Books for beginners

Books for beginners

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I want to study biology. I have zero previous knowledge of biology but I know Physics, Chemistry and Maths. From which book should I start? I have heard about Campbell Biology, but it is very costly in India(more than my 1 month's earning). So please suggest books that:

  • Are cheap OR could be found on internet
  • Require no previous knowledge of biology
  • Contain no technical mistakes
  • Adequately explain the topics which they deal with
  • and also mention some history of the topics


I am not looking for online videos. I want books; my internet is slow and there are some other problems. You can also tell costly books--Perhaps I could find them in the library or could print it somehow. If Campbell Biology book is available online then please give me the download link.

As @metacompactness said in the comments, the campbell (9th edition) is available and free in pdf online (here). This book is a classic that most undergraduate students know quite well.

Online resources

There are some very good online resources to get an introduction to biology. I think that online resources might have the drawback that they may miss the big picture that a whole book can give you and it may be complicated to really understand in what order you should look at the videos particularly if you jump from one website to another. Otherwise, it is often quicker to learn from someone speaking in a video than from reading a book. I learned lots in various field thanks to free online courses. I appreciate a lot reading books but I think that free online resource is the best option for you.

As I did my undergrad in biology, I never really needed this kind of resource but generally speaking I find Khan Academy to be very good for introducing students to new fields of knowledge. And there is a whole biology section on Khan Academy. The MIT courseware is also a very good free resource. Education portail might be a good starting point as well.

If you google "free introductory course biology" you will find many other resources.

Here is a ted talk by Salman Khan (from Khan Academy) for the fun.

This is a low price edition available in India on, it covers all topics extensively. It costs around ₹ 570.

Biological Science (English) 3rd Edition by Taylor

A great place to start is Khan academy. It is free and very easy to understand.

Also, another thing you could try would be Bob Jones Biology (books A&B). I don't know how much those cost in India. But, they explain things in great detail starting at the bottom and working upward. I will let you know that they have a strong Christian influence which some people would disagree with. However, if you can look past that, they are excellent, well-written books!

Best Computational Biology Books Recommended For All Level Learners

There are countless textbooks on computational biology in the market. Among so many available books to learn Computational Biology from, we recommend our 3 best picks for you. The classification is as follows:

Our #1 Choice: Introduction to Computational Biology for covering all the aspects of this subject from theory to practical studies.

Best Value Pick: Bioinformatics with Python Cookbook comes with the complete computational biology programming information using Python language.

Best Budget Pick: An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms provides all the fundamental topics in depth at an affordable rate.

These are some of the best Computational Biology books for beginners, intermediates, and advance computational biology learners depending on their choice. You can read about each of the above textbooks in the upcoming section.

Besides these three, more books on Computational biology are described below.

1. Bioinformatics Algorithms

Bioinformatics Algorithms is a collection of the most applied computational and mathematical algorithms in computational biology. The beginning includes description on DNA, and the hidden messages in the genomes. The replication origins in bacterial genome, yeast, archaea and the computing probabilities of patterns in a string are described.

The molecular clocks and their role is described with the reference to DNA patterns. Finding motifs, algorithms, motif scoring and search, randomised algorithm are written descriptively. The assembly of genome, reconstruction of strings, overlap graphs, Euler’s theorem and algorithm to find Eulerian cycles are mentioned in the mid-section.

The DNA sequencing technologies, human genome, and the associated problems are described in the best possible way. The fragile regions, break points, SARS, its evolution, phylogenetic, tree construction written down lucidly. The disease causing mutations, pattern matching, HIV vaccine, the problems due to vaccine development are given.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • Comprehensively written with real-life examples for easy understanding
  • Simple language is used to describe algorithms
  • Dynamic approach for learning computational biology
  • A separate chapter is dedicated for antibiotics, its discovery, its production in organisms
  • The application of yeast in wine making, clustering genes, hierarchal clustering
  • The peptide sequencing, identification, monkey theorem included

Level (best suitable for): Beginner to Intermediate

2. Introduction to Computational Biology

Introduction to Computational Biology begins with an introductory section on molecular biology, mathematics, statistics and computer science. The initial chapters are a brief on the biological concepts and the biological chemistry. The methods for cloning and cloned libraries, partial digestion, and genomes per microgram are elucidated separately.

Chapter is dedicated for mapping by fingerprinting, by anchoring, clone overlap and more. The sequence assembly by shotgun, sequence accuracy, hybridisation are described. Databases for DNA and protein sequence retrieval, rapid sequence analysis, repeats in a sequence, and statistical comparisons are briefly explained.

The dynamic programming alignment of two sequences, global distance alignment, local alignment and clamps, tracebacks, inversions, map alignments are principle topics. Multiple sequence alignment, cystic fibrosis gene, profile analysis, probability and statistics for sequence alignment, sequence patterns, are discussed in a separate chapter.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • An overview on all the topics is provided at the end of every chapter
  • Phylogenetic tree construction by different methods
  • secondary structure of RNA and minimum free energy structures are well-written
  • Restriction maps, graph theory, classification of multiple solutions provided
  • Algorithms for DDP, approaches to DDP simulated annealing, mapping with the real data described

Level (best suitable for): Intermediate to Advance

3. Algorithms in Bioinformatics: A Practical Introduction

Algorithms in Bioinformatics: A Practical Introduction begins by describing the fundamental units of molecular biology- macromolecules, genomes, genes, chromosomes, mutations, central dogma, PTM, population genetics, biotechnological tools, and history of Bioinformatics. The concept of sequence similarity and global alignment problems included.

The Needleman-Wunsch algorithm, local alignment, gap banality, scoring function for DNA and protein are briefly mentioned. The suffix tree, FM index are essential topics. The methods of genome alignment by maximum unique match, dynamic programming algorithm, Heuristic algorithm, dot plot for visualisation and more are mentioned.

A chapter for database searches is provided such as-biological database, Smith-Waterman algorithm, FASTA algorithm, BLAST, variations of BLAST algorithm, QUASAR, locality sensitive hashing, BWT-SW and more. Multiple sequence alignment and the methods involved for solving the problem is given.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • A detailed guide for intermediate computational biologists
  • Written in simple to understand language with dynamic approach
  • Comprehensively written and distinctively divided chapters
  • The phylogenetic comparison using MAST and consensus tree problem elaborated
  • Dynamic programming method, ClustalW, MUSCLE, Log expectations score defined

Level (best suitable for): Intermediate

4. An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms

An Introduction to Bioinformatics Algorithms is a compilation of algorithms and complexities. The introductory chapter defines the biological and computer algorithms. The Big -O notation, design techniques, greedy algorithms, dynamic programming, machine learning, randomised algorithms, tractable and intractable problems are discussed.

A chapter is given on molecular biology for description on genes, genetic material, codes for genes, structure of DNA, protein, DNA copying, DNA length measurement, probing DNA, difference in species on genetic level and why bioinformatics is necessary. Topics of restriction mapping, algorithms, regulatory motives, profile, median string, greedy algorithms, break points and much more are included as separate chapters.

The dynamic programming algorithms, Manhattan tourist problem, edit distance and alignments, local and global sequence alignments, gap penalties, gene prediction similarity based approaches and spliced alignments are written lucidly. The clustering trees, gene expression analysis, reconstruction methods, and Hierarchical clustering are defined.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • The use of bioinformatical tools written in concise text in simple language
  • Types of algorithms such as recursive, iterative, fast, slow and more described
  • The hidden Markov models and parameter estimation
  • The combinatorial pattern matching, hash tables, BLAST comparisons
  • Randomised algorithms includes random projections and Gibbs Sampling topics

Level (best suitable for): Beginner to Intermediate

5. Computational Biology: A Hypertextbook

Computational Biology: A Hypertextbook is a very interesting textbook for practical learners and hands on for computational biologists. The book is divided into eight brief chapters. It is not a very detailed book but definitely an intriguing one. It begins with an introduction to biological databases and storage of information.

The next chapter describes the BLAST algorithm and its application in sequence similarity searches. The protein analysis chapter describes hydrophobicity plotting and the prediction of proteins secondary structure. The sequence alignment methods, dynamic programming, the similar patterns in the data such as protein sequence motifs and positions specific weight matrices are described in great details.

Phylogenetics, the algorithms, the applications of the software, and the methods to construct trees are given. The probability of mutations, generation of PAM and BLOSUM substitution matrices are described towards the end. The concluding chapter is on bioinformatics programming. It defines the codes and programming protocols for building a computational biology software.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • Short and crisp topics written in simple and straightforward style
  • The structure prediction of RNA is a fundamental topic for RNA analysis
  • Phylogeny construction based on mitochondrial DNA, molecular clock, its applications
  • Sequence comparison, backtracking, scoring alignments, global and local alignments explained
  • character-based phylogeny, distance-based phylogeny, UPGMA, NJ are briefly discussed

Level (best suitable for): Beginner

6. Introduction to Computational Biology: An Evolutionary Approach

Introduction to Computational Biology: An Evolutionary Approach focusses on evolutionary studies using computer sciences over years. The part one comprises the analysis based on sequences such as pair wise alignment, PAM, BLOSUM matrices, global and local alignments, application of methods of alignment. The testing of evolutionary hypothesis- HKA and McDonald-Kreitman tests, implementations.

The biological sequences and the exact string matching problems are discussed in a separate chapter. The keyword trees, suffix tree construction, maximum repeats, K -mismatches and more are discussed. The fast alignment such as heuristic and optimal alignment methods, statistics of local alignment, application and more are defined in a separate chapter.

Multiple sequence alignment, scoring, dynamic programming, HMM, profile analysis, and similar topics for computational biology are defined. The second part of the book is on the analysis of evolutionary relations among sequences. The different tree construction methods and algorithms are defined.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • Software demonstrations for each topic and exercises provided to solve a real-life biological problem
  • A chapter summary for a quick revision on brief topics
  • The molecular clock, applications of evolutionary studies defined
  • The testing of evolutionary hypothesis- HKA and McDonald-Kreitman tests, implementations
  • Gene prediction, computational gene finding methods, accuracies, ab initio methods, comparative methods and associated problems
  • Population study for genes, mutation models, and drift balance focussed

Level (best suitable for): Intermediate to Advance

7. Bioinformatics with Python Cookbook

Bioinformatics with Python Cookbook is one of the worth reading textbook on computational biology. Description on low quality genome references, traversing genome annotations, extracting genes from reference using annotations. A chapter is dedicated to population genetics, managing data sets, extracting data sets from different databases, computing F-statistics, performing principal components analysis, investigating population structure with the admixture.

Emphasis is laid on population genetic simulation, simulating selection, stepping stone models, modelling complex demographic scenarios and more. Interestingly written chapter on phylogenetics, preparation of data sets alignment, comparisons, reconstruction of trees, and visualising the data.

A chapter on usage of Protein Data Bank (PDB) is provided and finding protein sequences, extracting information, molecular distances computation, and animation using Pymol, and parsing files using Biopython is given.

Bioinformatics work pipeline, galaxy servers, accessing and developing galaxy tool, generic pipelines and deploying variant analysis are necessary topics. The application of python in big genomics data sets, use of high performance data, parallel computing, statistics, optimising code and more are lucidly written.

Why You Should Buy This Book

  • In-depth step-wise analysis protocols and Advance NGS processing
  • Working with the high-quality reference genomes
  • Finding orthologues and retrieving gene ontology information
  • studying genome accessibility and filtering SNP data, processing NGS data with HTSeq
  • Methods are explained for computational biologist or python programmer

Level (best suitable for): Intermediate to Advance

In this article, we have discussed about the best computational biology books available for the learners from any level of study. Each book is divided into various sections starting from an introduction. It guides on accessing data from gene bank and NCBI databases. Details on performing the basic sequence analysis, alignment of data, analysing data and more are given.

Every computational biologist must be aware of the mathematical and computer algorithms involved in solving a complex biological problem. By reading the best books on computational biology, the learners can know about the principles and fundamentals of the problem.

Each book mentioned by us are worth a read. The best three picks recommended by us are mentioned at the opening sections of the article. You can choose any one depending on your needs and level of understanding. However, go for the books that challenges your abilities.

The 10 top biology books for high school, undergraduates, and graduates students-:

Here we mentioned the ten leading biology textbooks. That every student must read once to improve their knowledge of biology and get a better understanding of the subject-:

1. Biological Science-:

The book “Biological Science” is one of the introductory texts for biology students. The primary aim of the book is to equip the students with a strategy to assess their level or state of understanding and then help them to learn how to improve their knowledge.

The 7th edition of this book has streamlined the content with an emphasis on key or main concepts of biology. If you are a beginner student of biology, then this is one of the best biology books for you.

2. Biology: Life on Earth with Physiology-:

The author has written this book in a conversation, question-and-answer style to make the book more attractive and engaging. Than other biology textbooks. This book takes actual-world approaches by incorporating true or real series.

That is relevant to the subject in an each-and-every chapter in the form of case studies. This book is easy to understand and more convenient. So, any high school student can easily understand it.

3. Concepts of Biology-:

The book “Concepts of Biology” conveys all the important themes compellingly and excitingly.

This book also includes a special “Career in Action” segment. That is very useful for introducing students to the different educational requirements. And daily life of different professions related to the biology field. We can say that this is one of the best biology books for graduate and post-graduate students.

4. Biology 11th Edition-:

In the book “Biology 11th edition” the writer tries to encourage their readers to look at the biology field with a particular emphasis on evolution and scientific inquiry into the slow, stable, steady development of different species. The book is written in a formal and easy-to-understand manner.

5. Campbell Biology-:

The book “Campbell Biology” was written by a collaboration of various authors who all are professors of biology or practicing biologists. The book contains a proper and in-depth explanation of every key point. So, We can say that this book will become helpful to clear all your doubts. Thus, This is another one of the most useful biology books for students.

6. Must-Know High School Biology-:

The book “Must-know high school biology” is considered one of the best biology books for teenagers who are struggling with science as the book provides clear or in-depth explanations that home in on different vital concepts. This book is like hundreds of practice question-answers and a complimentary app with digital flashcards.

7. Biology: The Core-:

This book uses all the concise sections or parts that direct focus on all the important concepts in the biology field without including any unnecessary information to make it easy for students to understand everything. The entire content or text is organized in a well-structured manner that makes it a great teaching tool or notebook.

8. Essential Cell Biology-:

This book is written in a well-structured and engaging manner that makes it easy to learn everything about this complicated or typical topic less tedious. This book is considered more useful and helpful for undergraduate students as they can have limited knowledge of the basics of the field.

9. Cengage Biology-:

The book “Cengage Biology” is one of the best biology books, as the book includes an inquiry-based teaching system. In this book, every chapter begins with a breakdown of all the most essential concepts and learning objectives and figures to illustrate the text or content better.

The book is written in a well-structured and formal manner. Thus it is easy to read and understandable. Even high school students can easily understand the entire book.

10. Human Biology-:

The book “Human Biology” is one of the best surprisingly readable books of biology. This book combines different modern and traditional pedagogical teaching methods to impart a deep understanding of its concepts or topic to students.

The book also provides a big picture overview of physiology to help all the readers to build a good foundation. So we can say that these books are helpful for high school to graduate students.


This book is based on my notes which I had prepared myself while preparing for PMTs. You need not study from any other material of any coaching institute to supplement this book. I expect atleast 90-95% questions in biology in the PMTs from this book.

I have written this book with a view to prevent students from being misguided by surplus, irrelevant information provided by books currently available in the market or by various PMT coaching institutions.



Salient Features :

1. This book contains all very important and frequently asked questions from biology in factual form derived from the previous years’ question papers of all medical entrance

2. A collection of 100+ mnemonics some of which have been collected from the study materials

of various PMT coaching centres and the internet while the majority of them have been prepared by author himself. Such a collection is not to be found elsewhere.

3. It also contains tips for solving questions, FAQs regarding preparation methods, study techniques, suggestions and advice regarding the entire preparation as well as last minute

4. Flow charts, tables, cycles have been incorporated in a notes wise format for better comprehension and easy learning.

5. Well labelled diagrams (NCERT based) for AIIMS, CBSE-Mains, Karnataka CET, and Manipal etc. have been included.

6. All the important terms and facts have been highlighted by using italics or bold fonts and the lesser important ones have been written in smaller fonts while the necessary superfluous

information has been omitted.

7. Also covers additional topics asked in different state-level examinations.

8. At least 90-95% questions in biology in PMTs are expected from this book.

9. Even a below average student can crack the exam after reading this book.

10. This book also covers additional topics asked in different state-level examinations.

11. Questions from the current editions of NCERT biology are asked in various exams including AIIMS, AIPMT, DPMT while AMU and DPMT draw questions even from very old editions of NCERT biology keeping this in mind, I have compiled chapter-wise points from three editions of NCERT biology (1999, 2006, 2008).

12. Atleast 90-95% questions in biology in the PMTs are expected to come from this book.

The Best AP Biology Review Books

This is a list of the review books I think will be most helpful to students studying for the AP Biology exam. The highest-rated books include comprehensive coverage of the course material, excellent practice questions, and helpful test-taking and study-planning tips for students.

Pearson Education Test Prep Series for AP Biology, 2017 Edition

Rating: 8/10

Even though this review book technically goes with a specific textbook, you can easily use it on its own. From all that I've read, this book is a solid, well-organized representation of the content and format of the AP Biology exam.

  • Includes high-quality free-response and multiple-choice questions at the end of each chapter
  • Effectively highlights the most important things you need to know about each topic area
  • Encourages readers to make connections between topics, which is critical on the exam
  • Because this book was published in 2017, its content doesn't align exactly with the new 2020 format of the AP Bio test

Sterling Test Prep AP Biology Practice Questions, 2020 Edition

Rating: 9/10

If you're in an AP Biology class and already have access to a textbook, I'd definitely recommend this book as a study aid for the exam. You might buy this book along with another book on this list that has more information about test-taking strategies and the exam format.

If you use this book as a resource for practice questions, you can use another book to get a concise overview of the material on the exam to supplement your studying. While this is not a stand-alone AP Biology book, it's definitely an awesome tool to have in your arsenal!

  • Includes a diverse array of more than 1,500 high-quality practice questions
  • Material and difficulty level aligns well with the format of the exam (lots of molecular and cell biology questions)
  • Has detailed answer explanations for all practice questions
  • Is accompanied by online resources that give you even more practice testing opportunities
  • Questions are divided by subject area, so if you're having trouble with a particular portion of the curriculum, you can focus on that material specifically
  • It's a less guided studying experience than what some other books offer—you have to be able to plan your time responsibly to get the most out of the questions and explanations
  • The book is pretty much just questions and doesn't provide an overview of what's tested on the exam
  • It's not so great if you're self-studying for the test, as you'll want to have some background knowledge before diving into practice questions (though the answer explanations will help you)
  • Even though the book has 2021 on the cover, it actually hasn't been updated since 2017. That means the information may not address everything that's covered on the updated AP Bio exam.

CliffsNotes AP Biology, 5th Edition

Rating: 8/10

This prep book is helpful if you want to clarify some of the concepts you'll learn in your AP Biology class and see a more concise summary of the information. I wouldn't recommend relying on it completely as your only source of review material, since many students felt that it didn't give them all the tools they needed to do well on the exam.

If you get this prep book, be sure to do lots of supplemental practice questions. Still, it's a good baseline resource for content!

  • Includes sections with information on test-taking strategies and how to answer different types of questions
  • Has two full practice exams with answers and explanations
  • Includes a detailed overview of all the labs and major content areas (with review sections) at the end of each chapter to help you retain the background information you'll need
  • It's relatively dense, and the amount of text might be overwhelming for some students
  • Many reviewers commented that the book was informative but didn't necessarily prepare them well for the AP Biology test

Barron's AP Biology, 6th Edition

Rating: 6/10

This is a mediocre review book overall. You can probably use it to review the content you need to know for the test or to help you understand concepts in your AP class, but I wouldn't rely solely on the practice test materials and testing strategies in this book. Though Barron's is usually pretty dependable, it seems as though this book might be a bit tedious.

  • Covers all the basic information you'll need to know for the exam
  • Practice questions help you memorize key facts and concepts
  • Diagrams are plentiful and easy to understand
  • The overall layout is pleasing to the eye and might be easier to read than other less well-designed review books
  • Students complain that there's too much superfluous content and that the book is sparse on important test-taking tips
  • Content has not been fully updated to reflect recent changes to the AP Biology exam
  • Practice questions are mostly fact- and memorization-based and do not fully prepare you for the analytical format of the AP Biology test
  • There seems to be consensus that the free-response questions here are particularly bad and are not at all comparable to the free-response questions on the AP Bio exam

Computational/Mathematical aspects

If you are a hardcore maths/computing person Michael Waterman's "Introduction to Computational Biology" [Chapman & Hall/CRC Statistics and Mathematics ISBN 0412993910] and Pavel Pevzner's "Computational Molecular Biology - An Algorithmic Approach" [The MIT Press (A Bradford Book) ISBN 0262161974] will give you all the discrete maths you can shake a stick at, but perfunctory introductions to the biology.

J.W. Bizzaro recommends Dan Gusfield's "Algorithms on Strings, Trees and Sequences" [Cambridge, 1997 ISBN 0521585198], Richard Durbin, Sean Eddy, A. Krogh, G. Mitchison "Biological Sequence Analysis: Probabilistic Models of Proteins and Nucleic Acids" [Cambridge, 1997 ISBN 0521629713] (which Damian Counsell thinks is one of the clearest and most comprehensive guides to alignment algorithms) and---for that full "computers-to-biology conversion"--- Geoffrey M. Cooper "The Cell: A Molecular Approach" [Sinauer Associates, 2007 ISBN 0878932194]. Jeff Ames writes that a second edition of this book is now available [Sinauer Associates, 2000 ISBN 0878931066] and that this version---if you can find it in the shops---comes with a CD.

Any beginners book recommendations for someone interested in biology?

I never studied biology but in high school I remember really liking the subject. Now that I have curiosity I want to take advantage of it and go back to it. Any books for beginners you can recommend me? Thank you in advance.

Biology is a VERY wide field of study. Do you know what specifically is drawing you towards it? Or more helpful would be what do you want to learn about within biology?

Wildlife Biology? One River

Evolution? The Beak of the Finch

Biogeography? The Monkey's Bridge

Human physiology and morphology? The Natural History of the Senses or The Third Chimpanzee

These classics will date me. You should go the bookstore and browse the nature and science sections to find one that interests you.

Primatology ? Any book by Frans de Wall (Are we smart enough to understand how smart animals are? or the Bonobo and the Atheist are good picks)

Behavioral biology ? Behave, or any other book by Sapolsky.

"Evo-devo" ? (regulation of gene expression and how this influences development of organisms, sort of an intro into the more modern topics in genetic/epigenetic) - Endless forms most beautiful.

A classic that is less hard than people make it to be is The Origin of Species by the OG Darwin.

Cell Biology Books PDF

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Take advantage of this amazing opportunity on and find a comprehensive list of the best cell biology books pdf free download such as: essentials of cell biology pdf, essentials of cell biology pdf, cell structure and function pdf download, list of cell organelles and their functions pdf and lots more. You need not spend expensively any more on Cell biology books pdf. Get ahead of your peers with some of the best cell biology lecture notes pdf available on this site. Get smart, leverage this opportunity today.

+20 Free Molecular Biology Books [PDF]

To continue providing easily accessible sources of information, we have compiled a set of free books on Molecular Biology. In this collection, we only include books in pdf format for your convenience.

What is known as Molecular Biology is one of the branches of Biology, which focuses on analyzing biological phenomena from the point of view of the structure of molecules.

In other words, we can say that Molecular Biology is in charge of studying, from a molecular perspective, the processes that take place in living organisms. By means of the notions about the properties of molecules, several questions of life can be explained.

Usually, Molecular Biology is focused on macromolecules: those with more molecular size and weight. In this sense, proteins and nucleic acids, which are of great relevance for organisms, are of utmost importance.

Professionals in Molecular Biology are in charge of studying the structure, composition and functions of molecules that are essential in the development of vital processes. Some of the central topics of Molecular Biology are protein synthesis, the links between DNA or deoxyribonucleic acid, RNA or ribonucleic acid, and metabolism.

In our selected list of more than 20 books on Molecular Biology in PDF format, you will be able to consult all the information concerning the subject. From this selection we include books in Spanish and Portuguese.

It is important to note that all books are in the public domain or have been made available for free distribution.