Reproduction and the Drive for Survival

Part of the Undergraduate Texts in Mathematics book series (UTM)


This chapter is an introduction to cell structure and biological reproduction and the effects that these have on the survival of species according to the Darwinian model of evolution. The Darwinian model of evolution postulates that all living systems must compete for resources that are too limited to sustain all the organisms that are born. Those organisms possessing properties that are best suited to the environment can survive and may pass the favored properties to their offspring. A system is said to be alive if it has certain properties. These life properties, e.g., metabolism, reproduction, and response to stimuli, interact with each other, and indeed, the interactions themselves must be part of the list of life properties. Cells contain organelles, which are subcellular inclusions dedicated to performing specific tasks such as photosynthesis and protein synthesis. Membranes are organelles that are components of other organelles and are functional in their own right–they regulate material transport into and out of cells. Prokaryotic organisms (bacteria and blue-green algae) lack most organelles. Eukaryotic organisms (protozoa, fungi, plants, and animals) have cells with a wide range of organelles.


Sexual Reproduction Daughter Cell Living System Multicellular Organism Asexual Reproduction 
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References and Suggested Further Reading

  1. [1] Biophysics of Living Systems:
    E. K. Yeargers, Basic Biophysics for Biology, CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL, 1992.Google Scholar
  2. [2] Cell Division And Reproduction:
    W. T. Keeton and J. L. Gould, Biological Science, 5th ed., Norton, New York, 1993.Google Scholar
  3. [3] Cell Division And Reproduction:
    W. S. Beck, K. F. Liem, and G. G. Simpson, Life: An Introduction to Biology, 3rd ed., Harper–Collins, New York, 1991.Google Scholar
  4. [4] Population Biology:
    R. Brewer, The Science of Ecology, 2nd ed., Saunders College Publishing, Fort Worth, TX, 1988.Google Scholar
  5. [5] Definition of Species:
    C. Zimmer, What is a species?, Sci. Amer., 298-6 (2008), 72–79.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of MathematicsGeorgia Institute of TechnologyAtlantaUSA

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