MadSci Network: Molecular Biology

Re: What is the study of molecular biology?

Area: Molecular Biology
Posted By: Karl A. Wilson, Faculty (Professor), Biological Sciences, S.U.N.Y. at Binghamton (Binghamton University)
Date: Mon Nov 3 09:12:18 1997
Area of science: Molecular Biology
ID: 877650347.Mb

The definition of "molecular biology" will depend upon who you ask. I think may be the simplest way to get a feel for what subjects are encompassed by molecular biology is to consider what is termed "the central dogma of molecular biology." In its simplest, original form, the dogma describes the conversion of information, encoded as DNA sequences in the genes, to RNA sequences (as in messenger RNA, mRNA), to protein amino acid sequences:

		1		              2
	DNA-----------> RNA -------------> Protein
Where process 1 is transcription, and process 2 is translation. The dogma also includes replication of the DNA. And we now know that sequence data in RNA can be converted to DNA sequence data by the process of reverse transcription. The processes of post-translational processing of proteins and protein folding are also often included.

Given this, one can include all of these processes as subject of study in molecular biology. However, nowadays, when people talk about molecular biology, they often mean an emphasis on the structure of genes and the control of gene expression. Great strides in understanding these topics have resulted with the development of efficient methods for cloning specific DNA segments.

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