Related topics: genes

How human brain development diverged from great apes

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig, Germany, Institute of Molecular and Clinical Ophthalmology Basel, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, have presented new insights into the development ...

Researchers obtain the first mice born with hyper-long telomeres

A chance finding 10 years ago led to the creation by researchers of the Spanish National Cancer Research Centre (CNIO) of the first mice born with much longer telomeres than normal in their species. Telomeres shorten throughout ...

First genome of spotted lanternfly built from a single insect

Agricultural Research Service (ARS) scientists, in cooperation with Pacific Biosciences and Penn State University, have published the first genome of the invasive Spotted Lanternfly (SLF) in the journal Gigascience and they ...

Researchers discover how chlamydia takes up new DNA from host

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chlamydia trachomatis is the most commonly reported sexually transmitted bacterial disease in the U.S., totaling 1.7 million cases in 2017. Rates are highest among ...

Fruit flies help in the development of personalized medicine

People with the same diagnosis typically receive a standard treatment that is not necessarily effective for everyone. With knowledge of the individual patient's genome, it may be possible in the future to a greater extent ...

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Genetics

Genetics (from Ancient Greek γενετικός genetikos, “genitive” and that from γένεσις genesis, “origin”), a discipline of biology, is the science of heredity and variation in living organisms. The fact that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. However, the modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-nineteenth century. Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes.

Genes correspond to regions within DNA, a molecule composed of a chain of four different types of nucleotides—the sequence of these nucleotides is the genetic information organisms inherit. DNA naturally occurs in a double stranded form, with nucleotides on each strand complementary to each other. Each strand can act as a template for creating a new partner strand—this is the physical method for making copies of genes that can be inherited.

The sequence of nucleotides in a gene is translated by cells to produce a chain of amino acids, creating proteins—the order of amino acids in a protein corresponds to the order of nucleotides in the gene. This relationship between nucleotide sequence and amino acid sequence is known as the genetic code. The amino acids in a protein determine how it folds into a three-dimensional shape; this structure is, in turn, responsible for the protein's function. Proteins carry out almost all the functions needed for cells to live. A change to the DNA in a gene can change a protein's amino acids, changing its shape and function: this can have a dramatic effect in the cell and on the organism as a whole. Two additional factors that can change the shape of the protein are pH and temperature.

Although genetics plays a large role in the appearance and behavior of organisms, it is the combination of genetics with what an organism experiences that determines the ultimate outcome. For example, while genes play a role in determining an organism's size, the nutrition and other conditions it experiences after inception also have a large effect.

This text uses material from Wikipedia, licensed under CC BY-SA