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Embryos are whole human beings, at the early stage of their maturation. The term ‘embryo', similar to the terms ‘infant' and ‘adolescent', refers to a determinate and enduring organism at a particular stage of development.

However, to destroy a human embryo is precisely to destroy a new, distinct and complete human organism, an embryonic human being. Moreover, the type of ‘potentiality' possessed by somatic cells differs profoundly from the potentiality of the embryo. A somatic cell has a potential only in the sense that something can be done to it so that its constituents—its DNA molecules—enter into a distinct whole human organism, which is a human being, a person.

Initially Threatened by Change, People Adapt to Societal Diversity Over Time

LIFE description

In hot climates, organisms have methods (such as perspiration in humans or panting in dogs) that help them to shed excess body heat. Just as non-living objects can have similar qualities as living organisms, living organisms may have similar qualities as those objects that are not alive.

To take one example, the number of chemical elements involved with life has increased with time; an exhaustive list of the material constituents of life would therefore be premature. Nonetheless, most scientists implicitly use one or more of the metabolic, physiological, biochemical, genetic, thermodynamic, and autopoietic definitions given below. In sexual reproduction, conception occurs when a sperm cell unites with an oocyte, the two cease to be, and their constituents successfully enter into the makeup of a new and distinct organism, which is called a zygote in its original one-celled stage.

Earth today have evolved from ancient common ancestors through the generation of hereditary variation and natural selection. Although some studies state that life may have begun as early as 4.1 billion years ago, it can be traced to fossils dated to 3.5–3.7 billion years ago, which is still only slightly younger than Earth, which gravitationally accreted into a planet about 4.5 billion years ago.

The evolutionary origin of senescence remains one of the fundamental puzzles of biology. Gerontology specializes in the science of human aging processes. Suicide in general, and particularly euthanasia, are also points of cultural debate.

LIFE description

What is the basic unit of life?

That a human individual's existence begins at fertilization is the accepted position of the Roman Catholic Church, whose Pontifical Academy for Life declared: "The moment that marks the beginning of the existence of a new 'human being' is constituted by the penetration of sperm into the oocyte.

Rather, it generates a wholly distinct, self-integrating and entirely new organism—it generates an embryo. The entity—the embryo—brought into being by this process is radically different from the constituents that entered into its generation. The most important characteristic of a cell is that it can reproduce by dividing. If cells did not reproduce, you or any other living thing would not continue to live.

Quality of life is the general well-being of individuals and societies, outlining negative and positive features of life. It is important not to mix up the concept of QOL with a more recent growing area of health related QOL (HRQOL[2]). An assessment of HRQOL is effectively an evaluation of QOL and its relationship with health. Your life purpose is to use your own personal transformation to help transform society.

What are the 10 indicators of quality of life?

Understanding Cells: The Basic Units of Life. Cells make up the smallest level of a living organism such as yourself and other living things. The cellular level of an organism is where the metabolic processes occur that keep the organism alive. That is why the cell is called the fundamental unit of life.

Thus, the presence or absence of brain life truly defines the presence or absence of human life in the medical sense. When viewed in this way, human life may be seen as a continuous spectrum between the onset of brain life in utero (eight weeks gestation), until the occurrence of brain death. At any point human tissue or organ systems may be present, but without the presence of a functional human brain, these do not constitute a 'human being', at least in a medical sense. The implications of this theory for various ethical concerns such as in vitro fertilisation and abortion are discussed.

Death is the center of many traditions and organizations; customs relating to death are a feature of every culture around the world. Much of this revolves around the care of the dead, as well as the afterlife and the disposal of bodies upon the onset of death. The disposal of human corpses does, in general, begin with the last offices before significant time has passed, and ritualistic ceremonies often occur, most commonly interment or cremation.

After death, the remains of an organism become part of the biogeochemical cycle, during which animals may be consumed by a predator or a scavenger. Organic material may then be further decomposed by detritivores, organisms which recycle detritus, returning it to the environment for reuse in the food chain, where these chemicals may eventually end up being consumed and assimilated into the cells of a living organism.

Prokaryotes can carry extrachromosomal DNA elements called plasmids, which are usually circular. Linear bacterial plasmids have been identified in several species of spirochete bacteria, including members of the genus Borrelia notably Borrelia burgdorferi, which causes Lyme disease.[14] Though not forming a nucleus, the DNA is condensed in a nucleoid.

Even the smallest organisms are complex and require multiple regulatory mechanisms to coordinate internal functions, respond to stimuli, and cope with environmental stresses. Two examples of internal functions regulated in an organism are nutrient transport and blood flow. Organs (groups of tissues working together) perform specific functions, such as carrying oxygen throughout the body, removing wastes, delivering nutrients to every cell, and cooling the body.

If we were processes, it would perhaps be vague exactly when the processes we were began. Still, in the case of human organisms, that vagueness would not extend far, and any doubts about whether the human organism as a distinctive process had begun would certainly be ended by the time of fertilization.

Module 1: Introduction to Biology

LIFE description
  • This may be an indication that the sexual reproduction has advantages other than heterosis, such as genetic recombination between members of the species, allowing the expression of a wider range of traits and thus making the population more able to survive environmental variation.
  • For instance, the circulatory system transports blood through the body and to and from the lungs; it includes organs such as the heart and blood vessels.
  • Organisms grow and develop following specific instructions coded for by their genes.
  • Thus, the position on human embryos proposed by Sandel and others presupposes the temporal-parts view of human beings—that a human organism is a process.
  • Several scientists have succeeded in producing simple viruses from entirely non-living materials.[15] However, viruses are often regarded as not alive.

Although, similar to infants, they have not yet developed themselves to the stage at which they are self-aware, it is clear that they are rational animal organisms. Having a rational nature is, in the words of Jeff McMahan at Rutgers University (New Brunswick, NJ, USA) a “status-conferring intrinsic property”. The argument is not that every member of the human species should be accorded full moral respect because the more mature members of the species have a status-conferring intrinsic property, as McMahan mistakenly interprets the nature-of-the-kind argument. Instead, we contend that each member of the human species has a rational nature. The famous example of the ship of Theseus illustrates the case of aggregates, by which we mean a group of substantial entities united in some manner, as opposed to a single although complex substantial entity.

Eukaryotic cells

LIFE description

Thus, somatic cells, in the context of cloning, are not analogous to embryos, but to gametes, the union of which results in the generation of an embryo in the case of ordinary sexual reproduction. Nor would a person who was brought into being by cloning have been once a somatic cell. To destroy an ovum or a skin cell, the constituents of which might have been used to generate a new and distinct human organism, is not to destroy a new and distinct human organism—for no such organism exists or ever existed.

Why is it hard to define life?

Perhaps the most compelling reason it is difficult to define life is the lack of objective measuring tools. All of our human methods for defining the undefinable (science, philosophy, religion, metaphysics, etc.) are self-limiting in some way.

LIFE description

The leading causes in developed countries are atherosclerosis (heart disease and stroke), cancer, and other diseases related to obesity and aging. By an extremely wide margin, the largest unifying cause of death in the developed world is biological aging,[5] leading to various complications known as aging-associated diseases. These conditions cause loss of homeostasis, leading to cardiac arrest, causing loss of oxygen and nutrient supply, causing irreversible deterioration of the brain and other tissues. Of the roughly 150,000 people who die each day across the globe, about two thirds die of age-related causes.[5] In industrialized nations, the proportion is much higher, approaching 90%.[5] With improved medical capability, dying has become a condition to be managed. Home deaths, once commonplace, are now rare in the developed world.

Thus, organisms are not mere processes; rather, they are entities that persist through time (Lee & George, 2008). Notwithstanding, it is a mistake to view the human organism as a process or as an entity that includes temporal parts and whose beginning is indeterminate.

LIFE description

Life science is one of the two major branches of natural science, the other being physical science, which is concerned with non-living matter. MeiosisThe resultant number of cells is four times the number of original cells.

Cell division involves a single cell (called a mother cell) dividing into two daughter cells. This leads to growth in multicellular organisms (the growth of tissue) and to procreation (vegetative reproduction) in unicellular organisms. Prokaryotic cells divide by binary fission, while eukaryotic cells usually undergo a process of nuclear division, called mitosis, followed by division of the cell, called cytokinesis. A diploid cell may also undergo meiosis to produce haploid cells, usually four. Haploid cells serve as gametes in multicellular organisms, fusing to form new diploid cells.

The mitochondrial genome is a circular DNA molecule distinct from the nuclear DNA. Although the mitochondrial DNA is very small compared to nuclear chromosomes,[4] it codes for 13 proteins involved in mitochondrial energy production and specific tRNAs. The cell membrane, or plasma membrane, is a biological membrane that surrounds the cytoplasm of a cell.

Ethiopia: What Is the Real Meaning of Life?

LIFE description

Quality of life should not be confused with the concept of standard of living, which is based primarily on income. They are always changing, because they exchange materials and information with their environment. They undergo metabolism, maintain homeostasis, possess a capacity to grow, respond to stimuli and reproduce.

Much interest and debate surround the question of what happens to one's consciousness as one's body dies. The belief in the permanent loss of consciousness after death is often called eternal oblivion.

LIFE description

Cell wall

LIFE description

The alternative, gradualist position proposed by Sandel is untenable in light of modern embryology. He claims that becoming a human organism is a gradual process, and so it is arbitrary where in that process one locates the beginning of a fully fledged human being. This whole continuous process, according to Sandel, is the gradual coming to be of a human organism. According to Sandel, the pro-human-embryo argument is therefore fallacious.

Self-fertilization, also known as autogamy, occurs in hermaphroditic organisms where the two gametes fused in fertilization come from the same individual, e.g., many vascular plants, some foraminiferans, some ciliates. Inside the Cell – a science education booklet by National Institutes of Health, in PDF and ePub. Alberts B, Johnson A, Lewis J, Morgan D, Raff M, Roberts K, Walter P (2015). Cell Movements and the Shaping of the Vertebrate Body in Chapter 21 of Molecular Biology of the Cell fourth edition, edited by Bruce Alberts (2002) published by Garland Science.

What factors affect quality of life?

An indicative list of quality of life indicators, grouped in the following categories, is given: air quality, water quality, soil quality, natural, conditions and hazards, shelter quality, urbanization, communications, nutrition, health, education, economic conditions, security, social, leisure/recreation.

LIFE description