What is genetics and its Importance?

What is genetics and its Importance?

What is Genetics?

Genetics is a branch of biology concerned with the study of genes, genetic variation, and heredity in organisms. Though heredity had been observed for millennia, Gregor Mendel, Moravian scientist and Augustinian friar working in the 19th century in Brno, was the first to study genetics scientifically. Mendel studied "trait inheritance", patterns in the way traits are handed down from parents to offspring over time. He observed that organisms (pea plants) inherit traits by way of discrete "units of inheritance".

Genetics study of heredity in general and of genes in particular.

Genetics forms one of the central pillars of biology and overlaps with many other areas, such as agriculture, medicines and biotechnology.

This term, still used today, is a somewhat ambiguous definition of what is referred to as a gene.

Trait inheritance and molecular inheritance mechanisms of genes are still primary principles of genetics in the 21st century, but modern genetics has expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behavior of genes. Gene structure and function, variation, and distribution are studied within the context of the cell, the organism (e.g. dominance), and within the context of a population. Genetics has given rise to a number of subfields, including molecular 

genetics, epigenetic and population genetics. Organisms studied within the broad field span the domains of life (Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukarya).

Genetic processes work in combination with an organism's environment and experiences to influence development and behavior, often referred to as nature versus nurture. The intracellular or extracellular environment of a living cell or organism may switch gene transcription on or off. A classic example is two seeds of genetically identical corn, one placed in a temperate climate and one in an arid climate (lacking sufficient waterfall or rain). While the average height of the two corn stalks may be genetically determined to be equal, the one in the arid climate only grows to half the height of the one in the temperate climate due to lack of water and nutrients in its environment.

Since the dawn of civilization, humankind has recognized the influence of heredity and applied its principles to the improvement of cultivated crops and domestic animals. A Babylonian tablet more than 6,000 years old, for example, shows pedigrees of horses and indicates possible inherited characteristics. Other old carvings show cross-pollination of date palm trees. Most of the mechanisms of heredity, however, remained a mystery until the 19th century, when genetics as a systematic science began.


Definition of Genetic

Genetics may be defined as the study of genes at all levels, including the ways in which they act in the cell and the ways in which they are transmitted from parents to offspring. Modern genetics focuses on the chemical substance that genes are made of, called deoxyribonucleic acid, or DNA, and the ways in which it affects the chemical reactions that constitute the living processes within the cell.

Genetics action depends on interaction with the environment. Genetics arose out of the identification of genes, the fundamental units responsible for heredity.  Green plants, for example, have genes containing the information necessary to synthesize the photosynthetic pigment chlorophyll that gives them their green colour. Chlorophyll is synthesized in an environment containing light because the gene for chlorophyll is expressed only when it interacts with light. If a plant is placed in a dark environment, chlorophyll synthesis stops because the gene is no longer expressed.


Examples of Genetics

1. Classical or formal genetics: The study of the transmission of single genes within families and the analysis of more complex types of inheritance.

2. Clinical genetics: The diagnosis, prognosis and, in some cases, the treatment of genetic diseases.

3. Genetic counseling: An important area within clinical genetics involving the diagnosis, risk assessment, and interpersonal communication.

4. Cancer genetics: The study of genetic factors in inherited and sporadic cancer.

5. Cytogenetic: The study of chromosomes in health and disease.

6. Biochemical genetic: The biochemistry of nucleic acids and proteins including enzymes.

7. Pharmacogenetics: How genes govern the absorption, metabolism and disposal of drugs and untoward reactions to them.

8. Molecular genetics: The molecular study of genetics including particularly DNA and RNA.

9. Immunogenetics: The genetics of the immune system including blood groups, HLA, and the immunoglobulin.

10. Behavioral genetics: The study of genetic factors in behavior in health and disease including mental retardation and mental illness.

11. Population genetics: The study of genes within populations including gene frequencies, the gene pool, and evolution.

12. Reproductive genetics: The genetics of reproduction including genes and chromosomes in germ cells and the early embryo.

13. Developmental genetics: The genetics of normal and abnormal development including congenital malformations (birth defects).

14. Cancer genetics: The study of the genetic factors in inherited and sporadic cancer.

15. Eco-genetics: The interaction of genetics with the environment.

16. Forensic genetics: The application of genetic knowledge, including DNA, to legal matters.



Why is genetics important to my family and me?

Genetics helps to give explanation:

1. What makes you unique, or one of a kind

2. Why family members look alike

3. Why some diseases like diabetes or cancer run in families

4. How learning your family health history can help you stay healthy

5. Why you should bring your family health history to your healthcare provider

Taking time to learn about health and diseases that run in your family is worth it! It will help you understand your own health and make healthy choices.


What makes you unique?

Every person is unique. Part of what makes you unique is your genes. Genes are the instructions inside each of your cells. They control how you look and how your body works. Since everyone has slightly different genes, everyone has a different set of instructions. Genes are one reason why you are unique!


Tell me more about my Genes

a)  A person has two copies of each gene, one from the mother and one from the father.

b) Genes carry instructions that tell your cells how to work and grow.

c) Cells are the building blocks of the body. Every part of your body is made up of billions of cells working together.

d) Genes are arranged in structures called chromosomes. Humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes. Copies of the chromosomes are found in each cell.

e) Chromosomes are made up of DNA. DNA is the special code in which the instructions in your genes are written.


Why do family members have things in common?

Children inherit pairs of genes from their parents. A child gets one set of genes from the father and one set from the mother. These genes can match up in many ways to make different combinations. This is why many family members look a lot alike and others don’t look like each other at all. Genes can also increase the risk in a family for getting certain health conditions.

Families also share habits, diet, and environment. This influence how healthy we are later in life. You share a lot with your family, including what can make you sick.


Why so some diseases run in families?

Some diseases are caused when there is a change in the instructions in a gene. This is called a mutation. Every person has many mutations. Sometimes these changes have no effect or are even slightly helpful. But sometimes they can cause disease.

Most common diseases are caused by a combination of mutations, lifestyle choices, and your environment. Even people with similar genes may or may not get an illness if they make different choices or live in a different environment.

Thousands of diseases are caused by a specific change in the DNA of a single gene. Many of these diseases are rare. These conditions usually develop when an individual is born with a mutated gene.

If a rare disease runs in your family, be sure to write it down. Do not forget to learn about common conditions that affect your family’s health.

Read on: What is genetics? - definition, examples, importance and history 


What is Genetics? – Definition, Example, Importance, and History

Post a Comment