Characteristics of a Living Organism

Ten characteristics distinguish an object or thing from an actual living organism. All 10 characteristics must be present simultaneously in order for something to be considered living.

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The following table lists four of the 10 characteristics that make up a living organism. Fill in the remaining six characteristics:

Characteristics of a Living Organism
1. Composed of one or more cells
2. May evolve into a new type of organism
3. Carries out and controls a variety of chemical reactions
4. Produces offspring resembling itself
5. Are highly organized, complex entities
6. Contain a blueprint of their characteristics (a genetic program)
7. Acquire and use energy
8. Maintain a fairly constant internal environment
9. Respond to changes in their environments
10. Grow in size and change in appearance and abilities
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Pruitt, N. L., & Underwood, L. S. (2006). Bioinquiry: Making connections in biology (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Checkpoint Topic

Use the table in Appendix B and fill in the missing characteristics that make up a living organism. 


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