Q:

What is a control group in biology ?

A:

Quick Answer

In biology experiments, a control group is a group of subjects that are not given the treatment being tested in order to serve as a benchmark for the tested group. The presence of a control group helps scientists rule out alternate causes for any observed results.

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Full Answer

Negative control groups are designed to create a population of study subjects that exhibit no effects when compared to the treatment group. As an example, a group of people given placebo pills instead of pills containing the new drug during a medical trial is a negative control group. The control group is expected not to experience effects from the drug because the pills those individuals consume do not contain actual medicine.

A positive control group is designed so that the control group exhibits a specific expected effect. In a biological test to determine the level of a protein in a test sample, a positive control that contains a known level of the same protein is used as a comparison to show the experimental readings are correct. If the test fails to detect the protein in the control sample, this indicates that the experiment has failed.

Not all experiments use control groups. Field experiments in natural conditions don't include a control group because the conditions include too many factors to be controlled.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is the control group in an experiment?

    A:

    The control group in an experiment does not receive a treatment or experimental condition. Researchers compare results from the experimental group with those of the control group to find an effect or statistically significant difference with the treatment.

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    What is a scientific control group?

    A:

    A control group in science is a group of people that closely resemble a treatment group, but do not receive the same treatment as the other group. This helps scientists compare those people who received the treatment against those who did not.

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    What is a experimental group in biology?

    A:

    The experimental group in any controlled science experiment is the group exposed to the variable being tested. This is different than the control group, which is not exposed to the variable. In an experiment for a vaccine, the experimental group receives the vaccine, and the control group does not.

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    What is a dependent variable in biology?

    A:

    A dependent variable in biology is an element that is being tested. It relies on the independent variable, or that aspect of the experiment that the scientist has control over and changes to observe the results on the dependent variable.

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