Introduction to genetics

Genetics is probably one of the most exciting lessons in biology.

How do the offspring of living things look so much like their parents? Why does a red apple seed not grow to produce green fruit? Why do some people look so much like their parents? Genetics might help with some answers.

What is genetics?

Genetics is the science of studying how living things pass on characteristics (or traits) and their variations in their cell make-up from one generation to the other.

Simply, it is the study of how living things inherit features like eye color, nose shape, height, and even behavior from their parents.

A scientist who studies genetics is called a geneticist.

Here is a scenario —

If a mother with big blue eyes has a baby boy, soon his eyes begin to look so much like his mummy’s.

He will probably exhibit similar features to his mum’s eyes.

When this happens, the boy probably has inherited some specific genes from his mummy, and the cells in their eyes share some DNA (we will explain this soon).

This inheritance can come about in both sexual and asexual reproduction.

Genetics is not only important in humans. It also applies to plants and other living cells. A plant may pass on traits like the number of fruits it bears, the color of its flowers, or its root structure via a seed, that will grow into a very identical plant.

In this lesson, we shall learn a bit more about how that is possible and some very important words that we need in our study of genetics. Let us begin with Genes, Chromosomes, and DNA.