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Asa Gray

History of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and its ancestors. . .

Over the past century, biology has developed from a science largely based on observation and empirical work to one based on the fundamental principles of genetics and evolution. The discovery of the structure of DNA and the subsequent decoding of entire genomes provided the foundation for a modern biological understanding of life processes. Technological advances have enabled biologists to make precise measurements of the state and activity of biological agents and to generate massive datasets that catalog not only the entire genetic blueprint of an organism (its genome), but also which genes are transcribed into molecular messages at a given place and time (transcriptome), the proteins that are produced (proteome), and the set of small molecules that support metabolism (metabolome). Genomic data and computational power have led to advances in untangling complex regulatory and evolutionary pathways that will allow us to understand the mechanisms driving the generation and maintenance of the diversity of life on earth.

Learn how the Department of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology (MCDB) evolved from the beginnings in the first faculty member hired after the University committed to move to Ann Arbor: Asa Gray, Professor of Botany and Zoology.

Kraus Natural Science Building