List of life sciences

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Simulations of the fluorescence of different fluorescent proteins.

The life sciences comprise the fields of science that involve the scientific study of living organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, animals, and human beings – as well as related considerations like bioethics. While biology remains the centerpiece of the life sciences, technological advances in molecular biology and biotechnology have led to a burgeoning of specializations and interdisciplinary fields.[1]

Some life sciences focus on a specific type of life. For example, zoology is the study of animals, while botany is the study of plants. Other life sciences focus on aspects common to all or many life forms, such as anatomy and genetics. Yet other fields are interested in technological advances involving living things, such as bio-engineering. Another major, though more specific, branch of life sciences involves understanding the mind – neuroscience.

The life sciences are helpful in improving the quality and standard of life. They have applications in health, agriculture, medicine, and the pharmaceutical and food science industries.

There is considerable overlap between many of the topics of study in the life sciences.

Biology and its branches[edit]

Biology – branch of natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Modern biology is a vast and eclectic field, composed of many branches and subdisciplines. However, despite the broad scope of biology, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all study and research, consolidating it into a single, coherent field. In general, biology recognizes the cell as the basic unit of life, genes as the basic unit of heredity, and evolution as the engine that propels the synthesis and creation of new species. It is also understood today that all organisms survive by consuming and transforming energy and by regulating their internal environment to maintain a stable and vital condition. Here are some of biology's major branches:

  • Agriculture – study of producing crops and raising livestock, with an emphasis on practical applications
  • Anatomy – study of form and function, in plants, animals, and other organisms, or specifically in humans
  • Biochemistry – study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
  • Bioengineering – study of biology through the means of engineering with an emphasis on applied knowledge and especially related to biotechnology
  • Biomechanics – often considered a branch of medicine, the study of the mechanics of living beings, with an emphasis on applied use through prosthetics or orthotics
  • Biomedical research – study of health and disease
    • Pharmacology – study and practical application of preparation, use, and effects of drugs and synthetic medicines
  • Biophysics – study of biological processes through physics, by applying the theories and methods traditionally used in the physical sciences
  • Biotechnology – study of the manipulation of living matter, including genetic modification and synthetic biology
  • Botany – study of plants
  • Cell biology – study of the cell as a complete unit, and the molecular and chemical interactions that occur within a living cell
  • Developmental biology – study of the processes through which an organism forms, from zygote to full structure
  • Ecology – study of the interactions of living organisms with one another and with the non-living elements of their environment
  • Epidemiology – a major component of public health research, studying factors affecting the health of populations
  • Evolutionary biology – study of the origin and descent of species over time
  • Genetics – study of genes and heredity.
  • Hematology (also known as Haematology) – study of blood and blood-forming organs.
  • Marine biology (or Biological oceanography) – study of ocean ecosystems, plants, animals, and other living beings
  • Microbiology – study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living things
  • Molecular biology – study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry
  • Mycology – study of fungi
  • Neurobiology – study of the nervous system, including anatomy, physiology and pathology
  • Population biology – study of groups of conspecific organisms, including
  • Paleontology – study of fossils and sometimes geographic evidence of prehistoric life
  • Pathobiology or pathology – study of diseases, and the causes, processes, nature, and development of disease
  • Physiology – study of the functioning of living organisms and the organs and parts of living organisms
  • Phytopathology – study of plant diseases (also called Plant Pathology)
  • Sociobiology – study of the biological bases of sociology
  • Structural biology – a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
  • Systems biology – -
  • Zoology – study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, and behavior.

Medicine and its branches[edit]

Medicine – applied science or practice of the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness. Some of its branches are:

Other life sciences[edit]

Brain parts involved with a fear amygdala hijack from optical stimulus

See also[edit]

Related scientific societies

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

  • Magner, Lois N. (2002). A history of the life sciences (3rd ed., rev. and expanded. ed.). New York: M. Dekker. ISBN 0824708245. 

External links[edit]