MCB 104 Discussion (sections 101 &106)
Sept. 1-3, 2009
What are genetics, genomics, and cell biology?
Genetics, (from Ancient Greek
, “genitive” and that from
discipline of biology, is the science of heredity and variation in living organisms.
The fact that living things inherit traits from
their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. However,
the modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor
Mendel in the mid-nineteenth century.
Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that
organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes.
Genomics is the study of the genomes of organisms. The field includes intensive efforts to determine the entire DNA
sequence of organisms and fine-scale genetic mapping efforts. The field also includes studies of intragenomic phenomena such
as heterosis, epistasis, pleiotropy and other interactions between loci and alleles within the genome. In contrast, the
investigation of the roles and functions of single genes is a primary focus of molecular biology and is a common topic of
modern medical and biological research. Research of single genes does not fall into the definition of genomics unless the aim
of this genetic, pathway, and functional information analysis is to elucidate its effect on, place in, and response to the entire
Cell biology (formerly cytology, from the Greek
, "container") is an academic discipline that studies cells – their
physiological properties, their structure, the organelles they contain, interactions with their environment, their life cycle, division
and death. This is done both on a microscopic and molecular level. Cell biology research encompasses both the great diversity