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  • BIOLOGY COURSE


    This comprehensive course contains 47 sections with 289 self-grading lessons, including final assessments. The first section is available to try for free.

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  • The Study of Life

    UNIT 1: THE CHEMISTRY OF LIFE

    The opening unit introduces students to the sciences, including the scientific method and the fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics that provide a framework within which learners comprehend biological processes.


  • The Study of Life - Final Assessment


    This is the final assessment for The Study of Life. (Available when you subscribe.)

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      • The Chemical Foundation of Life


        2.1 Atoms, Isotopes, Ions, and Molecules: The Building Blocks
        2.2 Water
        2.3 Carbon
        Final Assessment


        • Biological Macromolecules


          3.1 Synthesis of Biological Macromolecules
          3.2 Carbohydrates
          3.3 Lipids
          3.4 Proteins
          3.5 Nucleic Acids
          Final Assessment


          • Cell Structure

            UNIT 2: THE CELL

            In Unit 2, students will gain solid understanding of the structures, functions, and processes of the most basic unit of life: the cell.


            4.1 Studying Cells
            4.2 Prokaryotic Cells
            4.3 Eukaryotic Cells
            4.4 The Endomembrane System and Proteins
            4.5 The Cytoskeleton
            4.6 Connections between Cells and Cellular Activities
            Final Assessment


            • Structure and Function of Plasma Membranes


              5.1 Components and Structure
              5.2 Passive Transport
              5.3 Active Transport
              5.4 Bulk Transport
              Final Assessment


              • Metabolism


                6.1 Energy and Metabolism
                6.2 Potential, Kinetic, Free, and Activation Energy
                6.3 The Laws of Thermodynamics
                6.4 ATP: Adenosine Triphosphate
                6.5 Enzymes
                Final Assessment


                • Cellular Respiration


                  7.1 Energy in Living Systems
                  7.2 Glycolysis
                  7.3 Oxidation of Pyruvate and the Citric Acid Cycle
                  7.4 Oxidative Phosphorylation
                  7.5 Metabolism without Oxygen
                  7.6 Connections of Carbohydrate, Protein, and Lipid Metabolic Pathways
                  7.7 Regulation of Cellular Respiration
                  Final Assessment


                  • Photosynthesis


                    8.1 Overview of Photosynthesis
                    8.2 The Light-Dependent Reactions of Photosynthesis
                    8.3 Using Light Energy to Make Organic Molecules
                    Final Assessment


                    • Cell Communication


                      9.1 Signaling Molecules and Cellular Receptors
                      9.2 Propagation of the Signal
                      9.3 Response to the Signal
                      9.4 Signaling in Single-Celled Organisms
                      Final Assessment


                      • Cell Reproduction


                        10.1 Cell Division
                        10.2 The Cell Cycle
                        10.3 Control of the Cell Cycle
                        10.4 Cancer and the Cell Cycle
                        10.5 Prokaryotic Cell Division
                        Final Assessment


                        • Meiosis and Sexual Reproduction

                          UNIT 3: GENETICS

                          The comprehensive genetics unit takes learners from the earliest experiments that revealed the basis of genetics through the intricacies of DNA to current applications in the emerging studies of biotechnology and genomics.

                          11.1 The Process of Meiosis
                          11.2 Sexual Reproduction
                          Final Assessment


                          • Mendel's Experiments and Heredity


                            12.1 Mendel’s Experiments and the Laws of Probability
                            12.2 Characteristics and Traits
                            12.3 Laws of Inheritance
                            Final Assessment

                            • Modern Understandings of Inheritance


                              13.1 Chromosomal Theory and Genetic Linkage
                              13.2 Chromosomal Basis of Inherited Disorders
                              Final Assessment


                              • DNA Structure and Function


                                14.1 Historical Basis of Modern Understanding
                                14.2 DNA Structure and Sequencing
                                14.3 Basics of DNA Replication
                                14.4 DNA Replication in Prokaryotes
                                14.5 DNA Replication in Eukaryotes
                                14.6 DNA Repair
                                Final Assessment


                                • Genes and Proteins


                                  15.1 The Genetic Code
                                  15.2 Prokaryotic Transcription
                                  15.3 Eukaryotic Transcription
                                  15.4 RNA Processing in Eukaryotes
                                  15.5 Ribosomes and Protein Synthesis

                                  Final Assessment

                                  • Gene Expression


                                    16.1 Regulation of Gene Expression
                                    16.2 Prokaryotic Gene Regulation
                                    16.3 Eukaryotic Epigenetic Gene Regulation
                                    16.4 Eukaryotic Transcription Gene Regulation
                                    16.5 Eukaryotic Post-transcriptional Gene Regulation
                                    16.6 Eukaryotic Translational and Post-translational Gene Regulation
                                    16.7 Cancer and Gene Regulation
                                    Final Assessment


                                    • Biotechnology and Genomics


                                      17.1 Biotechnology
                                      17.2 Mapping Genomes
                                      17.3 Whole-Genome Sequencing
                                      17.4 Applying Genomics
                                      17.5 Genomics and Proteomics
                                      Final Assessment


                                      • Evolution and the Origin of Species

                                        UNIT 4: EVOLUTIONARY PROCESSES

                                        The core concepts of evolution are discussed in Unit 4 with examples illustrating evolutionary processes. Additionally, the evolutionary basis of biology reappears throughout the course in general discussion and is reinforced through special call-out features highlighting specific evolution-based topics.


                                        18.1 Understanding Evolution
                                        18.2 Formation of New Species
                                        18.3 Reconnection and Speciation Rates
                                        Final Assessment


                                        • The Evolution of Populations


                                          19.1 Population Evolution
                                          19.2 Population Genetics
                                          19.3 Adaptive Evolution
                                          Final Assessment


                                          • Phylogenies and the History of Life


                                            20.1 Organizing Life on Earth
                                            20.2 Determining Evolutionary Relationships
                                            20.3 Perspectives on the Phylogenetic Tree
                                            Final Assessment


                                            • Viruses

                                              UNIT 5: BIOLOGICAL DIVERSITY

                                              The diversity of life is explored with detailed study of various organisms and discussion of emerging phylogenetic relationships. This unit moves from viruses to living organisms like bacteria, discusses the organisms formerly grouped as protists, and devotes multiple chapters to plant and animal life.


                                              21.1 Viral Evolution, Morphology, and Classification
                                              21.2 Virus Infections and Hosts
                                              21.3 Prevention and Treatment of Viral Infections
                                              21.4 Other Acellular Entities: Prions and Viroids
                                              Final Assessment


                                              • Prokaryotes: Bacteria and Archaea


                                                22.1 Prokaryotic Diversity
                                                22.2 Structure of Prokaryotes: Bacteria and Archaea
                                                22.3 Prokaryotic Metabolism
                                                22.4 Bacterial Diseases in Humans
                                                22.5 Beneficial Prokaryotes
                                                Final Assessment


                                                • Protists


                                                  23.1 Eukaryotic Origins
                                                  23.2 Characteristics of Protists
                                                  23.3 Groups of Protists
                                                  23.4 Ecology of Protists
                                                  Final Assessment


                                                  • Fungi


                                                    24.1 Characteristics of Fungi
                                                    24.2 Classifications of Fungi
                                                    24.3 Ecology of Fungi
                                                    24.4 Fungal Parasites and Pathogens
                                                    24.5 Importance of Fungi in Human Life
                                                    Final Assessment


                                                    • Seedless Plants


                                                      25.1 Early Plant Life
                                                      25.2 Green Algae: Precursors of Land Plants
                                                      25.3 Bryophytes
                                                      25.4 Seedless Vascular Plants
                                                      Final Assessment


                                                      • Seed Plants


                                                        26.1 Evolution of Seed Plants
                                                        26.2 Gymnosperms
                                                        26.3 Angiosperms
                                                        26.4 The Role of Seed Plants
                                                        Final Assessment

                                                        • Introduction to Animal Diversity


                                                          27.1 Features of the Animal Kingdom
                                                          27.2 Features Used to Classify Animals
                                                          27.3 Animal Phylogeny
                                                          27.4 The Evolutionary History of the Animal Kingdom
                                                          Final Assessment

                                                          • Invertebrates


                                                            28.1 Phylum Porifera
                                                            28.2 Phylum Cnidaria
                                                            28.3 Superphylum Lophotrochozoa: Flatworms, Rotifers, and Nemerteans
                                                            28.4 Superphylum Lophotrochozoa: Molluscs and Annelids
                                                            28.5 Superphylum Ecdysozoa: Nematodes and Tardigrades
                                                            28.6 Superphylum Ecdysozoa: Arthropods
                                                            28.7 Superphylum Deuterostomia
                                                            Final Assessment


                                                            • Vertebrates


                                                              29.1 Chordates
                                                              29.2 Fishes
                                                              29.3 Amphibians
                                                              29.4 Reptiles
                                                              29.5 Birds
                                                              29.6 Mammals
                                                              29.7 The Evolution of Primates
                                                              Final Assessment


                                                              • Plant Form and Physiology

                                                                UNIT 6: PLANT STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

                                                                Unit 6 thoroughly covers the fundamental knowledge of plant life essential to an introductory biology course.


                                                                30.1 The Plant Body
                                                                30.2 Stems
                                                                30.3 Roots
                                                                30.4 Leaves
                                                                30.5 Transport of Water and Solutes in Plants
                                                                30.6 Plant Sensory Systems and Responses
                                                                Final Assessment

                                                                • Soil and Plant Nutrition


                                                                  31.1 Nutritional Requirements of Plants
                                                                  31.2 The Soil
                                                                  31.3 Nutritional Adaptations of Plants
                                                                  Final Assessment


                                                                  • Plant Reproduction


                                                                    32.1 Reproductive Development and Structure
                                                                    32.2 Pollination and Fertilization
                                                                    32.3 Asexual Reproduction
                                                                    Final Assessment


                                                                    • The Animal Body: Basic Form and Function

                                                                      UNIT 7: ANIMAL STRUCTURE AND FUNCTION

                                                                      An introduction to the form and function of the animal body is followed by lessons on specific body systems and processes. This unit touches on the biology of all organisms while maintaining an engaging focus on human anatomy and physiology that helps students connect to the topics.

                                                                      33.1 Animal Form and Function
                                                                      33.2 Animal Primary Tissues
                                                                      33.3 Homeostasis
                                                                      Final Assessment


                                                                      • Animal Nutrition and the Digestive System


                                                                        34.1 Digestive Systems
                                                                        34.2 Nutrition and Energy Production
                                                                        34.3 Digestive System Processes
                                                                        34.4 Digestive System Regulation
                                                                        Final Assessment


                                                                        • The Nervous System


                                                                          35.1 Neurons and Glial Cells
                                                                          35.2 How Neurons Communicate
                                                                          35.3 The Central Nervous System
                                                                          35.4 The Peripheral Nervous System
                                                                          35.5 Nervous System Disorders
                                                                          Final Assessment

                                                                          • Sensory Systems


                                                                            36.1 Sensory Processes
                                                                            36.2 Somatosensation
                                                                            36.3 Taste and Smell
                                                                            36.4 Hearing and Vestibular Sensation
                                                                            36.5 Vision
                                                                            Final Assessment

                                                                            • The Endocrine System


                                                                              37.1 Types of Hormones
                                                                              37.2 How Hormones Work
                                                                              37.3 Regulation of Body Processes
                                                                              37.4 Regulation of Hormone Production
                                                                              37.5 Endocrine Glands
                                                                              Final Assessment


                                                                              • The Musculoskeletal System


                                                                                38.1 Types of Skeletal Systems
                                                                                38.2 Bone
                                                                                38.3 Joints and Skeletal Movement
                                                                                38.4 Muscle Contraction and Locomotion
                                                                                Final Assessment

                                                                                • The Respiratory System


                                                                                  39.1 Systems of Gas Exchange
                                                                                  39.2 Gas Exchange across Respiratory Surfaces
                                                                                  39.3 Breathing
                                                                                  39.4 Transport of Gases in Human Bodily Fluids
                                                                                  Final Assessment

                                                                                  • The Circulatory System


                                                                                    40.1 Overview of the Circulatory System
                                                                                    40.2 Components of the Blood
                                                                                    40.3 Mammalian Heart and Blood Vessels
                                                                                    40.4 Blood Flow and Blood Pressure Regulation
                                                                                    Final Assessment

                                                                                    • Osmotic Regulation and Excretion


                                                                                      41.1 Osmoregulation and Osmotic Balance
                                                                                      41.2 The Kidneys and Osmoregulatory Organs
                                                                                      41.3 Excretion Systems
                                                                                      41.4 Nitrogenous Wastes
                                                                                      41.5 Hormonal Control of Osmoregulatory Functions
                                                                                      Final Assessment

                                                                                      • The Immune System


                                                                                        42.1 Innate Immune Response
                                                                                        42.2 Adaptive Immune Response
                                                                                        42.3 Antibodies
                                                                                        42.4 Disruptions in the Immune System
                                                                                        Final Assessment

                                                                                        • Animal Reproduction and Development


                                                                                          43.1 Reproduction Methods
                                                                                          43.2 Fertilization
                                                                                          43.3 Human Reproductive Anatomy and Gametogenesis
                                                                                          43.4 Hormonal Control of Human Reproduction
                                                                                          43.5 Human Pregnancy and Birth
                                                                                          43.6 Fertilization and Early Embryonic Development
                                                                                          43.7 Organogenesis and Vertebrate Formation
                                                                                          Final Assessment

                                                                                          • Ecology and the Biosphere

                                                                                            UNIT 8: ECOLOGY

                                                                                            Ecological concepts are broadly covered in this unit, with features highlighting localized, real-world issues of conservation and biodiversity.

                                                                                            44.1 The Scope of Ecology
                                                                                            44.2 Biogeography
                                                                                            44.3 Terrestrial Biomes
                                                                                            44.4 Aquatic Biomes
                                                                                            44.5 Climate and the Effects of Global Climate Change
                                                                                            Final Assessment

                                                                                            • Population and Community Ecology


                                                                                              45.1 Population Demography
                                                                                              45.2 Life Histories and Natural Selection
                                                                                              45.3 Environmental Limits to Population Growth
                                                                                              45.4 Population Dynamics and Regulation
                                                                                              45.5 Human Population Growth
                                                                                              45.6 Community Ecology
                                                                                              45.7 Behavioral Biology: Proximate and Ultimate Causes of Behavior
                                                                                              Final Assessment

                                                                                              • Ecosystems


                                                                                                46.1 Ecology of Ecosystems
                                                                                                46.2 Energy Flow through Ecosystems
                                                                                                46.3 Biogeochemical Cycles
                                                                                                Final Assessment

                                                                                                • Conservation Biology and Biodiversity


                                                                                                  47.1 The Biodiversity Crisis
                                                                                                  47.2 The Importance of Biodiversity to Human Life
                                                                                                  47.3 Threats to Biodiversity
                                                                                                  47.4 Preserving Biodiversity
                                                                                                  Final Assessment

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