Biology is an utterly interesting field of science that has been the centre of focus for centuries. The complex biological concepts have been nagging one and all since times immemorial. Regardless of the advancements occurring in the area of the science and technology, a lot of biological phenomena are still asking a reasonable underlying explanation. The mystery regarding the origin of life on the earth and the appearance of humans remains to be unravelled. It is because of the biology that we exist. Whatever we do; involves biology in one way or other. Even when you are doing nothing or sleeping, each cell in your body is working for you. In short, right from the moment you are born, it is biology that plays its role; you grow into a child, you encounter teenage, welcome adulthood and after that, you start ageing. All these beautiful yet fascinating processes have a hidden biological principle. Today we are going to discuss some daily life examples whereby biology plays a significant role.
The food that we consume is the result of agriculture. We, humans, and animals depend on the agricultural products for sustaining ourselves. Fruits, vegetables, grains, pulses, oils, honey, sugar, tea, coffee, and other foods are all obtained from the plants. Farmers are able to produce the high-yielding and pest-resistant varieties of the crops. Scientists study the complex nature, occurrence, and life-cycle of the pests and with the help of biotechnological techniques, they are able to obtain better quality and quantity of the crops. It is because pollination occurs that the flowers sprout and seeds are obtained. The whole process of pollination is made possible only because of the birds and honey bees.
2. Food & Drinks
What keeps us alive is the food that we consume. Without food, the viability of life is not feasible. Our food items come from plants and animals. Microbes aid in the formation of dairy products like curd, cheese, and yoghurt. The bacterium Lactobacillus helps in the formation of curd from milk. Similarly, yeast, one of the simplest eukaryotes, is used in the process of fermentation. Wine is obtained from grapes through a similar process. Furthermore, there are certain microbes and other biological processes that indirectly help in the production of food. The microorganisms present in the soil act as a decomposing agent, which assist in the production of the compost from dead and decaying organic matter. This compost acts as an effective fertilizer for the growing plants.
3. Health & Medicine
Whenever we get sick, we consult a doctor. The doctor gives us medicines, and we are all good to go. How has this been made possible? The answer to this question lies in biology. It is only because of biology that the study of various disease-causing microorganisms has been made possible. Researchers have investigated the intricate nature of the microorganisms, their occurrence, life-cycle, reproduction, and propagation and hence, come up with measures of control for preventing the disease. Even the formulation of drugs for fighting the disease-causing microorganisms has been made possible because of the study of the biology of those microorganisms.
Be it heat scorching summers or spine-chilling winters; it is the biology which keeps you safe. You wear breathable cotton clothes in summers which are obtained from plants. The thick sweaters which cover you up in cold winters are made of wool which is procured from sheep. Linen, nylon, and fabric dyes are derived from the plants and polyester from fossils; nonetheless, whatever be the fabric, it ought to be plant-based.
5. Jet lag
When you travel around the globe and cross multiple time zones, you have a problem falling asleep in the new country. Don’t you? Why does this happen and what is the underlying reason for it? The answer to this question lies in the fact that your body has its internal clock, called the circadian rhythm. The biological clock is responsible for deciding your time to stay awake and the time to fall asleep. Jet lag occurs because your biological clock (circadian rhythm) is synchronized to your original time zone. Your biological clock does not take into consideration the distance you have traveled. Henceforth, the more time zones you cross, the severe your jet lag is going to be.
6. Stem cells
Stem cells are undifferentiated cells. These cells can replicate rapidly. The stem cells are of utmost importance to us because they can develop into the various types of cells, like muscle cell, nerve cell, cardiac cell, etc. We, humans, started our life as a single cell and, after infinite cell divisions, developed into multicellular organisms. The stem cells work in a similar fashion. The embryonic stem cells, totally undifferentiated cells, are called the master cells. The stem cells can replace the damaged tissues and organs, correct the improper functioning of some parts of the organs, introduce genetic defects for research and enable the scientists to develop new drugs for the treatment of the diseases. Once again biology acts as your savior.
7. Altitude Sickness
You might remember the last time you visited a hill station and felt uncomfortable at higher altitudes. What can be the probable explanation for this? Now, again, the answer to this simple question lies in biology. Altitude sickness is a group of symptoms which occur when you climb to a higher altitude. Since you did not give your body the time to adapt to the changing pressure and reducing oxygen levels at the high altitudes; the symptoms of altitude sickness occur too quickly. Nevertheless, your fascinating body responds by increasing the breathing rate, which, in turn, not only, increases the oxygen levels in the blood but also changes the blood acidity levels, lung pressure, electrolyte levels, and salt balance.
8. Environment & Ecosystem
It is only because of the field of biology that you are better able to understand the nature of interactions between the organisms and the environment. The diverse interactions which take place between humans are also because of their study at the biological level. We are better able to understand the human psychology and sociology via the biological study of the human body. Not only the human interactions, but we are, now, able to discern other ecological interactions and the study of ecosystems as well. This helps us to identify the potential dangers to the ecosystem and the earth. Once we have identified the dangers, we can move ahead for the betterment of the environment.
9. Fuelling Earth
Ever since awareness increased, we are turning to the renewable sources of energy. However, we cannot deny the fact that most of the world still runs on the fossil fuels, particularly coal and oil. Now, what are fossil fuels? Fossil fuels are the derivatives of living things only and have a biological origin. Fossil fuels like petroleum and natural gas are derived from the dead and decaying biological matter.
10. Next-Generation Biofuels
Worried because of the rapidly exhausting fossil-fuels? Don’t bother a bit because biology, once again, is at your rescue. The development of the biofuels is on the rise. The cultivation and processing of the Jatropha curcas L. (JCL) are increasing because the Jatropha oil is effectively used in engines and diesel generators. What’s more surprising is the fact that Jatropha oil can be utilized directly after extraction, even without refining. Ethanol, manufactured from plant sugars, is mixed with gasoline so as to increase the fuel efficiency. Various biofuels currently in use are derivatives of algae, corn, wheat, rapeseed oil, and sugar beets. The use of biofuels will open a new avenue of fuels to combat the issue of pollution and carbon emission.
11. Drugs: Boon or Bane?
The use of drugs and alcohol has been on the rise among the youth; which is a major issue of concern for the society. Majority of the drugs, like opioids, cannabinoids, and coca alkaloids, are obtained from the flowering plants. Other drugs like barbiturates, amphetamines, and benzodiazepines were employed to treat the patients with mental illness, depression, and insomnia. In addition to the drugs above, morphine was used as a painkiller and a useful sedative. However, unfortunately, many people have started misusing these medicinal drugs. When these drugs are taken for other purposes, let alone be medicinal, they affect an individual’s physical, physiological, and psychological functions. Substance use has adverse effects; like respiratory failure, heart failure, cerebral hemorrhage and may lead to coma and death.