Only random mutations in germ cells (gametes) can create the variation that is inherited by an organism’s offspring. Somatic mutations are not inherited, but may lead to cell death, uncontrolled cell growth, or cancer.
The natural world consists of a diversity of organisms that transmit their characteristics to future generations. Living things reproduce, develop, and transmit traits, and theories of evolution explain the unity and diversity of species found on Earth. Knowledge of genetics, reproduction, and development is applied to improve agriculture and human health.
Organisms reproduce, develop, have predictable life cycles, and pass on heritable traits to their offspring.