Understanding genetics is important because genetics can teach us how developmental disabilities and birth defects happen. By learning more about genetics, we can learn how to prevent developmental disabilities and birth defects.
Every human has 23 pairs of chromosomes. Chromosomes are little units that each contain a long piece of genetic instructions called DNA, which consists of many different genes.
The gene, which is a long string of DNA makes up a chromosome. From the 23 pairs of chromosomes that make up who you are, half of each pair comes from your mother and the other half comes from your father.
The genes you inherit from both your parents determine what kind of character traits you will have, how you will look, and what diseases you may have.
A DNA strand is made up of 4 bases which are T (thymine), A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine). The specific order of these bases works like instructions, and decides what kind of protein this gene will make.
DNA writes instructions to make specific proteins. Proteins are made up of amino acids and are inside every cell. Proteins are vital for all living things. Different proteins have different functions in our body.
When there is a change in a DNA sequence, it is called a mutation. If a DNA mutation occurs in the egg or sperm, it can be inherited by the child. Other mutations do not pass on from parents to children.
Visit Genetics Basics to learn more about different types of genetic disorders.