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Sample Essay Questions

  1. In what circumstances is it necessary for cells to pump water out with a contractile vacuole? Why, in these circumstances, aren't diffusion and passive transport able to accomplish this on their own?
  2. Explain how contractile vacuoles and peroxisomes help an organism live in dangerous environments.

  3. Let's look at a very simple example of cell life. Explain one way a cell moves to food, two ways the food enters the cell, and one way the food is digested.
  4. Explain the differences between diffusion, passive transport, and active transport.
  5. Scientists have discovered that mitochondria have their own DNA. What impact does this have on cytology?
  6. Explain the full process of photosynthesis in plants from glycolysis to the Calvin cycle. Include in your essay all of the major chemicals involved.
  7. Compare (but do not contrast) respiration in aerobes with photosynthesis on the molecular level.
  8. Outline the entire process of cell reproduction including the cell cycle and mitosis.
  9. Using your knowledge of the cell cycle and mitosis, try to explain why prokaryotes generally reproduce more often than eukaryotes.
  10. Explain the role of the centromeres in mitosis.
  11. Explain the findings of Erwin Chargaff and their implications in deducing the structure of DNA.
  12. What are the differences between a point mutation and a frame shift?
  13. The experiments of Griffith and Avery were instrumental in concluding that DNA carries the genetic information in cells. Describe their experiments and explain how they came to the conclusions that they did.
  14. What were the three models of DNA replication and how do they work? Which model was finally accepted? What are the functions of the three main enzymes involved?
  15. Explain the primary means of locomotion and methods of nutrition for the euglena, the amoeba, and the paramecia.

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