Molecular Biology

What is molecular biology?

Molecular biology is a discipline of biology that studies the structure, composition, function, and relationships of cellular molecules in living beings.

Molecules are groups of atoms that are held together by chemical bonds, and are considered the basic unit of life.

Molecular biology focuses its study on macromolecules such as nucleic acids and proteins, which carry out the essential biological processes for the functioning of cells.

Nucleic acids are macromolecules found in all cells. Its function is to store genetic information and synthesize proteins to transmit this information or genetic characteristics from generation to generation. These are DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) and RNA (ribonucleic acid).

DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) contains genetic information used for the development and functioning of living organisms and is responsible for transmitting genetic inheritance. RNA (ribonucleic acid) is the nucleic acid responsible for transmitting genetic information to proteins.

Molecular biology is supported by other sciences such as:

  • Biology: studies the origin and characteristics of living beings.
  • Chemistry: studies the composition, property and transformation of matter.
  • Biochemistry: studies the composition and chemical processes of living things.
  • Genetics: studies the genes and hereditary characteristics that are transmitted from generation to generation.

applications of molecular biology

Molecular biology can be applied in different areas with different purposes and results. Some of its applications are in areas such as:

Medicine. Molecular biology has made it possible to carry out and obtain more reliable diagnoses and results on infectious, genetic or chronic diseases such as Alzheimer’s, cancer and arteriosclerosis with greater efficiency.

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Agriculture. Molecular biology has served to improve the quality of cow’s milk, pork meat and other animals. It has also been applied for the care and production of certain plants to make them more resistant to climatic changes, insects and diseases. .

Nutrition. Molecular biology together with clinical nutrition jointly study certain metabolic disorders of genetic origin, as well as the various reactions that people have to certain foods. This has made it possible to generate personalized nutritional recommendations according to the genetics of each individual. Even prevent diseases by following certain diets.

Molecular biology techniques

Some of the techniques that are part of molecular biology studies are:

Polymerase chain reaction (PCR): technique used to duplicate DNA strands and analyze mutations.

Gel electrophoresis: method used to separate the strands of DNA and RNA molecules.

Southern blot: technique that is carried out by means of autoradiography or autofluorescence to specify the molecular mass and verify the DNA filament. It is based on the technique of gel electrophoresis.

Northern Blot: allows to analyze message RNA information, responsible for sending information from DNA to protein synthesis in cells.

Western Blotting: method used to analyze proteins. It mixes the principles of the Southern Blot and Northern Blot techniques.

history of molecular biology

Molecular biology (DNA)

Image of a three-dimensional double helix model of DNA.

The development of molecular biology arose, approximately, from 1930. It was of great importance in the 20th century because it allowed scientists to discover nucleic acids.

Various studies and descriptions of the structure of DNA and genetic material had been exposed by scientists such as Rosalind Elsie Franklin, Linus Pauling and Maurice Wilkins.

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This knowledge served as support for biologists James Dewey Watson and Francis Crick in 1953 to describe the molecular structure of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

Watson and Crick presented a three-dimensional double helix model of DNA, to expose its importance in the transfer of genetic information in living beings.

Nucleic acids contain genetic information that is used for the development and functioning of living organisms, they even contain hereditary genetic information.

See also:

  • DNA.
  • RNA.

Molecular biology and cell biology

Cell biology is a discipline that studies cells and their functioning based on their properties, structure, life cycle and the way they interact with their environment.

The cell is the structural and functional unit that every living being has. They are important because they fulfill various vital functions in living beings such as metabolic, reproductive or structural.

For its part, molecular biology studies the molecules of living beings, nucleic acids and proteins, in order to explain the behavior of molecules in living cells.

The molecule is the set of atoms that are held together by chemical bonds. It is considered the smallest part of a substance in which various chemical and physical properties of it are preserved.

See also:

  • cell biology.
  • Biology areas.