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agnostic: A person who believes that the existence of a god or creator and the nature of the universe is unknowable.

algae: An umbrella term for various simple organisms that contain chlorophyll (and can therefore carry out photosynthesis) and live in aquatic habitats and in moist situations on land. Algae range from macroscopic seaweeds such as giant kelp, which frequently exceeds 30 m in length, to microscopic filamentous and single-celled forms such as Spirogyra and Chlorella. For example, if a gene determines the seed color of peas, one allele of that gene may produce green seeds and another allele produce yellow seeds.

The term can also be applied to larger groups of organisms, as in "the adaptive radiation of mammals." adaptive strategies: A mode of coping with competition or environmental conditions on an evolutionary time scale.

Species adapt when succeeding generations emphasize beneficial characteristics.

The diameter of the aperture determines the intensity of light admitted. archeology: The study of human history and prehistory through the excavation of sites and the analysis of physical remains, such as graves, tools, pottery, and other artifacts.

The pupil of a human eye is a self-adjusting aperture. archetype: The original form or body plan from which a group of organisms develops.

adaptation: Any heritable characteristic of an organism that improves its ability to survive and reproduce in its environment.

Allometric relations can be studied during the growth of a single organism, between different organisms within a species, or between organisms in different species. amino acid: The unit molecular building block of proteins, which are chains of amino acids in a certain sequence.

allopatric speciation: Speciation that occurs when two or more populations of a species are geographically isolated from one another sufficiently that they do not interbreed. There are 20 main amino acids in the proteins of living things, and the properties of a protein are determined by its particular amino acid sequence.

antibiotic resistance: A heritable trait in microorganisms that enables them to survive in the presence of an antibiotic.

aperture: Of a camera, the adjustable opening through which light passes to reach the film.

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allometry: The relation between the size of an organism and the size of any of its parts.