Characteristics of life in biology

Not all scientists agree on what life is all about. There are several features that describe most living things. However, for most of the features listed below, we can think of one or more examples that might break the rule by classifying something that doesn’t live as alive or something that lives as non-living. Hence, we take care not to be too dogmatic in our attempt to explain what is alive and what is not.

  • Living beings consist of ordered, structured materials in which simple molecules are brought together to form much larger macromolecules.
  • All Organisms; Grow, breathe, interact, move, need nutrients, excrete (waste), multiply, die.
  • Cells from living beings are sensitive, they are able to react to stimuli.
  • Living things can adapt over time through the process of natural selection.
  • All known living beings use the hereditary molecule DNA.Internal functions are coordinated and regulated so that the internal environment of a living being, is relatively constant (homeostasis).

They are organized at the microscopic level from atoms to cells. Atoms are arranged into molecules, then macromolecules that makeup organelles that work together to form cells. In addition, cells organize themselves at higher levels to form full multicellular organisms. Cells together form tissues that make up organs that are part of organ systems that work together to form a complete organism. In addition, organisms naturally form populations that make up part of an ecosystem. All of the earth’s ecosystems together make up the earth’s diverse environment.


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