BASIC GENETICS- UNDERSTANDING HOW IT STARTS

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A lot about genetics has to do with the relationship between parents and children and not just the way we relate (as in with one another) as parents and children, but also the way we look. This is the most evident in all the ways genetics can influence individuals.

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While this is absolutely amazing to watch, it does come with its own problems. For example, not every trait of the parents is exactly what they would want for their child. Good qualities are randomly chosen from the options available and the same is true for bad qualities.

A person's physical qualities (height and skin tone) are a cause of insecurity but genetic conditions like Down syndrome, Thalassemia, or even Cystic fibrosis can be a cause of worry to parents.

The worse is, it doesn't matter if the other children were born normally, it is still possible that the subsequent children may have some malformation or undesired quality. This post is for those who want to understand the very basic ideas about genetics and want simple questions answered.

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This is how life begins

The male germ cell is the spermatozoon and the female germ cell is the ovum. All life among animals begins when the spermatozoon and ovum unite to make a zygote in a process known as fertilization. This normally happens in the uterine tube of the woman. A zygote will divide multiple times and grow to become a baby.

When sexual intercourse happens when the female is ovulating (when there is a good chance of fertilization), the process is initiated.

The spermatozoa make their way up the uterus to the fallopian tubes after sexual intercourse carrying with it genetic material to be shared with the ovum.

When fertilization takes place, genetic material is shared in a process of meiosis leading to the formation of the zygote. The new zygote then finds its way back down into the uterus where it implants itself into its walls. It remains there for typically 9 months before it is given birth.

The initial zygote and the baby are so different in appearance but are formed by the same genetic materials.

The process can not be completed without all its stages,

Formation of gametes

Union of gametes

Implantation

Gamete production (ova and spermatozoa)

The ovary of females are involved in producing ova, and in fact, are found there. It takes about 4 weeks for one ova to be released from one of the two ovaries and when they are released, they make their way through the fallopian tube. From the fallopian tube, it makes its way to the uterus where for 24 hours it can be available for fertilization.

In the male, spermatozoa are continuously produced in the testis starting at puberty. The time required for their formation, from the start of development to the time a mature sperm cell with fertilizing ability is obtained, is approximately 64 days. Once ejaculated, sperm cells will be capable of fertilisation for 48 hours.

From puberty, males continue to produce spermatozoa in the testis. Spermatozoa take about 64 days to be fully matured enough to fertilize an ovum. The sperm has a 48 hour period within which it can be effective in causing pregnancy.

The volume of semen produced by a normal male is between 2 and 8 milliliters and each milliliter contains over 20 million cells.

Before we continue down the line of this topic, it is important you know that every living creature is made up of cells. and in those cells, a nucleus houses genetic material involved in laying out the structure and function of the cell. The genetic material is passed from generation to generation. Depending on the function of the cell, the genes code for different materials in the body.

DNA is one of the genetic materials found in the nucleus and has the structure of a wound-up strand. The molecules that form the DNA are the nucleotides. There are 4 types of nucleotides given the abbreviations A, T, C, and G. Depending on the way they arranged they give specific signals for the production of proteins, sort of like smart contracts in the blockchain world.

In my next genetic post we will be diving a little deeper into this world of molecules.

REFERENCES

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