News tagged with genetic

Related topics: genes

Researchers block HIV replication

A multidisciplinary team of scientists from Spanish universities and research centres, among which is the University of Valencia, has managed to design small synthetic molecules capable of joining to the ...

Dec 02, 2013
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11,000-year-old living dog cancer reveals its secrets

Scientists have sequenced the genome of the world's oldest continuously surviving cancer, a transmissible genital cancer that affects dogs. This cancer, which causes grotesque genital tumours in dogs around ...

Jan 23, 2014
popularity 4.7 / 5 (11) | comments 1 | with audio podcast

Interactive map of human genetic history revealed

The interactive map, produced by researchers from Oxford University and UCL (University College London), details the histories of genetic mixing between each of the 95 populations across Europe, Africa, Asia ...

Feb 13, 2014
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Gut microbes spur development of bowel cancer

It is not only genetics that predispose to bowel cancer; microbes living in the gut help drive the development of intestinal tumors, according to new research in mice published in the March issue of The Jo ...

Mar 03, 2014
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3-D model links facial features and DNA

DNA can already tell us the sex and ancestry of unknown individuals, but now an international team of researchers is beginning to connect genetics with facial features, degrees of femininity and racial admixture.

Mar 20, 2014
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Study reveals new genetic risk factor for type 2 diabetes

An international team of researchers in Mexico and the United States has uncovered a new genetic clue that contributes to an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, particularly the elevated risk among Mexican and other ...

Dec 25, 2013
popularity 4.7 / 5 (7) | comments 0 | with audio podcast

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