Tuesday, 18 October 2016
For Biology Week, we thought we’d feature our Biology Tutor – Josie Briggs who writes about how fascinating Biology is and why she loves it so much.
Biology is inherently fascinating. From a very young age I have always loved reading and learning about science. Biology is unique because of the complexity of living things and how they interact with each other and the environment. It's intriguing to think that many rocks and minerals on Earth originated from living things. It is well known that chalk and limestone are the remains of small aquatic creatures – especially shellfish, which died and fell onto the seabed and were buried and pressurised to turn them into rock. Also, marble is metamorphosed limestone or chalk which has been subjected to high temperatures and pressures. Less well known is that flints began as sponges. If it wasn't for living things, the mineralogy and geology of Earth would be completely different.
When you look at a single cell under a microscope or in a micrograph, remember that this cell is awesomely complex. Nessa Carey's book 'The Epigenetics Revolution' describes how genes are activated and deactivated to cause cells to become specialised. Biologists have found that some of these epigenetic changes may be passed even to the fourth and fifth generations. This means that some behaviour or living conditions experienced by your great great grandparents may be affecting the way you are today.
I've now started on her second book, 'Junk DNA', and biologists are finding that more and more of the non-protein coding bits of DNA have important functions, and a mutation in 'junk' DNA may cause a devastating inherited disease. Fascinating, and I'll put a review on the forums when I've finished it.
A student once asked me if we knew everything about cells and I replied no, we know almost nothing. I think there is a lot more to discover about biology and I like to keep an eye on the scientific news to learn about the latest findings.
If, like Josie, you’re fascinated by Biology, why not find out about our A level and IGCSE science courses? You can even download a free sample to give you a taste of what it’s like to study in depth, or simply to learn more from at your leisure.