General Biology encompasses all aspects of the life sciences. We will explore the world around us with a very broad scope, investigating everything from the microbes that live within us to the ecosystems we ourselves inhabit. All of life is subject to the same natural forces. We will describe the myriad of different ways that life responds to these forces, the progress being made in expanding our understanding through biological research, and how this insight is being applied in the field and in the lab.
You probably remember the 1993 film, Jurassic Park. If not, the skinny is that a bunch of ambitious scientists use dinosaur DNA from preserved mosquitoes combined with modern reptile DNA to create your family fun dinosaur theme park (with real-life dinosaurs). It turns out this work of science fiction is a little more science and a little less fiction these days. I am not actually talking dinosaurs here, but we are now in an era where de-extinction is becoming possible. Before anyone goes all, honey, grab the flares, just STOP, collaborate and listen.
Human beings make for great scientists, but crummy biological test subjects. Think about it for a minute—if you were a researcher, how would you study an organism that is genetically diverse and takes decades to mature? These are only a couple of the many challenges that biologists face when studying human health and disease.
More than 200 million people in the world are infected by the parasitic worms
Scientists have known for decades that cells readily communicate with each other. To send signals close by, a communicative cell can nestle up to a neighbor that has the lock into which its key fits (yes that is a euphemism - a euphemism for [ligand-receptor binding](http://www.mindcreators.com/developmentalsim/ReceptorsLigands.htm). To talk to other cells they aren't directly touching, cells can release substances such as hormones). These substances enter the circulatory system and eventually are sensed by other groups of cells that can respond to that specific signal. We pretty much thought those were the only two broad ways that cells could talk to each other by directly touching or by releasing signaling molecules. However, in the 80s, a group of scientists first described tiny spheres, or vesicles, inside cells in a laboratory . They noticed that these vesicles were eventually expelled into the cell...