The main difference between growth and development in biology is that growth is the increase in size and mass of a particular organism over a period of time whereas development is the overall changes in the whole organism in terms of organization and function.
Growth and development in biology are two terms used in biology while describing different processes of organisms. Furthermore, growth is quantitative whereas development is both quantitative and qualitative. Moreover, the development includes growth, morphogenesis as well as differentiation.
Key Areas Covered
1. What is Growth in Biology
– Definition, Features, Significance
2. What is Development in Biology
– Definition, Features, Significance
3. What are the Similarities Between Growth and Development in Biology
– Outline of Common Features
4. What is the Difference Between Growth and Development in Biology
– Comparison of Key Differences
Cell Division, Determinate Growth, Development, Differentiation, Indeterminate Growth, Growth, Morphogenesis
What is Growth in Biology
Growth in biology is the increase in size and mass of a living organism over time. Most importantly, it is an irreversible change that occurs in the body of the organism. Generally, growth is a result of two processes: cell division and cell enlargement. Here, the main form of cell division occurs during growth is mitosis, which is responsible for the production of cell offspring with the same genetic makeup. On the other hand, enlargement is the increase in the size of the divided cells by increasing the content inside the cell, mainly the water content in vacuoles.
Furthermore, the growth of an organism can occur in two types: determinate growth and indeterminate growth. In determinate growth, the size of a part of the organism or the whole organism increases only up to a certain size. Thereafter, growth stops. In contrast, in indeterminate growth, the size of the organism continuously increases throughout its life. For example, plants show indeterminate growth while organs of the animal body undergo determinate growth. In addition, some may describe growth as the increase in the number of organisms in the population, mainly during ecological studies.
What is Development in Biology
Development in biology is the increase in complexity of an organism. The three main processes that occur during development are growth, morphogenesis, and differentiation. As mentioned before, growth is the increase in size and number. However, morphogenesis is the acquisition of form and structure. It is responsible for developing the shape of the organism.
Moreover, differentiation is the process of maturation of a generalized cell of the body into a specialized cell by means of both morphology and physiology. Cells undergo specialization by alteration of gene expression. Differentiation is especially responsible for gaining function. Therefore, development brings changes in two aspects: organization of the organism and function of the organism
Similarities Between Growth and Development in Biology
- Growth and development are two terms that describe different processes in biology.
- Both are two correlating processes that go side by side.
- Also, they are the joint product of heredity and the environment.
Difference Between Growth and Development in Biology
Growth refers to the increases in cell size and number, which takes place during the life history of an organism while development refers to the progressive changes in size, shape, and function during the life of an organism by which its genetic potentials (genotype) are translated into functioning mature systems (phenotype). Thus, this explains the fundamental difference between growth and development in biology.
That is; growth is the increase in size and mass over a period of time while development is the transformation of an organism into a more complex form in terms of function and organization. Hence, this is the main difference between growth and development in biology.
Importantly, growth is a part of development while development includes growth, morphogenesis, and differentiation.
Furthermore, while growth is quantitative, development is both quantitative and qualitative. So, this is another important difference between growth and development in biology.
Moreover, growth occurs at the cellular level while development occurs at the organizational level.
Type of Changes
Above all, type of changes they cause is the fundamental difference between growth and development in biology. Growth brings changes in the size, shape, form, and structure of the body while development brings changes in the organization and function.
One other difference between growth and development in biology is that growth stops at the maturation while development continues throughout life.
The growth of a particular organism can be measured directly while the development is a subjective interpretation.
Growth is the increase in size and mass of an organism. It is mainly by increasing the number of cells via mitotic cell divisions. In contrast, development is the increase in the complexity of an organism by means of function and organization. Moreover, the development includes the growth of an organism as well. Therefore, growth is only a quantitative measurement while development is both qualitative and quantitative. However, the main difference between growth and development in biology is the type of changes each process bring.
1. “Growth and Development.” CliffsNotes, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2016, Available Here.
1. “Mitosis (261 14) Pressed; root meristem of onion (cells in prophase, anaphase)” By Doc. RNDr. Josef Reischig, CSc. – Author’s archive (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
2. “Parhyale hawaiensis – life cycle” By Damian Kao, et al. (CC BY 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia