Is biochemistry a life science?

Biochemistry is the branch of science in charge of studying the chemical reactions that occur in living organisms, therefore, it helps us understand the chemical processes that occur both in our body and in that of other living beings.

In this brief guide, we’re going to answer the question “Is biochemistry a life science?’’ what’s life, what’s science, is science useful, what’s life science and its branches.

Is biochemistry a life science?

Yes, biochemistry is a branch of science that studies the chemical composition of living beings, especially proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.

The life sciences comprise all the fields of science that study living things, such as plants, animals, and humans.

Life sciences are useful to improve the quality and standard of living. They have applications in agriculture, food science, pharmaceutical industries, medicine, and healthcare. 

On the other hand, biochemistry is the science that studies the chemical basis of life: the molecules that make up cells and tissues, which catalyze the chemical reactions of cellular metabolism such as digestion, photosynthesis, and immunity, among others.

Biochemistry aims to give an explanation from the molecular point of view to the functioning of living beings, to understand them, and to be able to apply this knowledge in medicine, pharmacology, genetic engineering, or any field where life intervenes.

What’s life?

Most people have an intuitive understanding of what it means for something to be alive. Despite this, it’s surprisingly difficult to define life precisely.

The concept of life can be defined by different approaches. The most common notion is linked to biology, which holds that life is the ability to be born, grow, reproduce, and die. In this sense, life is what distinguishes men, animals, and plants

But how can we distinguish between what is alive and what isn’t?

Living beings fulfill a life cycle because they’re born, nurtured, reproduce, and die, whereas inert beings don’t fulfill these functions. Can you imagine a stone feeding?

Just as a living being is defined because it lives, develops, and multiplies, it’s also a fundamental part of it that its life has an end. That is, it’s an organism that dies.

Biologists have identified several characteristics common to all organisms that we know of. Although inanimate things can have some of these traits, only living things possess all of them.

  • Organization: Living things are highly organized, that is, they contain specialized and coordinated parts. All living beings are made up of one or more cells that are considered the fundamental units of life.
  • Metabolism: Life depends on a huge number of interconnected chemical reactions. These reactions allow organisms to do work, such as moving or catching prey; as well as grow, reproduce and maintain the structure of their bodies.
  • Homeostasis: Organisms regulate their internal environment to maintain the relatively narrow range of conditions necessary for cell function.
  • Increase: Living things experience regulated growth. Individual cells increase in size and multicellular organisms accumulate many cells by cell division.
  • Reproduction: Living things can reproduce to create new organisms. Reproduction can be asexual, involving a single parental organism, or sexual, requiring two parental organisms.
  • Answer: Organisms are “irritable”, that is, they respond to stimuli or changes in their environment.
  • Evolution: Populations of organisms can evolve, that is, the genetic makeup of a population can change over time.

What’s science?

Science is called all knowledge or knowledge constituted by a series of principles and laws that derive from the observation and reasoning of a cluster of information and data, which are systematically structured for understanding.

In this sense, science comprises several fields of knowledge and study that lead to the development of particular scientific theories and methods, after which objective and verifiable conclusions can be obtained.

Science, besides, is closely related to the area of exact sciences (mathematics, physics, chemistry, natural sciences) and technology. Hence the importance of scientific studies aimed at creating or perfecting existing technology, to achieve a better quality of life.

Is science useful?

The indirect uses, applications, and products of science are multiple (its direct product, without a doubt, is knowledge). But it can be said, in general, that science serves four things: classify, explain, predict, and control.

Classifying is the first step to understanding. It gives the order to what we observe and allows us to see more deeply. By describing a system and classifying its components, we discovered relationships between them that weren’t visible to the naked eye. Although describing, cataloging, listing, and orders aren’t the core activities of science, they’re necessary steps to begin the study of nature. (And in many cases it’s all that can be done, at least for a time, when dealing with novel systems: if we were to discover extraterrestrial life, for example, it would surely take a while before we managed to transcend this first stage.)

A second level is achieved when, in addition to being clear about what is there, we can also explain it. Here we’re faced with what is traditionally considered essential in scientific activity: the generation (and subsequent testing) of hypotheses that allow us to make sense of what is observed: to understand it.

But just as the scientific activity doesn’t end with describing and classifying a system, it can also go much further than simply explaining it.

When the scientific study has produced a sufficiently detailed description and explanation that allows us to understand in depth a system, its structure, and its operation, it becomes possible to predict how it will behave. 

For this, more or less detailed models are generated that can range from simple metaphors to mechanical, mathematical models or even very precise computerized simulations. Of course, the effectiveness of these prediction tools is also tested, a process that allows you to refine them.

And if the amazing potential of science is manifested when it generates knowledge of what has not yet happened, this capacity is realized when such knowledge is applied not only to know what will happen but to modify that destiny. 

Scientific knowledge, when applied, allows us to control the systems under study, altering their behavior. It’s here when the activity of doing science, which many conceive as pure and detached from everyday problems, acquires an ethical responsibility more clearly. It’s by modifying nature that we can make mistakes and cause harm.

Classify, explain, predict, and control: four dimensions that show the power and usefulness of science.

What’s life science?

Life sciences are the study of living organisms. They deal with every aspect of living organisms, from the biology of cells and the biology of individual organisms, to how these organisms interact with other organisms and the environment.

Which are the life sciences branches?

Some of the life sciences branches are:

  • Anatomy: it’s a science that studies the structure of living beings, that is, the shape, topography, location, arrangement, and the relationship of the organs that compose them.
  • Biophysics: it’s the science that studies biology with the principles and methods of physics. By applying the probabilistic character of quantum mechanics to biological systems, purely physical methods are obtained for the explanation of biological properties.
  • Bioinformatics: Can be defined, in a general way, as the application of computational technologies and statistics to the management and analysis of biological data
  • Biology: It’s the science that studies the natural processes of living organisms, studies which are divided into various specialized fields.
  • Biochemistry: It’s a branch of chemistry that is dedicated to studying living things in their chemical composition.
  • Ecology: Is the branch of biology that studies the relationships of different living beings with each other and with their environment.
  • Embryology: It’s the branch of biology that is in charge of studying morphogenesis, embryonic, and nervous development from gametogenesis to the moment of the birth of living beings. The formation and development of an embryo are known as embryogenesis. It’s a discipline linked to anatomy and histology.
  • Pharmacology: It’s the science that studies the history, origin, physical and chemical properties, presentation, biochemical and physiological effects, mechanisms of action, absorption, distribution, biotransformation, and excretion as well as the therapeutic use of substances and chemicals that interact with living organisms.
  • Physiology: It’s the scientific study of the functions and mechanisms that develop within a living system.
  • Genetics: Is the area of study of biology that seeks to understand and explain how biological inheritance is transmitted from generation to generation through DNA.
  • Genomics: it’s a field of molecular biology. A genome is a complete set of DNA within a single cell of an organism, and as such, genomics focuses on the structure, function, evolution, and mapping of genomes.
  • Histology: It’s the branch of biology that studies the composition, structure, and characteristics of the organic tissues of living beings. Histology is closely related to microscopic anatomy since its study does not stop at tissues.

So, Is biochemistry a life science?

Biochemistry is the chemistry of life, that is, the branch of science that is interested in the material composition of living beings.

This science studies the elemental compounds that makeup and allow living things to stay alive: proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, and nucleic acids.

On the other hand, biochemistry also studies the processes and chemical reactions that occur between these compounds, both in cells and in the body. This set of biochemical reactions is called metabolism, when it comes to the transformation of compounds into others, catabolism, when it comes to the degradation of compounds to obtain energy, and anabolism, when it comes to the synthesis of complex compounds. from simpler substances.

It’s an eminently experimental science, which resorts to the scientific method, that is, to the verification of the experiments using numerous own instrumental techniques and also of other branches of science such as statistics and physics.

I’ts molecular understanding of life is, logically, a consequence of the development of cell theory and the modern development of physics, chemistry, and biology.

FAQSs: Is biochemistry a life science?

What branch of science is biochemistry?

Biochemistry belongs to the branch that unites biology and chemistry. Through the use of chemical knowledge and techniques, biochemists are charged with understanding and solving biological problems.

What is considered a science of life?

Life science is any branch of science, such as biology, medicine, embryology, or psychology, which deals with living organisms and their organization, life processes, and the relationships between them and their environment.

What does homeostasis mean?

Homeostasis is the organism’s ability to present a characteristic and constant physical-chemical situation within certain limits, even in the face of alterations or changes imposed by the environment or the environment.

What is the cellular basis of life?

All organisms are made of cells. The cell. It’s the simplest living structure known, that is, it’s capable of carrying out the three vital functions, which are to nourish, relate, and reproduce. It consists of two parts that are the plasma membrane and the cytoplasm.

Who is the father of biology?

Charles Darwin, born 200 years ago, disproving the belief in divine creation and founding modern biology.

In this brief guide, we answered the question “Is biochemistry a life science?’’ What’s life, what’s science, is a science useful, what’s life science and its branches.

So, are these topics interesting?

If you have any questions or comments please let us know.

References

Blumenthal, D., Campbell, E. G., Causino, N., & Louis, K. S. (1996). Participation of Life-Science Faculty in Research Relationships with Industry. New England Journal of Medicine, 335(23), 1734–1739. https://doi.org/10.1056/nejm199612053352305

McGill University. (2019, August 19). Retrieved October 12, 2020, from Biochemistry website: https://www.mcgill.ca/biochemistry/about-us/information/biochemistry#:~:text=The%20study%20of%20life%20in,changes%20occurring%20in%20living%20cells.&text=%22Biochemistry%20has%20become%20the%20foundation%20for%20understanding%20all%20biological%20processes.

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