The planet Earth we live in consists of various living organisms ranging from huge animals like whales, elephants to small micro-organisms like bacteria, virus. Every organism co-exist together and are interlinked to each other one way or the other. There are various branches of science which provides details on how animals behave, habits and other characters. The branch of science that deals with the way life works, i.e the minute atoms, molecules and other essential compounds is called Molecular Biology. Molecular Biology is the study of how life works, how various cells in the body perform, the enzymes and other compounds which are necessary in the functioning of body. The cells in animal bodies secrete various enzymes and have specific properties which are essential in the functioning of our body. Even in plants, cells form an important part in synthesizing essential energy molecules.
In plants, the energy molecules are called ATP. ATP is very essential for the plants to perform activities like transpiration, photosynthesis and other functions. ATP are synthesized by a cell organelle called Mitochondria. Mitochondria is a cell organelle with multiple folds inside. Mitochondria is referred to as the “power house of the cell”. Mitochondria consists of two membranes, an outer membrane which covers the outer surface and an inner membrane. The inner membrane consists of cristae and matrix. Cristae are the folds inside mitochondria and matrix is the remaining space inside mitochondria. The cristae have the ATP molecules attached to it. The energy from Mitochondria helps in preparing food by photosynthesis. Another essential compound in plants is cellulose. Cellulose is the pigment which provides the green color to the plants. Cellulose is stored in chloroplasts. They are stocked in granules inside chloroplasts called grana which is surrounded by stroma. Chloroplasts produce chlorophyll, which is an essential compound in the process of photosynthesis.
In animals, A lot of hormones are operational in order to make sure the body functions efficiently. From the saliva in mouth which helps in breakdown of food with the help of bacteria to the blood that runs through the body. A lot of components are necessary. Carbohydrates, Fats, and various other compounds are present in our bodies. Hormones play a vital role in breaking down the compounds and storing the energy released. There are a lot of glands present throughout the body with every gland secreting various hormones. The pituitary gland is the topmost gland located just below the brain. It is considered as the conductor of the endocrine orchestra as it is the main endocrine gland. One of the most important gland in body is the pancreas. Pancreas is an dual gland [secretes both endocrine and exocrine hormones]. Pancreas secretes the hormone insulin. Insulin plays an important role in maintaining the glucose level in our body. It controls the sugar level in our body. Less secretion of insulin results in the increase of sugar level which results in diabetes mellitus, a dreaded disease which results in obesity. Diabetes is a disease, suffered by millions worldwide. Diabetes is also a genetic disease, it runs through family. It gets passed on to successive generation. Diabetes has been a huge burden and the number of diabetic cases has been increasing steadily. A solution for diabetes mellitus is taking insulin injection, which provides extra insulin to control excess glucose. A lot of digestive enzymes are used to break down complex food compounds and store the energy. HCL is present in stomach. HCL is a very strong acid of ph 2.0. It reacts with the food compounds and separates energy molecules and waste products. A lot of enzymes are used in reproductive process. Male reproductive glands secrete testosterone while the female reproductive organs secrete oestrogen, progesterone and relaxin. These hormones play an important role in controlling reactions, emotions and results in the production of the offspring.The hormone relaxin occurs at pregnancy.
Apart from enzymes and hormones, molecular biology has a lot of other uses. Molecular biology plays a key role in mutation. Mutation is the process by which the genetic code of an organism is altered to get a more efficient and useful results. The two main components in mutation are DNA ligase and restriction enzymes. The restriction enzymes are enzymes used to cut the DNA strand containing the genetic code at various points. DNA ligase is an enzyme which is used to join the broken strands of DNA to obtain a new strand of DNA with an altered gene code.
Apart from induced mutation as mentioned above, Mutation can also occur naturally. Radiation is a main cause for mutation. During world war 2, two atom bombs were dropped in Japan, which resulted in the death of millions. The population that survived had their gene code altered which resulted in devastating results. Radiation are also caused due to natural causes like volcanic explosions or even pollen dispersal, which causes radiation, this type of radiation does not has the same effect as artificial radioactivity. A lot of those who survived were not able to reproduce again. While there are no cases of mutants like portrayed in x-men, mutation still causes changes to the body. However, mutation can also be used for the benefits of mankind in many ways.
One of the main uses of altering genes is producing better quality of crops. The gene code of the crops can be altered to produce crops, which makes the crops more resistant to pests, produce better yield, resist climate change and improve the quality of crops. Crops can be made resistant to pesticides and fertilizers by altering their genes. The seeds of the plants can also be altered for better produce. Due to mutation, nowadays it is possible to grow plants even in tough conditions . Plants can also be modified to use very little water, which is useful in dry conditions and is also a key in saving water. New variety of plants can be produced by mixing genes of various plants to produce new plants that could prove to be more useful. Such crosses help in improving quality of plants and also tend to reduce the wastage of seeds produced by plants.
Gene modification has become a widely used tool in modern world. Among animals, genes of poultry can be modified to produce more eggs and increase the flesh to increase meat products. Genes of cows can be altered to increase the milk produced. Sometimes, intercross takes place between two different animals. An example is the Liger. When a male lion and a female tiger are crossed, the offspring produced is called an Liger. Gene modification has proved to be the solution for a lot of diseases. Even diseases like cancer, which is tough to cure, can be cured by altering the genes at the specific parts. However, gene modification also has its downs. In the ancient times, people tend to be scared of how mutation could produce wrong types of people. It took a lot of time to adapt to a world where mutation was becoming common. Gene modification is a key in cloning. The first organism to be cloned was a sheep called Dolly. Cloning is the process of producing organisms that tend to be alike. Gene modification has become key in modern world.
Science is the most important part of life which makes our lives easier. Molecular biology is just a part in science. However, molecular biology has made even the impossible look possible. Molecular biology is an amazing concept and could help in eradicating all modern day problems if used properly. Hence, molecular biology has had a huge impact on human lives compared to the previous century and could make more impact in the future.