Genetics, molecular biology, and biochemistry are the three primary aspects of biology. Depending on their study material, they employ unique techniques.
Before we discuss the differences between biochemistry vs. molecular biology and determine a relationship between the two, we need to understand what is biochemistry and molecular biology individually? Let us do that one by one.
- What is Biochemistry?
- How Do We Define Molecular Biology?
- What Is The Relationship Between Biochemistry and Molecular Biology?
- Differences Between Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Any Similarities?
- Which One Should You Choose?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Biochemistry?
Biochemistry is a scientific discipline that examines the chemical processes inside living beings at the molecular and cellular level and studies components like organelles, lipids, and proteins. It also involves the interaction between the cells and the small molecule drugs with giant macro biomolecules.
In the 20th century, biochemistry emerged as a separate discipline when scientists amalgamated biology, chemistry, and physiology to study the chemistry of different organisms. Today, people perceive biochemistry as a lab-based science that bridges the gap between chemistry and biology.
So, biochemists employ various techniques and chemical knowledge to comprehend and solve biological concerns.
Biochemistry has a diverse scope and covers an array of scientific disciplines like forensics, microbiology, genetics, medicine, and plant science. Because of its vastness, biochemistry has had such an impactful role in science for over a century.
We have discussed biochemistry, but to compare biochemistry vs. molecular biology, we also need to define molecular biology. So, let us jump straight to that.
How Do We Define Molecular Biology?
In 1938, Warren Weaver, an American scientist, coined the term “Molecular Biology.” Records suggest that it was only 1953 that led to its fundamental development, consequent to the invention of the DNA molecule’s double-helical structure.
Molecular biology is a biology branch wherein you study the molecular basis of biological activity and is a science discipline related to the nature of phenomena at the molecular level. It studies proteins, RNA, DNA, and biomolecules like nucleic acids, amino acids, lipids, carbohydrates, and other macromolecules responsible for cell function and genetic information.
As you may know, living beings are composed of chemicals, so a molecular biologist studies the interaction of molecules in living organisms with one another to conduct vital life functions.
The role of a molecular biologist is to investigate and perform experiments to study the function, structure, regulation, processing, and evolution of biological molecules and their interactions, employing advanced techniques and tools of analysis, imaging, manipulation, and separation.
Even though there are different molecules in a living organism, most biologists usually focus on proteins and genes. The genes have the necessary information to accentuate protein production, and proteins perform several functions within living genes and cells.
Related: Best Molecular Biology Textbooks
How Are Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Related?
After studying, what is biochemistry and molecular biology; let us discuss the relationship between biochemistry and molecular biology.
The two of them are actually quite closely related. Biology is a vital aspect of human study, comprising several findings that resulted in discoveries, research, and medicinal inventions, which all prove beneficial for significant medical research, development of medicines, and scientific discoveries. These two are both part and parcel of Biology and overlap in their approaches and theories.
Wherein molecular biology focuses on a narrower aspect of genetics and biology, biochemistry accumulates and integrates the knowledge from chemistry and biology.
So, molecular biology deals with the biology of biomolecules and studies the relationship between biomolecules. But, biochemistry studies the chemistry of these biomolecules, comprising the degradation, synthesis, and structure of nucleic acids, carbohydrates, and proteins.
So, to summarize what is the relationship between biochemistry and molecular biology, we can say both molecular biology and molecular biology are related to the functioning of the organisms at the molecular level. However, they have diverse applications and focus on different areas.
Differences Between Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
In all honesty, if you are not thorough with the differences between biochemistry and molecular biology, you may often mix the two. It is also because these two sciences summon images of coat-clad scientists, test tubes, and microscopes.
But even though they may appear the same from the outside, the two have noticeable differences. So, to bring forth the divide between these two science branches, let us compare biochemistry vs. molecular biology head-to-head.
|Point of Difference||Biochemistry||Molecular Biology|
|Definition||It is the study of physicochemical and chemical procedures inside a living body.||Structure and function of macromolecules in the body.|
|Focus||Chemistry-focused area||Genetics-focused area|
|Deals with||Carbohydrates, nucleic acid, lipids, and proteins||Nucleic acid and proteins|
|Sub-disciplines||Molecular genetics, Protein Science, Anabolism or Catabolism||Primary Biochemistry branch|
|Gene involvement||Studies known products of unknown genes||Studies known products of known genes|
|Procedures involved||Biochemists employ techniques like perfusion, purification, enzyme assays, chromatography, enzyme kinetics, etc.||Molecular biology involves methods like PCR, blotting, allele-specific processes, gel electrophoresis, etc.|
|Academics||If you want to be a biochemist, you can find specialized programs. Your curriculum should revolve around:
1. General Chemistry
2. Chemical Analysis
4. Advances in Biomedical Research
5. Principles of Biochemistry
7. Animal Physiology
|It is often not easy to find dedicated molecular biology courses, but you can break down the concepts and find math, biology, and chemistry classes. Your curriculum should revolve around.
1. Genes and Genomics
2. Molecular Biology of Cancer
3. Cells and Systems
4. Investigating Biology
|Advanced Degrees||Though not necessary, you will only be eligible for an entry-level job with a bachelor’s degree. So, if you wish to expand your horizons, you can consider pursuing a two-year master’s program.||Advanced master’s degrees are particularly important for molecular biologists.|
|Role||Biochemists study biological molecules. But, their work scope mostly depends on the industry they work in. For instance, a biochemist studies the shelf-life and impact of different drugs.||They work with various proteins, RNA, and DNA to understand how cells react and act. A molecular biologist also studies cell mutations.|
|Salary||For a biochemist, the average salary is $94,270. But, in high-profile roles like scientists, you can earn as much as $169,860.||For a biologist, the median salary is about $65000 per year. But, they can make more money in high-profile industries like medicine.|
From our discussion above, we know what is biochemistry and molecular biology, the relationship between the two, and biochemistry vs. molecular biology differences. Now comes the similarities. Are there any? Read below to find out:
Typically, the routine and everyday tasks of biochemists and molecular biologists are the same. They both:
- Research in labs
- Write or read research papers
- Perform experiments
However, there is a difference in why they look through the microscope.
If you hope to become a molecular biologist or a biochemist, you must study for a bachelor of science at the school level. However, today, several students even take up Bachelor of Arts. Even though the end product of the undergrad degree will be the same, the journey forward will be different.
Further, students of both disciplines can and should opt for advanced degrees. In both cases, for independent work, you require a PhD.
The similarity in career options
Graduates from both fields can work in biology-focused scientific roles like microbiologist, medical scientist, and biological technician.
- Both molecular biology and biochemistry are two areas of biology.
- Outcomes and conclusions from both are vital in understanding the functions of living organisms on the earth.
Which One Should You Choose Between Biochemistry Vs. Molecular Biology?
We hope next time someone asks, ‘what is biochemistry and molecular biology,’ there is no doubt in your mind. So, summing up, we can say that both have much in common as the two look at cells, the building blocks of life. But, they are different. So, if you have to make a career in one of them, it is not a choice between what is better than another.
Instead, it is about what appeals to you the most. If you are interested in chemical reactions that influence and create life, you should opt for a biochemistry program. Alternatively, opt for molecular biology if you are intrigued by molecular-level life.
Frequently Asked Questions
Ques 1. Does biochemistry involve molecular biology?
Ans. Yes, molecular biology is one of the most significant branches of biochemistry.
Ques 2. How are biochemistry and molecular biology different from genetics?
Ans. Like molecular biology, even biochemistry examines the functioning and structure of the proteins and gene expression in the cells. But, molecular biology studies genes further by employing genetic approaches to things.
On the other hand, genetics covers the same genetic areas as molecular biology, but its scope is broader in this respect. It also covers the non-molecular parts – Genetics population, evolutionary, genetics, etc. However, in molecular biology and biochemistry, there is a focus on finding a metabolic pathway.
Ques 3. Do we have online courses/degree programs in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology combined?
Ans. You can find several courses and degree programs for both disciplines combined. A few of them are:
- Combined Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, BS & Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, MS
- Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
- Bachelor Of Science In Biochemistry And Molecular Biology
- B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
That’s all we had on the differences and similarities between the two – Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. If you are confused about which subject should you pick from the two, you’ll be happy to know that you can opt for a combined course for both.
Stay tuned with us for all your educational queries and resourceful information!