B is for Body, Being and Biology
B = Body, Beingness, and corporeal manifestation.
Biology, Organism, Organization, System.
bod·y (bŏdʹē) noun
1. a. The entire material or physical structure of an organism, especially of a human being or an animal. b. The physical part of a person. c. A corpse or carcass.
2. a. The trunk or torso of a human being or an animal. b. The part of a garment covering the torso.
3. a. A human being; a person. b. A group of individuals regarded as an entity; a corporation.
4. A number of persons, concepts, or things regarded as a group: We walked out in a body.
5. The main or central part, as: a. Anatomy. The largest or principal part of an organ; corpus. b. The nave of a church. c. The content of a book or document exclusive of prefatory matter, codicils, indexes, or appendices. d. The passenger- and cargo-carrying part of an aircraft, ship, or other vehicle. e. Music. The sound box of an instrument.
6. A mass or collection of material that is distinct from other masses: a body of water.
7. Consistency of substance, as in paint, textiles, or wine: a sauce with body.
8. Printing. The part of a block of type underlying the impression surface.
bod·ied, bod·y·ing, bod·ies
1. To furnish with a body.
2. To give shape to: “Imagination bodies forth the forms of things unknown” (Shakespeare).
[Middle English bodi, from Old English bodig.]
Synonyms: body, corpse, carcass, cadaver. These nouns denote the physical organism of a person or an animal. Body refers to material substance, living or dead, especially of a person: “my body to be buried obscurely” (Francis Bacon). Those who smoke abuse their bodies. The word is often used to point up the distinction between material structure and spirit: The battle to keep body and soul together was long and difficult. Corpse refers to the physical remains of a dead person: The corpse of the victim could be removed only after the police had finished photographing the scene of the crime. Carcass primarily denotes the body of a dead animal: “Close to the western summit there is the dried and frozen carcass of a leopard” (Ernest Hemingway). The word is applied to a person, alive or dead, only derogatorily or humorously: He exercised strenously to keep his carcass in good condition. Cadaver is a corpse used for dissection and study: cadavers in the pathology department of the medical school.
Being is an extremely broad concept encompassing subjective and objective features of reality and existence generally. Anything that partakes in being is also called a “being”, though often this use is limited to entities that have subjectivity (as in the expression “human being“). So broad a notion has inevitably been elusive and controversial in the history of philosophy, beginning in western philosophy with attempts among the pre-Socratics to deploy it intelligibly. As an example of efforts in recent times, Heidegger (who himself drew on ancient Greek sources) adopted German terms like Dasein to articulate the topic. Several modern approaches build on such continental European exemplars as Heidegger, and apply metaphysical results to the understanding of human psychology and the human condition generally (notably in the Existentialist tradition). By way of contrast, in mainstream Analytical philosophy the topic is more confined to abstract investigation, in the work of such influential theorists as W. V. O. Quine, to name one of many. One most fundamental question that continues to exercise philosophers is put by William James: “How comes the world to be here at all instead of the nonentity which might be imagined in its place? … from nothing to being there is no logical bridge.”
life (līf) noun
plural lives (līvz)
1. Biology. a. The property or quality that distinguishes living organisms from dead organisms and inanimate matter, manifested in functions such as metabolism, growth, reproduction, and response to stimuli or adaptation to the environment originating from within the organism. b. The characteristic state or condition of a living organism.
2. Living organisms considered as a group: plant life; marine life.
3. A living being, especially a person: an earthquake that claimed hundreds of lives.
4. The physical, mental, and spiritual experiences that constitute existence: the artistic life of a writer.
5. a. The interval of time between birth and death: She led a good, long life. b. The interval of time between one’s birth and the present: has had hay fever all his life. c. A particular segment of one’s life: my adolescent life. d. The period from an occurrence until death: elected for life; paralyzed for life. e. Slang. A sentence of imprisonment lasting till death.
6. The time for which something exists or functions: the useful life of a car.
7. A spiritual state regarded as a transcending of corporeal death.
8. An account of a person’s life; a biography.
9. Human existence, relationships, or activity in general: real life; everyday life.
10. a. A manner of living: led a hard life. b. A specific, characteristic manner of existence. Used of inanimate objects: “Great institutions seem to have a life of their own, independent of those who run them” (New Republic). c. The activities and interests of a particular area or realm: musical life in New York.
11. a. A source of vitality; an animating force: She’s the life of the show. b. Liveliness or vitality; animation: a face that is full of life.
12. a. Something that actually exists regarded as a subject for an artist: painted from life. b. Actual environment or reality; nature.
13. Christian Science. God.
as big as life
2. Actually present.
bring to life
1. To cause to regain consciousness.
2. To put spirit into; to animate.
3. To make lifelike.
come to life
To become animated; grow excited.
for dear life
Desperately or urgently: I ran for dear life when I saw the tiger.
Till the end of one’s life.
for the life of (one)
Though trying hard: For the life of me I couldn’t remember his name.
not on your life Informal
Absolutely not; not for any reason whatsoever.
take (one’s) life
To commit suicide.
take (someone’s) life
To commit murder.
the good life
A wealthy, luxurious way of living.
the life of Riley Informal
An easy life.
the life of the party Informal
An animated, amusing person who is the center of attention at a social gathering.
to save (one’s) life
No matter how hard one tries: He can’t ski to save his life.
true to life
Conforming to reality.
[Middle English, from Old English līf.]
BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES & CONCEPTS
Life, term used to summarize the activities characteristic of all species from such primitive forms as cyanobacteria to plants and animals. These activities fall into two major categories: reproduction and metabolism. The process of reproduction is controlled by the properties of certain large molecules called nucleic acids. Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) forms the hereditary material that can be passed from one cell or living thing to another, because DNA molecules can make copies of themselves. Reproduction therefore involves making copies of the molecules of a living thing and ultimately results in copies of the entire living thing (see Genetics; Heredity).
The other major activity of living organisms is metabolism, the physical and chemical processes by which energy from the environment is used in such activities as reproduction, growth, locomotion, and responsiveness to the environment. The energy source can be either the sun’s radiant energy, converted to a usable form by photosynthesis, or the chemical energy of food. A precise definition of life is difficult, but, generally, an organism is considered alive if both metabolism and reproduction are active.
The only exceptions to this description of life are viruses. They are only partly alive. They possess nucleic acids but lack the ability to convert energy. Viruses rather act as parasites that invade a cell and cause it to follow the instructions of the viral genetic material to make virus particles.
life, living, being alive, animate existence, being, existence
the living, living and breathing world
living being, being, soul, spirit
plant life, vegetable life
animal life, animality
human life, humankind
gift of life, birth, nativity, origin
new birth, rejuvenation, revivification, renaissance, revival
life to come, the hereafter, future state
immortal life, heaven
vivification, vitalization, animation
vitality, vital force, vital principle, élan vital, life force
beating heart, strong pulse
will to live, hold on life, survival, cat’s nine lives, longevity, long duration
animal spirits, liveliness, animation, moral sensibility
wind, breath, breathing, respiration
vital air, breath of life, breath of one’s nostrils
lifeblood, essential part
vital spark, vital flame
vital necessity, nourishment, staff of life, food
biological function, parenthood, motherhood, fatherhood, propagation
sex, sexual activity, coition
living matter, protoplasm, bioplasm, ectoplasm, tissue, living tissue
cell, unicellular organism, organism
cooperative living, symbiosis, association
lifetime, one’s born days
life expectancy, life span, life cycle
capacity for life, survivability, viability, viableness, possibility
existence: subsistence, life
substance: body, flesh and blood, living matter, life
essential part: life, lifeblood, sap
time: the whole time, the entire period, life, lifetime
period: life, lifetime, life sentence
affairs: world, life, situation, circumstance
vitality: vim, vigor, liveliness, life
vigorousness: vigorousness, lustiness, energy, vigor, life, activity
blood: lifeblood, life
organism: living matter, life
biography: life, curriculum vitae, cv, résumé, life story or history
vocation: life, lifestyle, walk of life, career, chosen career, labor of love, self-imposed task, voluntary work
activity: life, stir, motion
restlessness: vivacity, spirit, animation, liveliness, vitality, life
cheerfulness: vitality, spirits, animal spirits, high spirits, youthful high spirits, joie de vivre, life
mo·nad (mōʹnăd´) noun
1. Philosophy. An indivisible, impenetrable unit of substance viewed as the basic constituent element of physical reality in the metaphysics of Leibnitz.
2. Biology. A single-celled microorganism, especially a flagellate protozoan of the genus Monas.
3. Chemistry. An atom or a radical with a valence of 1.
[Latin monas, monad-, unit, from Greek, from monos, single.]
– mo·nadʹic (mə-nădʹik) or mo·nadʹi·cal adjective
– mo·nadʹi·cal·ly adverb
– moʹnad·ism noun
existence: monad, a being, an entity, ens, essence, quiddity
unit: individual, atom, monad, entity, person
element: unit of being, monad
ge·net·ics (jə-nĕtʹĭks) noun
1. (used with a sing. verb) The branch of biology that deals with heredity, especially the mechanisms of hereditary transmission and the variation of inherited characteristics among similar or related organisms.
2. (used with a pl. verb) The genetic constitution of an individual, a group, or a class.
BIOLOGICAL PRINCIPLES & CONCEPTS
Genetics, scientific study of how physical, biochemical, and behavioral traits are transmitted from parents to their offspring. The word genetics was coined in 1906 by the British biologist William Bateson.
Emergence of Genetics
The science of genetics began in 1900, when several plant breeders independently discovered the work of the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel, who had published his findings in 1866. Mendel described the patterns of inheritance in different pea plant varieties. He observed that traits were inherited as separate units, each independently of the others (see Mendel’s Laws), and he suggested that each parent has pairs of these units but contributes only one unit from each pair to its offspring. These units were later given the name genes.
Physical Basis of Heredity
Scientists realized that the patterns of inheritance that Mendel had described paralleled the action of chromosomes in dividing cells, and they proposed that the chromosomes carry the genes. Most cells in the human body contain 23 pairs of chromosomes, but the number varies in other species. Each chromosome contains numerous genes. The process of cell division by which a new cell comes to have the same number of chromosomes as the parent cell is called mitosis. Higher organisms that reproduce sexually are formed from the union of two special sex cells known as gametes. Gametes are produced by meiosis, which differs from mitosis in one important way: in meiosis a single chromosome from each pair of chromosomes is transmitted to each of the new cells. Thus each gamete contains half the number of chromosomes that are found in the other body cells. When two gametes unite in fertilization, the resulting cell, called the zygote, contains the full double set of chromosomes.
The Transmission of Genes
The union of gametes brings together two sets of genes, one set from each parent. If one form, or allele, of a gene is dominant, only that form will be expressed, although in later generations the recessive trait may reappear. Sometimes the inheritance of different alleles results in intermediate characteristics. The four-o’clock plant, for example, can have flowers that are red, white, or pink; the pink flower is an intermediate form. Genes seldom control a single trait alone. One gene may control more than one trait, and one trait may depend on many genes.
Gene Linkage and Gene Mapping
Mendel’s principle that genes controlling different traits are inherited independently is true only when the genes occur on different chromosomes. American geneticist Thomas Hunt Morgan showed that genes are arranged on the chromosomes in a linear fashion and that genes on the same chromosome are inherited as a single unit if the chromosome remains intact. These genes are said to be linked. Morgan also found that such linkage is rarely complete. During meiosis, a coupled pair of chromosomes may exchange material in a process called recombination, or crossing-over. Using crossover frequencies, scientists can map the relative positions of the genes along the chromosome. Recombination can also take place without exchanges between chromosomes, in a process called gene conversion, by which one allele is modified to match its paired allele.
Sex and Sex Linkage
Morgan also observed sexual differences in the inheritance of traits, a pattern known as sex-linked inheritance. Sex is usually determined by the action of a single pair of chromosomes. A human female, for example, has 23 similar pairs of chromosomes. A human male, however, has 22 similar pairs and 1 dissimilar pair. The two sex chromosomes in the female are called X chromosomes. One of the sex chromosomes in the male is an X chromosome, but the other one is called the Y chromosome. Each egg produced by the female contains one X chromosome, but the sperm produced by the male can contain either an X or a Y chromosome. The union of an egg with a sperm bearing an X chromosome produces a zygote with two Xs: a female offspring. The union of an egg with a sperm that bears a Y chromosome produces a male offspring.
The human Y chromosome appears to be genetically inactive, but genes on the X chromosome, such as that for the hereditary blood disease hemophilia, are sex-linked genes. Other sex-linked conditions include red-green color blindness and night blindness.
Gene Action: DNA and the Code of Life
In the early 1940s geneticists found that genes direct the formation of enzymes. Each polypeptide unit of an enzyme is produced by a specific gene. Chromosomes are almost entirely composed of protein and nucleic acids, and in 1944 Canadian bacteriologist Oswald Theodore Avery proved that deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the substance that determines heredity. In 1953 American geneticist James Watson and British geneticist Francis Crick worked out the structure of DNA. They found that the DNA molecule is formed of two long strands in a double helix, somewhat resembling a long, spiral ladder. To make an identical copy of the DNA molecule, the two strands unwind and separate. New matching strands then form with each separated strand.
The question remained about how DNA directs the formation of proteins, which control virtually all the chemical reactions that occur in living matter. Every protein is made up of one or more polypeptides, and each polypeptide is a chain of amino acids. Scientists reasoned that a genetic code must exist by which the DNA could direct the sequence of amino acids in the formation of polypeptides. This specification of polypeptides by the DNA was found to take place indirectly, through a specialized ribonucleic acid (RNA) known as messenger RNA (mRNA). One strand of DNA serves as a template upon which the mRNA is formed.
The production of a strand of mRNA by a particular section of DNA is called transcription. One end of the new mRNA molecule then becomes inserted into one or more small structures called ribosomes. The ribosomes read the mRNA code, and in a step called translation, another type of RNA molecule called transfer RNA (tRNA) attaches amino acids to the growing chain.
The copying of DNA is not always done flawlessly. Very rarely, changes, known as mutations, occur during copying. In 1929 American biologist Hermann Joseph Muller found that the rate of mutation can be increased greatly by X rays. Later, other forms of radiation, high temperatures, and various chemicals were also found capable of inducing mutations. Most mutations are harmful to the living things that carry them.
The chromosomes themselves may alter in form or number. A section of chromosome may become detached, turn over, and then reattach at the same site, a process called inversion. If the detached section unites with a different chromosome, or a different part of the original chromosome, it is called a translocation. Sometimes a piece of chromosome will be lost from one member of a pair of chromosomes and gained by the other member. Most of these chromosomal rearrangements are probably the consequences of errors in the process of crossing-over. Another kind of mutation occurs when a pair of chromosomes fails to separate at meiosis. This can produce gametes-and hence zygotes-with extra chromosomes and others with one or more chromosomes missing, conditions that can result in severe disabilities.
Sometimes an entire set of chromosomes may fail to separate at meiosis, producing a gamete with twice the normal number of chromosomes. If the gamete fuses with another gamete, a zygote with additional sets of chromosomes, known as a polyploid, is produced. Viable and fertile polyploids are found almost exclusively in hermaphroditic organisms (see Hermaphroditism).
Most physical characteristics of human beings are influenced by multiple genetic variables as well as by the environment. Susceptibility to various diseases has an important genetic element. These diseases include Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes mellitus, multiple sclerosis (MS), several forms of cancer, and high blood pressure. Many rare diseases are caused by recessive genes and a few by dominant genes.
The identification and study of genes are of great interest to biologists, and can also be of medical importance. Human beings possess approximately 50,000 to 100,000 genes, of which about 4000 may be associated with disease. A coordinated effort, called the Human Genome Project, was started in 1990 to understand the entire human genome.
Bacteriology, study of bacteria, including their classification and the prevention of diseases caused by bacterial infection.
Bacteria were first observed in the 17th century, by the Dutch naturalist Antoni van Leeuwenhoek using a simple microscope, but the science of bacteriology was not established until the mid-19th century. French scientist Louis Pasteur discovered that bacteria cause fermentation and many infectious diseases, and in 1872 German biologist Ferdinand J. Cohn published the first systematic classification of bacteria.
Since 1880, the year that Pasteur discovered that Bacillus anthracis lost its harmfulness when cultivated at high temperatures, immunity against bacterial diseases has been systematically studied. The prevention, modification, and treatment of disease by immunization has been a major modern medical advance.
A fundamental method of studying bacteria is by culturing them in liquid nutrient media or on the surface of media solidified by agar gel. Solidified media generally are used to isolate a single bacterial species from a mixture of different bacteria.
Many species of bacteria cannot be differentiated under the microscope. Culture techniques, such as using a medium that allows only selected bacteria to grow, have been developed to aid in species identification.
Drying or freezing kills many species of bacteria and causes others to become inactive. Heat above a certain temperature kills all bacteria. Sterilization of objects such as surgical instruments is an important part of bacteriological work.
The development of staining techniques (see Gram’s Stain) has greatly helped bacteriologists in identifying and observing bacteria under the microscope. Bacteriologists also have been aided by the electron microscope, which has far greater magnification powers than ordinary microscopes.
Bacteriology has expanded from its initial focus on disease to fields such as environmental cleanup and genetics. Some bacteria can digest hydrocarbons, which makes them useful for cleaning up oil spills. Studies of Escherichia coli have helped reveal the mechanisms of genetic exchange, DNA replication, and the expression of genetic material. DNA can now be inserted from unrelated organisms into E. coli and have its genetic information expressed by the bacteria, making the bacteria a living factory for scarce biological products such as human insulin, interferon, and growth hormone. See Genetic Engineering.
The living body of the earth is composed of universals and particulars. Externals and Internals. And multiple dimensions not just 3. The whole planet, the moon, and the sun – The solar system – the Galaxy, all this and so much more is connected to our world in linear and non-linear modes, visible and invisible, knowable and unknowable. With Matter, Energy, Time, Place, Form, and Event; and Infinity – where there are factors beyond any human experience or description.
We describe the human body for what it is in relation to all these things.It is the center point for us in this living world of both divine, natural and artificial creations.