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Species and Variation

Variation
Variation is caused by two factors:

Inherited factors these are features that are
passed on from parents. For example, natural
hair colour.

Environmental factors these are features that
are affected by the surroundings. For example,
someone can be born with brown hair which then
gets lighter in the Sun or might be dyed a
different colour.
Variation and Mutations
Mutations can occur spontaneously or can be caused
as a result of radiation or chemicals, such as mustard
gas. Not all mutations are harmful. Sickle cell
anaemia is caused by a gene mutation and although
the oxygen carrying capacity of the red blood cells is
reduced, the malarial parasite cannot live as
effectively in those cells. So people with sickle cell
anaemia are effectively protected against malaria.

Variation is what makes organisms unique. Variation
helps to tell us which animals are members of the
same species.
Species
A species is a basic category of biological
classification composed of individuals that
resemble one another. They can breed
among themselves, but cannot breed with
members of another species.

Members of the same species can
interbreed to produce fertile offspring.
Hybrids
Hybrids are the result of breeding two animals
from different species.

One of the first successful hybrids was a mule,
produced by a male donkey and a female horse.
It was bred to provide a strong powerful animal.

However, because hybrids cannot breed (they
are sterile/infertile), a mule is not a species and
therefore it is difficult to classify.
Research Task
Research some facts about Carl
Linnaeus and create a poster on him.