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Molecular Biology is the story of the molecules of life, their relationships, and how these interactions are controlled. It is an expanding field in life sciences, and its applications are wide and growing. We can now harness the power of molecular biology to treat diseases, solve crimes, map human history, and produce genetically modified organisms and crops, and these applications have sparked a multitude of fascinating legal and ethical debates.
In this Very Short Introduction, Aysha Divan and Janice Royds examine the history, present, and future of Molecular Biology. Starting with the building blocks established by Darwin, Wallace and Mendel, and the discovery of the structure of DNA in 1953, they consider the wide range of applications for Molecular Biology today, including the development of new drugs, and forensic science. They also look forward to two key areas of evolving research such as personalised medicine and synthetic biology.
1: Early milestones
5: Molecular interactions
6: Genetic engineering
7: Molecular biology in the clinic
8: Molecular forensics
9: Future challenges
Dr. Janice Royds has worked in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology for over 35 years. She is currently a lecturer in the Department of Pathology at the University of Otago, New Zealand. Her broad ranging biomedical research interests relate to cancer biology, while her extensive teaching experience at both undergraduate and postgraduate level include pathology, pharmacology, and the molecular biology of cancer. She has previously co-edited the textbook Tools and Techniques in Biomolecular Science (OUP, 2013) with Dr. Aysha Divan.
Dr. Aysha Divan has a background in biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, and is currently an Associate Professor in the Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK. She has presented at national and international conferences and has authored a number of publications in cancer biology and pedagogical research. She has worked on two textbooks for Oxford University Press: Communication Skills for the Biosciences: A Graduate Guide (2009) and a Tools and Techniques in Biomolecular Sciences (2013), co-edited with Dr Janice Royds.