What is Molecular Biology?
Molecular Biology

To answer the question of what is molecular biology, you do not have to do a lot of digging to figure out what that means. There are a lot of scientific disciplines where you pop –ology on the end and suddenly you are studying something, but I am not sure what you are talking about. For example, if you were to ask me about agrostology, I would have no idea what you are talking about. Only an agrostologist or maybe their parents or friends would know what that means. With molecular biology, you can figure it out pretty easily. Biology is the study of life, so the molecular modifier means that you are looking at the molecules that make up living things. Those are DNA, RNA, and proteins that can be studied thanks to equipment that enhances our ability to learn about things at the smallest level.

When you are looking at molecular biology, you are really looking at how it intersects with other kinds of scientific studies. For example, biochemistry and genetics are not specifically molecular biology, but they use the data of molecular biology to help with their specific pursuits. I think of molecular biology a lot like statistics because both are quantitative, which means that they are locked into solid numbers rather than ideas. In genetics, there has always been study about what makes us into the people we are. The nature vs. nurture argument is one that is commonly sighted, which gets at the idea that we are genetically predisposed to be the way that we are. Most people think that genetics are like a list of categories that you get a yes or no on, like being over six feet tall or having blonde hair. In reality, these genetic predispositions are the result of many different pieces of an almost endless DNA strand. When you are looking at one thing, say height, you can’t just look at the height gene and look for a readout. You need to parse through tens of categories to get an idea of how they all work in concert. Genetics are a bit like computer data in the way that the human brain can’t compute all of the intricate details to the point that you understand them at a glance. With the help of computers, you can compare the quantitative data of molecular biology to make inferences about genes.

In terms of biochemistry thing are working a bit differently because the data goes from being about DNA attributes and changes to proteins and the ways that they are synthesized in the body. There are a lot of biomolecules that work to create the vital processes in life and proteins tell them what to do. Like with genetics, it is the quantitative data of molecular biology used to help biochemists learn more about what they are working with.

As much as molecular biology is dealing with things that are small, there is absolutely nothing minor about it. This is a part of many of the processes of life, which is why so many look to study it.