The molecular level is also called the level of biopolymers; it is studied by science – molecular biology.
The molecular level can be called the initial, deepest level of organization of living things. At this level, the processes of metabolism and energy, the transmission of hereditary information are manifested. Only after studying the molecular level, it is possible to understand how the processes of the origin and evolution of life on planet Earth proceeded; you can understand what are the molecular bases of heredity and metabolic processes in a living organism.
Living organisms consist of the same chemical elements as non-living organisms (the most common elements in living nature include carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen).
All organic compounds are based on carbon. It can bond with many atoms and their groups, forming chains that are different in chemical composition, structure, length and shape, forming complex chemical compounds that differ in structure and function. These organic compounds that make up the cells of living organisms are called biological polymers, or biopolymers – proteins, nucleic acids, polysaccharides.
A biopolymer molecule can consist of many thousands of interconnected monomers, which can be the same or different (the properties of biopolymers depend on the structure of their monomers).
The main substratum of life (from the Latin. Substratum – “litter, lining”) are two classes of biopolymers – proteins and nucleic acids.
All biopolymers are built according to the same plan for all living organisms:
- protein molecules are the main structural elements of cells and regulate the processes occurring in them;
- nucleic acids are involved in the transfer of genetic (hereditary) information from cell to cell, from organism to organism (the genetic code is universal, that is, it is the same for all living organisms);
- polysaccharides are the most important sources of energy necessary for the vital activity of organisms (it is at the molecular level that all types of energy are converted and metabolism in the cell, and the mechanisms of these processes are also universal for all living organisms).
At the same time, it turned out that the various properties of biopolymers that make up all organisms are due to various combinations of just a few types of monomers that form many variants of long polymer chains. This principle underlies the diversity of life on our planet.
The specific properties of biopolymers are manifested only in a living cell (in an isolated form, biopolymer molecules are inanimate).
The continuity between the molecular and the next cellular level is ensured by the fact that biological molecules are the material from which supramolecular (cellular) structures are formed.