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Metabolism. The chemical processes occurring within a living cell or organism that are necessary for the maintenance of life. In metabolism some substances are broken down to yield energy for vital processes while other substances, necessary for life, are synthesized.

Homeostasis.   The ability or tendency of an organism or cell to maintain internal equilibrium by adjusting its physiological processes.

Reproduction.   The act of reproducing or the condition or process of being reproduced.

Dna. A nucleic acid that carries the genetic information in the cell and is capable of self-replication and synthesis of RNA. DNA consists of two long chains of nucleotides twisted into a double helix and joined by hydrogen bonds between the complementary bases adenine and thymine or cytosine and guanine. The sequence of nucleotides determines individual hereditary characteristics.

Genes. A hereditary unit consisting of a sequence of DNA that occupies a specific location on a chromosome and determines a particular characteristic in an organism. Genes undergo mutation when their DNA sequence changes.

evolution. A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form.

Mutations. The act or process of being altered or changed.

Diversity. The fact or quality of being diverse; difference.

Adaptive traits. The act or process of adapting.

Natural selection. The process in nature by which, according to Darwin's theory of evolution, only the organisms best adapted to their environment tend to survive and transmit their genetic characteristics in increasing numbers to succeeding generations while those less adapted tend to be eliminated.

Extinction. The act of extinguishing.

Kingdoms. In the Linnaean taxonomic system, the highest taxonomic classification into which organisms are grouped, based on fundamental similarities and common ancestry. The Linnaean system designates five such classifications: animals, plants,...

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