• Prokaryotic and eukaryotic cell structure
  • Microscopes, and other techniques in cytology
  • The cell membrane; lipids and phospholipids
  • Movement of substances across cell membranes: diffusion, facilitated diffusion, osmosis, active transport
  • Protein structure and function
  • Enzyme action and factors affecting the rate of reaction; enzyme inhibitors.
  • Metabolic pathways as sites of enzyme action and of feedback control
  • The key features of mitosis – maintenance of genetic uniformity in growth and repair of cells
  • Meiosis – haploid and diploid numbers in the life-cycle; creating genetic variation
  • Carbohydrates as energy molecules
  • Cellular metabolism – including aerobic and anaerobic respiration; Krebs’ cycle and glycolysis, the electron transfer system
  • Respiratory system: lungs, and the mechanism of breathing; control of breathing rate
  • Oxygen and carbon dioxide transport in the blood; the oxygen dissociation curve and the Bohr shift
  • Circulatory system: the cardiac cycle, and its control; pressure and other changes in the circulation
  • Blood – especially the immune response and other defences against disease
  • Digestive system: physical and chemical digestion, followed by absorption; the control of digestive secretions
  • Homeostasis and negative feedback: illustrated by e.g. thermoregulation
  • Kidney function in excretion and osmoregulation, including the countercurrent multiplier
  • Endocrine system: thyroxine and the hormones of the pancreas as examples of negative feedback control
  • Nervous system – nerve impulse and synapse; nerve pathways; the autonomic nervous system
  • Receptors, and the generator potential; eye and ear as sense organs
  • The neuromuscular junction, and the mechanism of muscle contraction – the sliding filament mechanism
  • Structure and function of nucleic acids
  • Molecular genetics, and the mechanism of protein synthesis; genetic engineering
  • Mendelian genetics, and exceptions to Mendelian laws: prediction of genetic ratios/probabilities, and analysis of family pedigrees
  • Population genetics – the Hardy-Weinberg equation
  • Taxonomy – an outline of the main taxonomic groups, and the relationship between evolution and a natural classification system
  • Bacteria and viruses – overview of treatments for infectious diseases
  • Population growth, and its analysis

These topics are covered in a problem-solving context, to develop an approach for dealing effectively with new situations. The more mathematical aspects of Biology, such as analysing and interpreting graphs, are an essential part of the exam and they will be covered throughout the course

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