Microbiology
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Basic Information

Microbiology is the science of studying organisms too tiny to be seen with the naked eye; usually single-celled, cell colonies or ones lacking the usual cell structure.

The basic divisions of life (and therefore of microbiology) are as follows:

  • Prokaria (organisms without complex substructures in their cells - always single celled)
    • Bacteria
    • Archaea (similar to bacteria but with some aspects similar to those found in Eukaria)
  • Eukaria (organisms with complex substructures)
    • Protista (single celled eukaryotes)
      • Protozoa ("animal like" protists) - e.g. amoebae
      • Protophyta ("plant like" protists) - e.g. unicellular algae.
    • Metista (multi-celled eukaryotes)
      • Animals
      • Plants

- although some or all of these terms may be in dispute at any point as the field of taxonomy continues to mutate.

More controversially, microbiology may also include:

  • Viruses (arguably not alive) - little more than packaged genetic information designed to hijack other cells.
  • Prions (even less alive than viruses) - mutant proteins which can reproduce after a fashion by deforming natural proteins created by living organisms.

Microbes in general are the key tools of the fields of biotechnology and biochemical engineering - even those areas old enough not to be commonly considered to belong to them.

Historically, microbes were also known as animaculae (little animals).

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See Also

Sources

Game and Story Use

  • Microbiologists are one of the standard NPCs (or even PCs) to have around for certain plots.
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