7 characteristics of life
Although modern Biology is highly advanced, An answer to “What is life?” is not found yet. So we use seven standard features to separate living things from non-living things. Those features are called ” 7 characteristics of life ” or ” 7 characteristics of organisms. “
To survive, each organism, whether simple or complex, need to be able to perform certain functions. The following features are the “ 7 characteristics of life. “
(i) Order and organization
- From the molecular level to the biosphere, there is an order and organization in organisms to perform their biological activities efficiently.
- Lower level components are organized in a regular pattern on the upper level to make it most efficient.
- e.g., flower and the human brain.
The sum of all chemical processes taking place in an organism is its metabolism. It includes catabolic reactions and anabolic reactions.
- Catabolic reactions: break down large organic molecules into smaller molecules, release the energy. e.g., cell respiration
- anabolic reactions: involve the joining of smaller molecules into larger ones. Store energy. e.g., photosynthesis
(iii) Growth and development
- Growth is: “An irreversible increase in dry mass occurs,”
- All Animals and plants begin their life as a single cell. During which is characterized only by the living.
- Development is: “Irreversible changes that occur during the life span of an organism.”
- Growth and development are two consequent processes that happen in the life span of living beings.
(iv) Irritability and coordination
- Irritability is the ability to respond to stimuli from both the internal and external environment.
- Movement of living beings occurs as a result of irritability and coordination. In animals, this happens as a result of coordinated efforts of nervous, hormonal, muscular, and skeletal systems.
- Adaptation is a peculiarity of structure, physiology, or behaviour that promotes the likelihood of an organism’s survival and reproduction in a particular environment.
- E.g., Sunken stomata in Xerophytes, Viviparity in some mangroves, Splayed out a foot in camels, production of more sweat in a hot climate.
- Reproduction is the ability to produce offspring for the continuous existence of species.
There are two types of reproduction
- Asexual reproduction
- Sexual reproduction
(vii) Heredity & Evolution
- Organisms have genes that pass from one generation to the next and control specific physiological, morphological, and behavioural characters of organisms.
- The ability of “living beings” to change over time as a result of genetic modification is evolution.
- Non-living entities may have some of these characteristics. Still, not all of them,
- e.g., crystals grow, waves move, Viruses reproduce
But only living organisms display all these characteristics simultaneously or at some point during their life cycle.
By considering this, we can say that these are occurring in single-celled organisms as well as highly complex organisms such as humans and Anthophytes (flowering plants).