Oncology & Cancer

Chemists skew the odds to prevent cancer

The path to cancer prevention is long and arduous for legions of researchers, but new work by Rice University scientists shows that there may be shortcuts.

Medical research

Protein linked to intellectual disability has complex role

Fragile X syndrome, the leading inherited cause of intellectual disability, is due to a genetic mutation that largely eliminates the fragile X protein, a critical element of normal brain development and function.

Immunology

Next-gen vaccines set to maintain immunity as the years advance

Vaccine potency drops in the elderly and little is known about why this happens. Now, European scientists are on a mission to understand waning immunity and to develop strategies that make vaccines work effectively in all ...

Health

On nutrition: Old and new diet trends

This is how old I am: A few decades ago, I sat in on a nutrition debate between Dr. Dean Ornish and Dr. Robert Atkins, well-known cardiologists with polar opposite views on the best diet to lose weight and prevent heart ...

Immunology

Mitochondrial respiratory chain sustains inflammation

Northwestern Medicine investigators recently discovered that the mitochondrial respiratory chain—a series of protein complexes essential for a cellular respiration and energy production—is necessary for the activation ...

page 1 from 40

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