|MadSci Network: General Biology|
Hello Margaux, Perhaps a useful way to address this question is first to think generally and then focus on specifics. Generally, the main biological importance of water is that life, with which we are familiar, cannot exist without it. In fact, on a percent basis, the majority of any organism is comprised of water. Additionally, it is believed that life first originated in bodies of water on the earth. What does water do that makes it so crucial to life. If we examine life in a simplified view, an organism relies on enzymes to conduct the functions necessary to live. Water provides an excellent environment for these enzymes to carry forth their functions. The chemical nature of water is well suited to serve as a medium for enzymes . It is chemically stable and relatively inert therefore it will not disrupt the chemical functions of enzymes or other cellular components. If there was no water in a cell how would enzyme and substrate join together? This explanation is what I believe to be the essential biological importance of water.. However, you are correct in stating that there are many reasons why water is significant in life. If you continue your study on the chemical nature of water and relate it to the physiology of a cell and/or a whole organism you will find other interesting reasons how water plays an important role in the life of an organism. A good introductory chapter on the biological relevance of water can be found in Biology by Neil Campbell, The Benjamin/Cummings Publishing Company, other introductory biology texts may also be a good place to start. I hope this helps. Chris
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