Washington, M. Todd Department of Biochemistry, University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa.
Last reviewed:August 2019
Show previous versions
- Key concepts of molecular biology
- Nucleic acids
- Central dogma
- Areas of research within molecular biology
- DNA replication
- Other areas of research
- Importance of molecular biology
- Related Primary Literature
- Additional Reading
The study of structural and functional properties of biological systems, pursued within the context of understanding the roles of the various molecules in living cells and the relationships between them. Molecular biology is the field of biology that attempts to interpret biological events in terms of the physicochemical properties of molecules in cells. In general, molecular biology has three related meanings. First, in a traditional sense, molecular biology is the study of the means by which genetic information is transmitted and expressed at the level of protein and nucleic acid molecules. When understood this way, molecular biology encompasses numerous areas of research, including deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) replication, DNA repair, transcription, ribonucleic acid (RNA) processing, and translation (Fig. 1). Second, in a broader sense, molecular biology refers to the study of living things at the level of molecules. When understood this way, molecular biology encompasses fields ranging from cell biology and developmental biology to biochemistry and biophysics. Third, in a narrower sense, molecular biology refers to a set of experimental approaches principally involving recombinant DNA technology, which is used by a wide range of contemporary biologists. This article focuses on the more traditional meaning of the term. See also: Biochemistry; Biology; Biophysics; Biotechnology; Cell biology; Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA); Developmental biology; DNA repair; Genetics; Molecule; Ribonucleic acid (RNA)
The content above is only an excerpt.
for your institution. Subscribe
To learn more about subscribing to AccessScience, or to request a no-risk trial of this award-winning scientific reference for your institution, fill in your information and a member of our Sales Team will contact you as soon as possible.
to your librarian. Recommend
Let your librarian know about the award-winning gateway to the most trustworthy and accurate scientific information.
AccessScience provides the most accurate and trustworthy scientific information available.
Recognized as an award-winning gateway to scientific knowledge, AccessScience is an amazing online resource that contains high-quality reference material written specifically for students. Contributors include more than 9000 highly qualified scientists and 43 Nobel Prize winners.
MORE THAN 8700 articles covering all major scientific disciplines and encompassing the McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science & Technology and McGraw-Hill Yearbook of Science & Technology
115,000-PLUS definitions from the McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific and Technical Terms
3000 biographies of notable scientific figures
MORE THAN 19,000 downloadable images and animations illustrating key topics
ENGAGING VIDEOS highlighting the life and work of award-winning scientists
SUGGESTIONS FOR FURTHER STUDY and additional readings to guide students to deeper understanding and research
LINKS TO CITABLE LITERATURE help students expand their knowledge using primary sources of information