Biology is the study of living things and their vital processes. The field deals with all the physicochemical aspects of life.
The modern tendency toward cross-disciplinary research and the unification of scientific knowledge and investigation from different fields has resulted in significant overlap of the field of biology with other scientific disciplines.
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Modern principles of other fields chemistry, medicine, and physics, for example—are integrated with those of biology in areas such as biochemistry, biomedicine, and biophysics.
How has biology changed the world?
Understanding Plant Growth
The agriculture sector’s long-term success depends on having a deeper understanding of plant growth. Growth or development is the process by which the genetic instructions in an organism’s genome become fully formed. Surprisingly, very little is currently known about this path in plants.
A genome sequence does not contain the information necessary to comprehend how each gene influences the behavior and formation of individual plant cells, how cells cooperate and communicate to form tissues (like the vascular system or the epidermis), or how the tissues work together to form the plant as a whole. However, it does include a resource for plant breeding methods and a list of parts.
For some plants, we have a list of the parts, but not how to put them together. Consequently, we lack a useful assembly manual at this time. A fundamental and comprehensive understanding of the assembly manual for even one plant would be a powerful tool.
A number of suggestions that could serve as the foundation for planning a coordinated effort to comprehend plant growth are provided in a recent NRC report titled “Achievements of the National Plant Genome Initiative and New Horizons in Plant Biology” (National Research Council, 2008). A request for the creation of “reference genomes” is one of these suggestions.
The report goes into great detail about the qualities of desirable reference sequences and the benefits of such genomes. The NPGI report acknowledges that more than just sequencing is required to comprehend plant growth. The numerous variations that can be found throughout the plant kingdom can be understood and applied within the framework of a fully characterized model plant.
Here, we see a connection between biodiversity and overcoming the challenge of revolutionizing our capacity to produce plant varieties that suit local conditions and requirements. There are distinct genetic resources in every plant species and even every local population of a species that has the potential to improve the crops on which we rely.
As a result, addressing the challenge of sustainable food production necessitates assessing and protecting biodiversity. For fundamental understanding, predictive models that take into account all of the variables that affect growth and development will be necessary.
There will also need to be a number of technologies that can be applied simultaneously to crop plants and models. New methods for computationally modeling plant growth and development at the molecular and cellular levels, as well as live visualization of growing plants, data on the proteomic, metabolomic, and gene expression of a particular cell type, high-throughput chemical and visual phenotyping, and techniques for describing.
The same technologies and measurement methods will be beneficial to research on human health, the environment, and energy. The New Biology, which brings together research from the physical, engineering, computational, and life science fields, will make it possible to create plant growth models that are detailed down to the cellular and molecular level.
Such predictive models, in conjunction with a comprehensive approach to cataloging and appreciating plant biodiversity as well as the evolutionary relationships among plants, will make it possible for scientific plant breeding of a new kind, in which genetic changes can be targeted in a way that will predictably result in novel crops and crops that are adapted to their conditions of growth.
An essential goal is predictability. With a thorough understanding of plant growth, any potential health or environmental effects of genetic changes, changes in growth conditions, or associated microbial or insect communities will be less uncertain. The New Biology project promises to develop plant varieties that can be grown more effectively and sustainably in local conditions.
Advances in plant breeding and engineering, as well as a deeper and more comprehensive understanding of plant diversity and growth, will make it easier and less expensive to develop plant varieties with useful characteristics.
Genetically Informed Breeding
As a result of advancements in bioinformatics, plant genome sequencing, and analysis, it is now possible to recast the principles of highly successful traditional plant breeding into a new and faster form of plant breeding known as “genetically informed breeding. “In the past, the plant breeder or farmer had to screen the offspring of crossbreeds after they had completed their entire life cycle to see which ones had the desired characteristics. Growing thousands of offspring required a lot of time and space, which limited the number of plant offspring that could be analyzed.
New quantitative methods—the methods of New Biology—are being developed by utilizing next-generation DNA sequencing to determine the differences in the genomes of parental varieties and quantitative trait mapping to determine which genes of the parents are associated with particularly desirable traits. After that, the genetic sequence, or genotype, of millions of seedlings or offspring can be determined, and only those with the desired trait combinations can be kept.
As a direct consequence of this, the overall rate and power of plant breeding will significantly accelerate, making it possible to conduct a much more in-depth selection from a larger number of offspring.
Continuous advancements in genotyping and the application of novel engineering techniques to automatically record the relevant traits of growing plants will greatly accelerate the process of breeding plants with desired characteristics.
The same bioinformatics of genetic association studies that are utilized in human genomics and next-generation sequencing techniques that are contributing to the revolution in medicine are examples of these advancements.
Crop Genetic Engineering
The advancement of plant genomics will also provide us with a new method for genetically manipulating crops. By including genes from species other than the crop plant in question in the crop DNA, we may be able to take advantage of all of the numerous molecular mechanisms that can contribute to high crop yields.
For instance, in dry environments, some plants use a different photosynthetic pathway known as C4, which increases carbon fixation. If the higher C4 rates could be transferred to crops that normally use C3 photosynthesis, the photosynthetic rates of the majority of the world’s food crops could rise.
Alternately, adjusting hormone concentration and effects could improve growth and the partitioning of carbohydrates produced by photosynthesis into grains and other edible plant parts.
Additional cutting-edge genetic and molecular techniques are enhancing the nutritional value of crops, some of which are already in use and others of which are currently under investigation (Fehr, 2007). Changing the composition of soybean oil to reduce the number of transfats is one such strategy.
Systematics, Evolution, and Biodiversity Genomics The rapid advancements in comparative and evolutionary biology have increased the significance of biodiversity genomics research for expanding the options for developing new food crops and enhancing those that are already in existence.
Technology advancements like high-throughput sequencing, imaging, and information technology have the potential to speed up the understanding and management of biological diversity. Expanding one’s knowledge of plant diversity and evolutionary relationships is the functional equivalent of setting up a fully stocked parts warehouse with an inventory control system that quickly locates the right part.
A significant portion of this potential has not yet been realized because the majority of species on Earth have not been named or even discovered, along with their precise evolutionary relationships.
Systematics, the study of the diversity of life and the relationships among organisms, is experiencing a revival as a result of the addition of genomic and computational analysis to the numerous other methods by which organisms can be compared.
Numerous practical benefits can be derived from further study in this area, including the ability to adapt and improve crops for bioenergy and food production, comprehend ecosystem function, and discover novel biologically active chemicals for medical and industrial applications (Chivian & Bernstein, 2008).
Crops as Ecosystems Every crop grows in a complex environment with biological and physical variables like light, temperature, and moisture. Viruses, bacteria, fungi, insects, birds, and other factors also interact with crop plants.
Consequently, gaining a deeper understanding of the beneficial and detrimental interactions that take place between plants and insects opens up yet another means of boosting crop productivity.
Additionally, the soil’s intricate microbial communities, which were difficult to study in the past, are crucial for providing plants with nutrients and protecting them from disease and pests.
A predictively thorough understanding of these microbial communities will also lead to the development of new strategies for increasing plant productivity. Crops have improved their resistance to herbivores like insects and plant diseases brought on by viruses, bacteria, and fungi thanks to plant breeding and genetic engineering.
Each of these areas is ripe for significant fundamental understanding advancements, and no single scientific community can address them all: a comprehensive list of plant diversity and evolutionary relationships, a thorough comprehension of how plants grow, and a systems approach to understanding how plants interact with the microbes and insects in their environments. Computational and physical scientists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, and molecular.