Derived characters are features in organisms that have been modified for specific functions as a result of evolution. They are used in cladistic analysis, which is a method of classifying organisms according to certain physical characteristics or behavioral traits that have appeared through the evolutionary process.Know More
Derived characters are those that are not present in an organism's evolutionary ancestors and are distinct from primitive characters. While primitive characters establish broad classifications used for grouping in cladistic analysis, such as fur and mammary glands on mammals, derived characters are more unique and help to classify organisms into smaller groups. An example of a derived character in mammals is an appendage containing an opposable thumb. Another example is the presence of appendages in mammals that make aquatic movement possible, such as in whales or dolphins. The more derived characters organisms share, the closer they are related.
Once derived and primitive characters are known, a cladogram can be constructed to show the evolutionary link between groups of organisms. Experts use computer programs to enter these characteristics, and the information is used to quickly group organisms according to shared evolutionary structures.
The use of derived characters in cladistic analysis is just one of several alternatives to classifying organisms.Learn more about Molecular Biology & DNA
The primary function of DNA is to send the instructions needed for the development, survival and reproduction of living organisms. DNA contains information required to create proteins, and proteins are used to complete specific functions. Proteins are complex molecules that serve different functions and provide physical characteristics to organisms. To accomplish different functions, DNA sequences are transformed into messages that are used to produce proteins.Full Answer >
In eukaryotes, organisms that have nuclei, ribosomes are produced within the nucleolus of a cell. The nucleolus is located within the cell's nucleus, where most of a cell's genetic information is stored.Full Answer >
The organisms that are most closely related are those with the most recent common ancestor, in terms of the number of generations that have passed since that ancestor. For instance, two siblings are more closely related than two cousins. Relationships between species follow a similar pattern.Full Answer >
All organisms are made up of cells, have different levels of organization, use energy, respond to and adapt to their environments, grow and reproduce. If something does not exhibit each of these characteristics, it is technically not living.Full Answer >