Biology is the study of life. As we’ve learned, this field covers a broad scope of subjects. As you progress through this course, you’ll gain the knowledge you need to make informed decisions. Let’s think back to the articles Cristina encountered at the beginning of this module: how could a knowledge of biological principle help with her understanding of each article?
Cristina read an article about some of the world’s weirdest animals. By learning about evolution and natural selection, Cristina could begin to see the different evolutionary reasons behind the extreme features some animals have. For example, the aye-aye, a mammal native to Madagascar, has evolved to have an extra long middle finger, which it can use to dig grubs out of trees. We’ll learn more about how these types of traits are selected for in Module 2: History of Life.
The next article Cristina read talked about GMOs (genetically modified organisms) and the risks they have. In order to truly understand potential risks of genetically modified foods, Cristina will need to first understand the science behind these foods. How are GMOs created? We won’t address this topic here, but it draws upon our modern understanding of how organisms reproduce and pass along certain traits.
Cristina then looked at an article about the paleo diet. In order to survive, humans require specific nutrients. While we won’t get into too much depth about nutrition in this course, we will learn about different body systems, including the digestive system, in Module 13: Overview of Body Systems. The digestive system is responsible for breaking down the macromolecules we eat and enabling those building blocks to be used throughout the body.
As you can see in Cristina’s example, biology is all around us—after all, you’re a living human being! In this course, we’ll learn about key biological principles that can help you live your life the best you can.