MBBS Biology

Foundations of Life Science

  • Scientific skepticism questions claims based on their scientific verifiability rather than accepting claims based on fait horanecdotes. Scientific skepticism uses critical thinking to analyze such claims and opposes claims which lack scientific evidence.
  • Science is basedon the analysis of things that humans can observe either by themselves through their senses, or by using special equipment. Science therefore cannot explain anything about the natural world that is beyond what is observable by current means. Supernatural things cannot be explained by scientific means.
  • Scientific investigations involve the collection of data through observation, the formation and testing of hypotheses by experimentation, and analysis of the results that involves reasoning.
  • In a controlled experiment, two identical experiments are carried out side-by-side. In one of the experiments the independent variable being tested is used, in the other, the control, or the independent variable is not used.
  • Any useful hypothesis will allow predictions based on reasoning. Reasoning can be broken down into two categories: deduction and induction. Most reasoning in science is formed through induction.
  • A variable is a factor that can change over the course of an experiment. Independent variables are factors whose values are controlled by the experimenter to determine its relationship to an observed phenomenon(the dependent variable). Dependent variables change in response to the independent variable.
  • Scientific theories are hypotheses which have stood up to repeated attempts at falsification and are thus supported by much data and evidence.
  • The reliability of scientific knowledge comes partly from the objectivity of scientific methods, and also from scientists discussing ideas with each other. In talking with each other, researchers must use more than just their scientific understanding of the world. They must also be able to convince other scientists of the accuracy of their ideas.
  • Graphics help to illustrate ideas that would otherwise be too confusing to describe in words only.
  • The peer review process aims to make authors meet the standards of their area of study, and to meet the expected standards of science in general.
  • Ethics is the discipline concerned with what is morally good and bad, right and wrong. Bioethics is the social ethics of biology and medicine; it deals with the ethical implications of biological research and applications, especially in medicine. Bioethicists are concerned with the ethical questions that arise in the relationships among biology, biotechnology, medicine, politics, law, and philosophy.
  • Scientists need to be able to tell each other and the public about their research and the results of their research. These two groups make up two very different audiences for scientists. Presenting academic subjects in a readable and engaging way, allows the general pubic to understand what research is being done and why. Presentation of generally written science appeals to people because it allows the reader to relate the subject to their life and experiences.
  • You cannot be fully informed about the scientific issues you read about unless you understand the science behind the issues, or have the ability to think like a scientist to analyze them.
  • The cost of equipment, transportation, rent, and salaries for the people carrying out the research all need to be considered before a scientific study can start. The systems of financial support for scientists and their work have been important influences of the type of research and the pace of research. Today, funding for research comes from many different sources.
  • Biotechnology is the application of biological knowledge to develop tools and products that allow us to control and adapt to our environment.
  • The measurements that scientists use are based on the International System of Units (SI), which is form of the metric system. Based on multiples of ten, It is the world’s most widely used system of units, both in science and business.
  • One important use for mathematics in science is the role it plays in expressing scientific models. Statistics allow scientists to assess the reliability and range of differences in experimental results.
  • Light microscopes use visible light and lenses to magnify objects. They  are the simplest and most widely used type of microscopes. Electron microscopes use electrons instead of photons (light), because electrons have a much shorter wavelength than photons and therefore allow a researcher to see things at very high magnification, that greatly exceeds what an optical microscope can possibly magnify. Electron microscopes are larger and more expensive than light microscopes.
  • Equipment commonly found in a biology labs include microscopes, weighing scales or balances, water baths, glassware (such as test tubes, flasks, and beakers), Bunsen burners, tongs, pipettes, chemical reagents, lab coats, goggles, and biohazard waste containers.
  • Always wear personal protective equipment such as goggles and gloves, wear enclosed shoes, and do not eat or drink in the lab.
  • Biochemistry is the study of the chemicals that make up life. Cell biology is the study of life at the level of the cell. Microbiology is the study of microscopic organisms. Genetics is the study of how organisms pass traits to their offspring. The study of how the human body works is called physiology. Zoology is the study of animals. The study of how organisms interact with their environment and each other is called ecology. Evolutionary biology is the study of how populations and species of animals change over time. Botany is the study of plants.
  • The seven characteristics of life include: responsiveness to the environment; growth and change; ability to reproduce; have a metabolism and breathe; maintain homeostasis; being made of cells; passing traits onto offspring.
  • Four unifying principles form the foundation of modern biology: cell theory, evolution, genetics and homeostasis. These four principles are important to each and every field of biology.
  • Symbiosis can be used to describe various types of close relationships between organisms of different species, such as mutualism and commensalism, which are relationships in which neither organism is harmed. Sometimes the term symbiosis is used only for cases where both organisms benefit, but sometimes it is used more generally to describe all kinds of close relationships, even when one organism is killed by another. Symbiosis can also be used to describe relationships where one organism lives on or in another, called parasitism, or when one organism kills and eats another organism, called predation. Competition is as an interaction between organisms or species for the same resources in an environment.
  • Analysis of the DNA of different organisms indicate that there is a similarity in the DNA genetic codes that help make proteins and other molecules in very different organisms. These genetic codes are used by all known forms of life on Earth, and are very similar. The theory of evolution suggests that the genetic code was established very early in the history of life and some studies suggest it was established soon after the formation of Earth.
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