What is Biology?
Biology is the study of life and living organisms. The field encompasses all aspects of life including how organisms grow, how they function, their development, and interactions with the environment. It includes studying plants, animals, and microbes in order to see how these organisms interact with one another as well as their home environments.
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Characteristics of Life
The basic characteristics of life are the following:
Biological systems need to maintain a certain type of balance in order to function effectively. Homeostasis is the self-regulating process that ensures that the body maintains its balance while adjusting to environmental conditions. Many of the processes involved in homeostasis are the same ones that regulate bodily functions such as regulating blood sugar and body temperature.
The cells are the basic building blocks of all living things. Cells perform the following functions in the human body:
1. They act as the body’s power plants, generating energy from food.
2. They are constantly renewing and replacing worn-out cells.
3. Cells build up the body’s tissues, making them stronger and more able to perform certain functions.
4. Cells make up the body’s organs, such as muscles, bones, and skin.
5. Cells are involved with absorbing nutrients into the body and removing waste products from it.
Biological processes are driven by reproduction, which is the process in which genetic mater and a new organism are created from another organism. Reproduction occurs through cell division, hatching from an egg or seed, sexual reproduction (mating) or asexual reproduction (making a clone of itself by splitting off cells), or through budding off of tissue.
The process of sexual reproduction produces a new organism that is genetically identical to the parent, while asexual reproduction forms a clone or clone-like organism that is genetically identical to the parent organism.
The body’s cells constantly absorb and use the materials they need. This process is called metabolism. The most important metabolic needs for the cell are carbon dioxide, oxygen, and water. These substances are the raw chemicals that serve as raw materials for building new cells or molecules from other substances in the body. The products of metabolism are things like water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen, which are released from the cell into the surrounding environment of the organism.
In Biology, heredity is the passing on of traits and features from parent to child. The passing on of traits is called inheritance. Each person inherits genes from his or her parents, and genes are material in the body that controls how an organism’s cells function.
Inherited characteristics include eye color and height. They can be passed from a parent to a child through one or more genetic changes in the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) molecule that make up the genes.
Basic Principles of Biology
Biology is made up of five main principles. They include:
1. Cell Theory
The cell theory states that living things are made up of one or more cells. This theory was proposed by Theodor Schwann in 1839. It is the most basic of all the theories of Biology because it explains why living things have characteristics, how they grow and reproduce, and how they interact with their environment.
Today, with the new technology of molecular Biology, biologists have seen that cells are not the smallest parts of an organism. It is now understood that there are many other smaller entities called organelles that make up the cell, and even larger units called macromolecules.
One important way that cell theory has been proven by molecular Biology is the recognition of messenger molecules, such as DNA and RNA, as well as proteins and lipids. These molecules are associated with the genetic information of an organism. They are usually found in cells and cannot survive outside them.
2. Gene Theory
The concept of a gene was developed by Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, and scientist. Mendel observed that traits were inherited, and he tried to explain how. He found that characteristics were passed on from generation to generation in a “particulate” manner. This means that they are unit-like and can be passed on unchanged from parent to child with reasonable frequency. It also means that they can be altered or lost in a person’s lifetime.
Gene theory explains how some characteristics are passed through the generations while others are not. It also explains how traits can be passed on to offspring that are different from those of their parents. Mendel’s work was rediscovered by Hugo De Vries, he was able to account for some aspects of inheritance but not all of them.
Homeostasis is the mechanism of regulating the internal conditions of an organism. This is the body’s ability to stay within a certain set point. Homeostasis exists in all living things; plants and animals have the same needs that a person has, such as water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, and energy. The rate at which energy is absorbed by an organism varies depending on what it needs. Some organisms can even adjust to changes in conditions by storing excess energy or “using” it as food. Homeostasis also helps organisms to survive by being able to adapt to changes they encounter in their environment. In some instances, it results in short-term survival, while other instances result in long-term survival or continued viability.
4. Evolutionary theory
Evolutionary theory says that all living things share some common characteristics. These common characteristics are the basis for a common ancestry or phylogeny. This is how different species originated. In order for living things to have survived over time, they have had to change and adapt to their environment due to environmental changes.
The process of evolution is guided by natural selection, which means that certain traits that confer advantages in dealing with one’s environment are passed on to future generations, while other traits are not.
5. The laws of thermodynamics
The laws of thermodynamics describe the relationship between heat and work. Heat is energy, and work is movement. Heat, in this sense, can be applied to any system to perform work on that system with the intent of changing its properties or making it do something else.
Perfect thermodynamic efficiency occurs when all the energy flows into a system in an open cycle that depends only upon the amount of heat input divided by the amount of work output. That set-point will then always remain constant in free-state systems (no materials are added or removed).
Branches of Biology
1. Branches of Biology in terms of major kinds of organisms
Botany – The study of plants.
Zoology – The study of animals.
Human Biology – The study of man and his relationship with other living organisms.
2. Branches of Biology in terms of special groups of organisms
Bacteriology – The study of bacteria.
Virology – The study of viruses.
Mycology – The study of fungi.
Entomology – The study of insects.
Ichthyology – The study of fishes.
Herpetology – The study of lizards, snakes, etc.
Ornithology– The study of birds.
3. Branches of Biology In terms of approach to studying it
Anatomy – The study of the gross structure of an organism as seen in dissection.
Morphology – The study of forms and structure of plants and animals.
Histology – The study of minute structure of tiny bits of the body.
Physiology – The study of functions and activities of organisms and their parts.
Embryology – The study of the formation and development of the embryo of plants and animals.
Cytology – The study of the structure and function of animal and plant cells.
Taxonomy – The science of naming, assembling, and classifying plants and animals.
Ecology – The study of the environment that helps us understand the interaction between organism and their environment.
Biogeography – The study of geographical distribution of plants and animals.
Paleontology – The study of prehistoric forms of life through fossils.
Evolution – The study of origin and descent of organisms.
Genetics – The study of the transmission of characteristics from parents to offspring.
Parasitology – The study of parasites.
Pathology – The study of diseases of plants and animals.
Immunology – The study of the immune system.
Eugenics – The study that aims to improve the quality of human population.
Biochemistry – The study of chemical processes within the body.
Best Biology Career Options & Potential Employment Areas
- Health communications specialist.
- Pharmaceutical sales representative
- Respiratory therapist
- Environmental scientist
- Registered nurse
- Research scientist
- Physical therapist assistant
- Genetic counselor
- Nature conservation officer
- Government agency roles
- Forensic scientist
The study of Biology is a detailed and complicated field. It covers a wide range of topics. A career in this field requires constant development, research, and many new discoveries. One cannot only make a career in the fields of health, science, or research but there are many other choices too.Biology also has a team of great Nobel prize scientist who contributed massively in this field.