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ANTH-UA 2 Chapter Notes -Mendelian Inheritance, Molecular Genetics, Population Genetics

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Richard Bailey

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Genetics: Cells and Molecules
The Study of Genetics
Cellular and molecular genetics - involves the study of genetics at the level of cells and
DNA; used to devise genetic therapies for disease or determine the precise makeup of
species’ DNA
Classical or Mendelian genetics - involves looking at the pedigree of related individuals
and tracking how various traits are passed from one generation to the next
Population genetics - examines genetic variation within and between populations to gain
insights into the evolutionary history of those populations and of the species as a whole
Phylogenetics - concerned with determining evolutionary relationships between species,
usually by constructing tree-like diagrams that visually indicate how closely or distantly
species are related to one another
Behavioral genetics - involves trying to understand how the behavior of animals,
including humans, is influenced by genetics
Genetic Metaphors
Not so much a blueprint - you can’t unbuild a body by breaking it down into its original
component parts
More like a recipe: includes a list of ingredients and a set of instructions for what to do
with those ingredients
Information storage
The Cell
Two kinds:
Prokaryotes - all unicellular with no major compartments within the cell to
separate the genetic material from all other components of the cell
Eukaryotes - characterized by a cellular anatomy that separates the genetic
material from the rest of the cell in a structure known as the nucleus
Plasma membrane - the outer boundary of the cell; regulates the transport of material
into and out of the cell and governs communication and coordinated activity between
Cytoplasm - the fluid-filled space within the cell and surrounding the nucleus; contains
organelles, which help maintain the cell and carry out its functions
Unicellular organism shave dominated most of the history of life on earth
Somatic cells - cells of the body that are not sex cells
Gametes - germ cells that are directly involved in propagation or reproduction
Stem cells - totipotent (can differentiate into any of the somatic cell types found in the
fetus or adult); also found in adults, but embryonic cells are less limited in differentiation
Cell Anatomy
Nucleus - the most prominent feature in the cytoplasm; bounded by its own membrane
or envelope, which separates its contents from the rest of the cytoplasm
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