Why It Matters: Modern Biology

Why describe and discuss techniques used in modern biology?

Biology has impacted nearly every facet of human life. The entire field of medicine is based on biological discovery and exploration; without knowledge of how the human body functions, we would have no idea how to fix our bodies when something goes wrong.

Over the decades, new techniques have been developed to study biology. Scientists recently mapped the complete human genome. New technologies were developed to help speed this process up. Forensic science has also been vastly influenced by biological discovery. New techniques enable law enforcement to gather DNA evidence at crime scenes, which helps ensure they identify the right suspect. DNA based information can be applied to many such situations. Consider the following scenario.

On Memorial Day 1984, the remains of a soldier killed during the Vietnam War were laid to rest in the Tomb of the Unknown at Arlington National Cemetery. A decade later, however, questions began to arise about the identity of this unknown soldier. In particular, people began to wonder if, due to scientific improvement and developments, the soldier could be identified.

Learning Outcomes

  • List key technologies enabling modern uses of biology
  • Identify societal uses of biotechnology
  • Discuss the risks and benefits involved in applications of genetic and genomic science