How far back do you "reach" for your genetic traits?

Genetics as it applies to evolution, molecular biology, and medical aspects.

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How far back do you "reach" for your genetic traits?

Post by r0nnie » Sat Apr 05, 2008 11:03 pm

I have yet to get into genetics at school (first year biology) but I was wondering...

You take traits from both mother and father correct? But how far back into their specific family tree can you reach into? I mean, can you end up getting a trait from your mothers grandfathers great great grandfather, or would their be a limit?

And weird thing... both me and my brother are basically white in color (which my mom holds as a trait) but my sister is more brown in color (which my dad holds as a trait).

^There probably isn't really anything weird about that, but I just found it curious. Don't males pick up traits from their fathers and the same for females and their mothers? I know it probably isn't set in stone that this MUST happen, but isn't their more of a chance?

I know these questions are pretty vague compared to other things being asked here lol, but I am curious, and this seems like an intelligent community to ask. Thanks.

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Post by mith » Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:00 am

Ponder this, where did you get your Y chromosome from?
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Post by Darby » Sun Apr 06, 2008 1:41 pm

And as a corollary, where would "new" traits come from?

Remember that most human traits don't connect to single genes, but combinations of several - the farther back you go, the more the "pieces" scatter, but the pieces are there.

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Re: How far back do you "reach" for your genetic traits?

Post by Morgyn » Fri May 02, 2008 10:04 am

I only just did genetics last session (I'm in year 12), so I'm not at all a super-intelligent biology expert, but I think I can help explain your question about your family (I don't know whether we only learn a really simplified version of this so anyone can feel free to contradict me) and clear up something you said.

You said something about males inheriting characteristics from males and the same for females, but from what I understand this isn't quite right. I'm pretty sure skin colour is autosomal, which means it's not linked to gender at all. As for sex-linked characteristics, I don't think it's male to male or female to female really at all as it is passed on through the X-chromosome. I could go into it in much greater detail (with punnett squares and everything) but it might just confuse you before you get the basic knowledge down. If in doubt try wikipedia and inheritance (though only as guide, don't believe everything it tells you).

Hope I helped at least a little :)

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Post by MrMistery » Sun May 04, 2008 1:52 pm

There are some traits that are determined by genes on the Y chromosome, and thus are transmitted from father to son. This is termed holandric inheritance.
As for genes transmitted only from mother to daughter, I would say this shouldn't normally be the case. But there are exceptions. X-linked alleles that would be lethal in hemyzigous state but viable in a heterozygous state would result in a condition that is transmitted from mother to daughter.
Genetics is not easy, even at the basic level.
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