Heredity and Environment

The Genetic Code From One Cell to Many From Genotype to Phenotype Chromosomal and Genetic Abnormalities
Prepared by Madeleine Lacefield Tattoon, M.A.

Part I

Kathleen Stassen Berger

Chapter Three

The Genetic Code
• “Genes play a leading role in the drama of human development, yet they rarely take center stage. Genes are pervasive and powerful, but they are also hidden and elusive.”

• DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid)

What Genes Are

– Molecule that contains the chemical instructions for cells to manufacture various proteins. – Chromosome
• a molecule of DNA that contains the instructions to make proteins • Humans have 46 chromosomes (23 pairs), and about 25,000 genes. • the code for making a human being

– Genome

• Every person has a slightly different code, but the human genome is 99.5% the same for any 2 people.

What Genes Are
• Genes are as section of chromosomes and the basic unit for the transmission of heredity, consisting of a string of chemicals that code for the manufacture of certain proteins.

The Beginnings of Life
“…development begins at conception… each human reproductive cell or gamete, contains 23 chromosomes, half of that person’s 46…” gamete A reproductive cell; that is, a sperm or ovum that can produce a new individual if it combines with a gamete from the other sex to make a zygote

The Beginnings of Life
• Matching Genes
• zygote

– conception occurs in the usual way
– the single cell formed from the fusing of two gametes, a sperm and an ovum – An organism’s entire genetic inheritance, or genetic potential

• genotype


From One Cell to Many
– phenotype
• the observable characteristic of a person, including appearance, personality, intelligence, and all other traits


From One Cell to Many
• New Cells, New Functions
– Gene-Gene Interactions • occurs through cell differentiation, genegene (polygenic), and gene-environment interaction – Multifactorial • refers to a trait that is affected by many factors, both genetic and environmental – The Human Genome Project is an international effort to map the entire human genome • researchers have found that humans have only about 25,000 genes, 99% of which are present in the genomes of other creatures as well 8

From One Cell to Many
• Additive Heredity
– an allele is a slight, normal variation of a particular gene – additive genes combine to make a phenotype

• some alleles are…

From One Cell to Many
• Dominant-Recessive Heredity
– the interaction of a pair of alleles in such a way that the phenotype reveals the influence of one allele (the dominant gene) more than that of the other (the recessive gene) – a special case of the dominantrecessive pattern occurs with genes that are x-linked, located on the x chromosome 10

From One Cell to Many
• More Complications
– A small alteration in the sequence of base pairs or several extra repetitions in one triplet ma be inconsequential or may cascade to create a major problem

From One Cell to Many
• Twins, Clones, Assisted Reproduction (ART)
– dizygotic (fraternal) twins
• result from two sperm penetrating two ova, and share 50% of their genes • originate from one zygote, and share 100% genes

– monozygotic (identical) twins

– a clone • originates from a live organism – ART • general term for the technique designed to help infertile couples conceive and then 12 sustain a pregnancy

From One Cell to Many
• Assisted Reproduction (ART)

– general term for the technique designed to help infertile couples conceive and then sustain a pregnancy


• Genes affect every aspect of human behavior, including social and cognitive behavior • Most environmental influences on children raised in the same home are not shared

From Genotype to Phenotype

• Each child’s genes elicit other people’s responses, and these responses shape development. In other words, a child’s environment is partly the result of his or her genes. • Children, adolescents, and especially adults choose environments that are compatible with their genes (called niche-picking), and thus genetic influences in

From Genotype to Phenotype


• Carrier

From Genotype to Phenotype

– a person whose genotype includes a gene that is not expressed in the phenotype…such an unexpressed gene occurs in half of the carrier’s gametes and thus is passed on to half of the carrier’s children, who will most likely be carriers, too… – Generally, only when the gene is inherited from both parents does the characteristic appear in the 16 phenotype.

• Addiction

From Genotype to Phenotype

– …inherited biochemistry making people vulnerable to various addition… – …any one can abuse drugs or alcohol…but genes create an addictive pull that can be overpowering, extremely weak, or somewhere in between…

• Practical Application

From Genotype to Phenotype

– developmental application of nature-nurture interaction
• family history of genetic problems • someone inherited a problem
– alcoholism in the genes – lack of outdoor play


Chromosomal and Genetic Abnormalities • Genetic Counseling and Testing
– consultation and testing by trained experts that enable individuals to learn about their genetic heritage, including harmful conditions that they might pass along to any children they may conceive


Chromosomal and Genetic Abnormalities • Who Should Get Counseling, and When?
– genetic counseling
•consultation and testing by trained experts that enable individuals to learn about their genetic heritage, including harmful conditions that they might pass along to any children they may conceive

Chromosomal and Genetic Abnormalities • Is knowledge Always Power?

– Genetic counselors, scientist, and the general public usually favor testing – high risk individuals (who might hear bad news) do not always want to know
•having some information is better than having none

•the truth might jeopardize their marriage, their insurance 21 coverage, or their chance of

Chromosomal and Genetic Abnormalities • Coping with Uncertainty

– much is uncertain in genetic testing and counseling – those who learn that they have a harmful dominant gene have new information, as well as new uncertainties – interaction of genes and the environment makes development overt the life span unpredictable, even if the genes 22 are known

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