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Portal:Biology

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The Biology Portal

Introduction

A panoramic view from a ridge located between Segla and Hesten mountain summits in the island of Senja, Troms, Norway in 2014
A panoramic view from a ridge located between Segla and Hesten mountain summits in the island of Senja, Troms, Norway in 2014
Darlingtonia californica.jpg
Harvestman opilio canestrinii male.jpg

Biology is the scientific study of life. It is a natural science with a broad scope but has several unifying themes that tie it together as a single, coherent field. For instance, all organisms are made up of cells that process hereditary information encoded in genes, which can be transmitted to future generations. Another major theme is evolution, which explains the unity and diversity of life. Energy processing is also important to life as it allows organisms to move, grow, and reproduce. Finally, all organisms are able to regulate their own internal environments.

Biologists are able to study life at multiple levels of organization. From the molecular biology of a cell to the anatomy and physiology of plants and animals, and evolution of populations. Hence, there are multiple subdisciplines within biology, each defined by the nature of their research questions and the tools that they use. Like other scientists, biologists use the scientific method to make observations, pose questions, generate hypotheses, perform experiments, and form conclusions about the world around them.

Life on Earth, which emerged more than 3.7 billion years ago, is immensely diverse. Biologists have sought to study and classify the various forms of life, from prokaryotic organisms such as archaea and bacteria to eukaryotic organisms such as protists, fungi, plants, and animals. These various organisms contribute to the biodiversity of an ecosystem, where they play specialized roles in the cycling of nutrients and energy through their biophysical environment. (Full article...)

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The structure of the DNA double helix. The atoms in the structure are colour-coded by element and the detailed structures of two base pairs are shown in the bottom right.

Deoxyribonucleic acid (/dˈɒksɪˌrbnjˌklɪk, -ˌkl-/ (About this soundlisten); DNA) is a molecule composed of two polynucleotide chains that coil around each other to form a double helix carrying genetic instructions for the development, functioning, growth and reproduction of all known organisms and many viruses. DNA and ribonucleic acid (RNA) are nucleic acids. Alongside proteins, lipids and complex carbohydrates (polysaccharides), nucleic acids are one of the four major types of macromolecules that are essential for all known forms of life.

The two DNA strands are known as polynucleotides as they are composed of simpler monomeric units called nucleotides. Each nucleotide is composed of one of four nitrogen-containing nucleobases (cytosine [C], guanine [G], adenine [A] or thymine [T]), a sugar called deoxyribose, and a phosphate group. The nucleotides are joined to one another in a chain by covalent bonds (known as the phospho-diester linkage) between the sugar of one nucleotide and the phosphate of the next, resulting in an alternating sugar-phosphate backbone. The nitrogenous bases of the two separate polynucleotide strands are bound together, according to base pairing rules (A with T and C with G), with hydrogen bonds to make double-stranded DNA. The complementary nitrogenous bases are divided into two groups, pyrimidines and purines. In DNA, the pyrimidines are thymine and cytosine; the purines are adenine and guanine. (Full article...)

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A Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), part of the family Loliginidae.
A Caribbean Reef Squid (Sepioteuthis sepioidea), part of the family Loliginidae.

Major topics

History History of biology | timeline of biology and organic chemistry | history of ecology | history of evolutionary thought | history of geology | history of model organisms | history of molecular biology | history of paleontology
Overview Biology | science | life | properties (adaptationenergy processinggrowthorderregulationreproduction, and response to environment) | hierarchy of life (atommoleculeorganellecelltissueorganorgan systemorganismpopulationcommunityecosystembiosphere) | reductionistic | emergent property | mechanistic | scientific method | theory | law | peer review | biology journals
Chemical basis Matter | elements | compounds | atoms | molecules | chemical bonds | carbon | organic compounds | macromolecules | carbohydrate | protein | protein structure | protein folding | lipid | DNA | RNA
Cells Prokaryote | eukaryote | cell wall | cell membrane | cytoskeleton | mitochondrion | chloroplast | nucleus | endoplasmic reticulum | Golgi apparatus | cell cycle | mitosis | metabolism | cell signaling | protein targeting | metabolism | enzyme | glycolysis | citric acid cycle | electron transport chain | oxidative phosphorylation |photosynthesis |meiosis  | mitosis
Genetics (Intro) Classical genetics | mendelian inheritance | gene | phenotype | genotype | ploidy | alternation of generations | molecular genetics | gene expression | gene regulation | genome | karyotype | DNA replication | transcription | translation | recombination | chromosome | epigenetics | splicing | mutation | genetic fingerprint | chromatin | ecological genetics | population genetics | quantitative genetics
Evolution (Intro)  | omne vivum ex ovo | Natural selection | genetic drift | sexual selection | speciation | mutation | gene flow | evolution of sex | biogeography | cladistics | species | extinction | tree of life | phylogenies | three-domain system
Diversity Bacteria | archaea | plants | angiosperms | fungi | protists | Animals | deuterostome | insects | molluscs | nematodes | parasitism | Primate | mammal | vertebrate | craniata | chordate | viruses
Plant form and function Epidermis | flower | ground tissue  | leaf | phloem | plant stem | root | shoot | vascular plant | vascular tissue | xylem
Animal form and function Tissues | fertilization | embryogenesis | gastrulation | neurulation | organogenesis | differentiation | morphogenesis | metamorphosis | ontogeny  | Development | senescence  | reproduction | oogenesis | spermatogenesis
Ecology Ecosystem | biomass | food chain | indicator species | habitat | species distribution | Gaia theory | metapopulation  | life cycle | Life history | altricial - precocial | sex ratio | altruism | cooperation - foraging | learning | parental care | sexual conflict | territoriality | biosphere | climate change | conservation | biodiversity | nature reserve | edge effect | allee effect | corridor | fragmentation | pollution | invasive species | in situ - ex situ | seedbank
Research methods Laboratory techniques | Genetic engineering | transformation | gel electrophoresis | chromatography | centrifugation | cell culture | DNA sequencing | DNA microarray | green fluorescent protein | vector | enzyme assay | protein purification | Western blot | Northern blot | Southern blot | restriction enzyme | polymerase chain reaction | two-hybrid screening | in vivo - in vitro - in silico | Field techniques | Belt transect | mark and recapture | species discovery curve
Branches Anatomy | biotechnology | botany | cell biology | ecology | evolutionary biology | genetics | marine biology | microbiology | molecular biology | mycology | neuroscience | paleontology | phycology | physiology | protistology | virology | zoology
Awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
See also Template:History of biology

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George Ledyard Stebbins Jr. (January 6, 1906 – January 19, 2000) was an American botanist and geneticist who is widely regarded as one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the 20th century. Stebbins received his Ph.D. in botany from Harvard University in 1931. He went on to the University of California, Berkeley, where his work with E. B. Babcock on the genetic evolution of plant species, and his association with a group of evolutionary biologists known as the Bay Area Biosystematists, led him to develop a comprehensive synthesis of plant evolution incorporating genetics.

His most important publication was Variation and Evolution in Plants, which combined genetics and Darwin's theory of natural selection to describe plant speciation. It is regarded as one of the main publications which formed the core of the modern synthesis and still provides the conceptual framework for research in plant evolutionary biology; according to Ernst Mayr, "Few later works dealing with the evolutionary systematics of plants have not been very deeply affected by Stebbins' work." He also researched and wrote widely on the role of hybridization and polyploidy in speciation and plant evolution; his work in this area has had a lasting influence on research in the field. (Full article...)

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