Sierra College Department of Biological Sciences

Discover the Biological Sciences

The introductory information for this site has been contributed as a joint assignment by students in Bio. Sci. 10.

Genetics - Molecular Genetics

By: Logan Krall

1) Biological field or sub-topic chosen:

Molecular Genetics

2) Define field or sub-topic:

Molecular genetics is the study of the form and function of genetics through the field of molecular biology. Molecular biology is simply the study of biology at a molecular level and genetics refers to the inheritance and transference of genetic or hereditary information through DNA.

3) Describe in more detail the breath and depth of what could be studied or learned within this topic:

Within humans, there are 4 base nucleotides that are paired and sequenced into over 3 billion combinations and create the basic double helix structure of our DNA. Scientists found that these base pairs were arranged in notable complex arrays called genes and form the primary focus of study within the science of genetics. The study of molecular genetics is the study the heredity of life itself because every living organism must reproduce and in some form pass along the genetic information stored within its DNA to the next generation of life. The genes found in DNA represent the organism’s phenotype, its unique physically rendered characteristics, and genotype, the exact and sometimes recessive composition of DNA. Without DNA it is hardly conceivable that life could exist at all. Subtopics of genetics include the study of genetic mutation, forward genetics, reverse genetics, and gene therapy.

4) Focusing on one major concept, principle, or group of organisms (as appropriate within the topic), describe its importance, relationships, functional aspects, or otherwise explain it in more depth as seems important to you and (potentially) the others in class:

One major breakthrough in molecular genetics was the foundation of the Human Genome Project. This international science project began in 1990, under the head supervision of James D. Watson, with the primary goals of determining the exact chemical sequence of DNA and identifying the over 20,000 genes found within the human genome. Part of that which made this task initially seem so insurmountable was the fact that every human being, except for twins, contains a unique genome, or set of genetic materials, and remains one of the largest scientific undertakings in modern history. The conceivable benefits from this project are still in their early stages of development but include vast advances in medicine, biotechnology, and our understanding of evolution itself. One of first areas of medicine that have already been affected is the fight against and possible cures for cancer. By understanding our exact genetic composition, scientists may be able to find specific gene therapeutic treatments never before possible.

5) In studying and discovering more about this topic, what was the most interesting aspect, fact or some other piece of information that you have learned.

I think all information on the human genome is extremely fascinating and I’m interested to see what new biotechnological and pharmaceutical advances will arise from furthering this field of research in the future.

6) References – provide references used and at least two Web sites with additional information on this topic (or sub-topic) for anyone that would like to learn more:

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