Epigenetics and cell diversity in the embryo

A research team at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics in Berlin has explored the role of factors in embryonic development that do not alter the sequence of DNA, but only epigenetically modify its "packaging". ...

Biologists zero in on cells' environmental sensing mechanism

Evolutionary and developmental biologist Craig Albertson and colleagues at the University of Massachusetts Amherst report that they have identified a molecular mechanism that allows an organism to change the way it looks ...

The Y chromosome is disappearing: What will happen to men?

The Y chromosome may be a symbol of masculinity, but it is becoming increasingly clear that it is anything but strong and enduring. Although it carries the "master switch" gene, SRY, that determines whether an embryo will ...

Eliminating damaged germline cells preserves germline integrity

The germline is the cell lineage of an organism that passes on its genetic material to its progeny. Genetic damage to the germline can cause developmental defects and even death of that same progeny. It is thought that biological ...

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Molecular genetics

Molecular genetics is the field of biology that studies the structure and function of genes at a molecular level. The field studies how the genes are transferred from generation to generation. Molecular genetics employs the methods of genetics and molecular biology. It is so-called to differentiate it from other sub fields of genetics such as ecological genetics and population genetics. An important area within molecular genetics is the use of molecular information to determine the patterns of descent, and therefore the correct scientific classification of organisms: this is called molecular systematics.

Along with determining the pattern of descendants, molecular genetics helps in understanding genetic mutations that can cause certain types of diseases. Through utilizing the methods of genetics and molecular biology, molecular genetics discovers the reasons why traits are carried on and how and why some may mutate.

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