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CLEP Biology - Exam Topics Sample Questions

What is the effect of the hormone known as abscisic acid?

Correct Answer:
it is responsible for geotropic response in roots; and promotes the onset of dormancy.

abscisic acid (aba) is a plant hormone that plays a critical role in regulating various plant functions, including stress responses, seed dormancy, and germination. it is chiefly known as a growth inhibitor and its effects are evident in several physiological processes within plants.

one of the primary roles of abscisic acid is to promote the onset of dormancy. this process is crucial for plants as it helps them survive adverse weather conditions, particularly during cold seasons. aba levels increase as environmental conditions become less favorable for growth, such as during the fall when daylight hours decrease. high concentrations of aba inhibit growth processes and induce dormancy in parts of the plant like buds, seeds, and even the cambium layer in stems. this dormancy ensures that the plant conserves energy and resources until favorable conditions return.

contrary to promoting fruit ripening or initiating cell division, aba generally slows down these processes. it acts as an antagonist to growth-promoting hormones like gibberellins and cytokinins. for example, in seeds, aba counteracts the effects of gibberellins, which promote germination. high aba levels ensure that the seeds remain dormant until the conditions are right for germination, preventing premature sprouting that could be detrimental to the seedling's survival.

regarding the geotropic response—how plants grow in response to gravity—aba also plays a role, although it is not as direct as its influence on dormancy. in roots, aba can influence how cells respond to gravity, affecting root growth patterns and ensuring that roots grow downwards, anchoring the plant and seeking water and nutrients. this geotropic effect helps plants maintain stability and absorb essential resources effectively.

lastly, it's important to clarify that aba does not typically stimulate the production of ethylene, another plant hormone involved in processes like fruit ripening and senescence. instead, high concentrations of aba generally lead to a reduction in processes promoted by ethylene, such as fruit ripening and leaf abscission.

in summary, abscisic acid is a multifaceted hormone with predominant roles in inhibiting growth, promoting dormancy, and modulating stress responses in plants. its functions are essential for plant survival and adaptation to environmental stresses.

Gregor Mendel proposed two laws that govern inheritance. One is the law of segregation, the other summarizes the observation that individual alleles, while they may be linked, tend to be inherited individually. This second law is known as which of the following?

Correct Answer:
the law of independent assortment.
gregor mendel, often referred to as the father of genetics, proposed two fundamental laws that guide the patterns of inheritance. these laws were derived from his meticulous experiments with pea plants in the mid-19th century. the first law he proposed is the law of segregation, which essentially states that each individual has two alleles for each gene, which segregate during the formation of gametes, so that each gamete carries only one allele for each gene.

the second law, which is the focus of the question, is known as the law of independent assortment. this law summarizes mendel's observation that different traits are passed to offspring independently of one another. the law of independent assortment states that the alleles of two (or more) different genes get sorted into gametes independently of one another. that is, the allele a gamete receives for one gene does not influence the allele received for another gene.

mendel arrived at this conclusion after performing dihybrid crosses (crosses considering two traits at the same time) in pea plants. for instance, he crossed plants with different seed shapes (round vs wrinkled) and colors (yellow vs green). the results showed that the inheritance of one trait (seed shape) was not dependent on the inheritance of the other trait (seed color). this was revolutionary because it opposed the then-prevailing idea that traits were always linked in their inheritance.

the law of independent assortment laid the foundation for understanding how genes assort and recombine, leading to genetic variation. it is crucial for the principle of genetic recombination and has profound implications in the study of genetics and breeding. understanding this law helps explain how organisms inherit a mixture of traits from their parents and contributes to the diversity observed within species.

therefore, the correct answer to the question is (b) the law of independent assortment. this law is distinct from the law of segregation and is essential for explaining how alleles for different genes can segregate into gametes independently, which is fundamental in predicting the outcome of genetic crosses and understanding the genetic makeup of offspring.