TOEFL IBT – Biology

Vocabulary is promordial in order to improve your TOEFL score. Remember, Preparation is the key to succeed !

This vocabulary will be useful if you are taking a course in biology, for any number of English language exams you may take, or just for satisfying your curiosity. Here we will look at the most commonly used words in the field, along with their French translations.


a process in which one substance permeates another; a fluid permeates or is dissolved by a liquid or solid

This reduces the absorption of cholesterol into the blood as well.


active transport

transport of a substance (as a protein or drug) across a cell membrane against the concentration gradient; requires an expenditure of energy

This protein is one of many which is involved in active transport.

le transport actif

amino acid

a class of organic compounds containing an amino group and a carboxylic acid group

Taurine is one of the most abundant amino acids in our body.

l’acide aminé


a type of antimicrobial drug used in the treatment and prevention of bacterial infections

It is more difficult to treat because it resists many antibiotics.


asexual reproduction

process of reproduction involving a single parent that results in offspring that are genetically identical to the parent

Organisms that reproduce through asexual reproduction tend to grow in number exponentially.

la reproduction asexuée


the smallest component of an element having the chemical properties of that element

The final step is to locate the atoms of other elements.



organic matter derived from living or recently living organisms

How biomass is measured depends on why it is being measured.

la biomasse


very large ecological areas on the earth’s surface, with fauna and flora (animals and plants) adapting to their environment

Existing forest biomes declined, and grasslands became much more widespread.

le biome


the red liquid that circulates in the arteries and veins of humans and other vertebrate animals, carrying oxygen to and carbon dioxide from the tissues of the body

DNA blood tests will be among those done.

le sang


the study of plants

He has studied botany and horticulture, but not to get degrees.

la botanique


the structural and functional unit of all organisms

These immune system cells help to block the spread of cancers.

la cellule


a threadlike strand of DNA in the cell nucleus that carries the genes in a linear order

They do have nuclei with the right number of chromosomes.

le chromosome

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

the hereditary material in humans and almost all other organisms

Everyone’s DNA is unique.

l’ADN (l’acide désoxyribonucléique)


an interaction of living things and non-living things in a physical environment

The group will study freshwater ecosystems and learn how to canoe.


endangered species

endangered species are threatened by factors such as habitat loss, hunting, disease, and climate change

Veterinarians nationwide are particularly concerned about protecting threatened and endangered species.

l’espèce en voie d’extinction


enzymes are biological molecules (proteins) that act as catalysts and help complex reactions occur everywhere in life

The enzyme is not found in women free of the disorder.



the change in genetic composition of a population over successive generations, which may be caused by natural selection, inbreeding, hybridization, or mutation

I believe in natural evolution over a long period of time.


food chain

the chain of eating and getting nutrition; it starts from a small herbivorous animal and ends up at a big carnivorous organism

There are creatures much higher on the food chain than the lion.

la chaîne alimentaire


the molecular unit of heredity

They know roughly what sort of gene they are looking for.

le gène

genetic variation

variations of genomes between members of species, or between groups of species thriving in different parts of the world as a result of genetic mutation

However, this has not been verified for all dominant white genetic variations.

la variation génétique


a place for animals, people, plants, and non-living things

The bill doesn’t consider habitat damage harmful to species.

le habitat


an atom or molecule with a net electric charge due to the loss or gain of one or more electrons

These ions wreak havoc inside cells and can ultimately kill them.



a substance that is insoluble in water and soluble in alcohol, ether, and chloroform

Different saturated fatty acids have differing effects on various lipid levels.

le lipide


the process in which a eukaryotic cell nucleus splits in two, followed by division of the parent cell into two daughter cells

Mitosis occurs before the yeast reach their normal size.

la mitose

natural selection

a process in nature in which organisms possessing certain genotypic characteristics that make them better adjusted to an environment tend to survive, reproduce, and increase in number or frequency

Some support the notion of natural selection as one of God’s tools.

la sélection naturelle


collection of tissues joined in a structural unit to serve a common function

It remains a top center for heart and other organ transplants.



a contiguous living system

A clone is an organism that is genetically identical to another.



the spontaneous net movement of solvent molecules through a semi-permeable membrane into a region of higher solute concentration, in the direction that tends to equalize the solute concentrations

Salt is difficult to remove except by reverse osmosis or distillation.



a numeric scale used to specify the acidity or basicity (alkalinity) of an aqueous solution

Both compounds tend to raise the pH level of the water.



a body-building nutrient

Muscles store protein, so you want to preserve your muscles.

la protéine


giving birth to one of its kind, sexually or asexually

Tinkering with reproduction, of course, is not entirely new.

la reproduction


the plant tissue responsible for the conduction of water from roots to aerial parts of the plant

It must be supplied to the growing parts via the xylem.

le xylème

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