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molecular biologybiologie moléculaire (fr.); Molekularbiologie (ger.)

  • Biology at the molecular level; esp. the branch of science concerned with the formation, organization, and activity of macromolecules essential to life (nucleic acids, proteins, etc.); the biology of something at the molecular level. (OED)  

    The essay […] is a supplement to Darwinism on the speculative side, a contribution by a trained zoologist and comparative anatomist, with a genius for speculation, to what may be called molecular biology.

    Gray, A. (1884). [Rev. Brooks, W.K. (1883). The Law of Heredity. A Study of the Came of Variation and the Origin of Living Organisms]. American Journlal of Science 27, 156-157: 156.


    And gradually there is coming into being a new branch of science—molecular biology—which is beginning to uncover many secrets concerning the ultimate units of the living cell.

    Weaver, W. (1938). The natural sciences. Rep. Rockefeller Found. 1938, 203-225: 203.


    The name ‘molecular biology’ seems to be passing now into fairly common use […]. It implies not so much a technique as an approach, an approach from the viewpoint of the so-called basic sciences with the leading idea of searching below the large-scale manifestations of classical biology for the corresponding molecular plan. It is concerned particularly with the forms of biological molecules, and with the evolution, exploitation and ramification of those forms in the ascent to higher and higher levels of organization.

    Astbury, W.T. (1950). Adventures in molecular biology. Harvey Lectures 46, 3-44: 3.


    when I drafted the “natural science” section of the Annual Report of the Rockefeller Foundation for 1938 this section began with a sixteen-page portion, pages 203-219, which was headed, in large type, MOLECULAR BIOLOGY, the first sentence being “Among the studies to which the Foundation is giving support is a relatively new field, which may be called molecular biology, in which delicate modern techniques are being used to investigate ever more minute details of certain life details.”

    Weaver, W. (1970). Molecular biology: origin of the term. Science 170, 591-592: 592.


    Die Molekularbiologie ist die Teildisziplin der Biologie, die Lebensprozesse auf molekularer Ebene untersucht.

    Toepfer, G. (2011). Historisches Wörterbuch der Biologie. Geschichte und Theorie der biologischen Grundbegriffe, vol. 2: 611.

Teich, M. (1965). On the historical foundations of modern biochemistry. Clio Medica 1, 44-57.

Cairns, J., Stent, G.S. & Watson, J.D. (eds.) (1966). Phage and the Origins of Molecular Biology.

Needham, J. (ed.) (1970). The Chemistry of Life. Eight Lectures on the History of Biochemistry.

Fruton, J.S. (1972). Molecules and Life. Historical Essays on the Interplay of Chemistry and Biology.

Florkin, M. (ed.) (1972-86). A History of Biochemistry.

Kohler, R.E. Jr. (1973). The enzyme theory and the origin of biochemistry. Isis 64, 181-196.

Leicester, H.M. (1974). Development of Biochemical Concepts from Ancient to Modern Times.

Kohler, R.E. Jr. (1975). The history of biochemistry: a survey. J. Hist. Biol. 8, 275-318.

Hickel, E. (ed.) (1989). Biochemische Forschung im 19. Jahrhundert.

Teich, M. & Needham, D.M. (eds.) (1992). A Documentary History of Biochemistry 1770-1940.

Kay, L.E. (1993). The Molecular Vision of Life. Caltech, the Rockefeller Foundation, and the Rise of the New Biology.

Morange, M. (1994). Histoire de la biologie moléculaire.

Hausmann, R. (1995). ... und wollen versuchen, das Leben zu verstehen ... Betrachtungen zur Geschichte der Molekularbiologie.

Sarkar, S. (ed.) (1996). The Philosophy and History of Molecular Biology. New Perspectives.

Rheinberger, H.-J. (1998). Kurze Geschichte der Molekularbiologie. In: Jahn, I. (ed.). Geschichte der Biologie, 642-663.

Hunter, G.K. (2000). Vital Forces. The Discovery of the Molecular Basis of Life.

Chadarevian, S. de (2002). Designs for Life. Molecular Biology after World War II.

Brandt, C. (2004). Metapher und Experiment. Von der Virusforschung zum genetischen Code.

Ronsin, C. (2005). L’histoire de la biologie moléculaire. Pionniers et héros.