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Name: Waha Agalin General Biology 2 Date: 11/19/2018

1) Compare and contrast the following processes in plants and animals:

a) Reproduction

All plants and animals across the world reproduce in some way or another, as a way of bringing in new
generations and slowly ushering in changes in the species. Some forms of copulation seem similar to
humanity's mating processes — most, but not all, mammalian breeding, for instance — while others seem
alien by comparison. For example, some species can reproduce asexually and, others like the egg-laying
duck-billed platypus buck the reproductive norms of their scientific classifications. Still, much of the
reproduction across all species begins with the fertilization of an egg, and many of the species in the
Kingdom Animalia raise their young to some extent.

The process of fertilization occurs in both plants and animals. There are, of course, differences in the
details and mechanisms. On the other hand, some of the similarities are striking. For example, the moss
plant has both swimming sperm cells and eggs. In the moss plant, fertilization occurs by the sperm
swimming to the egg. Vertebrate animals also carry out reproduction by way of sperm and egg. One of the
differences between plants and animals in this regard is that plants are, for the most part, sedentary. The
moss plant depends on rain or very wet conditions in order for the sperm to swim from the male parts of
the plant to the egg in the female parts. In the case of animals, the male and female are mobile individuals
that physically interact with one another in the process of mating.

b) Development

Structurally, plant and animal cells are very similar because they are both eukaryotic cells. They both
contain membrane-bound organelles such as the nucleus, mitochondria, endoplasmic reticulum, golgi
apparatus, lysosomes, and peroxisomes.

Plant Growth:

1. Growth continues throughout the life of the plant.

2. Here the growth involves increases in the number of parts.

3. Growth take place during definite seasons.

4. Growing pattern is distinct each species.

5. Plant possess well-defined growing regions.

6. A seedling does not resemble an adult plant.

7. A juvenile stage with distinct may be present in the life-history of a plant.

8. Growth is by addition of new parts ahead or around the older ones.

Animal Growth:
1. Growth takes place for definite periods before maturity.

2. Here it does not involve increase in the number of parts.


3. Each species has a distinct season for growth.

4. Growing pattern is absent.

5. They have no such defined growing regions.

6. The young one are identical to adults except in the body size and sexual maturity.

7. A juvenile stage with different morphology does not occur in higher animal.

8. Growth is diffused by all round increases in different organs of the body.

The embryonic development of plants and animals is different. Plants show immediate growth, animals
do not at first. The cells of plants differ immediately, whereas this is not the case with animals. Plants are
solid and animals have two body cavities. Animals bend inwards and make a body cavity and plants do
not form an inner space.

c) Nutrition
The bodies of all living things are made primarily out of the chemical elements carbon, hydrogen, oxygen,
and nitrogen. So in order to maintain its body and grow, every living thing requires a constant supply of
these four elements. In addition, all living things require a number of other chemical elements including:
phosphorus, sulfur, calcium, magnesium, iron, potassium, and several more. These additional elements
are collectively referred to as minerals from a nutritional point of view. All living cells contain liquid
water, and this water must be replenished as it is lost to evaporation or excretion. Finally, all living things
require a source of energy to power their bodies.

Most plants are able to use sunlight as their primary source of energy, in a process called photosynthesis.
This process enables them to turn carbon dioxide from the air into food, which they can store and later
break down to meet their energy needs. The carbon and oxygen which they need in order to build up
their bodies ultimately comes from this carbon dioxide. Hydrogen comes from water, which they absorb
through their roots. Plants split hydrogen (H) off from water (H2O) and emit the leftover oxygen into the
air. This is good for us animals, because we breathe in oxygen and breathe out carbon dioxide. This cycle
of oxygen and carbon dioxide between plants and animals ties together almost all of the living things on
earth.

The last of the primary elements needed by living things is nitrogen, which plants must absorb through
their roots. Although air contains nitrogen, plants are unable to use it directly and must rely on nitrogen-
containing compounds absorbed from the soil or created by certain bacteria living in and around their
roots. The rest of the minerals that are necessary for life must also be absorbed through the roots. These
elements are present to a greater or lesser degree in all soils. The limiting elements are usually nitrogen,
phosphorus, and potassium, which is why these are the primary components of most fertilizers. Different
plant species require different amounts of these minerals, which is why some plants grow better than
others in any particular soil.

All animals are heterotrophs, which means that they cannot make their own food as plants do. Rather,
animals must obtain the energy, carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and minerals they need by
consuming other living things. Animals are also animate, which means that they are capable of
movement. Movement requires a lot of energy, so animals generally require substantially more energy
than plants do.

Animals are only able to get energy by breaking down certain complex substances that are made of
carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen. These substances are called proteins, sugars, and fats. The bodies
of all living things are primarily made from these substances, along with water. So by consuming plants,
bacteria, and/or other animals as food, an animal can get both the energy it needs to power its body and
the carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, and nitrogen it needs to maintain its body and grow. The living things
consumed by an animal also contain the other minerals necessary for life, which the animal can absorb
and use for itself. All animals also require certain complex molecules which they cannot make for
themselves. These are called vitamins, and are also absorbed from the bodies of the organisms consumed.
Different animal species require different amounts of the various vitamins and minerals, and also differ in
what kinds of food they are capable of eating. Finally, just like plants, animals require a steady intake of
water to replace whatever is evaporated or excreted from their bodies. Those animals that are not able to
absorb enough from their food must drink extra water to make up the difference.

d) Gas exchange

Gas exchange is one of the most important parts of a living organism’s daily routine. This process is
essential as it keeps that organism alive. During this process the waste product; carbon dioxide is
removed from most animals system and replaced by oxygen for “cellular respiration” that has been
absorbed from the air through breathing and in plants the by-product of photosynthesis, oxygen is
released into the air and replaced with carbon dioxide, an essential ingredient for photosynthesis. Gas
exchange is also responsible for the producing mainly oxygen as well as carbon dioxide in the air. Both
plants and animals; meaning All living organisms do a form of gas exchange.
Gas exchange in animals
The Gas exchange done by animals; is usually through specialised organs, lungs in “mammals, reptiles,
birds and adult amphibians”, gills in fish and tracheae in insects. All organs for gas exchange must be kept
moist by the body to be able to function. These organs differ from one another but all do essentially the
same thing; they receive the carbon dioxide from the blood and release it into the air and gather oxygen
from the air and supply it into the blood. Mammals, birds, reptiles of all shapes and sizes have lungs, but
their lungs aren’t always like each other, they have different shapes and structures. Lungs are made of
“air-filled spaces and because of that they are moist and spongy”. The air route through the body of most
animals is similar to one another, in general after breathing; air moves to the “nasal cavity” where it
becomes moist, is warmed by the capillaries and is filtered, next air moves into the pharynx “or the
throat” which is a tube, then larynx which is the “voice box” and is in front of the oesophagus, after that
air enters the trachea also called “the windpipe” which like its name is a pipe like structure, from there air
goes into bronchi which are two smaller pipes to compared with trachea and they branch into even
smaller structures called bronchioles; “because of the similarities between this branching and tree
branching this is sometimes referred to as the bronchial tree”.
Lungs in mammals.

The majority of oxygen on earth in found in the air, so the land animals do not need extra bodily
functions to be able to sustain oxygen. Other mammals that live in the sea like whales, dolphins or spend
a great part of their time in water like seal have to hold their breath while in water and resurface to be
able to breath. Whales and dolphins have blowholes at the top of their heads which they can open and
close voluntarily; the process of breathing in a whole is voluntary for marine mammals. Marine mammals
use this for breathing in air and blowing out water which they have gathered in their body as a result of
hunting for food in the water. There is not that much oxygen in water and these mammals do not have
gills, so they can’t extract oxygen from water.

Gas exchange in plants


Like animals plants have breathing surfaces that are “moist, thin, cover a large surface area” and have air
space in them for the gaseous diffusion to take place. Unlike animals most plants have very similar
breathing areas and techniques and breathe in carbon dioxide and breathe out oxygen. The surfaces
where the majority of gas exchange takes place are usually plant leaves but gas exchange takes place in
other parts of the plant like stem and roots and root hairs. These other parts add to the surface area of
plants that can take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen. Plants live in every part of the planet from the
harshest deserts to coldest like Antarctica, so they have adapted themselves to these environments.
Lungs in birds

Plants breath through pores in their leaves called stomata. These pores are located near the surface of
leaves and are surrounded by two guard cells; one on each side. These guard cells are responsible for the
opening and closing of each stoma. When guard cells “have a high water content” and they are “turgid”,
the stomata are open and take in carbon from air and release oxygen but when guard cells lose their
water and become dry these pores are closed. It is not exactly clear how or why this happens but it has to
do the process photosynthesis. When “light becomes available”, photosynthesis starts and the level of
carbon dioxide “declines”, this causes different ions and specially potassium ions to move into guard cells
and water follows these ions into guard cells and they swell up.
Other ways that plants breathe is with their stems and with their roots through the root hairs. In
herbaceous plants their stems have stomata as well as their leaves but woody plants “are covered with
bark” and for that reason they have holes called lenticels. Lenticels are produced by the reproduction and
subsequent eruption of parenchyma cells that are below the surface. This creates an opening from which
carbon dioxide from the air can enter the stem and oxygen can get out. Roots are also made of
“impenetrable” tissue but their tips are really fine and they have root hairs that are constantly kept moist
because of the soil and are very thin and fine, so gas exchange can take place in these areas and roots
through these hairs and tip of their roots take in carbon dioxide and release oxygen.

e) Transport/circulation

Plants and animals are the two major classifications of living things. All species under these two
kingdoms require proper functioning of their body processes to survive. Among the most important of
the body processes is the transport system, which enables all other body systems to function smoothly
and -- by supplying sufficient nutrients -- allows members of the species to go about their normal
activities .

Plant Transport System

Compared to animals, most plants are less complex and require less food and water to survive. A plant
takes in water and dissolved nutrients from the soil via the roots. These substances are then carried into
specialized tissues in the plant stem that act as a route for the water and nutrients to be carried to
various parts of the plant, such as the leaves, flowers and fruits. Food from various sites is also
distributed to different organs via another tissue of the plant’s transport system.

The xylem is the specialized plant tissue that is responsible for carrying water and dissolved minerals
taken in from the roots. It makes up a large part of a plant's stem, especially in woody plants where the
xylem has matured into a tree trunk. Individual cylindrical vessels connected together make up the
xylem, resulting to a continuous duct that conducts inorganic ions dissolved in water into various plant
parts where they are needed. Translocation is the process of transporting food from the leave sites for
photosynthesis or "food manufacturing." The structure responsible for this process of translocation is the
phloem, which is made up of cells that control the passage of food in the form of sugars from the leaves
into different parts of the plant. The phloem is positioned just outside the xylem.

Animals' Circulatory System

Animals are more complex creatures and require more food and nutrients because they are able to move
about. Nutrients, together with oxygen and water, are necessary for proper survival of the organism.
Once nutrients are broken down by the digestive system and are absorbed, they need to be distributed to
various organs and tissues in the body to replace energy being expended. Oxygen is also needed by the
animal body for various cellular processes and activities. An animal's circulatory system is the main
transport system in the body and is one of the keys that make all other bodily functions possible.

Circulatory System Process

An animal's circulatory system consists of the heart, blood vessels -- arteries, veins and capillaries -- and
the blood. The heart is the pump that pushes the blood to move along the arteries and veins. Blood from
the heart and lungs usually passes through the arteries and carries with it oxygen and nutrients to be
distributed into the many organs and cells via smaller blood vessels called the capillaries. After
distribution of these nutrients, the blood goes into the veins and takes with it waste products, like carbon
dioxide and other chemical wastes, to be eliminated via the organs responsible for proper waste
excretion.

f) Regulation of body fluid

Osmoregulation is the active regulation of the osmotic pressure of an organism's body fluids, detected
by osmoreceptors, to maintain the homeostasis of the organism's watercontent; that is, it maintains
the fluid balance and the concentration of electrolytes (salts in solution) to keep the fluids from becoming
too diluted or concentrated. Osmotic pressure is a measure of the tendency of water to move into
one solution from another by osmosis. The higher the osmotic pressure of a solution, the more water
tends to move into it. Pressure must be exerted on the hypertonic side of a selectively
permeable membrane to prevent diffusion of water by osmosis from the side containing pure water.

Osmoregulation in plants is the control of water in plant cells. Osmosis is the movement of water from an
area of high concentration of water molecules to an area where materials are mixed with it so that it is
less concentrated water. This movement must move through a selectively permeable membrane , a
natural membrane like the membrane right under an egg shell that can let just certain materials like
water pass in and out. The water will move through the membrane from the side of the membrane that
has just water in it ( the most water per unit of measure ) to the less concentrated side ( less water per
unit of measure) For example, it you put one teaspoon of salt in a cup of water on one side of the
membrane and a tablespoon of salt in the cup of water on the other side of the membrane , the water will
move through the membrane from the teaspoon side to the water with the tablespoon side until the
water on both sides will have an equal concentration of water.

g) chemical and nervous control

Plants

* plant hormones are chemicals produced by cells which affect growth and development of other cells
* plant hormones are produced in areas of the plant that grow quickly (root tips, stems, buds, seeds)
* a plant growth (mistakenly called movement) because of a stimulus is called a tropism

phototropism--response to light
geotropism--response to gravity
hydrotropism--response to water
thigmotropism--response to touch

*the plant hormones that are responsible for this kind of growth or "movement" are called AUXINS

Animals

* different than chemical control in plants because there are certain tissues that
produce specific hormones
* these are found in ENDOCRINE GLANDS

*hormones are made in one place in the organism


*hormones carried by the circulatory system to their target tissues

* animal hormones control specific tissues and have many, many different functions

h) Immune system

animals immunity examples

1. interferons(help to resist viral infections and activate macrophages) 2. phagocytes ( type of


endocytosis where either large particulate substances or small organisms are taken up by the cell, in
mammals carried out in macrophages 3. complement system: blood proteins that work to create
inflammatory response 4. inflammatory response

Plants
defense mechanisms against herbivores: 1. physical defenses thrones, bark, chemical defenses 2.
recruiting of predatory animals to defend against specific herbivores 3. by laying down when contacted

defense against pathogens 1. host/pathogen coevolution, meaning gene for gene recognition 2.
hypersensative response 3. systematic acquired response

differences

1. Animals response is propogated through the blood cells and much of transportation occurs thorugh
circulatory system, in plants no circulatory system or third line of defense 2. in plants all cells work
independently of each other for the immune system, but in animals all cells work together to make a
functional system 3. animals immune systems can adapt and change to new strands of a virus, but since
in plants the immune response is hard wired into DNA the only way that it can respsond is if a mutation
occurs

Plants

1. have cell suicide cells examples of plants used as pharmaceuticals are asprin, opium, cocaine, atropine
2. have nonspecifc defense mechanisms

i) sensory and motor mechanisms

Sensory Processing in Animals

The sensory system detects signals from the outside environment and communicates it to the body via
the nervous system. The sensory system relies on specialized sensory receptor
cells that transduce external stimuli into changes in membrane potentials. If the changes in membrane
potential are sufficient to induce an action potential, then these action potentials are then
communicated along neurons within the afferent division of the PNS to the CNS for information
processing. The CNS integrates and interprets the incoming signals to effect a response to the appropriate
body systems via the efferent division of the PNS.

Plants respond to light by changes in morphology and activity. Irradiation by red light converts the
photoreceptor phytochrome to its far-red light-absorbing form—Pfr. This form controls germination and
flowering in response to length of day, as well as triggers photosynthesis in dormant plants or those that
just emerged from the soil. Blue-light receptors, cryptochromes, and phototropins are responsible for
phototropism. Amyloplasts, which contain heavy starch granules, sense gravity. Shoots exhibit negative
gravitropism, whereas roots exhibit positive gravitropism. Plant hormones—naturally occurring
compounds synthesized in small amounts—can act both in the cells that produce them and in distant
tissues and organs. Auxins are responsible for apical dominance, root growth, directional growth toward
light, and many other growth responses. Cytokinins stimulate cell division and counter apical dominance
in shoots. Gibberellins inhibit dormancy of seeds and promote stem growth. Abscisic acid induces
dormancy in seeds and buds, and protects plants from excessive water loss by promoting stomatal
closure. Ethylene gas speeds up fruit ripening and dropping of leaves. Plants respond to touch by rapid
movements (thigmotropy and thigmonasty) and slow differential growth (thigmomorphogenesis). Plants
have evolved defense mechanisms against predators and pathogens. Physical barriers like bark and
spines protect tender tissues. Plants also have chemical defenses, including toxic secondary metabolites
and hormones, which elicit additional defense mechanisms.

2) explain how some organisms maintain steady internal conditions that poses varois structuraes and
processes.

The bodies of animals are super complex. They contain billions of cells of all different types that work
together for a common cause. They contain not only many organs, but many organ systems: the digestive
system, the respiratory system, the circulatory system, the nervous system, and the skeletal system. And,
all those systems have to stay in balance with each other.

The balance inside the human body, and the body of every animal, is delicate. In the case of animals like
humans, even a small change to the state inside of the body can be deadly. So to prevent this, animals
have developed something called homeostasis.

Homeostasis is a state inside a system where variables are controlled so that the internal conditions stay
the same over long periods of time. This includes controlling variables like temperature, pH (or acidity),
water levels, presence of waste, salt and other electrolytes, and metabolism. All these things have to be
maintained within a certain range for the animal to survive. In this lesson, we're going to talk about each
of these things, why they're important, and how homeostasis is maintained.

Transcript of Homeostasis in Plants

Homeostasis in Plants
Homeostasis
Definition:The maintenance of a stable inner enviorment.
Without homeostasis the plant will become unbalance and won't be able to function properly.
Tropism
Definition: Responses in a plant that result in movement away from or toward a stimulus.
Without tropism plants wouldn't be able to survive.
Phototropism
Defintion: When a plant grows toward light.
Phototropism helps with photosnythesis, because wihout light plants can't get engery.
Gravitropism
Definition: Responses from plants that result in growth toward gravity.
Negative gravitropism: Shoot grows upward
Positive gravitropism: Shoots grow down wards.
Without gravitropism, plants wouldn't be able to grow up or down.
Wilting
Definition: A result of lack of turgor pressure.
Wilting occurs when plants lack nurientions or water.The plant droops down due to low or none water
pressure.Long term wilting results in death.
Wilting plant
Transpiration
Definition: The envaporation of water in a plant.
Transpiration occurs when a plant is in a hot enviornment.The water will evaporate off the leaves causing
it to wilt.
Turgor pressure
Definition: The pressure of water against a plant's cell wall.
Turgor pressure is what makes a plant stand up,due to the water pressure.
Authors
This powerpoint presentation is made by Tiana Adighibe and Yvette Gonzalez.

The Importance of Homeostasis in Plants and Animals


Why is it important?
Homeostasis allows animals to maintain a degree of stability in tile environment, allowing them to
survive drastic changes in their environment. Environmental factors include temperature, salinity, and
chemical makeup of the nearby surroundings.
Positive and Negative Feedback
Negative feedback loops serve to bring an organism towards a certain point of equilibrium. When certain
reaction or temperatures reach levels that are unsustainable in either extreme, negative feedback loops
kick in which return them to stable levels. Positive feedback loops often sustain growth at stable levels.
Thermoregulation
Atlantic Cod conduct thermoregulation through migration. Cod migrate across the ocean depnding on the
season, to live in waters that are optimally suited to them. Because they are ectotherms, cod rely on their
environment for their body temperature, so an ideal ocean temperature is vital for their homeostasis.
Osmoregulation
Because Cod live in the Atlantic Ocean, they have to have some way of maintaining good water to salt
rations in their bodies. Cod are hyposmotic, which means they maintain lower salt levels than their
environment. They fall under the category of teleosts, which regulate salt levels by filtering out Na and Cl
in chloride cells. They get rid of Mg and SO4 through their kidneys, and thus maintain homeostasis.
Ecological Mechanism
Cod levels in the Atlantic are reaching all-time lows. Many scientists have thought that this was a result of
excessive predation by seals. However, now they are finding that it is more related to starvation. The cod
in fact die because they are outcompeted by seals for food. Thus, the cod that are able to feed on new
sources of fish are better adapted and thus become more common. And cod levels return to normal.
Thermoregulation
Guard cells open and close the stomate depending on the season and environment, allowing them to take
in exactly as much water as they need. When the environment gets too watery, it closes up to keep the
cells from getting too hypertonic and bursting.
Environmental Regulation
Milkweed has severly toxic properties that allow it to regulate its standing in the environment. It
regulates the animals that spend time near it. Herbivores are driven away by its toxicity, because they can
only hurt the plant. However, milkweed keeps Monarch Butterflies close by, because they help with
pollination. The Monarchs use the toxicity to their advantage, driving away predators through their own
imunity to the toxin. Thus, the milkweed regulates its ecosystem by keeping the helpful animals nearby.
Homeostasis: The Overview
Milkweed Thermoregulation Strategies
Feedback Mechanisms in Atlantic Cod
Milkweed:
-Osmoregulate through guard cells
-Simply shuts out water to maintain homeostasis
A Comparison
Both:
-Rely on other Organisms
-Osmoregulate
-Thermoregulate

Cod:
-Osmoregulate through chloride cells
-Excrete to maintain homeostasis

3) describe examples of homeostasis and the major features of feedback loops that produce such
homeostasis.

Common Homeostasis Examples


Here are some homeostasis examples:
 Humans' internal body temperature is a great example of homeostasis. When an individual is
healthy, his or her body temperature retains a temperature 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The body can
control temperature by making or releasing heat.
 Glucose is a type of sugar that is found in the bloodstream, but the body must maintain proper
glucose levels to ensure that a person remains healthy. When glucose levels get too high, the
pancreas releases a hormone known as insulin. If blood glucose levels happen to drop too low, the
liver converts glycogen in the blood to glucose again, raising the levels.
 When bacteria or viruses that can make you ill get into your body, your lymphatic system kicks in
to help maintain homeostasis. It works to fight the infection before it has the opportunity to make
you sick, ensuring that you remain healthy.
 The maintenance of healthy blood pressure is an example of homeostasis. The heart can sense
changes in the blood pressure, causing it to send signals to the brain, which then sends back
signals telling the heart how to respond. If blood pressure is too high, naturally the heart should
slow down; while if it is too low, the heart wants to speed up.
 A human's body contains chemicals known as acids and bases, and a proper balance of these is
required for the body to function optimally. Lungs and kidneys are two of the organ systems that
regulate acids and bases within the body.
 More than half of a human's body weight percentage is water, and maintaining the correct balance
of water is an example of homeostasis. Cells that have too much water in them bloat and can even
blow up. Cells with too little water can end up shrinking. Your body maintains a proper water
balance so that neither of these situations occurs.
 Calcium levels in the blood must be maintained at proper levels. The body regulates those levels in
an example of homeostasis. When levels decrease, the parathyroid releases hormones. If calcium
levels become too high, the thyroid helps out by fixing calcium in the bones and lowering blood
calcium levels.
 Exercising causes the body to maintain homeostasis by sending lactate to the muscles to give them
energy. Over time, this also signals to the brain that it is time to stop exercising, so that the
muscles can get the oxygen they need.
 The nervous system helps keep homeostasis in breathing patterns. Because breathing is
involuntary, the nervous system ensures that the body is getting much needed oxygen through
breathing the appropriate amount of oxygen.
 When toxins get into your blood, they disrupt your body's homeostasis. The human body,
however, responds by getting rid of these toxins by use of the urinary system. An individual
simply urinates the toxins and other nasty things from the blood, restoring homeostasis to the
human body.
 Now you have lots of different examples of homeostasis and you can recognize homeostasis in
your own body.

4)
Feedback loop is defined as a system used to control the level of a variable in which there is an
identifiable receptor (sensor), control center (integrator or comparator), effectors, and methods of
communication.
We use the following terminology to describe feedback loops:
 Variables are parameters that are monitored and controlled or affected by the feedback system.
 Receptors (sensors) detect changes in the variable.
 Control centers (integrators) compare the variable in relation to a set point and signal the
effectors to generate a response. Control centers sometimes consider infomration other than just
the level of the variable in their decision-making, such as time of day, age, external conditions, etc.
 Effectors execute the necessary changes to adjust the variable.
 Methods of communication among the commponents of a feedback loop are necessary in order for
it to function. This often occurs through nerves or hormones, but in some cases receptors and
control centers are the same structures, so that there is no need for these signaling modes in that
part of the loop.
Typically, we divide feedback loops into two main types:
1. positive feedback loops, in which a change in a given direction causes additional change in the
same direction.For example, an increase in the concentration of a substance causes feedback that
produces continued increases in concentration.
2. negative feedback loops, in which a change in a given direction causes change in the opposite
direction.For example, an increase in the concentration of a substance causes feedback that
ultimately causes the concentration of the substance to decrease.
3. Positive feedback loops are inherently unstable systems. Because a change in an input causes
responses that produce continued changes in the same direction, positive feedback loops can lead
to runaway conditions. The term positive feedback is typically used as long as a variable has an
ability to amplify itself, even if the components of a loop (receptor, control center and effector) are
not easily identifiable. In most cases, positive feedback is harmful, but there are a few instances
where positive feedback, when used in limited fashion, contributes to normal function. For
example, during blood clotting, a cascade of enzymatic proteins activates each other, leading to the
formation of a fibrin clot that prevents blood loss. One of the enzymes in the pathway, called
thrombin, not only acts on the next protein in the pathway but also has an ability to activate a
protein that preceded it in the cascade. This latter step leads to a positive feedback cycle, where an
increase in thrombin leads to further increases in thrombin. It should be noted that there are
other aspects of blood clotting that keep the overall process in check, such that thrombin levels
don’t rise without limit. But if we just consider the effects of thrombin on itself, it is considered a
positive feedback cycle. Although some may consider this a positive feedback loop, such
terminology is not universally accepted.