Understanding spatial and temporal scale in biology

Wenfa Ng
2020 figshare.com  
Choice of temporal and spatial scale for querying biological systems is key to opening up nature's mysteries for investigation. For example, temporal resolution at which sampling is conducted is critical to answering granular details about a biological phenomenon, where a coarse sampling interval could not reveal fine level control on RNA transcription or protein translation. On the other hand, the spatial scale at which a biological question is posed concerns the validity of the conclusions
more » ... the conclusions drawn from the data obtained. Specifically, techniques and methods chosen for population level cellular assays would not be able to address questions at the single cell level, while the intricacies and caveats of single cell methodologies in understanding biological processes at the single cell level needs to be appreciated. More importantly, how single cell phenomena is aggregated to population level effects need to be factored into experiment design and data interpretation both for single cell and population level studies. Specifically, as biology transcends multiple levels of organization ranging from single cell to clusters of cells and cell population, it is critical to gain understanding of how different biological effects could manifest at different population sizes. Hence, understanding the nuances of how temporal and spatial concepts could be deployed in experiment design in biology would help yield experiments that would more likely help address specific questions posed at the interface of subpopulations and subcellular level.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.13041632.v1 fatcat:t2h3jnvbabgnhkjt5scpk2nrm4