This instructional material is provided through a Texas Education Agency (TEA) initiative to provide high-quality, open-source instructional materials to districts free of charge. Funds were allocated for the open-source instructional materials by the 84th Texas Legislature (2015) which directed the agency to set aside $5,000,000 from the state instructional materials fund in each fiscal year of the biennium for state-developed, open-source instructional materials. They specified that the request should prioritize advanced secondary courses supporting the study of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Through a request for proposal (RFP) process, the agency called for materials in the following sets of courses:

The RFP resulted in the award of two contracts for open-source materials, one to OpenStax (Rice University) and one to Study Edge (University of Florida).

OpenStax created materials for seven courses:

  • Statistics
  • Advanced Placement Macroeconomics
  • Advanced Placement Microeconomics
  • Advanced Placement Physics 1
  • Advanced Placement Physics 2
  • Physics
  • Advanced Placement Biology

Each set of materials created by OpenStax is organized into units and chapters and, like a traditional textbook, can be used as the entire syllabus for each course. They can also be accessed in smaller chunks for more focused use with a single student or an entire class. All materials are available free of charge through the Texas Gateway.

Qualified and experienced Texas faculty were involved throughout the development process, and the textbooks were reviewed extensively to ensure effectiveness and usability in each course. Reviewers considered each resource’s clarity, accuracy, student support, assessment rigor and appropriateness, alignment to TEKS, and overall quality. Their invaluable suggestions provided the basis for continually improved material and helped to certify that the books are ready for use. The writers and reviewers also considered common course issues, effective teaching strategies, and student engagement to provide instructors and students with useful, supportive content as well as drive effective learning experiences.

Instructional Support Ancillaries for TEA AP® Biology

The following materials are available to support instruction of TEA AP® Biology:

  • TEA AP® Biology Lab Manual
  • TEA AP® Biology PowerPoint Slides
  • TEA AP® Biology Instructor’s Solution Manual
  • TEA AP® Biology Alignment Map

If you are an instructor and want to obtain these ancillaries, please use your official school email to send a request to the TEA using the following email address:
Please include information about the title for which you need ancillary materials.

About AP® Biology

AP® Biology covers the scope and sequence requirements of a typical two-semester biology course for AP® students. The text provides comprehensive coverage of foundational research and core biology concepts through an evolutionary lens. AP® Biology was designed to meet and exceed the requirements of the College Board’s AP® Biology Framework, while allowing significant flexibility for instructors. Each section of the book includes an introduction based on the AP® curriculum as well as rich features that engage students in scientific practice and AP® test preparation. It also highlights careers and research opportunities in the biological sciences.

Content requirements for AP® Biology are prescribed in the College Board Publication Advanced Placement Course Description: Biology, published by The College Board (

Coverage and Scope

In developing AP® Biology, we relied on experts in the goals and approach of the AP® curriculum, carefully considered the AP® framework design, and listened to hundreds of high school and college biology instructors.

The result is a book that provides excellent coverage of the AP® framework while addressing the sheer breadth of biology in the modern age. We provide a thorough treatment of biology’s foundational concepts while condensing or making optional selected topics. We also strive to make biology, as a discipline, interesting and accessible to students. In addition to a comprehensive coverage of core concepts and foundational research, we have incorporated features that draw learners into the discipline in meaningful ways.

  • Unit 1: The Chemistry of Life. Our opening unit introduces students to the sciences, including scientific methods and the fundamental concepts of chemistry and physics that provide a framework within which learners comprehend biological processes.
  • Unit 2: The Cell. Students will gain solid understanding of the structures, functions, and processes of the most basic unit of life: the cell.
  • Unit 3: Genetics. Our comprehensive genetics unit takes learners from the earliest experiments that revealed the basis of inheritance through the intricacies of DNA’s structure, replication and expression, to current applications in the studies of biotechnology and genomics.
  • Unit 4: Evolutionary Processes. The core concepts of evolution are discussed in this unit with examples illustrating evolutionary processes. Additionally, the evolutionary basis of biology reappears throughout the textbook in general discussion and is reinforced through special call-out features highlighting specific, evolution-based topics.
  • Unit 5: Biological Diversity. The diversity of life is explored with detailed study of all phyla of organisms as well as discussion of emerging phylogenetic relationships. The unit begins with viruses and then moves through prokaryotes and eukaryotes, ending with a discussion of vertebrates and, finally, humans.
  • Unit 6: Plant Structure and Function. Our plant anatomy and physiology unit thoroughly covers the fundamental structure and function of plant cells, tissues, and organs. It also covers important plant physiological functions such as tissue differentiation, material transport, and the roles of plant hormones.
  • Unit 7: Animal Structure and Function. An introduction to the form and function of the animal body is followed by chapters on specific body systems and their physiological processes. This unit touches on the biology of all organisms while maintaining an engaging focus on human anatomy and physiology that helps students connect to the topics.
  • Unit 8: Ecology. Ecological concepts are broadly covered in this unit, beginning with the small-scale relationships of population ecology and gradually building to the large-scale processes of ecosystem ecology. Localized, real-world issues of conservation and biodiversity are presented at numerous points along the way.

AP® Connections

Every section of the textbook—over 200 total—begins with a “Connection for AP® Courses.” Written by Julianne Zedalis, the College Board’s AP® Biology Curriculum Committee Co-Chair, these valuable overviews provide the meaningful support for students and instructors.

  • Each Connection highlights the key concepts of the section in the context of the AP® Biology Curriculum Framework and explains their importance in brief, engaging language.
  • The explanations build upon the knowledge gained in previous sections, reinforcing the most significant concepts and alerting students to the basis of upcoming material. This helps students build a more comprehensive understanding and helps instructors reference prior explanations.
  • Direct references to the relevant sections of the AP® Curriculum Framework are first explained and then outlined in table format, emphasizing their importance and continually emphasizing the overall design of the course. Students and teachers using these reference tables can easily see their progression through, and coverage of, the required curriculum.

Scientific Practices

The AP® Biology Science Practices are presented to students through several active experiences.

Science Practice Connections for AP® Courses provide a context and suggested activity linking biology concepts with the relevant Science Practices. Students are often asked to build representations, undertake brief research, or answer critical thinking questions.

The Science Practice Questions, designed and authored by John Eggebrecht and Julianne Zedalis, present a complex scenario or data set and ask students a series of multiple-choice and open-ended questions based on a complex scenario or data set. These robust activities hone students’ scientific thinking skills and prepare them for similar questions on the AP® Examination.

Pedagogical Foundation and Features

AP® Biology is grounded in a solid scientific base, with features that engage the students in scientific inquiry:

  • Evolution Connection features highlight the importance of evolution to all biological study. Through discussions like “The Evolution of Metabolic Pathways” and “Algae and Evolutionary Paths to Photosynthesis,” the student is able to see how evolution pervades all aspects of biology.
  • Scientific Methods Connection call-outs walk students through actual or thought experiments that elucidate the steps of scientific processes related to chapter topics. Features include “Determining the Time Spent in Cell Cycle Stages” and “Testing the Hypothesis of Independent Assortment.”
  • Career Connection features present information on a variety of careers in the biological sciences. They are meant to introduce students to professions and day-to-day work related to the current section content. Examples include microbiologist, ecologist, neurologist, and forensic scientist.
  • Everyday Connection features tie biological concepts to students’ everyday lives as well as emerging world issues related to biology. Topics include “Chesapeake Bay” and “Can Snail Venom Be Used as a Pharmacological Pain Killer?”

Illustrations and Animations That Engage

Illustrations within the book are designed to help students visualize the concepts of biology using figures with simple, clear designs and color schemes, as well as photos and micrographs. AP® Biology also incorporates links to relevant animations and interactive exercises that help bring biology to life.

  • Art Connection features identify core figures in each chapter for student study. Questions about key figures, including clicker questions that can be used in the classroom, engage student critical thinking skills, ensuring genuine understanding.
  • Link to Learning features direct students to online interactive exercises and animations that add a fuller context to core content.

Senior Contributing Authors

Julianne Zedalis, The Bishop’s School, La Jolla, California

Julianne Zedalis has taught AP Biology for over twenty years. She served on the College Board’s committee to rewrite and test the revised AP Curriculum Framework, working with other high school AP teachers and college faculty, as well as the National Science Foundation. She was later selected to chair the College Board’s Curriculum Development and Assessment Committee.

Dr. John Eggebrecht, Brooklyn Technical High School (retired), Brooklyn, New York

John Eggebrecht taught AP Physics and Biology courses for over thirty years. He was instrumental in the development and revision of various AP Curriculum Frameworks over an extended collaboration with the College Board and other educational organizations. Under his guidance, Brooklyn Tech was repeatedly selected as an exemplary AP program by the College Board, and its practices students outcomes were featured in several publications. In addition to his writing role, John regularly evaluates course materials and programs for alignment and quality.

Contributing Authors

Connie Rye, East Mississippi Community College

Robert Wise, University of Wisconsin, Oshkosh

Vladimir Jurukovski, Suffolk County Community College

Jean DeSaix, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Jung Choi, Georgia Institute of Technology

Yael Avissar, Rhode Island College

Core Reviewers

Monica Amyett, Azle High School

Monica Amyett has taught high school science for over sixteen years, eleven of which have been at Azle High School. She has also taught at Bethesda Christian School, San Diego State University, San Jose State University, and UNLV. She has served as a reviewer for the College Board's AP Engineering curriculum, and is pursuing a doctorate at Texas Christian University.

MT Hodan, Winston Churchill High School

MT Hodan feels fortunate to have taught pre-AP biology for the thirteen years at Winston-Churchill, and AP Biology for the past four years. She feels that inspiring students to connect biology to everyday life is a gift in itself, and is honored to know and grow alongside these amazing individuals as they take on the challenges of education and apply the lessons learned to their lives.

Kristina Owen, Brownwood High School

Kristina Owen has over twenty years experience teaching elementary and secondary school, and has spent eighteen years at Brownwood High School. She holds a BS in Biology and a Masters in instructional leadership, both from Howard Payne University. Kristina teaches AP and Pre-AP Biology and serves as an AVID tutor.

Nathan Parry, Tascosa High School

Nathan Parry began his teaching career in the United Kingdom, where he was born. Nathan taught high school Biology, Physics and Chemistry for five years. He has been teaching AP Biology at Tascosa High school for the last three years. He has a Bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology, and a Masters degree in teaching science.


This textbook may include links to news organizations or other websites that, in addition to the targeted article, also contain articles on a variety of topics, such as politics, medicine, entertainment, or religion.  Examples include Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and Science Daily.  The sites are reputable and are widely used in educational settings.   The direct references and suggested readings are valuable to the educational goals of the course material.  However, some instructors, students, and parents/guardians may find such additional content objectionable; use of the materials is at the discretion of the instructor or district.