Higher Biology CfE

There are three units in the new CfE Higher Biology :

Unit 1 DNA and the Genome

Unit 2 Metabolism and Survival

Unit 3 Sustainability and Interdependence

New Higher Biology Course :
Revised Higher Biology Past Papers - appears to be the same course so useful for revision- 


Here are a few fun online resources to help with your studying.

Unit 1 DNA and the Genome

DNA Replication

Unit 1 Revision - BBC Bitesize 

DNA has a double helix structure but this was only discovered in the 1950s. This discovery led to three scientists, Watson, Crick and Wilkins gaining a Nobel prize in 1962. However another scientist, Rosalind Franklin, had carried out much of the research leading to this discovery. For background reading you might like to read these articles, (not completely essential for Higher Biology but interesting background reading and awareness of the recent history of science). It is so very recently that DNA structure was realised, and so many scientific advances and discoveries have then been possible as a result of this.
A couple of articles about the Story of Rosalind Franklin and her X-ray chromatography to find the structure of DNA :

Amazing Scale of DNA

This does not really come up in Higher, but this just gives an idea of the sheer scale of DNA. When you look at a chromosome you are looking at many many looped up sections of DNA !  How on earth did this ever evolve !
(video not available at the moment - its by John Kyrk...)

Details of DNA structure at 3' and 5' ends
You need to know what is at 3' end and 5' end of DNA so have a good look at the structure here :

Some classic experiments :

Prokaryotes / Eukaryotes

Interesting reference about prokaryotes, autotrophs, bacteria, staining bacteria, cyanobacteria, etc. and their evolution and how they relate to eukaryotes in evolutionary time :  (Not all of this content is in Advanced Higher but you might find it interesting to read anyway)

The Scale of Cells, Bacteria and Viruses etc.

A nice interactive example - use the slider to change the scale to show the size of various things like cells and viruses.
Spot the size of the prokaryotic bacteria E.coli versus the eukaryotic human cell examples :

DNA Replication
Animations of Leading Strand vs Lagging Strand :

DNA - refrigeration - and the taste of tomatoes - interesting research: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/speaking-of-science/wp/2016/10/17/refrigeration-really-does-ruin-tomatoes-according-to-science/

DNA Replication
This is actually a good video and covers a lot - if you can get round his slightly cringe-worthy rap presentation ! it covers DNA replication - leading strand vs lagging strand - history etc
Of the enzymes I would just focus on knowing the DNA polymerase and the ligase for Higher - dont worry about others that are mentioned

PCR Polymerase Chain Reaction


Control of Gene Expression

DNA to Protein - nice short video to explain ! Only 2 minutes !

RNA Splicing - http://content.dnalc.org/content/c16/16938/3d-splicing-audio-title.mp4


From Centre of the Cell :
Stem Cells, Cloning, Animal Experiements :

Stem Cells Information - including exercise on page 7/8 regarding ethics of an experiment

Stem Cells and Adult Stem Cells 
VERY GOOD video about Stem cells - with the initial scientists Gurdon who got a Nobel prize and also Dolly the sheep featuring :


another interesting bit about Adult Stem Cells :

Some stem cell experiments etc used frog eggs (sometimes known as oocytes) as they are large to handle. To find out a little more about frog spawn / tadpoles / frogs etc then have a look at this very short video - the commentary is actually quite interesting if you can manage to hear what they are saying:

The Life of a Tree - Xylem and Phloem
This helps a little towards understanding how the rings of trees work - look for the cambium which is the meristem in trees.

My photograph of tree rings from Aberfoyle Forest - showing the softer areas and how the chainsaw chopping the tree down has affected the soft and hard wood. The new xylem and the cambium and phloem are on the top of my picture :


Sickle cell anaemia
Inherited condition

Cell Culture in plants :
What is a callus ?

Tissue Culture of Plants

The story of the Henrietta Lacks cell line 

p53 Gene
The p53 gene was named molecule of the year” by Science magazine in 1993 after the observations that more than one half of human cancers expressed a mutant p53 raised extensive clinical possibilities - this website is devoted to the story of this gene, written by a researcher who was a young scientist working in the lab that first found the gene:
http://p53.free.fr/index.html   (you dont need to remember all of this but it gives you a flavour of the amount of research that has been done, including some that was done at the University of Dundee)

Cytoskeleton Revealed

The Cell cytoskeleton is revealed when red blood cells are placed in hypertonic solution :

DNA Sequencing

Experimentally setting up a gel electrophoresis :

DNA Sequencing 
using chain terminating dideoxynucleotides

DNA Fingerprinting





The genetics of polar bears and grizzly bears - are they a different species ? and if so, why ?
Find out a bit more here : http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/genetic-relationships-bears/

Mutations Caused by Radiation


Point Mutations Within Gene causing Incorrect Protein to form

with example of Haemoglobin in Sickle Cell Anaemia


The genetics of polar bears and grizzly bears - are they a different species ? and if so, why ?
Find out a bit more here : http://indianapublicmedia.org/amomentofscience/genetic-relationships-bears/

Darwin's Finches and the Peppered Moth
Both feature on powerpoints you can find on this webpage :

(for extra reading if you are interested - but its not necessary for Higher - study of finches and evolution - some ideas - eg is a species more likely to divide into two different groups when subject to no competition ? etc. does this mean competition increases genes expressed ? or will a species express a narrower range of genes (be healthier) when competing...) http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2014/03/bird-evolution/

Evolution and Darwin
If you'd like to read more about Darwin and his research on evolution there is lots of good information here : http://darwin200.christs.cam.ac.uk/

Evolution - genetic drift and gene pools animation

A Lego animation of Founder effect, bottleneck and genetic drift: 

Hybrid Zones

A story of crows :

Evolution documentary
how humans evolved - 45 min programme if you are interested :

Comparison of genomes from different species
Ape ancestry : http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2012/03/120306-gorilla-genome-apes-humans-evolution-science/

Model Organisms
Useful in research into human genes and disease.
C. elegans - (Caeonorhabditis elegans) - a worm - http://wormclassroom.org/short-history-c-elegans-research

Evolution - which are our closest relatives ? Did you know we share 99% of our expressed genes (I think that is the correct way to say it ! - 99% of our exons ....)  with chimpanzees?

Apes - interesting - http://www.livescience.com/51017-ape-facts.html

Inter-Specific and Intra-Specific Competition

8  Genomic Sequencing

The Human Genome Project
Completed in 2003 - up to 99% of genome had been sequenced by then. Here are some questions and answers about the project : https://www.genome.gov/11006943

Fabulous website about predator/prey - need to check where htis fits in in new course http://www.isleroyalewolf.org/overview/overview/at_a_glance.html


UNIT 2 Metabolism and Survival

Revision from BBC Bitesize 

7... Metabolism and Enzymes

Sodium Potassium Pump

Simple animation

Biochemical Pathway (or is it a jelly bean factory !!)

Feedback Inhibition

8... Control of Metabolic Pathways

Genetic Control - Jacob - Monod Hypothesis
E.Coli - lactose metabolism
A good video - tells you just a little bit more about the theory than you need but it helps to understand how cleverly evolved bacteria are in how they manage to use lactose as a food supply if they find some in their environment.

Using Green Fluorescent Protein GFP - good video with Professor John Christie of University of Glasgow for SAP - http://www.saps.org.uk/secondary/teaching-resources/1400-interviews-with-scientists-gfp-and-reporter-proteins

9..... Cellular Respiration


Citric Acid Cycle / Krebs Cycle

The last stage : Electron Transport Chain
The proton pump (H+ ions and ATP Synthase)
A nice animation :

10 ... Maintaining Metabolism

Measuring Metabolic Rate
Different methods possible - some more accurate than others and some easier to carry out !


VO2 Max Measurement
Interesting video showing the stages of VO2 Max testing on a treadmill

Different heart designs - mammals, birds etc - no resource at moment

Animation of ADH affects :

Homeostasis - including a test :

Good quiz from BBC Bitesize on Homoestasis / heart design in different animals etc

11 ... Maintenance of Metabolism during Environmental Change

Estivation - how some animals survive a hot summer :

Torpor / Aestivation / Hibernation / Migration /Extremophiles / hot springs

12 ... Growth and Metabolism of Micro-organisms

Plotting Exponential Growth on Semi-Log Graph Paper

Primary and Secondary Metabolism in micro-organisms eg to get penicillin - no resources at moment

13 ... Genetic Control of Metabolism

Using the pGLO plasmid
This is a created or engineered plasmid that is used in genetic engineering. It contains the pGLO gene which is a gene from jellyfish that codes for a green fluorescent protein (GFP) and an Ampicillin resistance gene.
The pGlo plasmid explained : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PGLO

Transforming Bacteria by Recombinant DNA Technology
Restriction Endonucleases

Insulin being inserted into bacterial plasmid:

Look its real !
You really can buy restriction endonucleases like BAM HI if you are working in a genetics laboratory or research organisation :

UNIT 3 - Sustainability and Interdependence


Chapter 14   Science of Food Production

Science of food production
Including Photosynthesis, Crops, Pests etc

UN - Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations:

Chromatography of Leaf Pigments

This short video shows a time-elapsed film of the Leaf pigment chromatography experiment to separate chlorophyll a and b, carotene and xanthophyll : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u6jD0hJO-28

Chapter 15  Photosynthesis and Productivity

A very simple video showing the effect of light or dark on Elodea pondweed :
If you can collect the oxygen bubbles and measure volume of oxygen given off under different conditions of light intensity etc.

Nice diagrams of Photosynthesis Carbon Fixation here :

Limiting Factors in Photosynthesis

The three limiting factors which we study are temperature, availability of carbon dioxide and light intensity. The Bitesize website has a good explanation of the types of questions involving graphs which you might come across :

Chapter 16 Breeding Plants and Animals for Food

Hybrid Vigour 
In Poultry / Chickens / Hens:

The 1000 Bulls project
Project to sequence the whole genomes of bulls of important breeds - find out more about why:

Pedigree Bluefaced Leicester Sheep
Choosing the hardiest sheep are retained for breeding at Logie Durno farm.
Mimicing "natural selection"

Potato Council
Find out the types of things that potato farmers and researchers study in order to improve crop yields:

Chapter 17  Crop Protection

Potato Blight
Interesting newspaper article about amateur gardeners, the weather and potato blight :

Chapter 18 Animal Welfare

No resources yet

Chapter 19 Inter-relationships and Dependence

Symbiosis and Social Behaviour

Some examples of symbiosis among animals eg the zebra and ostrich or the honeyguide bird and people or badgers :

Malaria parasite
Excellent but hard hitting animation on how malaria infects a human from a mosquito bite and what happens :

Coral Bleaching - excellent short 3 minute video explaining about the symbiosis in Corals and what can go wrong with climate change :

Chapter 20 Social Behaviour 
no resources yet

Chapter 21 Biodiversity


Invasive Species
Non native species which cause harm to environment, other species or human health
From the Encyclopaedia of Life - EOL website - http://eol.org/info/460

Invasive Species
Here is another interesting link about green algal seaweed which has invaded the mediterranean sea. There is a quiz to try on there too - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/algae/about.html

Antartica braces for influx of invasive species http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2013/01/07/antarctica-braces-for-influx-of-invasive-species/