What Are The Mechanics Of Heredity?


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Heredity refers to the passing of traits to offspring from their parents or ancestors. This is the process by which an offspring cell or organism acquires or becomes predisposed to the characteristics of its parent cell or organism. In the field of biology, the study of heredity is commonly referred to as 'genetics'.

Heritable traits are passed from one generation to their offspring through DNA, a molecule that encodes genetic information. Before a cell divides, the DNA will be copied so that each of the resulting two cells will inherit the matching DNA pattern.

The mechanics of heredity in humans is explained by this entry at An outline of this explanation is as follows:
•    Each mature human sperm and ovum contains 23 structurally distinct chromosomes.
•    The union of the sperm and egg at fertilization results in a new cell with a total of 46 chromosomes. These are arranged into 23 pairs of matched chromosomes, one member of each pair from the mother and the other coming from the father.
•    The linear arrangement or order of genetic regions in two corresponding chromosomes is believed to be identical with a few exceptions, such as the pair of chromosomes determining the sex of the offspring.
•    The exception to this process is the chromosomes which will become the sperm or ova of the offspring, since there will only be 23 chromosomes in order to repeat the process again.
•    The distribution of chromosomes from the mother and father to form these 23 chromosomes is generally perceived to be random and is referred to as meiosis.

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