2019 May

23 May: Understanding Biodiversity as An Infrastructure of Life for Development

Biodiversity is a complex enterprise, encompassing four levels of organization: genes, species, populations and ecosystems. At each of these levels, the vitality of life is initiated, mobilized and maintained to provide form, structure and function. At the gene level are the features of DNA, with units of Nucleotides containing organic bases Adenine, Guanine, Cytosine and Thymine often referred to as the ‘alphabet of life’ to store information and heredity, which are passed on during protein synthesis in the sequencing of amino acids to determine the three-dimensional structure of the protein and which in turn dictates its function. Proteins are basically a string of organic molecules which form the basis of living tissues and play the central roles in all biological processes. At the species level are individuals that share similar characteristics and are distinguished from other individuals. Such individuals with similar characteristics have no barriers in breeding and can exchange genetic material through sexual reproduction. At the population level are different species which interact with each other within the spaces they occupy. Ecosystems refer to the interplay of populations with the physical environment to sustain life. This involves a myriad of interactions that have made Earth habitable for billions of years.