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Overall, science is a set of systematic methods that study the natural world through observations and experimentations. Some people are keen on discovering all about plants, while others are very much interested in wildlife and how animals interact with each other. Other people are curious about the human body in general, while others want to dig deep into history through the evidence they find in fossils. All these falls under life science.
Life science is known as the study of all living things on the planet. Other times, life science is also referred to as Biology. There are numerous people who delve into life science and their studies can be in a variety of settings. In order to be able to have a deeper knowledge on what is life science, it is best to take a look at its different fields of study. This is because life science is considered as a very broad topic that covers several fields.
Fields of Life Science
Ecology. Ecology is the field of life science which is focused on the study of the interactions of microorganisms with each other and their environment. This includes the different types of relationships, such as mutualism, parasitism, commensalism, competition, and predation. It also delves into the food chain as well as on the ecosystem as a whole.
Botany. Botany in biology is the study that focuses on plants. It may seem simple, but there are actually several subclasses under this field. For instance, bacteriology, or the study of bacteria, as well as mycology, or the study of fungi, all falls under botany. Aside from this, there is also pteridology, which is all about ferns and their relatives, as well as paleobotany, which is all about plant fossils. There are still several other sub fields under botany that is all centered about the study and exploration of plants.
Zoology. If botany is the study of plants, zoology, on the other hand is the study that focuses on animals. Everything about animals is included in this field of life science, including their characteristics and behavior. Similar to botany, zoology also has several subfields with some focusing on birds, reptiles, mammals, fish, and amphibians among others.
Microbiology. Microbiology is the study of microorganisms such as bacteria for instance. This is a field of life science that focuses on the smallest living things that eventually make up the larger living beings on the planet. Thus, it can be deemed that this is one of the most difficult fields of life science because having a clear picture of these organisms prove to be a challenging feat.
Entomology. There are also people who focus on the study of insects and this field of life science is referred to as entomology. Apart from insects, this study may also cover research about other crawling organisms such as worms or snails. Thus, it can be deemed that this field can be a subclass of zoology because insects and other crawling creatures are still part of the animal kingdom.
Cell Biology. Cell biology is the study of the cells of living things. It goes without saying that this is an even more difficult topic to tackle compared to microbiology because the subject at hand is even smaller than the microorganisms studied in microbiology. Nevertheless, cell biology has a huge role in the fields of genetics and pharmacology.
Physiology. Tissues, organs, and how each of these functions are all studied under physiology. This also includes all the chemical processes that support life. Regardless of whether the subject is a human, an animal or a plant, as long as the study is about how that particular being stays alive, then it is considered under physiology.
Genetics. Genetics is the field of life science that focuses on the genes, traits, and inheritance. People who dig deeper into genetics take a look at how traits are passed down from one generation to another and how organisms adapt to their environment as their environment changes. This is one field of life science that is significant in terms of today’s major issues such as medical risks which include cancer or psychological problems such as addiction.
Epidemiology. This field of life science aims to figure out the causes of diseases and how they spread. This is because diseases are actually composed of tiny living organisms that reproduce and affect humans, animals, plants, or other living beings. The more information uncovered from this field, the more humans become aware of how to stop these diseases from spreading or how to become immune to them.
Paleontology. Paleontology is the study of fossils and evolution. Thus, it can be deemed that this field of life science is comparable to history because it studies organisms that once graced the planet. The main purpose of this field is to have a general idea of the way of life of these beings when they were still alive, what caused their demise, and how this can affect the other creatures who still living on the planet.
Each of the fields of life science has relevant theories. Nevertheless, there are two distinct theories that are applicable to all the fields, forming the foundation of each field. These theories are the cell theory and the theory of evolution by natural selection.
Cell theory indicates that all organisms are made up of at least a single cell. This cell is where the processes of life take place. Cells are generated from pre-existing cells and new cells are produced only when existing cells divide.
Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection
This theory is applicable to all fields of biology because it delves into how the populations of organisms change over time. This is because the organisms must be able to adapt to changes in their environment for their longevity. The theory of evolution by natural selection explains how this process happens.
Life Science Categories
- Basic Science
Life science can fall under basic science wherein the overall objective or goal is to discover new knowledge. While it may lead to a better understanding or living beings, it may also be that basic science doesn’t have any current practical applications. For instance, studying how yeast cells grow and divide can be considered under basic science.
- Applied Science
On the other hand, applied science has an overall goal of implementing the results of research or study into a practical application. Thus, it can be deemed that the aim of basic science is to find solutions to the problems encountered by living creatures. Thereby, if the research about how yeast cells grow and divide are used to develop drugs that can cure diseases, then the study falls under applied science.
Biotechnology is a significant element of the life sciences. It is a tool used under applied science that leverages on the available knowledge about the different fields of life sciences to be able to create a resolution to known problems and issues relating to living beings. Simply put, biotechnology is used to come up with the medicines that are effective in curing diseases. In the same manner, it is also used to grow food that is substantial for all the organisms on the planet. Apart from this, biotechnology is also used to find alternative fuel that will pave the way for a healthier planet.
Importance of Studying Life Science
There is a need to study life science because of several important reasons with some listed below.
- Understanding the Human Body
With biology, people are able to understand the changes happening in their bodies such as when kids reach the age of puberty. Apart from this, they are more aware of how to take care of their bodies more such as ensuring that they have sufficient nutrition and ample rest. Additionally, life sciences helps in providing answers to some of the most fundamental questions about life in general such as how and where life begins.
- Food Sources
With a continuous research and life science study, people are able to generate crops that are resilient to parasitic infections which will substantially increase crop yield. As a result, there is a great chance that more people will have sufficient sources of food.
- Healthy Planet
Another significant reason to study life science is to be able to produce plant-based fuel alternatives that will greatly reduce pollution, especially in the air, which is a result of excessive carbon emissions. Apart from this, it is important to study life science because it is through this field that natural decomposers are discovered. With natural decomposers, the amount of waste on the planet will decrease dramatically.
- Medical Advancements
Life science is important in the discovery of new medicines that will cure diseases, as well as vaccines that will prevent them. For instance, genomic code can be used to identify certain genetic predispositions that may contribute to cancer. This will aid people to perform the necessary measures to ensure that the cancer cells never reach full bloom and is inhibited as early as possible before it even causes drastic health degradation. Apart from this, life science paves the way for medical discoveries such as stem cells which form organs that are useful in transplants, as well as cures for infections that are otherwise left undiscovered.
Careers in Life Science
Biochemists. These scientists focus on the chemistry of life. Their study digs deep into the molecules that in the same manner, aim to produce new products and processes that will help resolve common biological challenges.
Biomedical Scientist. Biomedical scientists examine the medical samples that aids medical professionals such as doctors and specialists to diagnose and treat various ailments and diseases. While they do not provide the final diagnosis, they provide insights to the medical professionals regarding the results of their tests. In order to become an expert biomedical scientist, one must be adept in pathology, anatomy, and physiology.
Biotechnologist. Biotechnologists leverage on the advancements in modern technology to make biological discoveries and studies. Their main objective is to use their knowledge and integrate it with technological advancements in order to provide a solution to known biological problems. More often than not, they are the ones who come up with new products and processes that greatly benefit different industries such as food processing, health care, and agriculture.
Clinical Research Associate. Individuals who are adept in both life science and research in general delve into becoming clinical research associates. They are the ones who run the trials to assess the safety of new medicines generated, as well as study the effectiveness and efficiency of these. They are the ones who set up the trial areas where they will collect their samples and data. It is imperative that they ensure the quality of data to be able to generate reliable research results. There is also an opportunity for individuals adept in research to be research assistants who are the main people who assist in academic research.
Computational Biologist. Individuals who pursue a career in computational biology develop methods which are driven by data and analytical processes. This career is a fusion of biology with other fields of science, such as applied mathematics, statistics, neuroscience, and even animation.
Industrial Pharmacist. Industrial pharmacists are experts in pathology because they are the ones responsible for discovering and developing safe and effective medicines. Industrial pharmacists are involved in various stages of the development of the drugs, including research, clinical trials, production, quality testing, marketing, and even having the drug legalized.
Microbiologist. Microbiologists focus on the study of the chemistry of microbes. The main areas where microbiologists focus are agriculture, food production, health care, and even in planet preservation.
Life science is deemed as the study of all living organisms on the planet. It is a rather broad topic that encompasses several fields. It goes without saying that the individuals who research and study life science work in different scenarios, depending on the expertise they are building. It can therefore be deemed that while life science is one of the broadest fields of science there is, understanding its specific fields is very much possible. Just start slow, find what peaks your interest and you will be finding yourself more knowledgeable in no time.