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Hello, and welcome to Genes and the Human Condition, from Behavior to Biotechnology.

My colleague Dr . St . Leger and I are excited to take you on this adventure examining the balance of genes and the impact of environment.

We'll look at how the two work together to make you uniquely you.

Did you realize that you could have genes to grow tall and have an incredibly high IQ?

But if you were starved of nutrients while you're developing in your mother's womb or during the formative childhood years, those could be impacted.

While we'll also discuss how humans have used what we know about genetics and biology to manipulate the world around us using something called biotechnology.

You don't need a strong background in biology or genetics to do well in this class.

You just need to be interested in the material and have a passion for learning.

Genetics is the study of heredity or how traits are passed on from generation to the next.

We're going to talk a lot about vertical gene transfer through sexual reproduction.

That's where you inherited your genes from your parents, and then you'll pass your genes on to the next generation in a vertical fashion.

DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, is a molecule all living organisms including us use to pass on their genetic information.

DNA is the universal language of genetics and we have a lot of it, over two meters or six feet almost every cell in your body.

DNA is very thin and threadlike and double stranded and just like thread is organized by wrapping around the spool.

Your DNA is organized by wrapping it around very special proteins called histones DNA, contains all the information to make you.

So you could think about it like a cookbook, that has every recipe you need to make you.

Now that's one pretty important cookbook. And as with anythin g that's that important, you're going to need to protect it.

Our DNA is housed and protected in the nucleus.

Also the DNA is so important, we don't use that information directly.

So only specific regions of the DNA, corresponding usually to a gene, are going to be transcribed into RNA, ribonucleic acid, which is a cheap single strain molecule.

And that's going to be necessary, the RNA to express our genetic code.

So, would you use your family's cookbook and risk the chance of it getting ruined every time you cooked a meal? Probably not.

So, you can see why we transcribe a recipe onto a separate piece of paper.

And then use that transcribed RNA, or piece of paper, to insure that your family's cookbook is protected.

Also interesting, we have about 22,500 genes. And we can make at least 10 times more protein than that number.

So what does that mean with the cookbook analogy?

Well that means that you have 22,500 different recipes.

Later on we'll talk about how these recipes can be modified to make even more than 22,500 meals.

We also have two sets of chromosomes. We're called diploid and these chromosomes are presents in homologous pairs.

We have 23 pairs of chromosomes. And chromosomes are, each homologous chromosome is going to be alike in size, structure, and carry the same information for the same kind of characteristics.

And you inherited one set of your chromosomes from your mother and one set from your father.

What that actually means, when we look at the cookbook analogy, is that you actually have two heirloom cookbooks. One that you inherited from your mother's

side of the family, and one that you inherited from your father's side of the

family.

In every genetics class we have to discuss the one and only central dogma biology. And that's DNA's transcribed, its coded information, is used to generate RNA.

That RNA is translated into a sequence of amino acids that are going to be linked together to form of a protein. And what we see is that different cell types have different proteins, and how did that happen?

Well, in different cell types we have different DNA sequences turned on and off in a process called differentiation.

We can control what genes are turned on and how much RNA you transcribe, and that process is called gene expression.

So I've talked a lot about proteins, well what p roteins are again is they are composed of amino acids.

And amino acids are going to be linked together to form that specific protein.

You'll also here a protein referred to as a polypeptide.

So how does your body know which sequence of amino acids to put together in the right order?

Well, that's coded for by your DNA. So your DNA determines which amino acids and what order to put them in.

And that's called your primary structure of a protein.

The secondary structure is h ow the different amino acids interact with each other.

And the tertiary structure is the 3D shape of a protein.

And so what we are going to see is that the shape or form of a protein relates to its function.

I'll get back to that in a second. But we also have some proteins that are really complicated and are composed of multiple proteins that come together as subunits.

And those proteins are said to have a quaternary structure.

So DNA mutations can lead to irregularly shaped proteins because of the

relationship I just talked about.

DNA codes for the linear sequence of amino acids.

It says which amino acids to put in and in which order.

So you if you have a mutation of the DNA, that's going to lead to an improper amino acid or possibly have an improper amino acid placed in.

So a slight change in the primary structure of a protein can effect it's function.

So what we a see is that a mutation in the DNA will lead to a mutation in the protein.

And again form relates to function, so a change in the shape of a protein, can change its function.

A great example of this is the sickle cell trait what we see is there’s just one

substitution which causes one amino acid to be replaced with another amino acid.

Acid, and hemoglobin.

And this changes the shape of the hemoglobin protein. That in turn changes the shape of the erythrocyte, or red blood cell.

And you'll notice that when you change the shape of something, you change its function.

So ultimately your DNA helps to determine your physical attributes.

So your genotype is your unique sequence of DNA.

Your phenotype is your specific physical traits or observable characteristics.

Your phenotype is determined by the unique interactions of your genes and environment.

So how and where you grew up and what your DNA says. How the two interact and influence each other is what makes you, you.

And that's one of the many interesting things we are going to be discussing throughout the semester.

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