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Psychology - Genetics.docx

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PSYC 2510
Richard N Lalonde

October 10, 2012 Psychology – Lecture #6 Behavioural Neuroscience Genes, Evolution and Behaviour Genes and How They Operate:  Genes – Functional units of heredity which are composed of DNA  Chromosomes – Rod-shaped structures within cells that carry genes  DNA (dioxyribonucleic acid) – Genetic characteristics coded in the structure of proteins Where do genes come from?  Sperm (23 chromos) + Ovum (23 chromos) = Zygote (23 pairs: XY is male ♂ & XX is female ♀)  About 25,000 genes in human genome?  Made up from nucleobases (A,C,T and G) o Adenine, cytosine, thymine, guanine  Phenotype vs. genotype Studying Genetic Material Early Studies  Identification of dominant (brown eyes) & recessive genes (blue eyes) (Mendelian genetics)  Single gene effects (eg. Huntingon’s disease)  Most behaviours are polygenic o Eye colour is actually a function of 6 or more genes Possible reasons for different eye colours (heterochromia iridium)  Trauma to the eye (eg. David Bowie); can happen in the womb  Mutation in an eye colour gene influences one eye, while “normal’ cells developed other eye: somatic mosiacism  Certain medical condition: Waardenburg syndrome Genetic mapping  Look across generations for genes lying close together on a chromosome  Genetic marker – segment of DNA with a known physical location (ACGTCTCTATA) Epigenetics It’s genetic! – Different meanings  Some portion of a trait is inherited in some way  A trait is controlled by some combination of genes that have been located on a particular chromosome, and near some other genes  The length of DNA of the gene responsible for a trait has been identified and its sequence determined  Gene responsible for a trait has been sequenced and we know the molecular biology of how the gene works and how it’s affected by mutations Heritability  Statistical estimate of proportion of variability in a trait that is attributable to genetic differences among individuals within a group. o Expressed as a proportion (.60) – max= 1.0 o Height is highly heritable o Musical ability is moderately heritable  Heritability estimates do not apply to individuals  Highly heritable traits can still be modified by the environment Computing Heritability  Compare correlations between the
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