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Nature of the Work Biological Scientists Nature of the Work Biological scientists study living organisms and their relationship to their environment Most specialize in some area such as ornithology the study of birds or microbiology the study of microscopic organisms About two-fifths of all biological scientists work in research and development Some conduct basic research to increase knowledge of living organisms Others in applied research use knowledge provided by basic research to develop new medicines increase crop yields and improve the environment Biological scientists may work in laboratories and use laboratory animals or greenhouse plants electron microscopes computers electronic instruments or a wide variety of other equipment to conduct their research A good deal of research however is performed outside of laboratories For example a botanists may do research in the volcanic valleys of Alaska to see what plants grow there or an ecologist may study how a forest area recovers after a fire Other biological scientists work in management or administration They may plan and administer programs for testing foods and drugs for example or direct activities at zoos or botanical gardens Some work as consultants to business firms or to government while others test and inspect foods drugs and other products or write for technical publications some work in sales and service jobs for companies manufacturing chemicals or other technical products Advances in basic biological knowledge especially at the genetic level have resulted in a new technology called biotechnology Biologists using this rapidly developing technology recombine the genetic material of animals or plants making organisms more productive or disease resistant The first application of this technology has been in the medical and pharmaceutical area The human gene that codes for the production of insulin has been inserted into bacteria causing them to produce human insulin This insulin used by diabetics is much purer than insulin from animals the only previous source Many other substances not previously available
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