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File:239px-DNA Overview.png
A basic overview of the structure of DNA.

Genetics is the study of genes and inheritance. Genetic information is represented by DNA, usually in the form of circular DNA or chromosomes.

In the 19th century Gregor Mendel observed inheritance in pea plants, and this simple form of inheritance was named Mendelian inheritance. Mendel coined the term allele, which he defined as a unit of heredity (what would now be called gene). The definition of allele has changed slightly since then, to mean the particular version of a gene. Unfourtunately, no one really fully realised the significance of Mendel's work in his own lifetime.

Since Mendel's time genes have been identified with chromosomes, which have been shown to be DNA molecules ( Oswald Theodore Avery, Hershey-Chase experiment), and their molecular structure has been discovered (James Watson, Francis Crick, Erwin Chargaff et al). Now the genetic code of many species has been sequenced, and even modified.

The genotype of an organism is largely responsible for the phenotype of the organism.

Genetics is divided into a number of categories:

See also

This page is part of the EvoWiki encyclopedia of genetics and molecular biology.

Topics: Genetics - Transmission genetics - Molecular genetics - Population genetics - Quantitative genetics - Molecular biology - Genomics
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