bivalents through a process called synapse. Each bivalent
is visible under the microscope as a four-part structure called a tetrad. A tetrad
consists of two homologous chromosomes, each made up of two sister
chromatids. Non sister chromatids exchange segments of DNA in a process
known as crossing over. Crossing over results in a new combination of genes on
a chromosome. The points at which segments of chromatids cross over are
called chiasmata. At the end of prophase I, the nucleolus and the nuclear
membrane disappear. The two pairs of centrioles migrate to the opposite poles
of the cells. Each pair of centrioles acts as a central point from which the spindle
fibres radiate.

In metaphase I, the chromosomes are lined up side by side as tetrads on the

metaphase plate. The chromosomes are still in homologous pairs. The
chromosome of each pair is attached to the spindle fibres from one pole while its
homologue is attached to the fibre from the opposite pole. The centromere does
not divide. During anaphase I, the spindle fibres pull the homologous
chromosomes away from one another and move them to the opposite poles of
the cell. Each chromosome still consists of two sister chromatids which move as
a single unit. Although the cell started with four chromosomes, only two
chromosomes move towards each pole. Next will be telophase I. The
chromosomes arrive at the poles. Each pole now has haploid daughter nucleus
because it contains only one set of chromosomes. The spindle fibres disappear.
The nuclear membrane reappears to surround each set of chromosomes. The
nucleolus then reappears in each nucleus. Cytokinesis usually occurs
simultaneously with telophase I, resulting in two haploid daughter cells, and
each receiving one chromosome from the homologous pair. Hence, another cell
division is required as the chromosomes are still duplicated.

Meiosis II follows immediately after cytokinesis, no interphase between them.

DNA replication does not occur again and the chromosomes remained in a
condensed state. In prophase II, the nuclear membrane of the daughter cells
disintegrates again. The spindle fibres reform in each daughter cell. During
metaphase II, the chromosomes each still make up of sister chromatids, are
positioned randomly on the metaphase plate with the sister chromatids of each
centromere pointing towards the opposite poles. Each sister chromatid is
attached to the spindle fibres at the centromere. In anaphase II, however, the
centromeres of the sister chromatids finally separated and the sister chromatids
of each chromosome are now individual chromosomes. The chromosomes move
towards the opposite poles of the cell. Lastly in telophase II, the nucleoli and the
nuclear membrane reform. The spindle fibres break down. Cytokinesis follows

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and four haploid daughter cells are formed, each containing half the number of
chromosomes and is genetically different from the parent diploid cell. These
haploid cells will develop into gametes.

Tissue Culture Technique

A small piece of a plant’s leaf, shoot, bud, stem or root tissues are cut out.
These cut out plants tissues are called explants. Alternatively, enzymes are used
to digest the cell walls of tissues, for example, the mesophyll tissue from a leaf.
This result in naked cells without cell walls called protoplasts. The explants or
protoplasts are sterilised and then placed in a glass container which contains a
nutrient solution with a fixed chemical composition. A culture medium or growth
medium normally consists of a complex mixture of glucose, amino acids,
minerals, and other substances required for the growth of the tissues. The
culture medium and the apparatus used must be in a sterile condition and free
from microorganisms which can contaminate the tissue culture. The pH and the
temperature of the culture medium also need to be maintained at optimum

The explants or protoplasts begin to divide by mitosis. Cell division produces

aggregates of cells. The aggregates of cells develop into a callus, an
undifferentiated mass of tissue. The callus develops into a somatic embryo. The
embryo develops into a plantlet which can later be transferred to the soil for
growth into an adult plant. All the plantlets produced this way are genetically
identical. Therefore, all the adult plants that develop from them share the same


When a cell divides by mitosis repeatedly without control and regulation,

it can produce cancer cells. Cancer is a disease caused by uncontrolled mitosis
due to severe disruption to the mechanism that controls the cycle. Cancer cells
divide freely and uncontrollably without heeding the cell cycle control system.
Cancer cells compete with the surrounding normal cells to obtain sufficient
nutrients and energy for their own growth. A cancer cell that is not destroyed will
divide uncontrollably to form a tumour, an abnormal mass of cells. Cancer cells
can intrude on and spread to other tissues which then lead to the malfunction of
the tissues and ultimately death.

Cancer can be caused by many factors such as damage to the DNA, changes in
genes (mutation) that control cell division, ionising radiation, for example, X-
rays, ultraviolet rays and gamma rays, certain chemical compounds like tar in
tobacco smoke or carcinogenic (cancer-causing) compounds such as

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Menstrual Cycle

Menstrual cycle is the monthly cycle of ovulation and menstruation. This

cycle causes changes in the thickeninig of the endometrium or uterus wall every
28 days, beginning puberty until menopause. It is regulated by a few hormones

– Follicle stimulating Hormone (FSH)

Produced by: Pituitary gland
Function: Stimulates the development of follicles in the ovary
– Luteinising Hormone (LH)
Produced by: Pituitary gland
Function: Stimulates ovulation, the development of corpus luteum and
promotes the secretion of progesterone
– Oestrogen
Produced by: Follicle cells of the ovary
Function: Stimulates further growth of the follicles, promotes the repair of
the endometrium, from about the 12th day of the menstrual cycle, it has a
positive feedback action on the secretion of the FSH and LH
– Progesterone
Produced by: Corpus luteum
Function: Stimulates the endometrium to become thick, folded and highly
vascular (enriched with blood vessels) for the implantation of embryo;
inhibits the secretion of FSH and LH to prevent the development of the
graafian follicle and ovulation

Menstrual cycle involves two process mainly the breakdown of the endometrium
and the formation of an ovum. On day 1-5, FSH stimulates the development of
primary follicle to produce a Graafian follicle. FSH stimulates the follicle cells and
ovary tissues to secrete oestrogen to heal and repait the uterus lining. This only
takes place in the ovary. On the other hand, menstruation occurs in the uterus
where blood is discharged from the vagina. This is when the uterus lining

On day 6-13, in the ovary, the graafian follicle matures. Oestrogen and
progesterone level continue to increase. Till a certain point, the oestrogen will
stop the pituitary gland from producing FSH and is stimulated to produce LH. In
the uterus, the endometrium wall is repaired and thickens.

On day 14, LH causes ovulation and the formation of corpus luteum from the
follicle cells. In the uterus, however, the endometrium continues to thickens.

On day 15-24, the corpus luteum develops and releases progesterone which
stimulates the thickening of the endometrium. In the uterus, the endometrium
becomes thicker and more blood vessels are present.

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On day 25-28, if there is no fertilisation, then there will not be any implantation.
Thus, the corpus luteum degenerates causing the level of progesterone to
decrease and halt. In the uterus, the endometrium begins to break down and
menstruation occurs. The menstrual cycle continues. However, if fertilisation
happens, a zygote will be implanted in the endometrium. The corpus luteum will
continue to secrete oestrogen and progesterone until the placenta is formed to
replace it. The presence of hormone progesterone inhibits the production of FSH
and LH, this cause the menstrual cycle to stop during pregnancy.

Formation of Embryo Sac in the Ovule

The ovule develops from the ovarian tissue. It has a diploid embryo sac
mother cell (2n). Each ovule consists of protective outer layers of cells called the
integuments. The embryo sac mother cell (2n) undergoes meiosis to form a row
of four haploid cells called megaspores (n). Three of the four megaspores
degenerate, leaving one in the ovule. The megaspore continues to grow and
enlarges filling up most of the ovule. The nucleus of the three megaspores then
undergoes mitosis three times to form eight haploid nuclei. Three of the eight
nuclei migrate to one end of the cell to form antipodal cells. Another two nuclei,
called the polar nuclei, move to the centre. One of the three nuclei nearest the
opening of the ovule (micropyle) develops into an egg cell or female gamete,
flanked by two synergid cells. The structure formed is known as the embryo sac.
It is where the embryo will develop. The ovule, which eventually becomes a
seed, now consists of the embryo sac and the surrounding integuments.

*Eight cells have no cell walls; synergid cells provide nutrient and support to egg
cell; integuments form protective layers around embryo sac.

Formation of Pollen Tube, Zygote and Triploid Nucleus

Pollination is the process in which mature pollen grains from the anther
are transferred to the stigma of a flower. A pollen grain on a stigma initiates the
fertilisation process. The secretion of sucrose solution in the stigma stimulates
the pollen grain to germinate and form a tube known as the pollen tube. The
pollen tube grows through the tissues of the style into the ovule. During the
growth of pollen tube, the generative nucleus divides by mitosis to form two
male gamete nuclei. The male nuclei follow the tube nucleus down the pollen
tube. When the pollen tube reaches the ovary, it penetrates the ovule through
the micropyle. The tube nucleus disintegrates and the tip of the tube bursts,
leaving the passage for the male nuclei to enter the embryo sac.

Double fertilisation, which is unique for angiosperms, occurs within the ovule.
This process involves the union of the two male gametes nuclei with different
nuclei of the embryo sac. One male gamete nucleus fuses with the egg nucleus,
forming a diploid zygote (2n). The other male gamete nucleus fuses with the two

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polar nuclei, forming a triploid nucleus (3n). The division of the tripod nucleus
will give rise to the endosperm, the food-storing tissue of the seed. The synergid
cells and the antipodal cell will degenerates.

The Lymphatic System

Formation and Composition of Interstitial Fluid

Blood that enters the arterial end of the capillaries is under high pressure.
This is because the blood capillaries have a smaller diameter than the arterioles
and arteries. This blood pressure causes fluid to leak continuously from the blood
plasma into the spaces between the cells. This fluid is known as interstitial fluid.
The interstitial fluid fills the spaces between the cells and constantly bathes the
cells. The exchange of substances between the blood capillaries and the body
cells occurs in the interstitial fluid. Nutrients and oxygen diffuses from the blood
through the interstitial fluid into the body cells while carbon dioxide and other
waste products diffuse from the body cells through the interstitial fluid into the

Interstitial fluid consists of water, dissolved nutrients, hormones, waste products,

gases and small proteins from the blood. Leucocytes ooze through the openings
in the capillary walls. Interstitial fluid does not contain plasma proteins (albumin,
globulin and fibrinogen), erythrocytes and platelets because these are too large
to pass through the capillary walls. About 85% of the fluid that leaves the blood
at the arterial end of the capillary re-enters at the venous end. The interstitial
fluid must be returned to the circulatory system to maintain the normal blood
volume. About 15% of the fluid that is still remains in the interstitial space is
equivalent to about 4 litres of fluid lost from the blood capillaries each day. The
fluid loss is returned to the blood through the lymphatic system.

*The higher BP at the arterial end forces fluid out of blood capillary; the lower BP
at the venous end allows fluid to re-enter the blood capillaries.

Dynamic Ecosystem

Nitrogen Cycle

To build proteins, plants need the element nitrogen. The nitrogen gas in
the atmosphere is about 78% but plants are not able to utilize the nitrogen. This
is because the nitrogen has to be fixed before it can be absorbed by the plants.
Nitrogen fixing bacteria (Nostoc sp, Azotobacter) which live in the root nodule of
leguminous plant can convert nitrogen in the atmosphere into ammonia.
Nitrosomonas converts/oxidises ammonia into nitrites. Nitrobacter
oxidises/converts nitrites into nitrates. Nitrites and Nitrates can be absorbed by
the plants as their nitrogen source. The plants protein is transferred to the

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animals when consumed by the animals. The animals and plants proteins are
transferred to human when consumed.


Blood Clotting Mechanism

Blood clotting mechanism involves a complex series of biochemical

reactions in the blood to prevent excessive loss of blood after an injury. When
you get a cut, the blood vessels around the wound immediately constrict to
reduce blood loss. Exposed tissues, the collagens interact with the blood
coagulation proteins to start the coagulation process. Platelets become activated
as it begins to adhere to the wall of the blood vessel at the side of bleeding.
They form a temporary platelet plug. The adhered platelets undergo de-
granulation and release cytoplasmic granules. The cytoplasmic granules attract
more platelets to the area. While the platelets form the temporary plug, other
blood proteins congregate on the damaged blood vessels to reinforce the clot.
The interaction of the different blood clotting factors such as Factor VIII and
platelets produces prothrombin. Prothrombin acts together with calcium ions and
vitamin K to form an active plasma protein called thrombin. Thrombin transforms
a protein called fibrinogen into fibrin. Fibrin surrounds the platelet plug, creating
a fibrin mesh. The fibrin mesh is more stable than the temporary platelet plug.
Over the next few days, the fibrin mesh or blood clot strengthens even more,
protecting the blood vessels from further damage or blood loss. After the injury
heals, the body has to remove the fibrin clot. A protein called plasmin is formed
to dissolve fibrin. The blood clot is slowly removed with the help of plasmin.

Impaired Musculoskeletal System

Muscle cramps

A muscle cramp is a sudden contraction of one or more muscles which

result in a sudden, intense pain and an inability to use the affected muscles. A
muscle cramp is an involuntary, forcibly contracted muscle that is not able to
relax. When the cramp begins, the spinal cord stimulates the muscle to keep
contracting. The muscle groups usually affected are the back of the lower leg or
the calf, the back of the thigh (hamstrings) or the front of the thigh (the
quadriceps). A cramp can last from a few seconds to 15 minutes or more. Muscle
cramps are very common among endurance athletes and older people who
perform strenuous exercises. Usually, inadequate stretching and muscle fatigue
lead to abnormalities in the mechanisms that control muscle contractions.

Muscular Dystrophy

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Muscular dystrophy is caused by the progressive degeneration and

weakening of the skeletal muscles that control movement. The body muscles
gradually become weak as they are replaced by fibrous tissue. This disease is
caused by a mutated gene in the X chromosome and mainly affects boys. At
present, there is no cure for muscular dystrophy.


Osteoporosis is a common bone disorder which causes the bones to

become thinner, more brittle and more porous. It is a common disease among
elderly women. The loss of bone mass normally begins after the age of 30 years
and accelerates greatly after the age of 45 years. It particularly affects women
after menopause, when changes in hormone levels (especially oestrogen level)
reduce bone strength. During the course of an individual’s life, the body needs
phosphate and calcium to build bones. If the dietary intake of these minerals is
not sufficient, or if the body does not absorb enough of these minerals from the
diet, bone production and bone tissue will suffer, resulting in brittle and fragile
bones. These bones are easily subjected to fracture. The loss of bone mass
occurs gradually over an extended period of time. Most people are not even
aware that they have osteoporosis until a bone is fractured because there are no
symptoms or early signs of osteoporosis. Symptoms that manifest over the years
include fractures of the vertebrae, wrists or hips; a reduction in height over time
and a stooped posture. Osteoporosis can be prevented by taking adequate
amounts of calcium, phosphorus and vitamin D. Regular exercise can also
reduce the likelihood of bone fractures and help reduce bone mineral loss.
Although there is no cure for osteoporosis, medications can slow down the loss
of bone mineral.


Arthritis refers to a group of skeletal disorders that involve inflammation

of the joint. The joints become swollen, stiff and painful. One form of arthritis is
osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is part of the ageing process caused by the wear
and tear of the cartilage between the bones inside certain joints. The ageing
process may also result in a decreased production of the synovial fluid in the
joints. The patient usually suffers from a painful and stiff knee which restricts
daily activities like walking and climbing stairs. If treatment fails to relieve pain,
a surgeon can replace the damaged joints with artificial ones made of plastic or

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Respiration & Circulation

Human Respiratory System

During inhalation, the external intercostals muscles contract while the

internal intercostals muscles relax. This action causes the ribcage to move
upwards and outwards. At the same time, the diaphragm muscles contract. The
diaphragm lowers and flattens. These two actions cause the volume of the
thoracic cavity to increase, and the pressure of the thoracic cavity decreases.
Higher atmospheric pressure on the outside forces the air to enter the lungs.

During exhalation, the external intercostals muscles relax while the internal
intercostals muscles contract. This action causes the rib cage to move
downwards and inwards. At the same time, the diaphragm muscles relax. The
diaphragm curves upwards (dome-shaped). These two actions cause the volume
of the thoracic cavity to decrease, and the pressure of the thoracic cavity
increases. Higher atmospheric pressure inside the lungs forces the ait out of the

Alveoli & Gaseous Exchange

Gaseous exchange happens between the alveolus and the blood

capillaries through diffusion. The oxygen concentration or partial pressure of
oxygen, PO2 in the alveolus is higher than the blood capillaries. Blood capillaries
carry carbon dioxide from body cells to the alveolus. So, it has a higher partial

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pressure of carbon dioxide, PCO2 compared to the air in the alveolus. Carbon
dioxide diffuses into the alveolus and then it is breathed out through the nose or
mouth. Oxygen diffuses into the blood capillaries from the lungs and combines
with haemoglobin to form oxyhaemoglobin. Haemoglobin is the red pigment in
RBC. Oxygen in the form of oxyhaemoglobin is carried to the cells and tissues.
Oxyhaemoglobin is unstable so it will breakdown into haemoglobin and oxygen
when it reaches the cell or tissue with lower PO2.

Carbon dioxide is given out by cell as waste products of cellular respiration. This
carbon dioxide is transported out of the cell by a few means. 7% of them
dissolve in blood plasma, 23% of them binds with haemoglobin to form
carbaminohaemoglobin, a type of multiple amino while 70% of them are carried
with bicarbonate ions.


*with the presence of carbonic anhydrase

(HCO3)Blood plasma→lungs→nose (HCO3→CO2+H2O)

The Regulatory Mechanism of Carbon Dioxide Content in the Body

During vigorous exercise, partial pressure of carbon dioxide increases as

there is active cellular respiration. Carbon dioxide reacts with water to form
carbonic acid. The higher carbon dioxide concentration level in the blood results
in a drop in the pH value of the blood and tissue fluid (cerebrospinal fluid)
bathing the brain.


This drop of pH is detected by the receptors include the central chemoreceptors

located in the medulla oblongata and the perisheral chemoreceptors which are
sensitive to both the carbon dioxide content and the pH of the blood. The
perispheral chemoreceptors are the aortic bodies found within the aortic bodies
found within the aortic arch and the carotid bodies at the carotid arteries.
Central and perispheral chemoreceptors send nerve impulses to the respiratory
centre. The diaphragm and the intercostals muscles are the effectors in this
case. When impulse reaches the effectors, the respiratory muscles contract and
relax at a faster rate. As a result, the breathing rate and ventilation rate
increase. As excess carbon dioxide is eliminated from the body, the carbon
dioxide concentration and the pH value of the blood return to the normal level.

The Regulatory Mechanism of Oxygen Content in the Body

The oxygen content in the blood usually has little effect on the breathing
control centre. The perispheral chemoreceptors in the aortic bodies and the
carotid bodies will only be stimulated if the oxygen level is very low, for example

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at very high altitudes. Usually a rise in the carbon dioxide concentration is a

better indication of a drop in the oxygen concentration because both carbon
dioxide and oxygen are involved in the same process, that is, cellular respiration.

At high altitude, the decrease in concentration of oxygen in blood is detected by

perispheral chemoreceptors. Nerve impulses are sent to the respiratory centre.
This causes the diaphragm and intercostals muscles to contract and relax at a
faster rate. Thus, breathing rate and ventilation rate increases so that more
oxygen is inhale to make the concentration of oxygen in the blood to return to

Rate of Respiration & the Gases content in Blood

When an individual does an activity, the body cells require more energy.
This causes the rate of respiration to increase. When PO2 decreases while PCO2
increases, the rate and depth of breathing also increases. The breathing rate
increases will cause the increase of ventilation rate so that the rate of gaseous
exchange between alveoli and blood capillaries increases. Lastly, the heartbeat
rate increases causes more blood to be pumped into the circulation so that more
oxygen can reach the cell to oxidise glucose for energy and also to remove the
carbon dioxide from the cells to the air.

Compensation Point

Compensation point is the light intensity at which the rate of carbon

dioxide production during respiration is equal to the carbon dioxide consumption
during photosynthesis.


Genetic Modification of Bacteria in the Mass Production of Insulin

An enzyme is used to isolate and cut the bacterial plasmid. A plasmid is a

circular DNA found in bacteria. The human gene that codes the production of
insulin is isolated and inserted into the vector plasmid. An enzyme is used to
incorporate the gene into the plasmid. The human gene together with the
bacterial plasmid (called recombinant DNA) is inserted into the bacterial cell. The
bacteria are cultured in a bioreactor. The plasmids are replicated as the bacteria
divide asexually (producing clones) and make identical copies of themselves, all
carrying the new gene that is capable of producing human insulin. The insulin
produced in large quantities, purified and separated. This is a cost-effective way
of producing sufficient amounts of insulin.

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Comparison between Continuous &Discontinuous Variation

i. Similarities

Both continuous and discontinuous variation creates varieties in the

population of a species. Both variations are caused by environment
factors or genetic factors or both. Variation that is caused by genetic
factors can be inherited. This too can promote a higher survival rate in the
formation of new species/individual.

ii. Differences

Continuous variation is a type of variation in which the differences in a

character are not distinctive while discontinuous variation is a type of
variation in which the differences in a character are distinctive. Height and
weight are continuous variation as while blood group, fingerprint patterns,
haemophilia and albinism are discontinuous variation. Continuous
variation exhibits a spectrum of phenotypes with intermediate characters
while discontinuous variation exhibits a few distinctive phenotypes with no
intermediate characters.

Continuous variation has characters that are quantitative, they can be

measured and graded from one extreme to the other while discontinuous
variation has characters that are qualitative, they cannot be measured or
graded from one extreme to the other. Continuous variation is
represented by a normal distribution while discontinuous variation is
represented by a discrete distribution. Continuous variation is influenced
by environmental factors while discontinuous variation is not influenced
by environmental factors. Two or more genes control the same character
for continuous variation while only a single gene determines the
differences in the traits of a character. The phenotype of a continuous
variation is usually controlled by many pairs of alleles while the phenotype
of a discontinuous variation is controlled by a pair of alleles.

Genetic Variation in Sexual Reproduction

Sexual reproduction, which involves the production and fertilisation of

gametes, resulting in genetic variation in the offspring. There are three sources
of genetic variation in sexual reproduction:

i. Crossing over during meiosis

During prophase I of meiosis, when two homologous chromosomes are

paired up in a bivalent, crossing over occurs between the chromatids. The
exchange of genetic materials between the chromatids results in new,

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different genetic combinations of genes from the parents. The new

genetic combinations result in variation.

ii. Independent assortment during meiosis

During metaphase I of meiosis, homologous chromosomes arrange

themselves randomly at the metaphase plate. The random arrangement
and separation of each homologous pair is independent of one another.
Independent assortment produces various genetic combinations in the
gametes. There are two equal possible arrangements of the chromosomes
inherited from the parents. These variations in the arrangement of the
chromosomes produce gamates with four equally possible combinations of
the chromosomes.

iii. Random fertilisation

Each gamete has a unique set of combination of genes. A male gamete

can fertilise any of the female gametes. The fertilisation between a male
gamete and a female gamete occurs randomly. As a result, each zygote is
unique. With random fertilisation, variations occur in the offspring.

Reproduction II

Formation of Identical Twins

Identical twins are formed when the ball of cells from a fertilised ovum
splits into two embryos. Only one sperm and one ovum are involved in the
process of fertilisation. The two embryos develop into two separate foetuses in
the uterus. Each foetus has its own umbilical cord but shares the same placenta.
Since the twins originate from one embryo, they are, therefore, identical in every
aspect. They are born the same sex.

Formation of Fraternal Twins (Non-identical Twins)

Fraternal twins are formed when two ova are released at the same time,
one from each ovary. Each ovum is then fertilised by a sperm. As a result, two
zygotes are formed and develop into two separate embryos. Each embryo has its
own placenta and umbilical cord. They are genetically un-identical thus having
different physique and may or may not varies in sex.

Siamese Twins

Siamese twins are identical twins which did not separate completely
during embryonic development. Normally, Siamese twins are attached at certain
parts of the body such as the head, chest, abdomen or hips. They may also
share some common internal organs. Siamese twins can be separated surgically

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and have a greater chance of survival if they do not share major internal organs
like the heart, brain or lungs.

Development of a Zygote & Fertilisation

During copulation, man ejaculates semen containing about 400 million

sperms, into the woman’s vagina. The sperms swim up through the cervix into
the uterus. After about 24 hours, 6000 sperms reach the fallopian tube. Half of
the sperms die. After 30 hours, a few hundred sperms complete the journey.
Ovulation occurs when a ripe egg/ matured ovum bursts from the ovary and is
collected by the fallopian tube. Sperms surround the egg. Fertilisation occurs
when one sperm penetrates the egg. The sperm’s nucleus fuses with the egg’s
nucleus. 30 hours after fertilisation, the zygote divides to form two cells. More
cell division takes place as the zygote moves along the Fallopian tube. From two
cells, it slowly divides into four cells and so on to produce a solid ball of cells
called morula. About 4 days after fertilisation, the embryo, now a hollow ball of
about 128 cells (blastocyst), arrives in the uterus. It absorbs the nourishment
which leaks out of the uterus lining. During the monthly cycle, oestrogen and
progesterone produced by the ovaries cause the uterus lining to grow and
thicken, ready to receive and nourish the embryo. Up to three days after its
arrival in the uterus, the embryo sticks to the endometrium. Implantation
happens. The embryo sinks into the endometrium and becomes buried by it.
From the 9th week of development until birth, the embryo is called a foetus. After
nine months of development inside the uterus, the baby is ready to be born.

Function of Placenta & Its Advantages

Placenta takes over the job of corpus luteum to constantly produce

oestrogen and progesterone to maintain the thick, blood-enriched endometrium
throughout the pregnancy. The placenta is the site of the exchange of nutrients,
respiratory gases and wastes between the foetus and its mother. The placenta is
connected to the foetus by the umbilical cord. Umbilical cord is a tube with one
umbilical vein and two umbilical arteries. The umbilical arteries carry
deoxygenated blood from the foetus to the placenta while the umbilical vein
carries oxygenated blood from the placenta to the foetus. Nutrients, oxygen,
antibodies and hormones are transported through the umbilical vein from the
maternal arteriole into the foetus. On the other hand, carbon dioxide and
nitrogenous waste products are transported through the umbilical arteries from
the foetus into the maternal vein.

Placenta has many functions. It helps to synthesise glycogen, cholesterol and

fatty acid. It is also a source of nutrients and energy for the developing embryo.
Placenta not only secretes hormones like oestrogen and progesterone but it also
secretes relaxin that can soften the cervix and relaxes the pelvic ligaments in

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childbirth. It also produces protein hormone that is the human placental

lactogen. This hormone prepares the breasts for lactation.

Placenta forms a selective blood barrier that prevents the mixing of maternal
and foetal blood. The two bloodstreams are separated by a thin membrane
called blood barrier.

Birth Control

Birth control can be done by various methods. There is the statistical

method also known as the rhythm method. This control is natural as it estimates
the period of fertility. The period is based on the length of past menstrual cycles.
Another method called the barrier method is to wear condom (male & female) or
diaphragm (female). This is done to prevent sexually transmitted diseases
(STDs). Withdrawal method is another method where the penis is taken away
from the female vagina right before ejaculation. There are drawbacks for this
method as the semen might leak before ejaculation.

Sterilisation can be done for both male and female for birth control. Vasectomy
is done for male, where sperm duct is cut and tied while tubal ligation is done for
female, where the fallopian tube is cut and tied. These methods can be done by
surgery but they are irreversible. Intrauterine device (IUD) can be used for birth
control. IUD is inserted into the uterus so that it interrupts the normal uterine
environment and prevents the implantation of zygote in the endometrium. The
T-shaped IUD is made up of copper and plastics.

Another method known as the hormone method can too be used for birth
control. This can be done by taking contraceptive pills orally. These pills contain
a combination of oestrogen (increases weight) and progesterone. Ovulation is
prevented by inhibiting the secretion of FSH and LH. This is because a high level
of oestrogen and progesterone inhibits the pituitary gland from secreting FSH
and LH. Lastly there is the awareness method. This is done by analysing the
temperature of the uterus lining by plotting temperature graphs (also known as
the basal body temperature). Sexual intercourse in the period where the basal
body temperature is high is prevented as high basal body temperature give a
sign that the process of ovulation is happening on that particular day.

Technology in aid of Infertility

Infertility will not be a problem as the technology improves. This is

because there are many methods that can aid infertility in both men and
women. Artificial Insemination (Intro-uterine insemination) can be used for male
that has low sperm count. This is done by collecting the man’s sperm over a
period of time so that the sperm count will be high enough for fertilisation. The
wife can be inseminated with the husband’s sperms or sperms from the sperm
bank. The sperms are injected directly into the fallopian tube. Sometimes, the

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woman is inseminated with sperms obtained from the sperm bank. A sperm bank
is a special laboratory that stores sperms in liquid nitrogen at a temperature of
-196oC. Sperms from the donors are collected, frozen and kept in a sperm bank.
The genetic biodata of each donor are kept meticulously, so that a woman
wishing to conceive can use the sperm bank to obtain the sperms she wants.

In some cases, another woman can be used as a surrogate mother as some

females are unable to give birth or even to get pregnant. The sperms and ova
are contributed by the parents. The sperms can also be obtained from a sperm
bank and the ova from the surrogate mother. Either sperms or an embryo is
transferred to the uterus of the surrogate mother. The surrogate mother then
becomes pregnant and the foetus develops in her uterus until birth. In vitro
fertilisation, another method of fertilisation that occurs in a controlled
environment of a laboratory outside the human body. This method is used when
the fallopian tubes are blocked, thus preventing fertilisation by the sperms. A
fine laparoscope is used to remove mature ova from the ovary. The ova are then
placed in glassware with culture solution to mature. Then, concentrated sperms
from the father are added. The sperms and ova fuse and develop into embryos.
After two to four days, when the embryos are selected and inserted into the
uterus through the cervix for implantation on the uterine wall. If the procedure is
successful, the implantation embryos will develop into a healthy baby or healthy
babies. Babies conceived in this method are sometimes called test-tube babies.
Couples can also use ova from donors.


Spermatogenesis occurs in the germinal epithelium of the seminiferous

tubules. The primodial germ cell in the germinal epithelium cells (2n) divides by
mitosis to produce spermatogonia (2n) (spermatogonium sing.). One
spermatogonium (2n) grows in size to become a primary spermatocyte (2n).
Each primary spermatocyte (2n) undergoes meiosis I to produce two secondary
spermatocytes. Each secondary spermatocyte (n) completes meiosis II to
produce spermatids (n). In the process of spermiogenesis, each spermatid
differentiates (matures) into a spermatozoa/sperm (spermatozoon sing.).


Oogenesis occurs in the germinal epithelium of the ovary before birth and
is regulated by hormones. The primodial germ cell in the germinal epithelium
cells (2n) divide by mitosis to produce oogonia (2n) (oogonium sing.). The
oogonium (2n) grows in size to become a primary oocyte (2n). Each primary
oocyte (2n) undergoes meiosis but stops at prophase I of meiosis I. Meiosis
resumes at puberty to produce a larger secondary oocyte (n) and a smaller first
polar body. The secondary oocyte (n) undergoes meiosis II and stops at
metaphase II. The first polar body completes meiosis II to form two polar bodies

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(n). At this stage, the secondary oocyte, together with the layers of follicle sells
around it, is now called a secondary follicle. The secondary oocyte starts to grow
in the follicle. The secondary follicle increases in size and matures to form the
graafian follicle. At intervals of approximately 28 days, the graafian follicle
merges with the wall of the ovary. The ovarian wall and the graafian follicle then
rupture, releasing the secondary oocyte or egg into the fallopian tube. This
process is known as ovulation. If the secondary oocyte is fertilised by a sperm,
meiosis II will be completed to form two haploid cells of unequal size. The larger
cell is ovum while the other is a polar body. The nuclei of the sperm cell and the
ovum then fuse to form a diploid zygote (2n). This means a primary oocyte
ultimately give rise to a single haploid ovum and three haploid polar bodies. All
polar bodies will degenerates. After ovulation, the follicle cells left in the ovary
form a corpus luteum. If there is no fertilisation, the corpus luteum will
degenerates after a few days. The cycle formation of the graafian follicle,
ovulation and the corpus luteum is known as the ovarian cycle.


Voluntary Actions of the Skeletal Muscles

Voluntary actions such as walking and talking are under conscious control.
Voluntary control of the skeletal muscles is governed by the cerebral cortex of
the cerebrum. The pathway of the transmission in voluntary actions is as follows.
When the door bell rings, the receptors in the ear pick up the ringing of the
doorbell. The receptors trigger nerve impulses in the afferent neurones. The
nerve impulses pass from the afferent neurones to the interneurones in the
brain. The brain interprets the nerve impulses from many interneurones that the
doorbell is ringing. The brain also decides that the door should be opened. From
the interneurones, nerve impulses are transmitted to the efferent neurones and
then to the muscles. The muscles in the arm carry out the response and open
the door.

Involuntary Actions of the Skeletal Muscles: The Reflex Arc

Involuntary actions that involve skeletal muscles allow an immediate

action that does not require conscious effort. In such circumstances when the
responses to stimuli are involuntary, they are called reflexes.

A sharp pin pierces the skin causing the sensory receptors in the skin to
generate impulses. The nerve impulses are transmitted along an afferent
neurone towards the spinal cord. In the spinal cord, the nerve impulses are
transmitted from the afferent neurone to an interneurone. From the
interneurone, the nerve impulses are transmitted to an efferent neurone. The
efferent neurone carries the nerve impulses from the spinal cord to the effectors
(muscle tissue) so that the pin can be pulled out from the skin immediately.

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Special Case: Knee-jerk (patellar reflex)

Knee-jerk only involves the simplest neural circuit because it involves only
two kinds of neurones: the afferent neurone and the efferent neurone. The reflex
hammer hits a tendon that connects the quadriceps muscle in the thigh to a
bone in the lower leg. As the hammer strikes the knee, the force stretches the
quadriceps muscles and stimulates the stretch receptors in the muscles,
triggering nerve impulses. Afferent neurones transmit the information to the
efferent neurones in the spinal cord. The efferent neurones transmit this
information to the quadriceps muscles, and the muscle contracts, jerking the leg


The transmission of information is by no means electrical but chemical in nature.

When the nerve impulse reaches the end of the presynaptic end of the neurone,
it will stimulate the release of chemicals named neurotransmitters in the
synaptic vesicles. The synaptic vesicles then fuse with the cell membrane,
releasing the neurotransmitters through exocytosis. The neurotransmitters then
cross the synapse where they may be accepted by the next neurone at a
specialised site called a receptor. The neurotransmitters then fuse with the
receptor thus transmitting the nerve impulse to the next neurone. Vesicles
containing the neurotransmitters are only in the presynaptic end and the
receptors are only on the postsynaptic end, therefore the synapse ensures that
the flow of impulses in one direction only.

Diseases Related to Nervous System

i. Alzheimer’s Disease

Neurological disease characterised by increasing loss of memory and

intellectual ability. It is associated with the shrinkage of brain tissues and
lack of neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine. Alzheimer usually affects
elderly. Patient with it will show loss of intelligence, loss of memory, mild
confusion and poor concentration. This disease can be inherited.

ii. Parkinson’s Disease

Parkinson’s disease is a chronic disease of the nervous system. It

causes tremors and weakness of the muscles. This is due to the reduced
level of neurotransmitters called dopamine in the brain. In some cases,
the disease is caused by the hardening of the cerebral arteries. This
causes muscles not functioning smoothly and becomes stiff and jerky in
their actions. This disease affects elderly but is not a heredity disease.
Levodopa is administered in the treatment of this disease.

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Hormone imbalanced

i. Growth Hormone

Over secretion of the growth hormone during childhood results in

gigantism, a condition characterised by an abnormal increase in the
length of bones. The person grows to be abnormally tall. Over secretion
during adulthood results in acromegaly, a condition in which the bones,
hands, feet, cheeks and jaws thicken, and other tissue enlarges.

Under secretion during growing years retards bone growth, resulting in a

condition known as dwarfism. The organs of the person often fail to grow
and the size of the body is like that of a child. Today, genetically
engineered growth hormones can be given to children with the deficiency
in growth hormone and successfully induce growth, allowing the children
to attain normal height.

ii. Thyroxine

Over secretion causes an increase in the metabolic rate of the body.

Common symptoms include excessive sweating, heat intolerance,
increased bowel movements, nervousness, rapid heart rate and weight
loss. Sometimes, the thyroid gland can grow and enlarges two or three
times its normal size, a condition known as goitre. One causes of goitre is
iodine deficiency. In this situation, the thyroid gland cannot synthesise
and release enough thyroxine (throxine contains iodine). As a result, it
enlarges in response to excess stimulation from the pituitary gland.

Under secretion during childhood can cause severe mental retardation, a

condition known as cretinism. In adulthood, it causes myxedema. A person
with myxedema has a slow heart rate, low body temperature, high
sensitivity to cold, general lethargy and a tendency to gain weight easily.
A lack of iodine in the diet also reduces the production of thyroxine.

iii. Insulin

Over secretion of insulin can lead to hypoglycaemia, an abnormally low

level of glucose in the blood. Some of the symptoms of hypoglycaemia are
fatigue, insomnia, mental confusion, nervousness, mood swings, fainting
spells and headache. Severe hypoglycaemia can lead to convulsions and

Under secretion of insulin can lead to diabetes mellitus. Diabetes mellitus

is a chronic condition associated with abnormally high levels of sugar
(glucose) in the blood. People with diabetes either do not produce enough
insulin or cannot use the insulin that their body produce. As a result,
glucose builds up in the bloodstream. A person with diabetes mellitus
experiences an increase in frequency of urination, excessive thirst,

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numbness or burning sensation in the feet, ankles and legs, blurred or

poor vision, fatigue, and slow healing of wounds. Large quantities of
human insulin are now produced by genetically engineered bacteria.
Patients are usually injected with this commercially prepared insulin.

iv. Antidiuretic hormone (ADH)

Over secretion of ADH can results in high retention of water in the


Under secretion of ADH can result in a disorder known as diabetes

insipidus. As a result, the person excretes a large amount of urine. People
with diabetes insipidus are thirsty all the time. They often want to drink
liquids frequently. This is because so much water is lost in the urine; the
person may die of dehydration if deprived of water for even a day.

Kidney & Its Function + the Formation of Urine

Kidney is situated in the dorsal wall of the abdomen. It has three main
parts that are the outer cortex, inner medulla and the pelvis. Each kidney
consists of numerous tubular units that are called nephrons. Kidney is needed to
remove toxic waste products from our body. Kidney involved in the
osmoregulation to keep the osmotic concentration of the blood constant by
removing excess water and salts. It regulates the pH of the blood by controlling
the removal of hydrogen ions. It also controls the blood volume.

The formation of urine depends on the nephrones through three processes:

i. Ultra filtration

The afferent arteriole which has a bigger diameter than that of the
efferent arteriole sends blood to the glomerulus. The blood is now under
relatively high pressure and ultra filtration takes place in the Bowman’s
capsule. The filtrate which filters into the Bowman’s capsule consists of
small molecules, water, glucose, amino acids, urea and mineral salts. The
filtrate does not contain blood cells or plasma proteins. These components
remain in the glomerular capillaries as they are too large. The filtrate then
goes down the proximal convoluted tubule for reabsorption.

ii. Reabsorption

Reabsorption takes place in the proximal convoluted tubule, loop of

Henle, distal convoluted tubule and collecting duct. At the proximal
convoluted tubule, about 65% of the water in the glomerular filtrate
(water, urea, glucose, amino acids and salts such as sodium ions) is
absorbed back into the surrounding blood capillaries by osmosis. All the
glucose, amino acids, vitamins and some salts are reabsorbed by active

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transport. Urea is not reabsorbed. As the filtrate (water, salt and urea)
passes along the loop of Henle, about 20% of the water and some salts
are reabsorbed into the blood capillaries. At the distal convoluted tubule
and collecting duct, the amount of water and salts that are reabsorbed
into the blood capillaries depends on the content of water and salt in the
blood. Reabsorption of water and salts is regulated by the endocrine

iii. Secretion

Secretion takes place in the distal convoluted tubule. Along the tubule,
waste products such as urea, uric acid and ammonia are pumped out of
the blood capillaries into the distal convoluted tubule by active transport.
This process is called secretion. Some drugs and toxic substances are
secreted by simple diffusion. The final glomerular filtrate which remains in
the collecting duct is called urine (96% of water, 2.5% nitrogenous
products such as urea, uric acid, ammonia and cretinine, 1.5% salts and
other trace elements such as bile pigments). From the collecting ducts,
urine is channelled into the pelvis and carried out of the kidney by the
ureter to the urinary bladder before it is excreted through the urethra.


Homeostasis is the regulation of the physical and chemical factors in the

internal environment to maintain a constant internal environment.


Osmoregulation is the regulation of salt and water balance in the body to

maintain the blood osmotic pressure. It is controlled by two hormones mainly
Antidiuretic Hormone (ADH) and aldosterone.

When the osmotic pressure increases, it is detected by the osmoreceptors in the

hypothalamus. Nerve impulses are sent to the pituitary gland so that more ADH
and less aldosterone is secreted. This causes the distal convoluted tubule to
become more permeable to water and impermeable to salt. More water and less
salt then moves into the distal convoluted tubule through diffusion. The osmotic
pressure declines back to normal.

When the osmotic pressure decreases, it is detected by the osmoreceptors in the

hypothalamus. Nerve impulses are sent to the pituitary gland so that more
aldosterone and less ADH is secreted. This causes the distal convoluted tubule to
become more permeable to salt and impermeable to water. Less water and more
salt then moves into the distal convoluted tubule through diffusion. The osmotic
pressure increases back to normal.

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The normal blood glucose level is 90mg in 100cm 3 of blood. When the
blood glucose level increases, the change is detected by the β-cells of the Islets
of Longerhans. This stimulates the pancreas to secrete insulin. Glucose is
converted into glycogen for temporal storage. Glycogen is converted into lipid to
be stored under the adipose tissues. Part of the glucose is used as the
respiration of glucose increases. The blood glucose level declines back to

When the blood glucose level decreases, the change is detected by the α-cells of
the Islets of Longerhans. This stimulates the pancreas to secrete glucagon. Lipid
is converted back to glycogen while glycogen is converted back to glucose. The
blood glucose level rises back to normal.


Thermoregulation is the regulation of body temperature. When the body

temperature increases to a value higher than 37oC, it is detected by the
thermoreceptors in the hypothalamus. Nerve impulses are sent to the
hypothalamus. The hair erector muscles relax to lower the hair so that no air is
trap on the surface of the skin. Sweat gland is activated to produce sweat. This is
to allow heat loss by means of evaporation. Muscle activities are also reduced to
minimise heat production. Vasodilation occurs when smooth muscles of blood
capillaries dilate so that more heat can be released through radiation. Adrenal
gland secretes less adrenaline while thyroid gland secretes less thyroxine to
lower down the rate of metabolism. The body temperature declines back to

When the body temperature decreases, it is detected by the thermoreceptors in

the hypothalamus. Nerve impulses are sent to the hypothalamus. The hair
erector muscles contract to raise hair so that more heat is trapped on the skin
surface. Sweat gland is inactive to stop sweat so no heat loss via evaporation.
Voluntary muscular activity is increased such as rubbing the hands to keep warm
while involuntary muscles contract and relax frequently leading to shivering to
produce heat. Vasoconstriction occurs when smooth muscles of the blood
capillaries constrict to lower down heat loss. Adrenal gland secretes more
adrenaline while thyroid gland secretes more thyroxine to increase the rate of
metabolism. The body temperature rises back to normal.

Auxin & Its Effects on the Growth of Plants

Plants hormones are organic compounds that act as messengers that

promote or inhibit plant growth and development. Some examples of it are
auxin, gibberellins, cytokinin, abscisic acid and ethylene (a gas). Auxin
stimulates cell tropism. Auxins are continuously produced by the meristematic

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cells of the shoot tip. It is then transported to the shoot via the phloem.
Therefore, they are highest in concentration in the shoot tip and lowest at the
root tip. The concentration of auxins in the shoot tip and the root tip affects
growth. High concentration of auxin in shoot promotes elongation of cells. Hence
the lower side of the shoot with a higher concentration of auxins will grow faster
than the upper side. As a result, the shoot curves upwards, showing negative
geotropism. A high concentration of auxins inhibits the elongation of cells in the
root. The upper side of the root grows faster than the lower side. The young root
curves and grows downwards, showing positive geotropism. Auxins move away
from the light, accumulate in the shaded side.


Antagonistic Muscles

Antagonistic muscles are a pair of muscles which work together to allow

coordinated movements of the skeletal joints. This means that when one muscle
contracts, the other relaxes.

Bending & Straightening of the Arm

When the biceps contract, the triceps relaxes. The biceps becomes shorter
and thicker while the triceps becomes longer and thinner. This exerts a pulling
force transmitted to the radius through the tendons. As a result, the radius is
pulled upward and the arm is bended. The elastic ligaments that held the radius,
ulna and the humerus together enable the radius and ulna to be pulled upward,
bending the arms from the elbow. When the triceps contract, the biceps relaxes.
Now, the triceps becomes shorter and thicker while the biceps becomes longer
and thinner. The triceps that contracts exert a pulling force on the ulna through
its tendon. The ulna and radius, which are jointed to the humerus by the elastic
ligaments, is pulled together downwards, causing the arm to straighten.


The calf muscle contracts and raises the heel. In doing so, it exerts a
forward thrust by pushing the ball of the foot against the ground. The hamstring
muscle contracts to pull the femur back and bends the knee. The leg is raised.
As the right foot loses contact with the ground, the weight of the body is now
supported by the left leg which is still in contact with the ground. Next, the
quadriceps muscle contracts, pulls the femur forward and extends the leg. When
the extension of the leg is completed, the foot then regains contact with the
ground with the heel touching the ground first. The weight of the body is now
supported on the right leg. The whole sequence is repeated with the left leg.

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The movement of earthworm is carried out by a series of contraction and

relaxation of both the circular and longitudinal muscles of its body. When the
circular muscle at the anterior contracts, the longitudinal muscles relaxes. The
body becomes thinner and lengthens. The body fluid is pushed to the posterior
part of the body. When the longitudinal muscle at the anterior contracts and the
circular muscle relax, the body flatten and shortens. The body fluid will be
pushed to the front part by hydrostatic pressure and the posterior will be pulled
forward. Each segment has chaetae which help to anchor the worm during
locomotion and pull itself forward. The antagonistic muscles working in opposite
directions produce hydrostatic pressure of the body fluid. Thus, creating
peristalsis wave.


The movement of tail is caused by the contraction and relaxation of the

myotome muscles on both side of the body. The contraction of the muscle on the
right side will pull the tail to the right whereas the contraction of the muscles on
the left side will pull the tail to the left. The continuous movement of the tail
from left to the right will create a push for the fish to move forward. The function
of the fins help in controlling the direction as well as the stability of fish in the


The antagonistic actions of the strong muscles enable the bird to flap its
wings up and down. When the pectorial major (in) contracts and the pectorial
minor (out) relax, the wings flapped downwards. When the pectorial minor (out)
contracts and the pectorial major (in) relaxes, the wings goes up.

Grasshopper & Frog

Grasshopper has strong muscular hind legs that are the flexor (in) and the
extensor (out) muscle to enable them to jump. A flexor muscle controls forward
leg movement while the extensor controls the backward movement. Before
jumping, the hind leg is folded in the shape of alphabet Z, the flexor muscle
contracts while the extensor relaxes. When the extensor muscle contracts and
the flexor muscle relax, the hind leg will straighten quickly resulting in a lift and
the grasshopper jumps forward and upward.

To land, the forelegs are extended forward to absorb the landing shock. The hind
legs are then folded again. For walking, the grasshopper uses three legs to move
while the other three labelled X are used to support the body.

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Frog has locomotion almost identical to grasshopper. It also has long, big and
strong muscular hind legs. The contraction of the femur muscles result in
straightening of the leg quickly. The feet push the ground causing the frog to
jump upward and outward. During landing, the front legs are extended first to
absorb the landing shock. At the same time, the hind legs are folded again into
its Z shape.

Respiration II


When a fish inhales, its mouth opens and the buccal cavity is lowered. As
this occurs, the operculum closes and the opercular cavity becomes bigger. This
resulted into a lower pressure in the buccal cavity. Water is then drowned into its
mouth along with dissolved oxygen.

When a fish exhales, its mouth closes, raising the floor of the buccal cavity. A
water flows through the lamellae, respiratory gases are exchanged between
blood capillaries and water. As this occurs, the opercular cavity becomes
smaller. The high pressure in the buccal cavity forces the operculum to open
allowing water to flow out.


Insects inhale and exhale through the rhythmic contraction and expansion
of their abdominal muscles. The body movements and the contractions of the
abdominal muscles speed up the rate of diffusion of gases from the tracheae
into the body cells. When an insect inhales, the abdominal muscles relax and the
spiracles open. Air pressure inside the tracheae decreases and air is drawn in.

When an insect exhales, the abdominal muscles contract. The increased air
pressure forces air out through the spiracles. The spiracle system with its
network of small tubes allows oxygen to be absorbed directly from the
atmosphere into the body cells. Therefore, there is no circulatory system in


When a frog inhales, it breathes in through its nostrils. The bucco-

pharyngeal floor is lowered and fresh air is drawn in. At the same time, its glottis
closes and state air remains in the lungs. Afterwards, the glottis will open. Its
nostrils are then closed and the bucco-pharyngeal floor is raised. This causes
high air pressure which forces air into its lungs thus, expanding them.

When a frog exhales, its lung muscles contract, expelling air from its lungs. A
frog does this by the abdominal pressure and elasticity of the lungs. Some of the

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air flows out of its nostrils and some mixed with the air in the bucco-pharyngeal

*Filling in air: nostrils open, glottis closed, floor of the mouth lowers

*Force air in: nostrils closed, glottis open, floor of the mouth rises

*Expiration: nostrils open, glottis open, lung contracts

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