Biology, being a natural science, is part of our everyday lives and it has therefore played a significant role in the entire existence of living things on earth. Many fields such as agriculture and medicine have been advancing over the years with the help of discoveries in biology. Biology has always provided solutions to the problems that we face and it has therefore been a pillar upon which the entire human civilization is built. Some of the areas that biology has impacted include:
The survival of human beings on earth to this date has been dependent on biology. Without learning about how living organisms function, the human species would not have flourished to the level at which it has today. Human beings have managed to avoid extinction, which has affected many other living organisms such as dinosaurs, the passenger pigeon and the Tasmanian tiger. Over 99% of all the living organisms that have ever existed on earth are now extinct. This occurs through evolution and natural selection where only the living organisms that are fit can survive certain conditions. The living organisms that exist in the modern world, including human beings, have survived many different situations to avoid extinction. Studying biology has helped human beings with this survival by finding solutions to problems such as diseases and extreme weather conditions.
Living things require energy to carry out their different functions. They have adapted to the environments in which they live and found ways of acquiring this energy. Living things can be either autotrophs or heterotrophs. Autotrophs make their own food using the available resources; plants, for example, use sunlight to carry out photosynthesis. Heterotrophs acquire energy from other organisms because they cannot synthesize their own food; for example, cows feed on plants to acquire energy. Human beings are heterotrophs and they have studied the organisms in their surroundings to determine which ones can be used as food sources. The existence of a large number of living things on earth has enabled man to have a wide variety of food choices each of which provide different nutrients.
Diseases and Treatment
Studying biology has helped in understanding the diseases that affect us. All living things are affected by health conditions that impact their function. Many of these diseases are caused by living things, such as bacteria, viruses and fungi, which invade the systems of other living things. Different methods of treatment have been developed by studying these health conditions and determining their causes. Antibiotics, for example, are used to treat infections caused by bacteria. They are developed after studying how the bacteria function and finding ways of killing them or slowing their growth. Further studies of diseases led to the development of vaccines, which are used to prevent infections. Diseases are naturally occurring and treatments are also available in nature.
The human civilization is powered by fuel that is found in nature. Fossil fuels such as petroleum, natural gas, and oil have been used for many centuries and their discovery enabled the industrial revolution. These fuels are formed as a result of the decay of organic materials when they are buried in the earth’s crust for millions of years. When living organisms die, they are buried underneath the earth’s surface where the conditions of heat and pressure enable them to convert naturally into fuels.
Human beings have also acquired energy directly from living matter in the form of bioenergy. Biomass, such as wood, has been used for many years for cooking and heating households even before the discovery of fossil fuels. Biofuels, such as ethanol, biodiesel, and biogas, have also been identified as excellent energy sources, which can be used in activities such as transport and cooking. These biofuels are obtained from organic matter; biogas, for example, is obtained from animal manure.
Biology has been growing over the years from the discovery and identification of food, the discovery of medicine from nature to the modern day biotechnology. Biotechnology is the exploitation of the biological processes that take place in living organisms. A common biological process that has been beneficial to man is fermentation. This ability of living organisms such as yeast to break down organic substances has been exploited to give useful products. Alcohol is produced by fermenting sugars, while yogurt and cheese are produced by fermenting milk. Bacteria and fungi are commonly used in biotechnology because they are easy to manipulate.
Modern biotechnology involves genetic manipulation in which the genetic composition of organisms is modified to achieve a specific goal. Genetic modification has been used in many areas such as agriculture and medicine. In medicine, antibiotics are developed through the process of genetic modification. The treatment of some genetic conditions also requires the modification of genes and therefore research has been ongoing to find different methods of therapy. In agriculture, genetic modification has been useful in acquiring desirable characteristics in plants and livestock. The genes of the plants and animals are modified to either attain specific desirable traits, improve the existing traits, or eliminate undesirable characteristics. Genetic modification has helped in increasing yield production, improving the yield quality, and gaining resistance against diseases and harsh environmental conditions.
In conclusion, the main way in which biology has changed the world is by enabling human beings to connect with the other living organisms on earth. The discoveries of scientists such as Charles Darwin showed that human beings, despite popular belief, were similar to all the other life forms on earth. Studying biology is therefore very beneficial to every individual. In case of any difficulty encountered in this field, biology help from dedicated experts is always available.