Molecular genetics

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This guinea pig has gorgeous long hair and was a prize winner at the Puyallup, WA fair. Credit: Christine from Washington State, USA.

Molecular genetics, unlike transmission genetics, focuses on the molecular level, that is, on DNA, proteins, genes, chromosomes and the like. Molecular genetics does not care so much about the trait itself being transferred to offspring, but more so on how traits in general are transferred to offspring. How can chemical information locked within DNA be transformed into facial features or vocal ability in our children?

Of course, the genetic molecule is DNA, or Deoxyribonucleic acid. DNA is made up of phosphate groups, a deoxyribose sugar, and a nucleotide. There are four nucleotides in DNA, Adenine, Thymine, Cytosine, and Guanine. Adenine binds to Thymine with two hydrogen bonds and Cytosine binds to Guanine with three hydrogen bonds. There is another nucleotide base called Uracil that is only found in RNA, a similar but different molecule from DNA. The phosphate groups are negatively charged and form the backbone of the DNA molecule with the nucleotide bases forming the center. The molecule twists to the right in a clockwise fashion to form a double helix.

When DNA is replicated it is typically in this loose, unbound form. During mitosis or meiosis, the DNA is supercoiled and bunched together with proteins called histones. This is what typically forms what we know as chromosomes during metaphase.


This is an image of Bob, the guinea pig. Credit: selbst.

Genetics involves the expression, transmission, and variation of inherited characteristics.

Def. a "branch of biology that deals with the transmission and variation of inherited characteristics, in particular chromosomes and DNA"[1] is called genetics.


These diagrams show the structure of the cafeine molecule. Credit: Effeietsanders.

Def. the "smallest particle of a specific element or compound [that retains the chemical properties of that element or compound]; a group of atoms held together by chemical bonds"[2] is called a molecule.

Theoretical molecular genetics[edit]

Def. a "field of biology which studies the structure and function of genes at a molecular level"[3] is called molecular genetics.


Main source: Hypotheses
  1. Molecules that affect genetics should be enumerated.

See also[edit]


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External links[edit]

{{Gene project}}{{Medicine resources}}{{Phosphate biochemistry}}

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