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Cell, Evolutionary and Molecular Biology

(Bald Eagle, Seattle, U.S.A. - Jeff M. Wang)


- Overview

"Rapid advances in biology have had a major impact on our society. From the production of new drugs, to revolutionary advances in our understanding of how cells work, the areas of cell and molecular biology have contributed to our lives in a number of ways. 

Training in these areas is essential for careers in medicine, pharmacology, biochemistry, virology, immunology, developmental biology, and in a number of the high-tech industries. From agriculture to the space program, fundamental information from these areas has had enormous impact on the changes that have occurred in our generation." -- [Duke University]

Research in this category includes cellular and molecular processes at levels ranging from single molecule to single cell to tissue and organ systems.


- Cell Biology

Cell biology is the study of cells, their structure, function, and life cycle. It encompasses both prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and includes many subtopics, such as cell metabolism, cell communication, cell cycle, biochemistry, and cell composition.

Cell biology is based on the idea that the cell is the fundamental unit of life. All living organisms are made up of cells, from just one (unicellular) to many trillions (multicellular). Cells provide structure for the body, take in nutrients from food, convert those nutrients into energy, and carry out specialized functions. 

Some types of cells include: 

  • Epithelial cells: These cells are tightly attached to one another.
  • Nerve cells: These cells are specialized for communication.
  • Muscle cells: These cells are specialized for contraction.

Cell biologists study plant and animal life and conduct research to understand cells and cell systems. They may teach cell biology or specialize in clinical research, cell culture, medical research and treatment, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, or plant research.


- Evolutionary Biology

Evolutionary biology is a subdiscipline of the biological sciences concerned with the origin of life and the diversification and adaptation of life forms over time.

We live in an exciting time for biology. Technological advances have made data collection easier and cheaper than we could ever have imagined just 10 years ago. We can now synthesize and analyze large data sets containing genomes, transcriptomes, proteomes, and multivariate phenotypes. At the same time, society's need for the results of biological research has never been greater. 

Solutions to many of the world's most pressing problems - feeding a global population, coping with climate change, preserving ecosystems and biodiversity, curing and preventing genetically based diseases—will rely heavily on biologists, collaborating across disciplines.

Evolutionary biology provides a unifying framework for understanding the similarities and differences among individuals and species. Population genetics focuses on evolutionary changes over generations, while comparative genomics investigates changes over longer timescales, notably among species.


- Molecular Biology

Molecular biology, field of science concerned with studying the chemical structures and processes of biological phenomena that involve the basic units of life, molecules. 

The field of molecular biology is focused especially on nucleic acids (e.g., DNA and RNA) and proteins—macromolecules that are essential to life processes - and how these molecules interact and behave within cells. 

The central dogma of molecular biology is a theory that genetic information flows in one direction, from DNA to RNA to protein. It also suggests that DNA contains the information needed to make proteins, and that RNA carries this information to the ribosomes. 

Molecular biology also studies the molecular nature of genes and their mechanisms of replication, mutation, and expression. 

Molecular biology emerged in the 1930s, having developed out of the related fields of biochemistry, genetics, and biophysics; today it remains closely associated with those fields. 


[More to come ...]


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