Portal:Biology

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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

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 standard RNA codon table organized in a wheel

A codon table can be used to translate a genetic code into a sequence of amino acids. The standard genetic code is traditionally represented as an RNA codon table, because when proteins are made in a cell by ribosomes, it is messenger RNA (mRNA) that directs protein synthesis. The mRNA sequence is determined by the sequence of genomic DNA. In this context, the standard genetic code is referred to as translation table 1. It can also be represented in a DNA codon table. The DNA codons in such tables occur on the sense DNA strand and are arranged in a 5-to-3 direction. Different tables with alternate codons are used depending on the source of the genetic code, such as from a cell nucleus, mitochondrion, plastid, or hydrogenosome.

There are 64 different codons in the genetic code and the below tables; most specify an amino acid. Three sequences, UAG, UGA, and UAA, known as stop codons, do not code for an amino acid but instead signal the release of the nascent polypeptide from the ribosome. In the standard code, the sequence AUG—read as methionine—can serve as a start codon and, along with sequences such as an initiation factor, initiates translation. In rare instances, start codons in the standard code may also include GUG or UUG; these codons normally represent valine and leucine, respectively, but as start codons they are translated as methionine or formylmethionine. (Full article...)
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Photo credit: Bernard Landgraf
The Red Panda (Ailurus fulgens) is a small bear-like mammal native to the Himalayas and southern China.

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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For the French Napoleonic War General see Marshall Étienne Macdonald


Marshall McDonald (October 18, 1835 – September 1, 1895) was an American engineer, geologist, mineralogist, pisciculturist, and fisheries scientist. McDonald served as the commissioner of the United States Commission of Fish and Fisheries from 1888 until his death in 1895. He is best known for his inventions of a number of fish hatching apparatuses and a fish ladder that enabled salmon and other migrating fish species to ascend the rapids of watercourses resulting in an increased spawning ground. McDonald's administration of the U.S. Commission of Fish and Fisheries was notably free of scandal and furthered the "protection and culture" of fish species throughout the United States. (Full article...)

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