Genetics: Past, Present and Future

2598 Words11 Pages
Throughout the ages, patterns of inheritance have always been studied. People have always been curious about what causes the appearance of certain traits in individuals. However, by the time the 21st century commenced, science found that the answers to these questions can be found in each cell of the body. Genes. But what are genes truly? Who were the scientists who contributed towards their discovery? What are the recent advancements in the field of genetics, and what does the future hold for this field?

1. The Past

To understand the functioning of genes and even the structure of genes, it is essential to know the history of genes, and past assumptions of hereditary.

Greek theories. Like in any other field of knowledge, the Greek philosophers have left their mark on the history of genetics. Pythagoras proposed that the male parent provided the material that determined the traits inherited; however, Empodocles stated that both parents played an equal role in the transmission of genes since many children possessed the same traits of their mother. The father of medicine, Hippocrates, put forth the theory of pangenesis. He believed that different parts of the body produced traits that were transferred during conception. Aristotle disproved the theory of pangenesis by presenting evidence that parents who had lost limbs often produced healthy offspring. In addition to this, Aristotle was the first to propose the idea that traits were not affected by external circumstances, humors, or elements (Freedman 10-13).

The renaissance. As one may know, the renaissance was a period between the 1400s-1700s where great advancements in science occured. The invention of basic tools and the revelation of how to effectively use those too...

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Marshall, Elizabeth L. The Human Genome Project: Cracking the Code within Us. New York: F. Watts, 1996. Print.

"Powering a Cure; Genetic Medicine." The Economist 27 Oct. 2012: 14(US). Educators Reference Complete. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

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Sepkowitz, Kent. "The Inner Life of Cells." Newsweek 17 Sept. 2012: 8. Educators Reference Complete. Web. 12 Nov. 2013.

Stein, Rob. "Role of Race Reemerges in DNA-Testing Debate." Washington Post. 01 Aug 2011: A.1. SIRS Issues Researcher. Web. 14 Nov 2013.
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