Why Studying Biology is Important
What is Biology?
Biology is the study of all living things. In fact, the word "biology" comes from the Greek words bios which means "life" and logos which means "study." In short, it's the study of all living things. Biologists study the distribution, evolution, function, growth, origin, structure, and taxonomy of species. We're able to understand how our bodies work, how organisms work, how our cells work. It's the science that tells us everything about what we are.
As you may have guessed, biology is a large area of study. It's so broad that there are entire branches of science within biology. Fields like genetics, agriculture, ecology, virology, and even paleontology are all under this umbrella because they all revolve around the same basic principles of biology.
Why Is Biology Important?
By studying biology, we're able to learn more about ourselves, plants, animals, and much of the world around us. We're also able to learn about diseases, treatments, and vaccines.
With advancements in biological sciences, we're living life much more comfortably than people a hundred years ago.
We're able to tap into our knowledge about different plants and animals we use for food. With biology, we can learn more about the metabolic processes that help us get energy from our food.
Biology helps us understand plants to be used for medicinal purposes and how our bodies react to them.
We're able to learn about human behavior and how we react to each other. With ecology, we can study how we interact with the non-living world around us. With ecology, we're constantly learning how animals use various materials around them and even how they adapt to a changing environment.
Biology is Huge
Biology is a large and diverse field, so most biologists focus on a specific branch of biology in their studies.
How Biology Has Shaped Medicine
Biologists in various fields have shaped the world with their discoveries. Many vaccines have been developed by studying diseases (pathology, a branch of biology, is the study of diseases.) For example, a vaccine for Smallpox, a disease that has been wreaking havoc since around 10,000 BC (and responsible for an astounding 300,000,000+ deaths during the 20th century alone), was developed putting an end to all naturally occurring cases in 1977.
This means that in anyone born after the year of 1977 will never have to worry about the possibility of catching and dying from smallpox. If science can be used to destroy such a prolific killer of men, there is no stopping the progress we can achieve.
Oncology, the study of cancerous processes, is actually a field of both biology and medicine. Oncologists have made leaps and bounds over the years in developing treatments for people suffering from cancer. Scientists in this field may even find a cure for cancer in the not-so-distant future! Already we are seeing changes in the way cancer is treated and it is one of the most funded branches of biology in both the scientific and medical fields.
Advances in Genetics
Another fascinating field of biology is genetics. We've learned why some people have red hair, why some groups of women have higher incidences of breast cancer, and even how two people are related! By studying genetics, we have also found a way to narrow down genes that serve specific purposes.
It is now possible to go have yourself tested for genetic abnormalities responsible for Alzheimer’s disease or cancer. With this information, men and women now have a ‘heads up’ and are able to take proactive action against these diseases. For instance, a woman whose genetic makeup shows that she is highly predisposed to breast cancer may be able to take the opportunity to have a double mastectomy before developing cancer. However, having the genetic makeup for a disease does not guarantee that one will develop it.
© 2012 Melanie Palen