Genetics- What You Should Know
What is Genetics
Genetics is the study of heredity. Heredity is a biological process where a parent passes certain genes onto their children. Every child inherits genes from both of their biological parents and these genes in turn may express specific traits. Some of these traits may be physical for example: hair, eye and skin color. Some genes may also carry a risk for various diseases and disorders that may be passed on from parents to their children.
All humans have 23 pairs of small thread-like structures called chromosomes in the nucleus of their cells. All together, each cell in the body has 46 total chromosomes, 23 from the mother and 23 from the father.
Within the chromosomes lie the genes. Some chromosomes carry thousands of vital genes while some carry very few. Chromosomes, and therefore the genes, are made up of the chemical substance, DeoxyriboNucleic Acid, or DNA. Chromosomes are essentially long thin strands of DNA chains twisted into the shape of a double helix and are located in the nucleus of every cell in our body.
Genes are further made up of unique codes of chemical bases comprising of Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine and Guanine (A, T, C, G). The information in DNA is a combination of three of these four chemicals, or letters. Each chemical tells the cells to produce a particular amino acid, which are the building blocks of proteins. The sequence of the chemicals in the gene enables the cells to assemble the amino acides in the correct order to make up a protein.
As part of the DNA, when strung together, these chemical bases act as the blueprints that tell the cells of the body when and how to grow, mature and perform variou functions. Genes may be affected and develop faults and damages with age. This could be due to lifestyle and/or environmental and endogenous toxins, also known as "epigenetics".
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