What is Bioscience?

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  • Written By: Mary McMahon
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2019
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Bioscience is the branch of the sciences concerned with living organisms, from microorganisms to towering trees and gigantic whales. Within this incredibly broad branch of the sciences, there are a number of smaller branches focused on specific issues which pertain to living organisms. Biochemistry, for example, is concerned with the chemistry of life, while botanists study plants exclusively.

This branch of the sciences developed into a serious line of scientific inquiry in the 19th century, when people began to explore the natural world from a scientific perspective. However, people have been studying and practicing bioscience for centuries. When early humans selectively bred plants to produce larger and more consistent crops, for example, they were engaging in food science, a subset of bioscience. Likewise, when humans first started domesticating animals and learning about how to breed for desirable traits, they were involved in an early form of zoology.

Bioscientists study things like the nature of living organisms, their behavior, their evolutionary history, and their potential uses. Depending on the subset of bioscience a researcher is involved with, he or she may spend a lot of time at the laboratory bench probing into things like the chemical composition of living organisms, or time in the field studying wild animals in situ.


A bioscientist can be described by the type of organisms studied, as in the case with zoologists, botanists, and microbiologists. Bioscience also intersects with a number of other scientific branches, such as chemistry and physics, in which case researchers are known as biochemists and biophysicists respectively. Bioscientists also study things like history, the cultural impact of living organisms, ecology, and sustainability.

This branch of scientific inquiry is extremely important. Bioscience is the foundation of many other schools of scientific inquiry, ranging from medicine to agronomy, and new discoveries in this field are being made every day. Thanks to the abundant diversity of life on Earth, there is always more to learn in the world of bioscience.

You may hear bioscience described as “biology” or “life science,” referencing the fact that the focus is living organisms, both large and small. People who work in this field typically have extensive education in the sciences, with additional study in the field they have chosen. A paleobotanist, for example, studies fossilized plant remnants and other evidence which can be used to construct a timeline of plant evolution, so he or she may have studied archaeology, chemistry, and geology in addition to botany.


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