Q:

What is the difference between heredity and genetics?

A:

Quick Answer

Heredity refers to the passing of characteristics from parents to offspring. Genetics is the study of heredity, genes and variations in organisms. Heredity occurs in plants, animals, bacteria and fungi.

Continue Reading
What is the difference between heredity and genetics?
Credit: David Eccles CC-BY-SA 2.0

Full Answer

Organisms inherit physical characteristics or traits from their parents or ancestors. This is the reason offspring often resemble their parents. Cells of living organisms contain tiny biochemical structures called genes. The genes are responsible for carrying traits from one generation to the next. Genes get shuffled during reproduction, resulting in offspring with varying characteristics. Some traits are the result of the interaction of several genes. Genes are made up of a chemical called DNA, or deoxyribonucleic acid, which is strung together in long chains called chromosomes.

Gregor Mendel is considered the father of genetics. He studied the nature of inheritance in pea plants. In his experiments, he discovered that the color of the flowers were either purple or white and not a mixture of the two colors. He observed that pea plants inherit traits through units of inheritance. These units of inheritance were later named genes.

Some diseases, such as sickle-cell anemia, are genetic. A small difference in DNA can result in sickle-cell anemia. The environment also influences the expression of a gene. A person may be genetically predisposed to obesity, but the actual weight of the person depends on diet and lifestyle.

Learn more about Molecular Biology & DNA

Related Questions

  • Q:

    What is inherited variation?

    A:

    In the field of biology, inherited variation refers to genes and genetic information transferring from both parents to offspring. Biological variation occurs in all species, including humans, plants and other animals. Offspring of all living species derives approximately 50 percent of each parent's genes, giving them resemblance to the parents while displaying novel traits, features and characteristics as well, as noted in a report by the BBC.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    Is Tay Sachs disease dominant or recessive?

    A:

    According to WebMD, Tay Sachs disease is an autosomal recessive disease, meaning both parents need to have a copy of the mutated gene in order to pass it onto their offspring. Tay Sachs disease is a very rare genetic disorder, usually affecting those of Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    How can you tell what color eyes your baby will have?

    A:

    There is no way to precisely determine the color of a baby's eyes before it is born, but it is possible to predict the chances of a certain eye color by looking at the genetics of the parents and grandparents. Still, each parent only passes on one gene, and due to dominant and recessive traits, there are a number of different possible outcomes.

    Full Answer >
  • Q:

    What is the purpose of a Punnett square?

    A:

    A Punnett square is used to make predictions about the likelihood of certain traits occurring in offspring based on the genetics of the parents. This mathematical tool was invented by English geneticist Reginald Punnett in the early 20th century.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore