By Sheri S Tepper
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13 Three domains of life. (a) This member of the Domain Bacteria (Helicobacter pylori) causes ulcers in the digestive systems of humans. (b) This example from the Domain Archaea (Methanosarcina species) lives in the oxygen-free muck of swamps and bogs. (c) The Domain Eukarya is divided into four kingdoms in this book. The Kingdom Protoctista is represented by a trichomonad (Trichonympha species) that lives in the gut of a termite. Coast redwoods (Sequoia sempervirens) are among the largest members of the Kingdom Plantae; the picture shows a young tree with the trunk of an older tree behind it.
Similarly, a geneticist who wants to understand the role of a particular gene in the functioning of an organism might make mutations in the gene and examine the consequences. Researchers Often Test Hypotheses with Controlled Experiments Research on a previously unexplored system usually starts with basic observations. Once a solid base of carefully observed and described facts is established, scientists may develop a hypothesis, a “working explanation” of the observed facts. And whenever scientists create a hypothesis, they simultaneously deﬁne—either explicitly or implicitly—a null hypothesis, a statement of what they would see if the hypothesis being tested is not correct.
Sandy-colored mice are well camouﬂaged on pale rocks, and black mice are well camouﬂaged on dark rocks (top); but mice with fur that does not match their backgrounds (bottom) are easy to see. 8 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO BIOLOGICAL CONCEPTS AND RESEARCH Favorable mutations may produce adaptations, characteristics that help an organism survive longer or reproduce more under a particular set of environmental conditions. To convey the sense of how organisms beneﬁt from adaptations, consider an example from the recent literature on cryptic coloration (camouﬂage) in animals.