What Are The Uses Of Statistics In Biology?


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Monica Stott answered
Statistics are an extremely important aspect of biology, in fact, they are necessary for many areas of science. When statistics are used in biology and applied to many biological topics, it is called 'Biostatistics'. Some of the most important reasons for statistics include:
  • Statistics are used to measure and analyze the findings and results from experiments and tests.
  • Relationships and correlations can be assessed and discovered so the cause and effect can be established.
  • Without thorough analysis and the ability to convert findings into statistics that are then presented in any easily understood manner, experiments would be almost useless as the findings could be misunderstood.
  • Presenting the findings statistically ensures they are easier to interpret and take away some important knowledge from the findings.
Statistics have proven invaluable in modern biological history. In the 1930s, it was evidence from statistical analysis that produced the 'modern evolutionary synthesis'. This was developed when there was a huge gap in knowledge between theories in genetics and theories in evolution.

Biological studies often involve studying extremely small numbers and microscopic properties, which may come from molecules and atoms, and putting them into statistical form can aid understanding and simplify the process of analyzing.

If it were not for statistics in biology, the following biological discoveries may never have been found:
  • Natural Selection
This was developed by Sir Ronald A. Fisher who needed many statistical methods to help understand, develop and support his work.
  • Genetics
Theories surrounding genetics were developed by Sewall G. Wright who used statistics.The causes of evolution and natural selection: Developed by J.B.S Haldane

Statistics are often thought to be used more commonly in physics and chemistry due to the fixed nature of many aspects of these sciences where statistics can be analyzed much more simply. As biological elements are very different, it is not always associated with statistical analysis but statistics are extremely important to biology.

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