Information Introduction to Beneficial Prokaryotes - Biology Introduction to Beneficial Prokaryotes - Biology

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What you’ll learn to do: Identify common prokaryotes that are beneficial to humans

Not all prokaryotes are pathogenic. Prokaryotes and other microscopic organisms also play important direct roles in human lives, including processing food, breaking down environmental contaminants, and influencing human health.

Molecular Structures Shared by Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes Show Signs of Only Analogy and Not Homology

In recent years, a special focus of microbiology research has been on the certain groups of bacteria (such as the superphylum Planctomycetes-Verrucomicrobia-Chlamydiae—PVC bacteria) because they exhibit certain characteristics which are unusual for prokaryotes, and which are also shared by eukaryotes. Such characteristics include a nuclear membrane, budding reproduction, sterol biosynthesis, and condensed nucleoids. These characteristics challenge the long-held concept that the presence or absence of a nuclear membrane is enough to differentiate between prokaryotes and eukaryotes and also seemingly support the evolutionary idea of the transition from prokaryotes to eukaryotes due to seemingly similar structures shared by these two domains of life.

However, upon closer examination, many protein sequences which are involved in these structures and processes shared by prokaryotes and eukaryotes show low sequence homology and are similar in structure only. Therefore, these proteins can only be said to be analogous to each other, rather than homologous, which is required for evolutionary descent with modification.

Furthermore, PVC bacteria are not thought to be the direct ancestors of eukaryotes, despite their analogous cellular characteristics. Also, even though the α-proteobacteria are thought to be the ancestor of the eukaryotes’ mitochondria, its energetic capabilities are questionable, which are hypothesized to be necessary for the expansion of eukaryotic cell complexity, compared to those of other bacteria, such as that of species in the genus Rhodobacter. Some bacteria have also been discovered that contain energy-producing compartments called the anammoxosome, which contradicts the endosymbiotic theory, which states that energy-producing bacteria became mitochondria, which was necessary to induce eukaryotic cellular complexity.

About this Program

  • College:Liberal Arts and Sciences
  • Degrees:Bachelor of Arts | Bachelor of Science
  • Specializations:Integrative Biology (BS) | Preprofessional Biology (BS)
  • Credits for Degree: 120

To graduate with this major, students must complete all university, college, and major requirements.

Department Information

The Department of Biology studies life at all levels from molecules to the biosphere to understand the evolution, structure, maintenance and dynamics of biological systems. Our teaching and research provide the integrative and conceptual foundations of the life sciences.


Email | 352.273.0125 (tel) | 352.392.3704 (fax)

P.O. BOX 118525


The B.S. | Preprofessional Biology specialization is designed for students preparing for admission to medical, dental, optometry, veterinary, or other professional schools. Students in this track should contact the biology advisor or the Academic Advising Center in 100 Farrior Hall for specific requirements.

The biology degrees develop fundamental knowledge of animals, plants and microorganisms. The degrees and specializations are tailored to meet the needs of preprofessional students, those students preparing for graduate studies in biology or specialized areas, and those seeking careers in education, the allied health professions and interdisciplinary fields such as environmental or biotechnology law, science journalism, and bioscience management.

Bachelor of Science

The CLAS Bachelor of Science in biology offers two specializations.

Bachelor of Science | Integrative Biology

Designed for students preparing for graduate studies in biology or specialized areas such as ecology, evolution, genetics, molecular biology, physiology, and systematics.

Bachelor of Science | Preprofessional Biology

Designed for students preparing for admission to medical, dental, optometry, veterinary, or other professional schools.

Bachelor of Arts

The CLAS Bachelor of Arts in biology is a flexible degree that is best suited for students interested in a career in education, the allied health professions, and interdisciplinary fields such as environmental or biotechnology law, science journalism, and bioscience management.

The Eukaryotic Cell Cycle and Cancer

This interactive module explores the phases, checkpoints, and protein regulators of the cell cycle. The module also shows how mutations in genes that encode cell cycle regulators can lead to the development of cancer.

Students can toggle between two different views of the cell cycle by pressing the text in the center of the graphic. The “Cell Cycle Phases” view describes the cell cycle phases and checkpoints, and includes illustrations of the cell’s chromosomes. This view is appropriate for all levels of high school biology. The “Cell Cycle Regulators and Cancer” view explains the protein regulators, their roles in cell cycle progression, and how mutated versions can lead to cancer. This view may be more appropriate for AP/IB Biology and introductory college biology.

The accompanying worksheets guide students’ exploration. The “Overview Worksheet” is intended to provide an introduction to the cell cycle as it relates to cancer. For a more comprehensive review of the cell cycle and the molecules that regulate each phase, use the “In-Depth Worksheet.”

The “Resource Google Folder” link directs to a Google Drive folder of resource documents in the Google Docs format. Not all downloadable documents for the resource may be available in this format. The Google Drive folder is set as “View Only” to save a copy of a document in this folder to your Google Drive, open that document, then select File → “Make a copy.” These documents can be copied, modified, and distributed online following the Terms of Use listed in the “Details” section below, including crediting BioInteractive.

Differences between Photosynthesis and Cellular Respiration

  • Photosynthesis takes place in two stages of the light reactions and the dark reactions. Cellular respiration involves aerobic (glycolysis) and anaerobic respiration.
  • Photosynthesis takes place only when there is sunlight. Cellular respiration occurs at all times.
  • Photosynthesis takes place in plant leaves containing the chlorophyll pigment. Cellular respiration takes place in the cytoplasm and mitochondria of the cell.
  • Photosynthesis utilizes sunlight to produce food molecules. Cellular respiration utilizes glucose molecules to obtain energy-storing ATP molecules.
  • Photosynthesis uses water, sunlight, and carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to create glucose molecules, and releases oxygen as a by-product. Cellular respiration uses glucose molecules and oxygen to produce ATP molecules and carbon dioxide as the by-product.
  • Photosynthesis involves conversion of one type of energy into another: light energy into chemical energy. Cellular respiration involves using that chemical energy and breaking it down to release energy.
  • Photosynthesis occurs only in plants and some bacteria. Cellular respiration takes place in all types of living organisms.

Related Posts

Aerobic cellular respiration is a part of cellular respiration, and it plays an important role in producing the energy that is required for various functions of a cell.

Read on to know more about the steps of photosynthesis, one of nature's most fascinating occurrence.

There are two main types of respiration: aerobic and anaerobic. This article will give you a good understanding of these two processes, and also list the major differences between them.

Genetics and Biotechnology

Matt Elrod-Erickson, program coordinator
[email protected]

Every Biology major is required to declare a concentration area. Each area requires semester hours to be selected from a set of designated courses.

All Biology majors are assigned a professional advisor. The student is responsible for seeking the assistance of the advisor. This catalog is not intended to provide the detail necessary for self-advising.

Academic Map

Following is a printable, suggested four-year schedule of courses:

Degree Requirements

General Education41 hours
Major Requirements42 hours*
Major Core 29 hours
Concentration 10-11 hours
Major UD Electives 2-3 hours
Supporting Courses19-20 hours*
Electives17-18 hours
TOTAL120 hours

*This program requires courses that can also fulfill requirements of the General Education curriculum. If program requirements are also used to fulfill General Education requirements, the number of elective hours will increase.

General Education (41 hours)

General Education requirements include courses in Communication, History, Humanities, and/or Fine Arts, Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Social/Behavioral Sciences categories.

The following courses required by the program meet General Education requirements:

Major Requirements (42 hours)

Biology Core (29 hours)

BIOL 1000 - Introduction to the Biology Major

1 credit hour

Required for all Biology majors. Development of skill sets essential for success in the Biology major. Topics include the understanding of departmental and university resources and expectations, development of personalized academic plans, and development of skills for professional interactions.

BIOL 1110 - General Biology I

4 credit hours

Prerequisite: MATH 1710 with C- or better of MATH ACT of 19 or higher. Corequisite: BIOL 1111. Primarily for Biology majors and minors and other science-oriented students. Biological principles and processes, including introduction to the nature of science, cells (structure, function, metabolism, division), genetics, evolution, viruses, bacteria, protists, and fungi. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory. While BIOL 1110 can be used to fulfill half the 8-hour General Education requirement for Natural Sciences, it is the first semester of a two-semester sequence primarily designed for science majors. TBR Common Course: BIOL 1110

BIOL 1111 - General Biology I Lab

0 credit hours

Corequisite: BIOL 1110. TBR Common Course: BIOL 1111

BIOL 1120 - General Biology II

4 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 1110/BIOL 1111. Corequisite: BIOL 1121. Primarily for Biology majors and minors and other science-oriented students. Survey of plants and animals emphasizing evolution, structure, function, reproduction, growth, and ecology. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory. TBR Common Course: BIOL 1120

BIOL 1121 - General Biology II Lab

0 credit hours

Corequisite: BIOL 1120. TBR Common Course: BIOL 1121

BIOL 2230 - Microbiology

4 credit hours

Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/BIOL 1111 and BIOL 1120/BIOL 1121 or BIOL 2010/BIOL 2011 and BIOL 2020/BIOL 2021. Concepts and techniques pertaining to the morphology, physiology, reproduction, isolation, cultivation and identification of microorganisms with particular emphasis on bacteria. Topics include the impact of microorganisms in our daily lives, both adverse and beneficial. Background in General Chemistry is strongly recommended. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

BIOL 2231 - Microbiology Lab

0 credit hours

BIOL 3250 - Genetics

4 credit hours

Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/BIOL 1111 and BIOL 1120/BIOL 1121. Corequisite: BIOL 3251. An introductory course in genetics. Surveys and explores the sub-disciplines of genetics, including classical, molecular, and evolutionary genetics. Emphasis on the experiments, techniques, and theories forming the foundation of modern genetic research and its applications. Three hours lecture and one two-hour laboratory.

BIOL 3251 - Genetics Lab

0 credit hours

BIOL 3400 - General Ecology

4 credit hours

Prerequisites: BIOL 1110/BIOL 1111, BIOL 1120/BIOL 1121, and CHEM 1110/CHEM 1111. Corequisite: BIOL 3401. Basic concepts of the ecosystem and community aquatic and terrestrial habitats and population ecology complemented by field and laboratory activities. Three hours lecture and one-three hour laboratory.

BIOL 3401 - General Ecology Lab

0 credit hours

BIOL 3500 - Evolution

3 credit hours

Prerequisite: BIOL 3250/BIOL 3251. Evolutionary biology for majors. Topics include history of evolutionary thinking, mechanisms of evolution, basic quantitative and population genetics, life-history theory, evolution of sex, correlated responses to selection, speciation, macroevolution, molecular evolution, fossil record and geologic time scale, phylogenic inference, and the emergence of life. Three hours lecture.

BIOL 4200 - Senior Seminar

1 credit hour

Prerequisites: BIOL 2230/BIOL 2231, BIOL 3250/BIOL 3251, BIOL 3400/BIOL 3401, and BIOL 3500. Readings and discussions from scientific literature on a particular theme that will incorporate topics in cellular biology, energetics, genetics, molecular and organismal biology, evolution, and ecology, Majors advised to take this course during the semester of graduation.

BIOL 4110 - General Physiology

4 credit hours

Prerequisites: BIOL 3250/BIOL 3251 CHEM 2030/CHEM 2031 or CHEM 3010 /CHEM 3011. Corequisite: BIOL 4111. Physiological and chemical properties of life processes in animals using an organ systems approach. Emphasis on mammalian physiology. Three hours lecture and one three-hour laboratory.

Types of Mutations

The DNA sequence of a gene can be altered in a number of ways. Gene mutations have varying effects on health, depending on where they occur and whether they alter the function of essential proteins. The types of mutations include:

  • Silent mutation: Silent mutations cause a change in the sequence of bases in a DNA molecule, but do not result in a change in the amino acid sequence of a protein (Figure 1).
  • Missense mutation: This type of mutation is a change in one DNA base pair that results in the substitution of one amino acid for another in the protein made by a gene (Figure 1).
  • Nonsense mutation: A nonsense mutation is also a change in one DNA base pair. Instead of substituting one amino acid for another, however, the altered DNA sequence prematurely signals the cell to stop building a protein (Figure 1). This type of mutation results in a shortened protein that may function improperly or not at all.
Figure: Some mutations do not change the sequence of amino acids in a protein. Some swap one amino acid for another. Others introduce an early stop codon into the sequence causing the protein to be truncated.

Discovery of Transduction

Joshua Lederberg (Source: Wikimedia)

The discovery of the process of transduction was traced back in 1952 when scientists Norton Zinder and Joshua Lederberg were studying the recombination in the bacterium Salmonella typhimurium. The researchers grew two different strains of the bacterium (one was met− his−, and the other was phe− trp− tyr−) on a medium with less nutritional components and when observed, no wild-type was found. Zinder and Lederberg, however, found out that when the two bacteria were combined, wild-type cells appeared.

  • However, the researchers also found some “recombinants” (organisms with one or more segments or genes have been inserted into their DNA) in the culture.
  • By preventing cell contact with filters of varying sizes, the researchers found the one responsible for the rise of the recombinants–a temperate bacteriophage of Salmonella.
  • So instead of confirming the conjugation in the bacterium, the researchers discovered a new process of gene transfer in organisms, and this time, mediated by a virus.

Differences Between Eukaryotic and Prokaryotic Cells

The difference between the structure of prokaryotes and eukaryotes is so great that it is considered to be the most important distinction among groups of organisms.

  • The most fundamental difference is that eukaryotes do have "true" nuclei containing their DNA, whereas the genetic material in prokaryotes is not membrane-bound.

  • In eukaryotes, the mitochondria and chloroplasts perform various metabolic processes and are believed to have been derived from endosymbiotic bacteria. In prokaryotes similar processes occur across the cell membrane endosymbionts are extremely rare.
  • The cell walls of prokaryotes are generally formed of a different molecule (peptidoglycan) to those of eukaryotes (many eukaryotes do not have a cell wall at all).
  • Prokaryotes are usually much smaller than eukaryotic cells.
  • Prokaryotes also differ from eukaryotes in that they contain only a single loop of stable chromosomal DNA stored in an area named the nucleoid, while eukaryote DNA is found on tightly bound and organised chromosomes. Although some eukaryotes have satellite DNA structures called plasmids, these are generally regarded as a prokaryote feature and many important genes in prokaryotes are stored on plasmids.
  • Prokaryotes have a larger surface area to volume ratio giving them a higher metabolic rate, a higher growth rate and consequently a shorter generation time compared to Eukaryotes.
  • Genes
    • Prokaryotes also differ from eukaryotes in the structure, packing, density, and arrangement of their genes on the chromosome. Prokaryotes have incredibly compact genomes compared to eukaryotes, mostly because prokaryote genes lack introns and large non-coding regions between each gene.
    • Whereas nearly 95% of the human genome does not code for proteins or RNA or includes a gene promoter, nearly all of the prokaryote genome codes or controls something.
    • Prokaryote genes are also expressed in groups, known as operons, instead of individually, as in eukaryotes.
    • In a prokaryote cell, all genes in an operon(three in the case of the famous lac operon) are transcribed on the same piece of RNA and then made into separate proteins, whereas if these genes were native to eukaryotes, they each would have their own promoter and be transcribed on their own strand of mRNA. This lesser degree of control over gene expression contributes to the simplicity of the prokaryotes as compared to the eukaryotes.

    Ever heard of Volvox? Witness the flawless pirouettes of this single-celled wonder in your local pond scum.

    Food-gathering slime molds can build a complex network as efficient as Tokyo’s rail system in just 24 hours, without giving it a second thought!

    The cells in your body are bustling with a protein, called kinesin, that faithfully delivers hefty “packages” to each destination.

    What if we could design a super-small, versatile machine that could travel up blood vessels to deliver targeted medical aid?

    Blood reveals much about the majesty of our Creator and Master Craftsman, irreducible complexity, and the health or disease state of the human body.

    The Creator made all creatures, including amoebas, with variation and plasticity in their genome for global differences of climate, terrain, and environment.

    Prominent scientists are speaking out against Darwinian evolution, and they’re not even creationists.

    A Canadian graduate student has discovered a life form so different from everything else that it doesn’t fit into the plant, animal, or other known kingdoms.

    It’s commonly assumed that mutations associated with genetic diseases and cancers occur because they disrupted otherwise ordered proteins, but is this the case?

    References to Noah’s Ark abound in the culture and even have been used to describe recent efforts to store strains of microbes (instead of animals).

    The cells in your body don’t use just simple boxes to build things. Some appear to employ a surprisingly complex geometric shape.

    The biblical account of Noah’s Flood provides an update to modern microbial biogeography and modern creation apologetics.

    Even though some intestinal bacteria strains are pathogenic and deadly, most coliforms strains still show evidence of being one of God’s “very good” creations.

    Scientists claim some bacteria have been resurrected after hundreds of millions of years. But what’s really happening?

    This article explains the mysterious origin of a new strain of Serratia marcescens that produces prodigiosin up to 40°C without any enrichment to media.

    We’ve now unlocked some of our body’s incredible secrets for rapid response to the ever-changing threat from microbe invaders.

    The world’s most complex language system is located within every cell of your body. Scientists are now discovering that our DNA really does have hidden codes that have a practical function and purpose in our cells. Hidden codes pose a real problem for evolution.

    Recently, a team of scientists from the United States, Canada, and Europe discovered a new species of unusual microbe.

    With the correct biblical worldview in mind, Richard Lenski’s E. coli demonstrate an amazingly complex showcase for design by an all-knowing Creator.

    How did disgusting parasites become part of God’s “very good” creation?

    Viruses are amazingly complex and beautiful machines. They exhibit all the hallmarks of being designed, though we often fail to recognize them as such.

    A group of scientists at Tel Aviv University propose that bacteria in our intestines may be responsible for human altruism.

    We read in Genesis 1:31 that God made everything “very good.” If everything that God made was good, where did Giardia come from?

    Bacteria depend on tail-like structures called flagella to get around. But they’re not alone.

    While it’s often swept under the rug, we shouldn’t dismiss the amazing design found in soil particulates.

    The emphasis of this article is to explain some of the “very good” design and purpose of Staphylococci and other good, beneficial bacteria of the nose.

    Even though there are mostly good germs, many tend to focus on only the bad germs. So skeptics question whether pathogens were present on the Ark.

    Until now there have been two basic theories on the evolution of cellular complexity.

    The DNA-protein paradox has long been a point of contention in the origin of life debate.

    Named Monocercomonoides, this eukaryotic microorganism doesn’t have the slightest trace of mitochondria. How does it survive?

    The list of beneficial functions for Endogenous Retroviruses continues to grow. ERVs also promote healthy immune responses—another creationist confirmation.

    We need to balance our understanding of the microscopic world because it is an essential part of and critically affects our everyday life.

    The molecular complexities of staphylococci mechanisms indicate the signature of a divine Designer who has placed his signature on his art piece, staphylococci.

    ERVs are found in the same location in the genome across species, so evolutionists apply their ideas of common ancestry and say ERVs demonstrate evolution.

    We have seen a changing profile from HA-MRSA to CA-MRSA. This is potentially dangerous because the new strains are more virulent and aggressive.

    Putrefying meat with its disagreeable appearance and foul odor is disgusting, but realize the vital importance of the rotting process.

    The scientific community was shocked in the late 1970s by the discovery of an entirely new group of organisms—the Archaea.

    Pasteur and Lister had provided evidence that bacteria caused disease, but couldn't provide the conclusive evidence needed to prove the developing theory.

    In a pure culture growing in a liquid medium, we find that the development and decline of bacterial populations follow a definite, predictable course.

    The basic elements of bacterial anatomy include (1) the cell wall and (2) the inner cell body, or cytoplasm.

    Bacteria are prokaryotes and among the most abundant organisms on earth. The vast majority play a positive role in nature.

    Antibiotic resistance is one of the most important topics that a beginning biology student going into medicine should learn and understand.

    Evolution would require an enormous amount of change. Modern laboratory experiments have tested bacteria’s ability to change. Is this ability truly unlimited?

    Another example of design which can be seen in the microbial world is the production of a blood-red pigment made by Serratia marcescens.

    There are many extraordinary examples of design in the microbial world. In this chapter, two examples are given.

    This book will describe designed structures and purposeful functions in microorganisms, explain the origin of disease, and showcase Bible-believing scientists.

    Based on differences in gene sets and molecular machines between bacteria and eukarya, we continue to demonstrate that unbridgeable evolutionary chasms exist.

    In the grand evolutionary paradigm, the origin of the eukaryotic cell represents one of the great mysteries and key hypothetical transitions of life.

    Evolutionists credit endogenous retroviruses with making mammalian evolution possible, but scientists now show they play a critical role in brain development.

    If God finished creation in six days and declared it “very good,” where did disease-causing designs come from?

    Watch the video: Prokaryotes: Bacteria and Archaea. Biology (August 2022).