|Topics||DNA, Genes, Meiosis, Traits|
Deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) is the molecule that contains genetic information. DNA is encoded through a combination of nucleotides that bind together in a specific double helix pattern.
The gene is the base unit of inheritance and is contained within DNA. A gene may come in several varieties (alleles) and there are a pair of alleles for every gene. If the alleles are alike, a person is homozygous for that gene. If the alleles are different, heterozygous.
Reproductive (haploid) cells known as gametes have half as many (23) pairs of chromosomes as normal (diploid) cells. When the male gamete (sperm) combines with the female gamete (ovum) through meiosis to form a zygote, each gamete supplies half the chromosomes needed to form the normal diploid cells.
The traits represented by genes are inherited independently of each other (one from the male and one from the female gamete) and a trait can be dominant or recessive. A dominant trait will be expressed when paired with a recessive trait while two copies of a recessive trait (one from each parent) must be present for the recessive trait to be expressed.