Photograph via snooOG

A place to discuss all things biology! We welcome people and content from all related fields.

The Biology Network
science askscience biology
microbiology bioinformatics biochemistry
Welcome to /r/Biology!

A place to discuss all things biology! We welcome people and content from all related fields. Feel free to share the latest news, discuss relevant content, show off your latest publication, or ask for help on anything from career choices, to how to get that one finicky assay to finally work.

/r/Biology FAQ
New to Reddit?
  • no trolling
  • no spamming (ie. posting tons to links to the same website).
  • no hate speech or bigotry
  • no personal attacks
  • quality control: posts are subject to removal if they do not fit the sub's purpose.
  • no anti-vaxxers or covid-19 deniers
  • Health or Medical questions should be submitted to /r/AskDocs.
  • Health or Medical articles can be submitted to /r/health.
  • Disclaimer: The information provided in the comments section does not, and is not intended to, constitute professional or medical advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in the comments section are for general informational purposes only.
  • Guidelines for the media
  • You can read the sub's rules here.
User Flair

We have self-serve user flair. Pick flair representing your favorite biological field of interest. You don't have to be an expert in it. If you don't have a favorite genre of biology, consider "general biology" or "bio enthusiast". If you want something off-list, you can change the flair text yourself.

Link Flair

Please label your submissions with user flair after submitting them.



3,438,387 Subscribers


Study help D:

So im a college student (not in us but its the equivalent) and basically we have 4 semesters before we graduate with a pre-uni diploma. My first semester in biology went really well for me, I had an 87% average in exams, and we studied general biology and microbiology. Then this semester, we are studying systems, like digestive system, cardiovascular, etc. And idk why but now my average is 65% so if someone has tips please help!

PS: this is my first time in this subreddit so idk if its the right one to ask

1 Comment
00:07 UTC


Recommended universities for a Wildlife and Conservation Biology major

I was heavily considering Unity Environmental University in Maine, but learned that it has become an absolute joke of a university. I'm currently attending my local community college so it'll be a year or more before I'm ready to transfer but I have absolutely no idea where to go. I'm unsure what other information to provide.

00:02 UTC


Biology master's Serbia, Slovenia, EU

I'm finishing biology bachelor degree in Serbia, Uni of Belgrade with average score of 8.3/10. Since i want to work and live in some place with better salary and life quality (Scandinavian countries, maybe Holland or Switzerland..)

  • Should i get my biology master in Slovenia?-

(I'm low on budget and don't really think i will get funding to study elsewhere) Slovenia offers a free masters degree, living cost is similar to Serbia, and is EU (better diploma than serbia's and better opportunities?).

20:05 UTC


What could I do with a biotech concentration?

I was originally on a pre-pharmacy track at my college but changed to biology after my first year due to having too many credit hours. I’m working towards getting my undergrad with a concentration in molecular biology and biotechnology. I still plan on applying for pharmacy school but I’ve got several Cs on my transcript so I fear that my chances of getting in are slim, so I’m shifting my focus more towards what I could do with biotech.

I know I could be a biotech engineer or a biotechnologist but what other options are out there? I’m kinda in the dark

1 Comment
22:24 UTC


A question about sex-linked vs autosomal genes

I look just like my father, my son looks just like my mother’s father (my grandfather). If my dad gave me his Y chromosome, and I gave my son my Y chromosome, how is it he takes after the X side of my family?

(I’m not questioning his paternity or anything like that, just curious how this could have happened)

22:13 UTC


Careers in the biology/health sector that involve analysing and interpreting data, instead of generating it?


I am a biomedical sciences bachelor student and it’s dawning on me more and more that the role of a clinical laboratory scientist, is flooded with generating data and doing “experiments” rather than interpreting it.

I have no problem getting a post graduate degree in the future if it means I can get my desired career role, which involves statistics, data analysis and review write ups

Here are some other careers I’ve considered:

  • Bioinformatics

(A lot of the jobs in this field have often more to do with data management and database building than interpretation and statistical analysis of data)

  • biostatistics

Not really valuable as an option in my country due to my circumstances and not many non expensive and English speaking programs in Europe


21:29 UTC


How do I write an ISI article as an undergraduate student?

Hi, I’m an undergrad student who is majoring in Microbiology and I want to admit to a university abroad to get a masters in evolutionary biology or paleontology. I have heard that having an article is not required from undergrads, however it will significantly affect your application.

I have heard that as a researcher, I need to read articles, find holes in them or ask questions and start the research process from there. However, I’m just an undergrad student with zero funding and the only money I have is the money that my parents give me. I have neither the time or the experience to read, let’s say 5 articles a day. And even if I did, as I said, I can’t afford a research alone.

So what should I do? How can I write a research paper with my condition and still get an application from a good university to study Evolutionary biology or Paleontology?

19:54 UTC


Lost my job after 5 months, help/guidance please?

For context (TL/DR bottom): I work as a specific type of biologist, but have a background in broader biology/ecology. Recently worked for my state as an Environmental Planner/ Bio specialist. I was fired yesterday for no specific reason, however, I have been butting heads with my supervisor the last month due to her bullying me and severely micromanaging after 4 months of none of that. It was out of left field and spun me out mentally.

Needless to say, I knew it was coming but I was let go. I obtained 3 important certificates while working that would help me if I continue to pursue this field. It looks really bad losing a job with my specific state, it’s damn near impossible so I’m leaning on not putting it on my resume. But how to explain the gap, as I’ve only worked 2 seasonal (long-9months each) positions, the last one ending last February. So I would have almost a year gap on my resume, and also likely can’t use them as a good reference.

My field is rather small among the larger environmental science field, so I’m not sure I’ll even continue to pursue “Planning” we can call it. It just sucks I have solid training and certs in a niche biology field- that same field requires a minimum of 5 years experience to be considered a “professional.” Or what I am finding on open positions is the minimum of 5years experience in this specific field to be considered, I have barely 2 years in this specific field with a BSc degree in Environmental science/Ecology. Most of my experience is various field work/research/data collection/ technical report writing etc. This niche requires the degree and 5 years minimum. I fell into it through consulting and planning, I didn’t initially pursue it but I enjoy it and was building up my experience. I’ve now screwed up a gov job and the reference to go with it that would at least help me stay in the field and find another job.

TL//DR: I got fired from a state job in a niche enviro/biology field after a short 5 months, what do I do with that experience and the certifications I received while there?

18:42 UTC


Fish coming to the surface vs humans in microgravity

I’m not quite sure if this fits but I’m wondering why humans when in microgravity don’t expand and die like deep sea fish do when brought to the surface??

I mean it’s simmilar when they’re actually exposed to complete 0 gravity but even in the space ship wouldn’t it be big enough of a difference??

17:27 UTC


Jokes about clinicians and academic researchers

Hello! I will be doing a stand up comedy bit in front of my department which has clinical doctors and lab researchers both. I wanted to add a part to show the funny differences between the way clinicians and researchers function. All the help /comments are appreciated :)

16:43 UTC


How do nerves work??

I get that they send a signal to the brain when they receive stimulation, but stuff like the TV static you get when your hand falls asleep or the numbness you get when at the dentist, how does that work?

I assume numbness is the lack of signals being sent but the fuzzy feeling with the static (like hitting ur funny bone) makes no sense. Is it just a bunch of signals being sent super fast??

15:45 UTC


Microbiology, molecular biology or genetics?

I am finishing highschool, and can't decide between these three. If anyone that works in these fields has any experience or tips, would be thankful.

13:17 UTC


[Systematics] Phylogenetic Group Classification

Can crocodiles, birds, and other reptiles be considered a monophyletic group? Also, are Chondrichthyes (shark), Mammalia (whale), and Osteichthyes (sunfish) classified as paraphyletic groups?

I am confused about whether these classifications are accurate. When I examined the phylogenetic tree, it seemed that crocodiles and birds are monophyletic. However, if I include other reptiles, does the group remain monophyletic, or they don't share an immediate common ancestor anymore? Lastly, are Chondrichthyes, Mammalia, and Osteichthyes considered paraphyletic? They belong to different classes, but it appears they may have a common ancestor, according to the phylogenetic tree available online.

11:43 UTC


Looking for suggestions for 'complex' documentaries or youtube channels

Mainly marine biology as I am doing a master right now. I love to put on podcasts while doing something else.

Usually on TV you get pretty basic knowledge of "the clownfish and the anemone" Do you know about something more scientific?

Or even podcasts .. idk

1 Comment
10:39 UTC


Xenograft models in cancer drug profiling

It's well known that cancer drugs that exhibit activity in preclinical mouse cancer models often have limited predictive power for activity in the clinical setting. I'm wondering if there has been any systematic study of whether clinical activity has been evaluated in drugs that showed no activity in preclinical mouse models (as single or combination agent).

1 Comment
10:36 UTC


I have a technical presentation for an interview - how much detail should I use when explaining the methods I used?

07:12 UTC


Does semaglutide reduce dopamine???

If semaglutide is curbing addictive behaviors and excessive eating through reducing the pleasure the brain receives from these behaviors, how does that reduce overall dopamine levels? Wouldn’t that almost “numb” a human to pleasure from any source? Scientific articlesh are saying that semaglutide increases dopamine, though. Can someone explain this in to me?? (I’m a junior is hs and have only taken an honors bio class in 9th grade so keep that in mind please lol)

05:56 UTC


16 S ribosomal DNA in E.coli. Genetics

This is for a genetics lab project. I have to explain how E.coli can be categorized based on this sequence. I know like in all prokaryotes that the sequence is essential for ribosome formation and protein synthesis, but are there any specifics to why this bacteria can be categorized? I’m not a micro or premed student! Thanks people of Reddit

04:51 UTC


Biology Degree VS Environmental Science Degree

I'm in my last year of high school in Alberta, and applying to universities. Ive always had a passion for animals, but aside from that have been very unsure on what i would want to do. I was thinking of going to either Biology or environmental science for one of my picks, but am not sure hat the safer and best option are. Im aware that after taking a degree, i would probably need a job, that's just a real-life situation. I would probably be willing to take another couple years in Uni, but I just wanted to hop on here and see if anyone has any tips or comments about if It would be better to go with a Biology or Environmental science degree.

01:58 UTC


Highest paying Biology jobs?

Hi all,

I’ve just graduated from high school and am thinking about Uni for 2025. I know I want to study something Biology related though I’m not sure what and obviously money is an important factor.

What field(s) in Biology (without being a MD) are attainable but also pay well? Obviously Biotech could pay well if you formed a successful start up but I’m thinking something more likely and realistic.

Thanks :)

00:03 UTC


Big Microbio Question


I am doing a science experiment comparing the transformation efficiencies of various strains of E. coli. For my experiment, I am using the pGLO plasmid from BioRad as my plasmid being cloned, and the different strains of E. Coli I am comparing are E. Coli K-12, E. coli B, and E. Coli DH5a. My results show that E.Coli K-12 had the highest rate of transformation efficiency, E.Coli DH5a had the second best, and E. Coli B had the worst. I understand why Ecoli. B has the worst transformation efficiency; historically, it has never been the best at transformation. However, I am a little confused why E.Coli K-12 has such a higher rate of efficiency than E.Coli DH5a, because E.Coli DH5a has so many mutations that are supposed to make it the most efficient. I have tried searching online for reasons I may have gotten these results, but everything I found is very vague, describing how E. coli DH5a might simply be more sensitive to prep conditions, or that the strains just have different builds. I'm looking for some help on interpreting my answers! Any specific facts on why I got these results would be very helpful - like, I understand how my results are different because the strains are composed of different proteins, but I want to know what specifically! I'll provide more background on my project below that may or may not have influenced my results, and would be helpful.

The kit from BioRad, which the pGLO plasmid came with, suggested that K-12 be used as the bacteria. I presume that's because the pGLO is more suited for a K-12 strain, but I'm still wondering why!

The DH5a was the only bacteria that came already competent and frozen, the K-12 was lyophilized, and the B was growing on an agar plate. I made sure that I prepared them to contain the same volume of cells despite their different forms

I used the same heat-shock procedure for all strains of bacteria, keeping them on ice/in the hot bath and growing on agar plates for the same amounts of time.

I used agar plates with ampicillin to determine my yield quantity because the plasmid has ampicillin resistance, so presumably, the more colonies on a plate, the better the bacteria's transformation efficiency is. However, I also ran trials on agar plates that did not have ampicillin, and all the bacteria grew just fine, so I know it's not an issue with the Ecoli itself.

Thank you for all of the help. Anything would be appreciated!!

23:24 UTC


Hydrophobic lichens

So today I collected some samples of a lichen that belongs to the Caliciaceae family from a tree. When I sunk it in water it didn't get wet and formed a protective bubble that prevented it from getting wet. I think it's caused by the pollen that was present on this lichen. And I'm wondering if this pollen is produced by the lichen or is it coming from the atmosphere. It's not a big deal but I'm just curious. Thanks for any help!

21:30 UTC


How does lactic acid fermentation affect the Citric Acid Cycle and Oxidative Phosphorylation?

Just studying for an exam when I saw this. Would lactate fermentation reduce or accelerate the citric acid cycle?

21:20 UTC


Origin of Life research for science fair UPDATED. What do you think? (Special thanks to LittleGreenBastard for pointing out errors in the original)

Just as a disclaimer, I know a lot of people are religious and do not agree with the way scientists think the earth formed, life began, and evolved. But this is what I managed to collect over this research project, so please do not take this personally if you do have a faith.

Creation of the Earth

After the sun was formed, large clumps of gas and dust started orbiting around it. Because of the gravitational attraction between these particles of dust, they began compressing into larger chunks, which attracted more dust. This was extremely slow because of the tiny masses of the dust particles.

Because of the amount of mass pressing down, it passed a threshold called hydrostatic equilibrium. This threshold is the amount of mass that needs to be pushing down to start forcing everything into a sphere. Ever wondered why asteroid shapes can vary so much

while all planets are spheres? It is because of this threshold.

Eventually, there were so many clumps of rock pressing down onto the centre that it became molten. We can only presume that the core contained iron because of its magnetic effects on the earth. Though we also know that lighter material rose up while heavier materials stayed closer to the centre of mass because of their varying densities.

Slowly the layers formed, with the core consisting of iron and nickel as said previously, the mantle mostly consisting of silicates, and the crust consisting of oxygen, silicon, aluminium, calcium, sodium, potassium, and magnesium. Which, as you may notice, has a lower atomic mass than the materials inside the lower layers. But please note that the crust was not fully formed and is nowhere near what we see today.

These processes took millions of years to occur and are a lot more complex.

Hadean Era

This is one of the oldest periods of time on Earth, lasting about 700 million years. It was named after the Greek god Hades, who was the ruler of the underworld. As the name implies, this was a period where it was basically hell on Earth.

The crust had not fully formed yet, so the mantle was largely exposed, with the crust forming "islands" floating on the mantle. So if you were to look far away, it would look as if it was a ball of lava floating in space.

Another contributor of heat to the Earth are incoming asteroids. On the early Earth, the atmosphere had not formed yet, meaning that the Earth had no protection from asteroids crashing into it, creating more heat from the bombardment.

During this period, we also know that a large object in space, also known as Pheia which was roughly the size of Mars, collided with the early Earth and broke apart, with one of the larger pieces orbiting the Earth. This is

the modern-day moon, which also passed the hydrostatic equilibrium.

Archean Eon

During this time, the Earth slowly began to stabilise and slowly started to resemble a water world. Continents began to form, but they were deep under an ocean, which was deeper than what we have today. In addition to that, the Earth's atmosphere had taken shape, but its contents and their proportions are vastly different today, with it mostly containing methane and lacking our precious oxygen.

It is also during this period that the earliest life began due to its now more hospitable

environment, but we are going to touch on that in more detail in the next section.

Amino Acids, the Basis of Life

As said in the previous section, during the Archean eon, life truly began. But what do we define by life? For this context, we will define life as any chemical that can fully replicate itself.

Well, one of the bases of life is amino acids, and they formed over a long and complex process:

To start, we most definitely know that asteroids and meteoroids have been a crucial part of the formation of amino acids, as they have provided certain elements from space that make up amino acids. These are the meteorites that have been bombarding Earth in the Hadean era, providing the said elements.

So now these elements are floating around the ocean, but what causes them to form bonds together? Well, there are multiple things that have caused this: Ultraviolet light from the sun, energy from lightning strikes, and hydrothermal vents.

Let's start with the conditions the Earth provided that made chemical bonding possible to start. We have a large amount of heat in the ocean from solar radiation and hydro thermal vents. This is important as heat is required for a lot of necessary chemical reactions to take place.

Next, the ocean currents caused by gravity, wind, etc., pulled all of the chemicals together in one place. After which, if a lightning strikes, it creates enough energy to bond the molecules together, as we would do in a lab, but with other means of producing energy.

Next, after the bonds are created, then the UV light from the sun can break down and rearrange the chemical bonds of the elements, leading to the creation of new compounds, including amino acids. To note, UV light needs to be quite intense to do this, so if amino acids formed deep underwater, then they would most likely stay together for a long time.

One of the most important experiments that confirms this area of knowledge is the miller-yuri experiment which recreated the conditions of the early earth adding a heat source for hydrothermal vents, gases which at the time were believed to be at the time and an electrical wire to simulate lightning they put the elements in the early earth's ocean and after running for only one week amino acids have formed inside of the water.

Formation of Protein and Metabolic Pathways

After the creation of amino acids, some of them started to become peptides. But how? When two amino acids bond to make a peptide they dehydrate Now, when I say dehydrated, I don't mean that they stayed in the sun and lost all water through evaporation. No, this again happened, like everything else so far, through a chemical reaction where one of them loses the OH and the other loses the H.

Next, these peptides bond to create a long enough chain for us to give it its own name and that is protein. Imagine amino acids as a lego piece and then put two of them together you will get peptides. Let's now take the column of lego we have and stack a bunch of those together. This is protein.

The formation of protein led to the chemical reaction most commonly known as "metabolic pathways." These series of chemical reactions has played a significant role in creating different essential compounds for continued survival. As an example, one such metabolic pathway breaks down nutrients for energy.

These pathways use enzymes as a catalyst (which, in other terms, is a chemical which is able to increase the speed of the reaction. This doesn't use up the catalyst and may be used other and other again), and enzymes can be very specific, meaning that the outcome of the reaction may serve other purposes.

RNA Formation

So you may be asking, Vlad, why is this all important? Why do we care about these weirdo chemicals when we are talking about life? Well, this is where it all comes together. RNA, which stands for RiboNucleic Acid.

Ribonucleic acid is a molecular structure that can store vast amounts of information, with this information being the arrangement in which adenine, cytosine, guanine, uracil (also written as A, C, G, and U) are placed. These 4 chemicals are known as nucleotides.

It is largely based on the previously discussed metabolic pathways as they are one of the building blocks for the creation of RNA. They are what formed the nucleotides as a result of the differentiating enzymes.

After all of this, the first strands of RNA form, storing the tiniest amounts of information, being quite short in length.

But slowly these short strands, such as the template strand, combined to create longer and more complex strands of RNA, making the code more and more sophisticated.

To note, this is still an ongoing debate among scientists, so take the next few sections with a grain of salt.

RNA Replication

In the previous section, you may have noticed me using the term "template strand." Now, what does that mean? The template strand acted like a blueprint for how RNA should look like. This blueprint was vital to the replication process, as it was the first chemical to ever self-replicate.

But before that, you have to understand Ribozymes. In basic terms, ribozymes were RNA strands that possessed catalytic properties. These ribozymes sometimes acted like enzymes (hence the suffix) and were also vital to the process.

Now for the fun part. Ribozymes would guide the creation of the next strand, catalyzing the phosphodiester bonds (what connects the nucleotides together in a spiral shape, which are vital for the structural integrity of the molecule), causing a chemical reaction resulting in a brand new strand of RNA to form that is similar to the original template.

This process can continue working using the newly formed RNA as the base template. But you may be wondering why it would change even in the slightest if it is replicating itself. Well, I am glad you asked! Or maybe you didn't, in which case I am thanking you for doing nothing.

Anyway, in biology, there is a thing called "error," more well known as mutations and it is pretty much what you expect it to be when the replication process isn't perfectly accurate. Previously, I mentioned that enzymes can be very specific, causing changes in the outcome. Ribozymes act as enzymes, meaning that you would expect variation from base to new!

This means, by our definition, RNA is the first-ever life!

Let's imagine the base RNA as a blueprint of a house. An architect builds that house but there will be some imperfections to that house and won't be exactly what's on the blueprint. Now make a blueprint of the built house and build another one. Gradually you are going to see that the original blueprint looks nothing like the built house.

First Protocells

After RNA started to self-replicate, it could have spontaneously developed a structure similar to a modern cell membrane. This protective cover provided a safe environment for chemical reactions to take place, including further replication and enhancement for metabolism. And

because of this membrane, we define this as a protocell.

Slowly, through natural error, these cells evolved to be the first-ever cells. These errors may have been both good and bad for the cell; it is just that the ones with the bad traits didn't have time to replicate before they would die. While the ones with the better traits would go

on to self-replicate and pass on their traits to the offspring.


L.U.C.A, otherwise known as the Last Universal Common Ancestor, is a hypothetical single-celled organism from which all life as we know it has stemmed from. It is called a common ancestor, as if you were to get any living organism, even a blade of grass in your garden, and you had a picture of every single organism ever existed. You could trace it back through all of its parents, grandparents, etc., you would eventually see L.U.C.A.

To note, L.U.C.A possessed DNA, which we will talk about for a second, to store information instead of RNA.


DNA stands for DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, and it is extremely similar to the previously discussed RNA but with a couple of differentiating factors. First, instead of having a single strand, DNA has two in the shape of a double helix. Next, instead of using Uracil like RNA, DNA uses Thymine as one of its base nucleotides.

DNA is a more stable version of RNA due to its shape. This means longer strands of DNA can form which results in more information being stored. This allows for more complex organisms such as LUCA to function and have metabolism.

To note our body uses both RNA and DNA with RNA being used for simpler tasks such as the formation of protein and DNA for more complex tasks such as allowing us to reproduce.

Multicellular Structures

The creation of DNA greatly expanded the possibilities of complexity of cellular structures. One of those possibilities was for multiple cells to bond together and create larger organisms with one of the first structures called Grypania spiralis, whose fossil was found to be over 2 billion years old, found in the United States and Asia.

But the U.S and Asia are so far away! How could we possibly find them in such different places? Well, again, the Earth didn't look anything like it does today. Before we had 5 or 7 or 3 or whatever amount of continents (the definition still isn't clear), we had 1 massive supercontinent called Rodinia And on Rodinia, we can see how the different continents were smooshed together, and wouldn't you know it, the U.S and Asia were sharing borders. Which is why we can find them in both places.

But why would it be advantageous to be multicellular? Well, being multicellular would have not only increased efficiency in resource gathering but also allowed the organism to move faster. These and more benefits helped the organism to adapt and thrive in the early Earth's ocean.

Final note

I will be finishing at this point. After this there is a whole lot more that happened in the world of evolution. It is a complex and very interesting topic.

Another thing is that I extremely oversimplified this whole field of science: origin of life. There is a lot more going on and is still ongoing research and if you want to delve into the topic you may do so.

20:07 UTC


Writing a paper on salamanders, can anyone help me with locating a source of salamander evolution?

I’m looking for an article that explains their evolutionary origins and natural history. can anyone help with this?

20:05 UTC


What cell in the human body is the most evolved?

Basically a question posed by my professor, I've tried googling and reading a bit but I cant seem to find an answer... Is there a really even a type of cell in the body which is relatively "more evolved" than the others?

I don't think that question makes sense because it would make sense if the cells in question had a similar function and environment. But if you're talking about the whole body, there are so many different types of cells with so many different functions that you can't really compare evolution of say a fibroblast to a neuron, they evolve very differently.

Update: The answer according to him is B cells. Not that they are the most evolved but that they are always evolving.

17:51 UTC


Are there transneuron protocols?

I've just started learning the science of the brain, so I'm very sorry if my question is silly... I think of a neuron as a microprocessor which has a bunch of digital inputs and only one digital output. (Please correct me if it isn't so) Two neurons can be connected: the signal from the axon of one neuron is sent to a dendrit of another neuron. But is there any protocol (like electronic protocols USB or SPI) when one neuron is transmitting information to the other? Is there a sequence of bits that encodes information or it is just on/off signals (the neuron-receiver does not wait until the end of the sequence)?

17:18 UTC

Back To Top