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Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA: Defining Our Life

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Deoxyribonucleic Acid or DNA: Defining Our Life

Genetics is defined as the study of heredity. Heredity is controlled by genes, which aid in the development of a cellular organism’s definite characteristics. Such characteristics include sex, hair color, eye color, and countless other traits. Genes are composed of deoxyribonucleic acid, more commonly abbreviated as DNA. Deoxyribonucleic acid carries the genetic material for all cellular organisms. These molecules carry the information needed to direct many important processes that take place inside of the cell. This information is vital to the survival and health of the organism.

Genetics has a long history filled with numerous different scientists building off of their predecessors’ data in order to form new theories. There are many events and scientists who have been important influences on the study of heredity over time. In 1809, a French biologist, Jean Baptiste de Lamarck, proposed the first complete theory of evolution. He claimed, “new species originate by natural processes and that man has an ape ancestry” (Bailey 13). His ideas become an important influence on evolutionary thinking for the next one hundred and twenty five years. In 1859, Charles Darwin published his theory of evolution by natural selection called The Origin of the Species. This very controversial work is still the subject of debate over a hundred and forty years later. For this reason, some of the most basic scientific fundamentals remained unnoticed due to the shadow this controversy cast over science. In 1866, Gregor Mendel, an Austrian monk, publishes his theories of inheritance. His experiments dealt with the inheritance of “factors” in pea plants. Thes...

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...ematical qualities, qualities important enough to play ma major role in a book, a book that has now been made into a college class! Without this tiny molecule, than can be represented in three letters, DNA, life as we know it today would not exist. That is one powerful molecule.

Bibliography

Lewis, Ricki. Human Genetics. Boston, McGraw-Hill, 2001.

Bailey, Jill. Genetics and Evolution: The Molecules of Inheritance. New York, Oxford University Press, 1995.

Parkin, David T. An Introduction to Evolutionary Genetics. London, Edward Arnold Publishers, 1979.

Ford, E.B. Understanding Genetics. New York, Pica Press, 1979.

Hofstadter, Douglas R. Godel, Escher Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid. New York, Basic Books, 1979.

Relethford, John H. The Human Species:An Introduction to Biological Anthropology. The McGraw-Hill Companies, 2003.
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