Inheritance

Introduction

Most people like this topic of inheritance. It references some things that are obvious in our everyday life, but also includes items that we didn't know much about until recently.

Most of this section talks about Mendel's work with garden peas and how much information people can learn from their garden if they take careful notes and a solemn oath to tend it for many years in a row.

Then we move on to an interesting conundrum: the production of sperm and egg is similar but different; gene regulation in prokaryotes and eukaryotes is similar but different; but the mechanism of meiosis is the same for everybody. Read on to find out how this applies to you and your everyday life.

And last, but not least … mutations, which can be very interesting. Perhaps you have some. They are the only real source of genetic variation and explain how certain species can survive in a changing environment. Alternation of generations may seem like a plant mutation, but it isn't. In fact, it helps certain plants survive. We don't alternate our generations; we plow right on through.

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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Biology © 2004 by Glen E. Moulton, Ed.D.. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

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