The key difference between cell biology and molecular biology is that the cell biology mainly concentrates on studying cellular mechanisms of the cell while the molecular biology mainly concentrates on studying the cellular molecules especially DNA.
Cell Biology and Molecular biology are two disciplines of biology. The field of Cell Biology deals with cellular mechanisms of the cell. Thus, it basically involves the processes and anatomy of the cell. Molecular biology is the field of study that involves the study of molecular level mechanisms. Hence, molecular biology concentrates more on DNA based techniques and expression of genes. Both cell biology and molecular biology studies are widely conducted across the world to assess the behaviour of living organisms towards various conditions. Therefore, there are a lot of research aspects in both the fields. Thus, this increases the importance of studying cell and molecular biology among scientists.
1. Overview and Key Difference
2. What is Cell Biology
3. What is Molecular Biology
4. Similarities Between Cell Biology and Molecular Biology
5. Side by Side Comparison – Cell Biology vs Molecular Biology in Tabular Form
What is Cell Biology?
Cell biology is the field of study that assesses the anatomy and physiology of the cell. Cell biologists study the behaviour of the cell, which is the basic structural and functional unit of an organism. Also, based on the cellular organization, organisms are of two groups; Prokaryotes and Eukaryotes. Prokaryotes have a simple cellular organization. They do not have membrane-bound organelles and a complex nucleus structure. Bacteria and Archea belong to this group. The behaviour of the prokaryotic cell in terms of their metabolism deviates, and prokaryotic cell biology explains those differences.
In contrast, the eukaryotic cell biology is more complex. Eukaryotes are organisms which have membrane-bound organelles and have an organized nucleus structure. This enables the eukaryotes to perform more complex functions in terms of their metabolism. The study of eukaryotic cell biology in terms of different disease conditions, environmental conditions and other pathologic conditions are of great interest in the present world.
Cell biology thus studies the details of cells in terms of their structural and functional features. This is important to identify the behaviour of the cell for various exposures and conditions.
What is Molecular Biology?
Molecular Biology is the field of study which deals with molecules in the living system. At present, molecular biology mostly concentrates on the studies of genetic material and proteins. Molecular biologists study the patterns of the central dogma of life. This involved studying the genetic makeup, mRNA expression and protein synthesis. Molecular Biology has been referred to as a very reliable field of study to analyze the behaviour of a cell or an organism. Molecular biology has been used to confirm many metabolic and structural conditions of organisms.
In addition, molecular biology techniques have immense use in diagnostics. Techniques such as Electrophoresis, Polymerase Chain Reaction and Sequencing of genes and proteins are now widely used in genetic diagnostics. Also, they are reliable techniques to identify different biomarkers and pathological conditions.
What are the Similarities Between Cell Biology and Molecular Biology?
- Both Cell Biology and Molecular Biology study areas are on living organisms.
- Also, both studies can be performed under in vitro conditions.
- And, both require expertise input.
What is the Difference Between Cell Biology and Molecular Biology?
Cell biology is one of the major studies that analyze what is happening inside the cell. On the other hand, molecular biology is another major study area that deals with the gene expression, DNA, RNA and proteins. Therefore, the difference between cell biology and molecular biology is that the cell biology studies are at the cellular level while the molecular biology studies are at the molecular level.
The below infographic shows the difference between cell biology and molecular biology as a side by side comparison.
Summary – Cell Biology vs Molecular Biology
Cell biology is the field of science that studies on the living cells. In contrast, molecular biology is the field of study that studies on the central dogma of life. This includes the DNA, RNA and the protein synthesis. In order to analyze the behaviour of a living organism, it is important to understand the cell behaviour as well as the genetic pattern of a particular organism. Therefore, it is important to study both cell biology and the molecular biology of an organism. This is the difference between cell biology and molecular biology.
1.“Cell Biology – GeneEd – Genetics, Education, Discovery.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Available here
2.“Molecular Biology.” ScienceDaily, ScienceDaily. Available here
1.”Wilson1900Fig2″By Edmund Beecher Wilson (Public Domain) via Commons Wikimedia
2.”Central dogma of molecular biology” By Philippe Hupé, Emmanuel Barillot, Laurence Calzone, Jean-Philippe Vert, Andrei Zinovyev, (CC BY-SA 3.0) via Commons Wikimedia
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