2.1 What is molecular biology?

Biochemistry and molecular biology are used interchangeably in this book, and they are increasingly recognised as a unified discipline, rather than as two distinct disciplines or subdisciplines. Probably this is due to widespread adoption of the techniques of both disciplines by all biologists. However, historically molecular biology emerged from a convergence between biochemistry and genetics. Biochemistry is centred in chemistry and principally deals with understanding the function of proteins. Genetics is principally concerned with the function of genes and inheritance. Molecular biology emerged later, once the molecular mechanisms (biochemistry) of gene function were determined, and focuses on the relationship between genes and functional gene products (which are in most cases proteins). So molecular biology could be viewed as the nexus between biochemistry and genetics.


Relationship between biochemistry, genetics and molecualr biology. Biochemistry is about understanding protein funtion while genetics is about understanding gene function. Molecular biology is at the nexus of thses two and is about understanding how genes and proteins function together.
Figure 2.1 The relationship between biochemistry, genetics, and molecular biology: Molecular biology war born out of discoveries which linked genes and inheritance to with functional gene products (proteins).


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