What Is Molecular Biology and How Will It Affect Our Future?
June 26, 2019
As the name suggests, molecular biology is the science that focuses on biology at the molecular level. This usually involves genetics and the chemistry that is involved in biological systems. Molecular biology delves into the inner workings within the cells that make up various organisms. RNA and DNA, which are the code or blueprint that guides the structure and workings of cells, are very important molecules in the functioning of living organisms, so this science focuses a great deal on them.
Molecular biology is considered a branch of the larger field of biochemistry. It focuses on the nucleic acids (RNA and DNA) and protein molecules that these molecules produce in order to carry out various bodily functions. Other biological molecules that interact with nucleic acids are lipids and carbohydrates (fat and starch molecules), so they are also studied to gain an understanding of their functions in the body.
Whole living organisms are composed of thousands of complex molecular structures and interactions. The individual molecules that are involved in the most important biological functions can provide a means of predicting and understanding the workings of the organism as a whole. Molecular biology provides a set of tools that scientists can use to manipulate living things and control the outcomes of experiments.
Scientists can use molecular biology to study individual gene structures, protein molecules and individual cells to gain insights about how defects or mutations can alter the functioning of biological systems.
How molecular biology will affect our future
Developments in molecular biology and genetics are often in the news. There have been many advancements in recent years that have led to rapid developments in the field. There has been a lot of talk about the ethics and safety as it relates to manipulating genes for modifying the foods we eat and manipulating genes of unborn children to combat illnesses and defects. Some notable advancements include cloning and genetic manipulation.
Cloning could have some important uses to advance medicine and prolong human life. Cloning is accomplished by transferring a cell nucleus of the original organism into an egg. Since the egg contains the exact same genetic blueprint of the original person or organism, the egg grows into a clone which has the exact same genetic makeup. Cloning can be used for a variety of purposes including breeding and replacement organs.
Genetic manipulation of embryos is also a practice that has been advancing in recent years. As scientists have increased their ability to map and alter genes, they have had more success at applying genetics to successfully fix defects and genetic abnormalities. Genetic manipulation has not become a mainstream medical treatment, but a lot of research is being done, and people who suffer from serious illnesses are already being helped in specialized clinics and trials.