What is Biology? Definition, Branches and Importance of Biology

What is Biology?

Biology is one of the most important sciences that confirms the existence of man and nature. But the question is, “what is Biology?” here is the definition of Biology,

Biology is a Science which is focused on studying living organisms. In Greek, Bios means “Life,” and logos means” study of.”

The concept of “LIFE” isn’t an easy thing to define. Still, scientists are unable to provide an acceptable definition of life “Life” is something “special” and “unique” which cannot be explained using laws of chemistry and physics.

Branches of Biology

Biology is a subject that is very complex and vast. Hence for the convenience of studying, it has been divided into three primary branches:

  • Zoology (the study of animals)
  • Botany (the study of plants)
  • Microbiology (the study of microorganisms)

Some areas of study in these branches:

  • Cell Biology (studying cells)
  • Histology (studying tissues)
  • Anatomy (studying the gross structure of the body)
  • Physiology (studying function)
  • Biochemistry (studying biological molecules)
  • Genetics (studying inheritance)
  • Ecology (studying environment)

Issues pertaining to Biology & Importance of Biology

1. Understanding biological diversity

    At present, our Earth is rich in diversity. Life on Earth formed around 3.8 billion years ago. The first organisms were heterotrophic, anaerobic prokaryotes. Since then, the evolutionary process resulted in the extensive biodiversity which exists in the Biosphere now.

    Scientists think, according to their studies and calculations, that there are about 10 to over 100 million species in the world. There is a dynamic relationship between the living world and the inanimate world. Every organism has a specific and also crucial role in the Environment for the existence of the Biosphere.

    The Biodiversity on Earth, the number of species of plants, animals, and microorganisms, the diversity of genes in these species, the different ecosystems on the planet such as temperate forest, tropical rain forests, deserts, grasslands, and coral reefs are all part of biologically diverse Earth.

2. Understanding the Human Body and its functions

    When studying biology, mainly by studying histology, the anatomy of the human body, one can gain knowledge about the structure of the organ systems and organs. This knowledge results in understanding and appreciation of the organization of the human body and understanding the functions of different organ systems and the relationship between structure and functions.

3. Sustainable use and management of natural resources and Environment

     Natural resources are sources of materials and energy that can found naturally, which are used in everyday life and for economic development.

     Natural resources are only available in limited quantities on Earth. Due to the increase in the growth rate of the human population, the overuse of natural resources is taking place. It causes the threat of rapid depletion of natural resources.

    Due to overexploitation of natural resources, various environmental issues have arisen

such as;

  • Environmental pollution
  • Loss of Biodiversity
  • Desertification
  • Deforestation
  • Global Warming
  • Climate Change

    Hence to overcome the above problems management of natural resources and The Environment should be practiced. Knowledge of Biology is useful to bring about remedies for the above problems.

4. Sustainable Food production

    Sustainable food production is the production of sufficient amounts of food for the human population using environmentally safe methods.

    The current human population is about 7 billion and expected to be double before 2060. Therefore, to ensure the existence of human beings, sustainable food production is necessary.

    For sustainable food production, the following methods can be applied, which are based on knowledge in biology.

  • Production of high yielding varieties of crops and animals.
  • Production of disease-resistant crops and animal varieties.
  • Improve post-harvest technological methods.

5. Understanding plant life

    We consider that plants are the primary producers in the world. All the animals depend directly or indirectly on green plants. Therefore understanding plant life is essential. Like the time the human population is increasing, we need to increase productivity. Thus understanding plant function, plant anatomy, and biology are critical to producing high yielding crops, disease-resistant crops, etc.

6. Understanding diseases and causes

    To maintain a healthy human body, you should have the knowledge of the origins of the diseases, how they spread, and their effects.

    Some dangerous conditions which exist in the current world are non-communicable diseases such as cancers,  heart diseases, diabetes, chronic renal diseases, and infectious diseases such as COVID19, dengue, AIDS, etc.

Cancers– causes for this are not fully understood yet. Cancers are one of the leading causes of death.

AIDS– is a viral disease that is a serious and growing health problem worldwide.

Heart diseases– Heart diseases are severe and growing health problem worldwide. Causes are not entirely understood yet.

Chronic renal diseases– In Sri Lanka, recently, CKDu has become a severe health problem.

Currently, scientists are working on prevention, remedial measures, and cures for such diseases.

7. Solving some legal and ethical issues

    Knowledge and application of biological concepts are vital in solving some legal problems, such as parentage testing, in criminal investigations, and to resolve the immigration disputes.

    DNA fingerprinting is used in the above circumstances.