23 terms

DP Biology Vocabulary - 5.2 Natural selection and 5.1 Evidence for evolution

Essential vocabulary for the IBO DP Biology course
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Adaptations
a feature of an organism that favours its survival to reproductive age. Adaptations can be behavioural, physiological, or structural.
Antibiotic
a chemical produced by microbes to kill off competing microbes.
Meiosis
reduction division involving the production of gametes.
Mutation
a change in DNA.
Natural selection
survival to reproductive age of the varieties that are best adapted to existing environmental conditions.
Selection pressure
an environmental variable that acts to remove poorly adapted individuals.
Sexual reproduction
reproduction involving the union of gametes.
Species
a naturally interbreeding group of organisms with similar morphology.
Variation
the range of phenotypes within a population.
Adaptive radiation
the diversification of several new species from a recent ancestral source, each adapted to utilize or occupy a vacant adaptive zone.
Artificial selection
the human intervention in animal or plant reproduction to ensure that certain desirable traits are represented in successive generations.
Continuous variation
the variation in phenotypic traits, such as body weight or height, in which a series of types are distributed on a continuum rather than grouped into discrete categories.
Discontinuous variation
the variation in phenotypic traits in which types are grouped into discrete categories with few or no intermediate phenotypes.
Evolution
the change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
Fossil
a remnant, or representation, of an organism that existed in a past geological age, or of the activity of such an organism, occurring in the form of mineralized bones, shells, etc., as casts, impressions, and moulds.
Divergent evolution
the change in the genetic composition of a population during successive generations, as a result of natural selection acting on the genetic variation among individuals, and resulting in the development of new species.
Heritable characteristics
characteristics that are capable of being passed from one generation to the next through the genes.
Homologous structures
structures derived from a common ancestor or same evolutionary or developmental origin but not necessarily in function: the wing of a bird and the foreleg of a horse are homologous.
Melanism
an increased amount of black or nearly black pigmentation (as of skin, feathers, or hair) of an organism, resulting from the presence of melanin.
Pentadactyl limb
a limb with five digits, such as a human hand or foot, which is found in many amphibia, reptiles, birds, and animals, which can allow us to deduce that all species in these categories derived from one common ancestor.
Population
a group of organisms of one species that interbreed and live in the same place at the same time (e.g. deer population).
Selective breeding
the intentional breeding of organisms with desirable traits in an attempt to produce offspring with similar desirable characteristics or with improved traits.
Species
an individual belonging to a group of organisms (or the entire group itself) having common characteristics and been capable of mating with one another to produce fertile offspring.
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