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What is Biology?

Michael Anissimov
Updated May 21, 2024
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Biology is, quite simply, the scientific exploration and study of life. At the highest level, it includes categories based on the type of organism studied: zoology, botany, and microbiology. Each field has contributed to humanity in numerous ways such as improvements in agriculture, greater understanding of livestock and ecological systems, and the study of diseases. Modern biological studies largely center on the concepts of cell theory, evolution, gene theory, and homeostasis.

Three Major Categories

There are three major categories of study within biology, each related to a different type of life form. Zoology is the study of animals and includes just about anything from insects and fish to birds and human beings. Botany, on the other hand, focuses on plants of all types and sizes, including underwater forests, fungi, and trees. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms too small to be plainly seen and which escape categorization in the other two fields, such as viruses.

Other Subcategories

Besides classifications based on the type of organism being studied, biology contains many other specialized sub-disciplines, which may focus on just one type of organism or consider life from different categories. This includes biochemistry, which combines biological and chemical studies, and molecular biology, which looks at life on the molecular level. Cellular biology studies different types of cells and how they work, while physiology looks at organisms at the level of tissue and organs. Experts in ecology study the interactions between various organisms themselves within an environment, and those in ethology study the behavior of animals, especially complex animals in groups. Genetics, which overlaps somewhat with molecular studies, looks at the code of life, Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA).

Four Major Foundations of Study

The foundations of modern biology include four components beginning with cell theory, which states that fundamental units called cells make up all life. Evolution is the theory that life is not deliberately designed, but evolves incrementally over a great deal of time through random mutations and natural selection. Gene theory states that tiny molecular sequences of DNA dictate the entire structure of an organism, which pass from parents to offspring. Finally, homeostasis is the idea that each organism’s body includes a complex suite of processes designed to remain in harmony and preserve it against the entropic or destructive effects outside of the organism.

20th Century Developments

Much of the modern approach to biology started with the use of x-ray crystallography in the 1950s to capture a concrete image of DNA. Since then, there have been numerous refinements to the theories put forth, since life is complex and new information is almost constantly being discovered. In the late 20th and early 21st Centuries, a great deal of excitement centered on the sequencing of genomes and their comparison, called genomics. These advances have led to the creation of organisms or living tissue through custom-written DNA programming, called synthetic biology. Such fields are sure to continue grabbing attention as new developments push the limits of what is possible.

All The Science is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Michael Anissimov
By Michael Anissimov , Writer
Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology, astronomy, chemistry, and futurism to his articles. An avid blogger, Michael is deeply passionate about stem cell research, regenerative medicine, and life extension therapies. His professional experience includes work with the Methuselah Foundation, Singularity Institute for Artificial Intelligence, and Lifeboat Foundation, further showcasing his commitment to scientific advancement.

Discussion Comments

By kmd2013 — On Jun 28, 2021

The bio area of science is where I excel better.

By anon257072 — On Mar 25, 2012

What are the differences between biology and science?

By anon232466 — On Nov 30, 2011

I don't understand much about biology but I try to love it because my profession is in line with this. I find this subject a tough one, something complicated but I'm very willing to learn much.

It is kind of boring, but it can be exciting and interesting in a while. Now, I'm planning to proceed in medicine so hope I will pick up biology easily.

By anon230047 — On Nov 17, 2011

What is the usefulness of studying and knowing biology?

By anon165733 — On Apr 06, 2011

I love biology and i want to learn more about biology.

By anon149486 — On Feb 04, 2011

Looking forward to taking biology. I've never taken it before, just now finding out what it's all about!

Looking forward to the challenge. --Anthony R., Long Beach, Ca

By anon137224 — On Dec 27, 2010

well i am form 3 and till now i think that biology is an interesting subject. i will try my best in studying it but sometimes it gets so boring. as i grow up i want to be a vet. i love animals. thanks.

By anon135149 — On Dec 17, 2010

i don't know much about biology but yes i know one thing if our having the will to do something new then try this. it can make our mind sharper.

By anon128000 — On Nov 18, 2010

what are the two greek words taken from the word of biology?

By anon107759 — On Aug 31, 2010

biology is every day living. We eat, sleep and live biology.

By anon103314 — On Aug 11, 2010

I don't understand very much biology but i think that if I think more and have it in my mind i will understand very much. i don't hate it and people don't need to hate it because is not my favorite class but it in future could be.

By anon94608 — On Jul 09, 2010

I love biology though it is complicated with lot of things, but when you focus and do a lot of reading you will understand it. I want to be a professional medical doctor in the future. that is why i love this course.

By anon91577 — On Jun 22, 2010

i want to learn more about biology.

By anon65398 — On Feb 13, 2010

i love biology because when i grow up i want to work in chemistry and when you want to work somewhere like that you've got to do things that you've got to do. yes it is a mind twisting subject but you've got to learn things quickly.

By anon63762 — On Feb 03, 2010

biology makes you think.

By anon62115 — On Jan 24, 2010

If the past century was ruled by physics and chemistry and mathematics, then the modern century rocks and is ruled by the god subject biology. I love it.

By anon58879 — On Jan 05, 2010

i am section 1 and today is my first lesson of biology,anyone whom see my comment, please tell me if bio is hard.

By anon58370 — On Jan 01, 2010

i love biology so much but i don´t know what i will be after i finish the course.

By anon56594 — On Dec 16, 2009

biology is confusing and i hate it

By anon53499 — On Nov 22, 2009

i have studed o-level for about wo years but i have not understood biology till now.

By anon53454 — On Nov 21, 2009

I love biology. All in all God has this credit.

By anon52578 — On Nov 15, 2009

biology is a mind twisting subject.

By anon49586 — On Oct 21, 2009

biology is interesting but it's so boring to have to lisetn to it in school. how many branches of biology are there anyway?

By anon48874 — On Oct 15, 2009

I hate biology!

By anon48801 — On Oct 15, 2009

i love biology.

By anon48489 — On Oct 13, 2009

I love biology; it is an amazing topic. You learn about how humans are delevoped so well and how nature is so beautiful. :) biology is awesome!

By anon48221 — On Oct 10, 2009

biology is a beautiful science, that can show why is there a God behind every living thing on earth. It can take you to the level where you're able to say how wonderful and mighty is God, our lord Jesus Christ. Many people who study biology can't surrender their lives to the Lord even though they've seen and studied his wonderful deeds. He deserves all glory and honor forever and ever. amen

By anon47060 — On Oct 01, 2009

I hate biology! Gosh!

By anon46382 — On Sep 25, 2009

i love biology.

By anon45210 — On Sep 14, 2009

biology is the best.

By anon41074 — On Aug 12, 2009

why is biology so complicated?

By anon29829 — On Apr 09, 2009

anon24114, there are countless numbers of branches because the very topic of life encompasses so many things. To become an expert in any one of those things requires exacting specifications in study and in research.

By anon28013 — On Mar 10, 2009

Who is a famous biologist?

By anon24114 — On Jan 07, 2009

why are there so many branches for biology?

By anon14378 — On Jun 16, 2008

how many branches of biology are there?

Michael Anissimov

Michael Anissimov


Michael Anissimov is a dedicated All The Science contributor and brings his expertise in paleontology, physics, biology...
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