Top products from r/biology

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Top comments that mention products on r/biology:

u/Benevolent_Overlord · 1 pointr/biology

So I'm really interested in buying a microscope as a hobby item. I've always been fascinated by biology and when I was little I had a cheap slide to focus 40x microscope that was given away to younger cousins. I've been on the verge of purchasing a new microscope for a year and a half. I'm looking at three different price brackets:

$80 (The scope this article links to.)

Cordless LED biological compound microscope offers five magnification settings: 40X-100X-250X-400X-1000X
Widefield glass optics and optical glass lens condenser provide high resolution sharp clear images
45 degree inclined 360 degree rotatable monocular head with locked-in eyepiece
Cordless LED illumination with three AA batteries and wall-power adpter/recharger included
Sturdy solid metal framework with dual side focus

$130 Here

45-degree Inclined 360-degree Rotatable Monocular Head with Four Magnification Settings 40X-100X-400X-1000X
Precise Optical Glass Lenses; All-Metal Framework and Mechanical Parts
Separate Coarse and Fine Focus and Abbe Condenser with Disc Diaphragm
Built-in Tungsten Light with GS and CE Approval
5-Year Warranty Including Parts and Labor against Manuafcturing Defects

$195 Here and here. 8 settings up to 2000x

1st link:

High quality professional optical glass elements; 45degrees;inclined 360degrees;swiveling binocular head
8 levels of magnification: 40x-80x-100x-200x-400x-800x-1000x-2000x
4 achromatic objectives DIN 4x, 10x, 40x(S), 100x(S,Oil); 2 pairs of eyepieces: WF10X and WF20X
Sliding interpupillary distance adjustment; Ocular diopter adjustable on both eyetubes; Stage upward moving lock protects objectives and slides
Variable intensity illumination; Coaxial coarse and fine focus adjustment; Focusing knobs on both sides; Stain-resistant double layer mechanical stage; NA1.25 Abbe Condenser with iris diaphragm and filters; Rack and pinion adjustment condenser

2nd link:

Binocular Sliding Head with Adjustable Ocular Diopter on Both Eyetubes
Eight Magnification Settings 40X, 80X, 100X, 200X, 400X, 800X,1000X & 2000X
Graduated X-Y Mechancal Stage and Tension Adjustable Separate Coarse & Fine Focus
Precise Ground Glass Lenses and Sturdy Metal Framework
5-Year Warranty against Manuafcturing Defects

Here's what I'd use it for:

Looking at pond scum, amoebas, blood, sperm, insect parts, pollen, etc.

The $80 scope shown is an awesome value. Is it silly to consider paying $115 more for 1000x more magnification?

Is 2000x magnification complete overkill for these applications?

How can expect the 2000x magnification to compare to the 1000x? Is oil immersion required for 2000x?

Between the two $195 scopes, which one is best? I'd really appreciate some advice on this one.

How important is the apparent lack of a fine control knob on the $80 scope?

Would it be worth it to get the $130 scope when all it adds is a fine control knob, or would it be better just to choose between the $80 and $195 scopes?

u/epoxymonk · 2 pointsr/biology

Your best bet is to contact the instructor(s) for any classes you're interested in to see if there will be lectures covering material you are uncomfortable with; it would be helpful to be specific (for example, if you're okay with diagrams of organs and tissues but aren't comfortable with images of the actual thing).

That being said, in my experience (4th year graduate student in molecular biology) few classes have been especially graphic. Off the top of my head, the only ones to be careful of are anatomy/physiology (duh :) ) and general bio as there is usually at least one dissection in the lab section (which you might be able to opt out of).

Another option is to explore your interest in biology and evolution outside of coursework. There are quite a few great books out there that discuss the field without being gory. I personally recommend “The Beak of the Finch”, which discusses the decades-long research project tracking finch evolution in the Galapagos.

Good luck!

u/Deradius · 2 pointsr/biology


If evolution is of interest to you (and if you have interest in the intersection between theology and science), Finding Darwin's God by Kenneth Miller explores both sides of the debate and debunks many common misconceptions about evolution. I first read it in a college biology topics course.

If you like the topic of 'creationist attempts to dispute or disrupt the teaching of evolution in the classroom', Summer of the Gods, about the Scopes Monkey Trial, is a great book (although not explicitly about science).

You may find The Selfish Gene by Dawkins worth a read.

Books by Mary Roach can be fun; I've read Stiff and enjoyed it, and Packing for Mars was pretty good as well.

I have heard good things about The Emperor of All Maladies, though I haven't read it myself.

Our Stolen Future, about contamination of the environment by artificially produced estrogen and estrogen analogs, is dated but interesting.

The Discovery of Insulin by Bliss is a great story about how science happens and how scientific discovery occurs, and it lays out what may be the most important discovery in medical science during the 20th century.

Were those types of books what you were looking for?

u/soafraidofbees · 3 pointsr/biology

Take lots of classes and keep learning. When I was in high school, things like ecology and wildlife biology were appealing to me because I understood what plants, animals, and ecosystems were, but I had no idea what a ribosome or a micro-RNA really were. I found that the more I learned about molecular and cell biology, the more fascinated I became by these tiny little machines that power every living thing. I started taking neuroscience classes because brains are cool; I ended up getting a PhD in neuroscience with a very cellular/molecular focus to my research (my whole dissertation was on one gene/protein that can cause a rare human genetic disorder).

Get some experience working in a lab. Until you've spent time in that environment it's hard to know whether you'll like it. And as others have mentioned, population biology and evolutionary genetics can combine some aspects of field work and molecular lab work, so those might be areas to investigate.

Want some books? Try The Beak of the Finch and Time, Love, Memory. The first is focused on experimental validation of evolutionary theory (involving lots of field work), the second is about the history of behavioral genetics in fruit flies. Both were assigned or suggested reading in my college biology classes.

Good luck, and stay curious!

u/misplaced_my_pants · 1 pointr/biology

I wouldn't be worried about taking bio classes as an undergrad. It'd be more useful to take introductory chemistry, organic chemistry, and some biochemistry, but even that isn't necessary. Any competent biology graduate program should bring you up to speed pretty quickly. (This textbook is pretty good, too.)

This wiki page is a good place to start to see the ways in which a math background can be applied to biological problems.

You might want to check out /r/askacademia, /r/gradschool, and /r/gradadmissions for tips on applying to programs as an international student (if I'm reading your intentions correctly).

You also might find this collection of links on efficient study habits helpful.

u/geach_the_geek · 1 pointr/biology

This isn't heavily science-y and a bit journalized, but I really enjoyed Stiff: The Curious Life of Human Cadaver's by Mary Roach. I also like Why Evolution is True by Jerry Coyne. There's a lot of overlap with what he teaches at his UChicago Eco & Evo course. Bad Science by Ben Goldacre is also wonderful, but will likely make you angry. Yet another interesting read is The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

u/RobJackson28 · 3 pointsr/biology

Here's an article from Nature Genetics that may be of interest: A common JAK2 haplotype confers susceptibility to
myeloproliferative neoplasms
. If it's too technical, this may be a useful resource.

As for blood and DNA, this information is so ubiquitous I'm not sure if it's worth looking for specific books or articles. The Wikipedia pages look pretty good. However, given these topics, I would like to recommend an excellent book Emperor of All Maladies: Biography of Cancer. As a cancer biologist, I consider it an excellent book about modern cancer biology and history of molecular medicine. It does a great job introducing blood diseases and role of molecular genetics. Hope this helps!

u/[deleted] · 2 pointsr/biology

There are a whole lot of good answers here, but if you want some further reading, I recommend Why Evolution is True by University of Chicago evolutionary geneticist Jerry Coyne. It answers all of your questions in depth and more.

Personally, I found this book to be superior to The Greatest Show on Earth, as I found it to be a little more straight-forward and no-frills, so to speak. It manages to pack in more information and provides, imo, more rock-solid lines of evidence while still being accessible to the lay-person. If your brother reads the whole book, he will no longer be a creationist.

edit: if I wasn't so poor right now I'd buy you a copy from Amazon. That's how strongly I feel that people with questions on evolution should read this book! :)

u/perspexacity · 1 pointr/biology

I know you asked for online sources, and you've been given some good ones, but if you can take this book I'd recommend it. Really easy to follow, lots of pictures, and comprehensive. Good luck in your exams!

u/Raisinhat · 16 pointsr/biology

I'm sure every subscriber here has already read it, but the top book has got to be The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. Reading it really opened my mind to how evolution actually worked in a way that my teachers at school never had. Even if later on when I started learning about social insects I had to start questioning some of those ways of looking at an "individual".

Back on topic, I'd recommend Matt Ridley's Nature Via Nurture, Genome, and The Red Queen, as each are accessible yet still highly informative looks into various aspects of evolution.

For those interested in human evolution there's Y: The Descent of Men by Steve Jones and The Seven Daughters of Eve by Bryan Sykes.

All of those fall more under the category of books that should be read between high school and college if you are interested in studying Biology. Once you get to grad school level books might be a neat introduction to a topic, but any real learning would come from primary literature. I've read lots of fantastic papers but they start becoming so specialized that I would hesitate to put forward specific suggestions, because what might be fascinating to ecologists will probably be dire to molecular biologists. I know that as someone with a focus on zoology, most of the genetics papers I read left me more confused that enlightened.

u/Pelusteriano · 81 pointsr/biology

I'll stick to recommending science communication books (those that don't require a deep background on biological concepts):

u/leaftrove · 4 pointsr/biology

Why Evolution is True -Great intro to evolution

The Blind Watchmaker- Dawkins' best introduction to evolution book. If it intrigues you have a look at his other works.

Definitely watch this. One of the best and most simple lecture series on Evolution. By none other than Dawkins himself. Very basic in presentation and entertaining series:
Growing up in the Universe

Why dont you take a university class on Evolution? Or just take a bio 101 class which is going to teach evolution briefly in 1-2 lectures.

I just stumbled upon this course. Which is a evolution course at Yale Open Courses that you might want to check out:

u/Y_pestis · 8 pointsr/biology

just some of my standard answers.

The Disappearing Spoon- yes, it's chemistry but I found it very interesting.

Abraham Lincoln's DNA- if you have a good background in genetics you might already know many of these stories. Read the table of contents first.

New Guinea Tapeworms and Jewish Grandmothers- disease based biology. There is a follow up book if it turns out you like it.

Stiff- more than you wanted to know about dead bodies.

And by the same author but space based... Packing for Mars.

I hope these help... Cheers.

u/ambivalentacademic · 4 pointsr/biology

The Selfish Gene is of course great, but I thought Dawkins' The Blind Watchmaker was a better written book.

However, a new and really really great book is "The Gene" by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Just a gorgeous book, and full of history that any biologist should know.

u/DirtyLSD · 3 pointsr/biology

Just graduated in may with my BS in Biology. I used Essential Cell Biology by Alberts for my cell bio class. I'll be honest in saying across my 4 years in the major this was the best book. The illustrations and diagrams are incredible and the book is clear. The reviews speak for itself, as someone said below you can probably get it for free from a torrent.

u/The_Last_Raven · 0 pointsr/biology

Schrödinger's book has been reccomended to me as has [On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson] (

The original was in like the early 1900s but updated versions should be fine. On Growth and Form is more for those wondering about mathematics in biology though.

I'm not too clear on what angle you want, but often you'll find that Bio texts are woefully out of date in many areas if you are looking at something in particular.

The Cell is also a good book (and free as an electronic resource at many universities).

u/Biotruthologist · 1 pointr/biology

It probably would not be a bad idea to get some knowledge of basic biology. Biochemistry, molecular biology, and genetics are probably the big three sub-disciplines you want to familiarize yourself with, but to do that you need to have a good idea of basic biology. Campell Biology is the textbook of choice for freshman biology. Molecular Biology of the Cell is a fantastic book for molecular and cellular biologists. I, unfortunately, don't know of any good books for synthetic biology itself, but these two can give you a start.

u/Nobkin · 6 pointsr/biology

Babbletees has some great science and nature tees for $15 + shipping (use coupon code PW30 at checkout to get 30% off).

And if she's into beautiful images of all kinds of organisms, the "Kunstformen der Natur" (Art Forms of Nature) would be a nice book. Plus, it was made around the beginning of the 20th century by Ernst Haeckel ("an eminent German biologist, naturalist, philosopher, physician, professor and artist" according to Wikipedia)

u/skeletor_999 · 2 pointsr/biology

I like to emphasize the beauty of biology, and Haeckel's Art forms in Nature is a classic:

The documentary Proteus is also about his work:

In my opinion, the current science writers aren't quite as good as those from the 60s and 70s (ie: Gould, Loren Eiseley, Rachel Carson, etc.). My favorite book from this era is The Lives of a Cell by Lewis Thomas. You can read a sample here to see if you agree with me:

u/BacteriaShepard · 3 pointsr/biology

I personally find Brock Biology of Microorganisms to be quite useful. It not only functions as a microbiology text book, but has a very in depth section to the identification of microorganisms.

I'm sure a free pdf copy of it exists somewhere.

u/ragsoflight · 2 pointsr/biology

My favorite text on science as a whole is Genesis and Development of a Scientific Fact, by Ludwik Fleck. He describes the evolution of scientific ideas (and the cultural morass surrounding them) in elegant anecdotes that are, to me, more effective than many other philosophers of science that came after him.

In terms of recent popsci, The Gene: An Intimate History by Siddhartha Mukherjee was exceptional.

u/qpdbag · 7 pointsr/biology

I just began reading Your Inner Fish recently. It's pretty great so far. Definitely a focus on shubins experience with paleontology, but he does go a fair bit into molecular genetics as well.

Can't really say much else until I finish it.

u/riadfodig · 2 pointsr/biology

One of the standard general bio textbooks is Campbell Biology. Any edition is fine, but I think the 8th edition is the sweet spot for a balance between age and cost. I wasn't a very big fan of the genetics textbook that my university used, but I do remember the cell biology textbook being pretty approachable (Essential Cell Biology, $10 used).

u/stirwise · 3 pointsr/biology

Now that I'm at home I've looked at the bookshelf and would like to add:

Almost Human -- written by a primate researcher about her experiences studying baboons in the wild. I read this book several years ago and still think about it regularly. Lots of interesting lessons about primates and people in here.

The Emperor of all Maladies -- a history of cancer, won a Pulitzer for best non-fiction.

u/sanschag · 5 pointsr/biology

I think Dawkins' The Ancestor's Tale is one of his best. It takes the traditional bacteria to human story of evolution and flips it on its head, escaping the sense of directed progress that so often occurs in evolutionary books. I would also second the suggestion for Shubin's Your Inner Fish.

u/brainguy · 2 pointsr/biology

I'm going to walk through what I think is important to know about transcription by Pol II in eukaryotes; it's similar but more complex that prokaryotes and the transcriptional mechanisms of Pol I and III are much less well understood.

First we often have a TATA box ~25bp from the transcriptional start site (TSS) where the complex of TFIID (the TF's stand for transcription factor) and TATA Binding Protein (TBP) recognize an available TATA box and bind to it.

Next a bunch of other general transcription factors arrange around the TSS and they recruit and stabilize the binding of Pol II. TFIIF then catalyzes the phosphorylation of the C-Terminal Domain (CTD) tail which causes Pol II to release from the general TFs and began transcription in the 3' -> 5' direction (thus generating transcripts in 5' - 3' orientation)

  • At approximately the same time TFIIF & DNA Helicases pry open the double helix allowing Pol II to sort of just do it's thing and synthesize RNA transcripts from the DNA template.

    While the RNA transcript is being made capping proteins are recruited to add the 7-methylguanine cap to the 5' end of the new transcript (This serves to maintain stability and will later be a recognition site of proteins).

    Additionally RNA splicing also occurs (usually) before the RNA transcript is completely transcribed. A large nuclear riboprotein (complex of nuclear RNAs and protein) call the Spliceosome uses 2 trans esterification reactions to clip out the introns and link together the exons (this is another large story I would stick with knowing what I said unless you need to know a lot about RNA splicing)

    Pol II keeps elongating until it hits the stop signal in which case Pol II releases from the DNA and the RNA transcript is now ready for more precessing and then export from the nucleus.

    Once the transcript is released Poly-A polymerase (PAP) adds ~200 adenosine monophosphates to the 3' end which is important for recognition by poly-A binding proteins necessary for circularization of the transcript for translation.

    This is all taken from Alberts - I can send you a PDF of it if you'd like.

    Edit - forgot about poly adenylation
u/2SP00KY4ME · 2 pointsr/biology

Does she like to read? There's lots of really good everyday reading genetics books, like this or this for example.

u/whyoy · 2 pointsr/biology

Yea just check it out. It might seem that way from the perspective of cell bio and undergrad bio, but even great papers of hardcore cell bio have mathematical models for differentiation, signaling networks, and such. Bioinformatics has plenty of examples with graph theory, linear algebra, optimization problems, error functions. Also check out charlestondance's post.
Here are some good books.

Math Bio II

Biological circuits/networks

u/AJs_Sandshrew · 6 pointsr/biology

If you interested in biology/cancer research, read The Emperor of All Maladies by Siddhartha Mukherjee. I really is a fantastic read, even if you're not interested in cancer.

u/squishlefunke · 1 pointr/biology

It's not a textbook, and perhaps it goes against your "not be popular science" stipulation, but The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is an amazing book... genetics, cancer biology, medicine, some historical perspective of those fields, tied into one real-life family with its own deep story. I think you will find it awesome and accessible.

u/OutaTowner · 4 pointsr/biology

Rebecca Skloot's book about Henrietta Lacks is a really great read. Whole heartedly recommend reading it.

u/webnrrd2k · 2 pointsr/biology

If you like The Hot Zone, you'll love The Coming Plague.

u/Kowzorz · 2 pointsr/biology

Genome: The Autobiography of a Species in 23 Chapters by Matt Ridley was one of the best intro books on genes I've read and gives a huge framework for all of the concepts of evolution to act upon.

u/jeanewt · 14 pointsr/biology

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks is one of the more recent NYT bestsellers that is also a pretty good biology read. The Hot Zone is a classic, and although it is dated, it will probably regain some of its formal popularity due to the [current ebola outbreak] ( I would recommend Creighton if you want a "fun" read, but his works are fictional, predictable, and often infuriatingly inaccurate.

u/Fortbuild · 10 pointsr/biology

One of my favorites, Your Inner Fish by Neil Shubin, puts evolution in a wonderful context. It focuses on the evolution of development and shows you just how related you are to all other animals.

u/Bethamphetamine · 4 pointsr/biology

If it's modeling you're interested in, I found Uri Alon's Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits to be a good starting place

u/oneona · 2 pointsr/biology

An Introduction to Systems Biology: Design Principles of Biological Circuits seems like a popular choice. Does anyone here happen to know this one?

u/RicochetScience · 1 pointr/biology

The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner. Probably one of the best books that cover the research on the Galapagos finches.

u/tmltml · 3 pointsr/biology

If you're a fan of cancer (phrasing!), I'd check out The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. A bit long at points but a pretty cool read

u/slxpluvs · 1 pointr/biology

Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex

Anything by Mary Roach, for example:
Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal

u/gooey_mushroom · 4 pointsr/biology

If you have any interest in cancer at all - The Emperor of all Maladies is an amazing book. It's titled a "biography" of cancer and tells how scientific advances have changed how doctors/patients/society have dealt with cancer through history, and ultimately guides the reader towards a modern understanding of the disease. It sounds dry but really isn't - it's a compelling book, and I especially loved how the science wasn't "dumbed down".

u/Devo9090 · 7 pointsr/biology

If you're looking for another good read on evolution, I highly highly suggest The Red Queen: Sex and the Evolution of Human Nature.

u/catalytica · 2 pointsr/biology

The Beak of the Finch is a great non-textbook about evolution to read. Evolutionary Analysis by Freeman and Herron is the text I used in class.

u/giror · 2 pointsr/biology


Take population genetics and computational biology. Population genetics focuses on dynamics of allele frequencies in different populations. Computational biology is anything from simulating networks of biochemical reactions to identifying patterns in DNA using hidden markov models.


u/pezhore · 3 pointsr/biology

So how does that particular model compare to, say this or this? I'm mostly curious from a hobbyist prospective.

u/Summit_Calls_All_Day · 3 pointsr/biology

The Gene by Siddhartha Mukherjee.
Well written and explained book about genetics, medicine, and progression of our understanding of biology.

u/splutard · 2 pointsr/biology

The two canonical molecular bio texts are "Alberts" (Molecular Biology of the Cell by Alberts, et al) and Lodish (Molecular Cell Biology by Lodish et al).

These may not be specific enough if you want in-depth info on a particular area, but they'll get you started on just about anything you want to know.

u/Cinaed · 4 pointsr/biology

I'm tempted to buy one of these just for fun. I have no specific uses in mind just a curiosity for the things around me. Is there anything terrible about the $79 one that pops up any major red flags?

The main thing I'd probably use it for is to look at stuff from my aquarium.

this one looks like what I used in my bio classes at school which is kinda making me want it.

u/m4gpi · 6 pointsr/biology

[absolutely ol’Ernie](Art Forms in Nature: The Prints of Ernst Haeckel

u/Nebethetpet · 2 pointsr/biology

I'm surprised no one has mentioned the book Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice for All Creation for this post. Good read if you want to know more about the crazy things animals do for sex!