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AP Bio



Unit 1

1.0 AP Biology Unit 1 Review - Chemistry of Life

3 min readoctober 29, 2020


Caroline Koffke

What you need to know for AP Bio Unit 1

Here's an organized outline for ap bio unit 1 reviews. This outline has been adapted from the 2019 course description published by College Board. You can use this to build an ap bio unit 1 study guide.
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Structure of Water and Hydrogen Bonding

  • The sequence and make up of all molecules determine the property of that molecule.
  • Water is a unique molecule that is polar due to an unequal distribution of charge. The properties of water and essential to the existence of life on earth.
  • Water is able to form hydrogen bonds with other water molecules due to its polarity, and this contributes to the properties of cohesion, adhesion, and surface tension.


Elements of Life

  • The elements of life are organized on the periodic table.
  • The elements most common to biological molecules are carbon, nitrogen, hydrogen, oxygen, and phosphorus.


Introduction to Biological Macromolecules

  • All living organisms are made up of proteins, lipids, carbohydrates, and nucleic acids.
  • Monomers are bound together in order to form these polymers.
  • Hydrolysis and dehydration synthesis are used to cleave and form covalent bonds between monomers 


Properties of Biological Molecules

  • The way in which a polymer is assembled contributes to the overall function of that polymer. This includes:
    • Nucleotides in nucleic acids, the amino acid order in proteins, sugar monomers in carbohydrates, and the saturation of lipids


Structure and Function of Biological Molecules

  • Amino acids may be polar, nonpolar, sulfur-containing, acidic, or basic. The function of a protein depends on what amino acids make up a protein.
  • The order of nucleotides in DNA make up its genetic code. DNA is antiparallel, forms a double helix, and contains hydrogen bonds between nucleotides.
  • Lipids are nonpolar and hydrophobic. The presence of double bonds in lipids contributes to whether or not it is a saturated or unsaturated fat and contributes to its function.
  • Carbohydrates are broken down to make energy. The complexity of the carbohydrate structure determines the amount of energy needed to break it down.


Nucleic Acids

  • DNA and RNA are similar structures with the exceptions of a few key differences.
    • DNA is usually double stranded whereas RNA is usually single stranded.
    • DNA has a deoxyribose sugar, whereas RNA has a ribose sugar.
    • DNA has thymine, adenine, cytosine, and guanine, whereas RNA replaces thymine with uracil.


Unit 1 Vocab

  • Macromolecule
  • Lipid
  • Fatty acid
  • Carbohydrate
  • Monosaccharide
  • Polysaccharide
  • Peptide bond
  • Amino acid
  • Nucleic acid
  • Nucleotide
  • Sugar-phosphate bond
  • Ribose
  • Deoxyribose
  • Hydrogen bond
  • Polar
  • Nonpolar
  • Cohesion
  • Adhesion
  • Surface tension
  • Hydrolysis
  • Dehydration synthesis
  • Monomer
  • Polymer
  • Phospholipid
  • Semiconservative replication


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Unit 2: Cell Structure and Function
Unit 3: Cellular Energetics
Unit 4: Cell Communication and Cell Cycle
Unit 5: Heredity
Unit 6: Gene Expression and Regulation
Unit 7: Natural Selection
Unit 8: Ecology
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