Heredity: Passing Genes from Parent to Child
Breed a Labrador retriever to a poodle and you get a labradoodle. But breed two labradoodles together and you get – well, some dogs that look pretty different from their doodle parents! Why do they look so different? Why do traits sometimes show up in animals that aren't apparent in their parents at all? What does it mean for a gene to have “dominant” and “recessive” versions and how do the different versions interact with each other?
In this class, you will learn about how genetic material is inherited. We’ll start by learning about how cells mix genes from mom and dad to pass on to the offspring. We’ll study dominant and recessive traits and learn how they interact with each other with sometimes surprising results. We’ll compare the early history of the study of heredity with our perspective today and tackle the question of how much of a complex trait, like behavior, is inherited and how much is due to the individual's upbringing.
If you want to take a course that’s not in the old, standard, lecture format, this might be the class for you. Dr. Hekman will collect readable, engaging materials from scientists and science journalists explaining each week’s topics, including both links to short and simple definitions for each topic and more in-depth pieces about their importance. She also provides a short lecture component that ties it all together and, whenever possible, applies the information to animal behavior.
This is a class in heredity. Specifically, the class will cover:
- Mendelian genetics versus complex trait genetics
- defining and studying heritability
- dominant versus recessive versions of genes