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DNA and Life Sciences Genetics

Dr. Doudna and Dr. Charpentier_102922A
[Dr. Jennifer Doudna and Dr. Emmanuelle Charpentier share the 2020 Nobel chemistry prize for their discovery of a game-changing gene-editing technique. Credit: Alexander Heinel/Picture Alliance/DPA]

- Overview

Genetics is the scientific study of genes and heredity. It examines how traits are passed from parents to offspring through changes in DNA sequence. Genetics is one of the fastest growing fields of biology and has led to many advances in medicine, agriculture, and the pharmaceutical industry. 

Genetics studies the blueprints of life, including DNA sequence and gene expression. Cell biology studies the machinery of life within cells. The combined study of genetics and cell biology has led to a better understanding of many diseases. 

Genetic diseases can be categorized into three groups: single-gene, chromosomal, and multifactorial. Changes in the DNA sequence of single genes, also known as mutations, cause thousands of diseases. 

Life sciences also include: 

Biology, Zoology, Biochemistry, Cell biology, Computational biology, Plant science, Ecology, Neurobiology, Stem cell, Synthetic biology, Biomedical research.


 - DNA

"Deoxyribonucleic acid (abbreviated DNA) is the molecule that carries genetic information for the development and functioning of an organism. DNA is made of two linked strands that wind around each other to resemble a twisted ladder -- a shape known as a double helix. 

Each strand has a backbone made of alternating sugar (deoxyribose) and phosphate groups. Attached to each sugar is one of four bases: adenine (A), cytosine (C), guanine (G) or thymine (T). 

The two strands are connected by chemical bonds between the bases: adenine bonds with thymine, and cytosine bonds with guanine. The sequence of the bases along DNA’s backbone encodes biological information, such as the instructions for making a protein or RNA molecule." -- [NIH]


- Genetics and Inheritance

Genetics is basically the study of heredity, especially the mechanism of heredity transmission, and changes in genetic characteristics between similar or related organisms. Some branches of genetics include behavioral genetics, classical genetics, cytogenetics, molecular genetics, developmental genetics, and population genetics. 

Genes are passed on to offspring in both sexual and asexual reproduction, and over time natural selection can accumulate differences between individuals at the population level, a process called evolution. 

Inheritance refers to the passing of traits from one generation to another through asexual and sexual reproduction. Gametes are the reproductive cells of an organism, males are sperm and females are eggs. Each of these chromosomes carries 23 of the 46 chromosomes needed to create a complete human genome, and come together to form a fertilized egg. 

Several mechanisms for developing genetic variation emerge during each of these stages. Before gametes are formed, homologous chromosomes exchange genetic material, creating a new combination of genes on each chromosome. The homologous chromosomes are then randomly distributed during meiosis to produce gametes, ensuring that each gamete is unique. 




The study of chromosomes, which are long strands of DNA and proteins that contain most of the genetic information in cells. Cytogenetics involves testing tissue, blood, or bone marrow samples in the laboratory for chromosomal changes, including breaks, deletions, rearrangements, or extra chromosomes.


- Molecular Genetics

Molecular genetics is the study of heredity and variation at the molecular level. It focuses on the flow and regulation of genetic information between DNA, RNA and proteins. Its subfields are genomics (the study of all nucleotide sequences in an organism's chromosomes, including structural genes, regulatory sequences, and noncoding DNA fragments) and proteomics (the study of proteins involved in DNA replication). 

Different techniques used in molecular genetics include amplification, polymerase chain reaction, DNA cloning, DNA isolation, mRNA isolation, etc. 

Molecular genetics is critical for understanding and treating genetic diseases. It is considered the most advanced field of genetics. The Human Genome Project is a large scientific study in the field of molecular genetics. It started in the 1990s and ended in 2003 with the aim of identifying genetic and chemical base pair sequences in human DNA. 


- Biochemical Genetics

Biochemical genetics is a combination of biochemistry and genetics. Biochemistry studies the structure and function of cellular components, such as proteins, carbohydrates, lipids, nucleic acids, and other biomolecules, and their function and transformation during life. 

Genetics is basically the study of heredity, especially the mechanism of heredity transmission, and changes in genetic characteristics between similar or related organisms. Some branches of genetics include biochemical genetics, cytogenetics, developmental genetics, genetic engineering, etc. 

Thus, biochemical genetics is a branch of genetics that deals with the chemical structure of the genes and with the mechanisms by which the genes control and regulate the structure and synthesis of proteins. It studies the relationship of genes and their control of enzyme function in biochemical pathways. 

In terms of the chemical (biochemical) events involved, it's genetics, like the way DNA molecules replicate through the genetic code and control the synthesis of specific enzymes.



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