Difference between growth and development in biology

Main difference

The main difference between growth and development in biology is that growth is the increase in the size of an organism, whereas development is a process in which an organism develops from a single cell to a complex multicellular organism.

Growth versus development

In biology, both growth and development are considered the same, but there are big differences between them. Growth is an irreversible increase in size due to the increase in the number and size of an organism’s cells over time. But development is a process in which an organism changes from a single cell to a more complex multicellular organism. So, growth is a simple term, while development is a broad term. Growth is only concerned with the size of an organism while on the other hand, development is also concerned with the structures, functions and abilities of the organism, etc.

Comparative chart

Increase Developing
Growth is an irreversible increase in size due to the increase in the number and size of an organism’s cells. Development is a process in which a specific organism changes from a single cell to a more complex multicellular organism.
Process
Growth is an irreversible process. Development is also an irreversible process.
Finished
Growth is a simple term. Development is a broad term that also covers growth.
Deal with
Growth only deals with the size of an organism. Development also deals with the structures, functions, and abilities of the organism along with its size.
Measurement
Growth can be measured in terms of its biomass, that is, its organic matter. Development cannot be measured by measuring biomass.
Stages
Growth has no specific stages. The development process is divided into specific stages.
What is growth?

The growth of an organism is an irreversible increase in its size due to the increase in its number and size of cells by cell division and enlargement. A cell grows by mitotic cell division. The elasticity of the cell wall increases along with an increase in the water content and the size of the vacuole. All organisms grow within a specific period of time.

Growth is slow at first but increases over time. But as the body ages, growth turns negative. During old age, cell replacement does not occur frequently, that is, cells begin to die and break down. On the other hand, during puberty, humans experience a rapid growth phase. The genetic makeup of an organism also affects its growth.

In humans, if a person’s family line is made up of tall people, it is most likely tall as well. In the case of plants, water and light play the most important role in growth. Furthermore, light and gravity also affect the direction of growth which is known as “tropism” and gravitropism. Growth can easily be measured in terms of its biomass, that is, an organic matter of an organism.

What is development?

In biology, development is related to the transformation of an organism. It is a process in which a specific organism turns from a single cell into a more complicated multicellular organism. An organism is made up of different important organ systems such as the respiratory system, the reproductive system, the circulatory system, and the digestive system, etc. All of these systems are shaped by the development process.

Development takes place in a specific period of time. It includes the differentiation process. During this process, each cell differentiates to form a specialized system or part of the body. Each organism has its specific developmental stages such as cleavage, blastula, morula, gastrula and organogenesis, etc.

Furthermore, some organisms also change to different forms after birth, that is, metamorphosis. It also has different stages such as egg to larva, larva to pupa, and pupa to adult. For example, the frog, which is born as a tadpole and metamorphoses into an adult frog.

Key differences

  1. Growth is an irreversible increase in size due to the increase in the number and size of cells in an organism. On the other hand, development is a process in which a specific organism changes from a single cell to a more complex multicellular organism.
  2. Growth is a simple term; on the other hand; development is a broad term that also covers growth.
  3. Growth only deals with the size of an organism. Rather, development also deals with the structures, functions and abilities of the organism along with its size.
  4. Growth can be measured in terms of its biomass, that is, its organic matter, excluding water content on the other hand, development cannot be measured by measuring biomass.
  5. Growth has no specific stages. On the other hand, the development process is divided into specific stages.

Final Thought

From the above discussion it is summarized that in biology, growth is a simple process in which the organism increases in size by cell division and enlargement. On the other hand, development is the transformation of a single egg into a complicated multicellular organism through the process of differentiation.

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