Grana biologije koja proučava pojave i zakone nasleđivanja. (grč.)
Nauka o nasleđu, naslednim faktorima.
Sinonimi: genetic science
The science of heredity that attempts to explain how characteristics are passed on from one generation to the next. The founder of genetics was Austrian biologist Gregor Mendel, whose experiments with peas showed that inheritance of characteristics takes place by means of discrete “particles”, later called genes.
Before Mendel, it had been assumed that the characteristics of the two parents were blended during inheritance, but Mendel showed that the genes remain intact, although their combinations change. Since Mendel, genetics has advanced greatly, first through breeding experiments and light-microscope observations (classical genetics), later by means of biochemical and electron-microscope studies (molecular genetics).
In 1944, Oswald Avery, Colin McLeod, and Maclyn McCarty showed that the genetic material was deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), and not protein as was previously thought. A further breakthrough was made when, in 1953, James Watson and Francis Crick published their molecular model for the structure of DNA, the double helix, based on X-ray diffraction photographs. The following decade saw cracking of the genetic code. The genetic code is said to be universal since the same code applies to all organisms from bacteria and viruses to higher plants and animals, including humans. Today the deliberate manipulation of genes by biochemical techniques, or genetic engineering, is commonplace. See also genotype, phenotype, and monohybrid inheritance.
The branch of biology that studies heredity and variation in organisms; SYN. genetic science.