List of life sciences

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The life sciences or biological sciences comprise the branches of science that involve the scientific study of life and organisms – such as microorganisms, plants, and animals including human beings.

Life science is one of the two major branches of natural science, the other being physical science, which is concerned with non-living matter.

By definition, biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, with the other life sciences being its sub-disciplines.

Some life sciences focus on a specific type of organism. 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. Some focus on the micro scale (e.g. molecular biology, biochemistry) other on larger scales (e.g. cytology, immunology, ethology, ecology). Another major, branch of life sciences involves understanding the mind – neuroscience.

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

Basic life science branches[edit]

Biology – burst and eclectic field, composed of many branches and sub-disciplines. However, despite the complexity and the broad scope of the science, there are certain general and unifying concepts within it that govern all study and research, consolidating it into a single, coherent field. Here are some of biology's major branches:

  • Anatomy – study of form and function, in plants, animals, and other organisms, or specifically in humans
  • Astrobiology – the study of the formation and presence of life in the universe
  • Biochemistry – study of the chemical reactions required for life to exist and function, usually a focus on the cellular level
  • Bioinformatics – developing of methods or software tools for storing, retrieving, organizing and analyzing biological data to generate useful biological knowledge
  • Biolinguistics – study of the biology and evolution of language
  • Biological anthropology – the study of humans, non-human primates, and hominids. Also known as physical anthropology
  • Biomechanics – the study of the mechanics of living beings
  • Biophysics – study of biological processes by applying the theories and methods that have been traditionally used in the physical sciences
  • 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. Also known as cytology
  • 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
  • Ethology – the study of behaviour
  • Evolutionary biology – study of the origin and descent of species over time
  • Evolutionary developmental biology – study of the evolution of development including its molecular control
  • Genetics – study of genes and heredity
  • Histology – the study of tissues
  • Immunology – the study of the immune system
  • Microbiology – study of microscopic organisms (microorganisms) and their interactions with other living organisms
  • Molecular biology – study of biology and biological functions at the molecular level, some cross over with biochemistry, genetics and microbiology
  • Neuroscience – study of the nervous system
  • Pharmacology – the study of drug action
  • Physiology – study of the functioning of living organisms and the organs and parts of living organisms
  • Population biology – study of groups of conspecific organisms
  • Quantum biology – the study of quantum phenomena in organisms
  • Structural biology – a branch of molecular biology, biochemistry, and biophysics concerned with the molecular structure of biological macromolecules
  • Synthetic biology – the design and construction of new biological entities such as enzymes, genetic circuits and cells, or the redesign of existing biological systems (LY)
  • Systems biology – study of the integration and dependencies of various components within a biological system, with particular focus upon the role of metabolic pathways and cell-signaling strategies in physiology
  • Theoretical biology – the use of abstractions and mathematical models to study biological phenomena
  • Toxicology – study of the effects of chemicals on living organisms
  • Zoology – study of animals, including classification, physiology, development, and behavior

Applied life science branches and derived concepts [edit]

Brain parts involved with a fear amygdala hijack from optical stimulus

References[edit]

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Further reading[edit]

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