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Biology, study of living things and their vital processes.

The field deals with all the physicochemical aspects of life.

Those broadly based levels—molecules, cells, whole organisms, and populations—may be further subdivided for study, giving rise to specializations such as morphology, taxonomy, biophysics, biochemistry, genetics, epigenetics, and ecology.

A field of biology may be especially concerned with the investigation of one kind of living thing—for example, the study of birds in ornithology, the study of fishes in ichthyology, or the study of microorganisms in microbiology.

The downward arrows point to those phenotypes against which selection acts.

Stabilizing selection (left column) acts against phenotypes at both extremes of the distribution, favouring the multiplication of intermediate phenotypes.

Furthermore, since the action of any organism is determined by the manner in which its cells interact and since all cells interact in much the same way, the basic functioning of all organisms is also similar.

Especially crucial to those advances was the rise of genomics in the late 20th and early 21st centuries.Despite the basic biological, chemical, and physical similarities found in all living things, a diversity of life exists not only among and between species but also within every natural population.The phenomenon of diversity has had a long history of study because so many of the variations that exist in nature are visible to the eye.That change can be a slight alteration in the sequence of the constituents of DNA (nucleotides), a larger change such as a structural alteration of a chromosome, or a complete change in the number of chromosomes.In any case, a change in the genetic material in the reproductive cells manifests itself as some kind of structural or chemical change in the offspring.

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