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Learn molecular biology

By studying genes, proteins, and other biological molecules, humans can gain insight into how their bodies work. Learn molecular biology with online courses delivered through edX.

What is molecular biology?

Molecular biology is the study of proteins and nucleic acids and their role in the development, function, and replication of cells. Those cells may live within humans, animals, plants, or any other living organism. Molecular biologists work across a variety of disciplines, including vaccine development, biotechnology, and genetic modification. Their research and innovations can lead to medical breakthroughs in areas like disease prevention.

The Human Genome Project is a large-scale example of molecular biology that began in 1993. This study aimed to piece together all of the genes within the human genome to aid in biomedical research. The findings from this project have been applied to everything from cancer treatment to forensic sciences. 

Molecular Biology | Introduction Image

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Molecular biology curriculum

A molecular biology course may cover the structure and function of macromolecules, the importance of proteins to all living organisms, and molecular genetics. These fundamental skills can help learners establish a strong foundation for future studies, as they consider which subfields to pursue. Because the field is constantly evolving due to advances in technology and medicine, aspiring molecular biologists should prepare for continued education throughout their careers.

Careers in molecular biology

Today, microbiologists and molecular biologists have a wide range of advanced technologies available to assist in their research. What’s possible today may not have been considered just a few years ago. Gaining the proper skills for the field can allow learners to make meaningful scientific contributions that enhance the lives of all living things.

Some careers in molecular biology include:

  • Molecular biologist

  • Research specialist

  • Laboratory technician

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