Importance of water and carbon to life

Importance of water and carbon to life
Importance of water and carbon to life

Importance of water and carbon to life

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Assignment requested deadline November 18; NLT 10pm. Please read below for information concerning assignment. Support responses with examples and use APA formatting in the paper. You may access the school’s website by logging into:

Please note that when you log into the website you must click launch class, and on the next screen click syllabus to view this week’s readings (week2) and Academic Resources to access the school’s library.

Hints from the Doc

Here is a link to a video I put up on Youtube a few years ago comparing prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
As you prepare your post, think about the many kinds of prokaryotic and eukaryotic organisms alive today and how each is successful in its own way. If they were not successful they would no longer be alive but would have gone extinct long ago :).
Students run into problems on this one by one or both of two routes:
1. Not covering all the differences between the two kinds of cells. Posting just two or three is definitely not enough.
2. Not explaining how the special characteristics of each kind of cell has set the stage for very different but successful evolutionary paths of the organisms made of these cells. Many students don’t even cover this. You are not likely to find a pat answer somewhere on this. Instead think critically and creatively about the characteristics of the cells, the characteristics of modern organisms having those cells, and how they moved along evolutionarily to get where they are today.
And as always, avoid short answers. I hate to think how many students have not been successful over the years in this class by trying to get by with short answers lacking substance.

Please respond to both of the discussion questions listed.

Question 1: Importance of water and carbon

Water and carbon are major components of all life. Describe the characteristics of these materials which make them so important to living things. Be prepared to discuss how life as we know it might be affected by slight changes in the characteristics of water or carbon.

Question 2: Prokaryotic versus eukaryotic and success

Prokaryotic and eukaryotic are the two major categories of cells making up life on earth. Describe the differences in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells. How have the characteristics of each kind of cell put limitations and provided opportunities for the survival and divergence of modern living things? Be prepared to discuss why both types of cells could be considered equally successful as life has evolved over time.


W2 Assignment 1 Discussion

Importance of water and carbon to life

Water and carbon have unique properties that make them essential for life. Specifically, water has a high heat capacity and high heat of vaporization, meaning that water absorbs more heat per unit rise in temperature. This allows water to regulate environmental and physiological temperatures. Biochemically, water is a reactant in many hydrolytic reactions in the cells. Water is also a universal solvent, dissolving biomolecules such as proteins, sugars, and minerals. However, water is a poor solvent for non-polar molecules such as lipids, which enables the formation of bilayer lipid membranes (Berg, Tymoczko, & Stryer, 2012; Nelson & Cox, 2013). Similarly, carbon is also important element to life. Biomolecules such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids are composed of carbon bonded with hydrogen, oxygen, or nitrogen. Carbon is also light and small making it easier for enzyme manipulation (Berg et al., 2012).

Prokaryotes versus Eukaryotes and Success

Both prokaryotes and eukaryotes adopted different but successful evolutionary strategies. Prokaryotic cells are smaller than eukaryotic cells and lack most of the classical organelles such as endoplasmic reticulum, the Golgi, cytoskeleton, peroxisomes, and lysosomes. As result, prokaryotes cannot carry out some eukaryotic cell functions such as sexual reproduction, cytoplasmic movement, endocytosis, and phagocytosis (Nelson & Cox, 2013). In addition, a membrane does not surround prokaryotic cell organelles while in eukaryotes a single or a double membrane binds the organelles. Prokaryotic cells have a single chromosome made up of circular naked DNA while eukaryotic cells have many chromosomes made up of linear DNA and histone proteins. Finally, gene expression is a continuous process in prokaryotes and occurs in the cytoplasm. In eukaryotes, transcription occurs in the nucleus while translation occurs in the cytoplasm and the two are separate processes (Berg et al., 2012; Nelson & Cox, 2013).


Berg, J. M., Tymoczko, J. L., & Stryer, L. (2012). Biochemistry (7 ed.): W. H. Freeman.

Nelson, D. L., & Cox, M. M. (2013). Lehninger Principles of Biochemistry (6 ed.): W.H.Freeman.

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