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1.1 Characteristics of Living Organisms

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Notes, summary images, and videos for students revising IGCSE Biology Extended are provided below.

Describe the characteristics of living organisms by defining the following terms:
  • Movement: An action by an organism or part of an organism causing a change of position or place
  • Respiration: The chemical reactions in cells that break down nutrient molecules and release energy for metabolism
  • Sensitivity: The ability to detect or sense stimuli in the internal or external environment and to make appropriate responses
  • Growth: A permanent increase in size and dry mass by an increase in cell number or cell size or both
  • Reproduction: The processes that make more of the same type of organism
  • Excretion: Removal from organisms of the waste products of metabolism (chemical reactions in cells including respiration), toxic materials, and substances in excess of requirements
  • Nutrition: Taking in of materials for energy, growth and development; plants require light, carbon dioxide, water and ions; animals need organic compounds and ions and usually need water

Mmemonic: MRS GREN
The following diagram shows the characteristics of living organisms and provides examples.

Characteristics of living organisms. The most relevant text in the image is also available in the list above.

Characteristics of Living Organisms - MRS GREN
This video describes the characteristics of living organisms and provides examples.

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