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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.
The modern tendency toward cross-disciplinary research and the unification of scientific knowledge and investigation from different fields has resulted in significant overlap of the field of biology with other scientific disciplines.
Modern principles of other fields—chemistry, medicine, and physics, for example—are integrated with those of biology in areas such as biochemistry, biomedicine, and biophysics.
Evolution itself is a biological phenomenon common to all living things, even though it has led to their differences.
Evidence to support the theory of evolution has come primarily from the Three types of natural selection, showing the effects of each on the distribution of phenotypes within a population.
Biology, study of living things and their vital processes.
It is possible for a genetic novelty (new variation) to spread in time to all members of a population, especially if the novelty enhances the population’s chances for survival in the environment in which it exists.
Directional selection (centre column) acts against only one extreme of phenotypes, causing a shift in distribution toward the other extreme.
Diversifying selection (right column) acts against intermediate phenotypes, creating a split in distribution toward each extreme.
Biology is subdivided into separate branches for convenience of study, though all the subdivisions are interrelated by basic principles.
Thus, while it is custom to separate the study of plants (botany) from that of animals (zoology), and the study of the structure of organisms (morphology) from that of function (physiology), all living things share in common certain biological phenomena—for example, various means of reproduction, cell division, and the transmission of genetic material.