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Cloning

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Since the early 20th century, when Hans Spemann first twinned salamander embryos, scientists have made astounding progress in the science and technology of cloning. They have now developed the means…
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Bacteria and Viruses

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The Britannica Discovery Library series contains key concepts that build a foundation for early learners.
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Fungi, Algae, and Protists

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Fungi, protists, and algae are among the most diverse life forms on the planet. Tiny protists range from plants to animals. Algae range from single celled plants to 60-foot-long kelp. Fungi occupy a…
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The Cell

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A single cell can be a self-sustaining organism or one of trillions in a larger life form. Though visible only with the help of a microscope, cells are highly structured entities that perform a myriad…
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Bone and Muscle

Structure, Force, and Motion
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The seeming simplicity of day-to-day movement can belie the complexity of the structures that facilitate motion. More than just a framework around which the body develops, the human skeleton has…
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Blood

Physiology and Circulation
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Although its ubiquity in the human body may make it seem unremarkable, simply put, blood makes life possible. It nourishes cells throughout the body and transports carbon dioxide to the lungs. Without…
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The Cardiovascular System

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Though only about the size of a clenched fist, the human heart bears the immense burden of sustaining human life and activity. Functioning to circulate blood throughout the body, the heart is an organ…
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The Digestive System

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The satisfaction derived from savoring a steak or indulging in an ice cream sundae is only one aspect of a larger process that occurs in the human digestive system. From the moment food enters our…
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The Reproductive System

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Although much is now known about the biology of reproduction, a great deal remains to be discovered about the diseases and disorders that can damage the reproductive system. Ethical concerns…
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The Respiratory System

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So automatic and mechanical is breathing for most of us that we often fail to consider the complexities of respiration. Engaging the lungs, airways, and more, the intake of oxygen and release of…
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The Eye

The Physiology of Human Perception
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The human eye has been the subject of endless fascination. Indeed, the very nature of sensory perception is shaped by the visual cues the brain receives, thus rendering the eye one of the most crucial…
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The Brain and the Nervous System

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Necessary for everything from reflexes to reading to running, it’s no exaggeration to say that the brain and nervous system are responsible for nearly every endeavor of human activity. The sheer…
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The Chemical Reactions of Life

From Metabolism to Photosynthesis
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The development and evolution of all species can, in many ways, be traced to a few biochemical reactions that facilitate metabolic and/or photosynthetic changes in each life form. Indeed, advances in…
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