Scientific Method

Fields of Genetics

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Science of Genetics Overheads

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Genetic Topics

The Fields Of Genetics

As was mentioned it is important to place a genetics observation in a conceptual framework. To do this it is important to understand the breadth of the science of genetics. The three primary areas and the topics that are relevant to each are listed below (modified from Principles of Genetics, 3rd Edition; R. Tamarin; 1991; Wm. C. Brown Publishers, Dubuque, IA).

Classical Genetics (based on Mendel's 1st and 2nd laws)

  1. Mendel's first and second laws of inheritance
  2. Meiosis and mitosis
  3. Somatic and sex chromosome mapping
  4. Extrachromosomal inheritance
  5. Cytogenetics (changes in chromosome number and structure)
  6. Quantitative genetics

Molecular Genetics (based on the Central Dogma of Molecular Genetics)

  1. Structure of nuclear and organelle DNA
  2. Chemistry and replication of DNA
  3. Transcription and translation
  4. DNA cloning
  5. Control of gene expression
  6. Mutation and the repair of DNA

Evolutionary Genetics (based on the theory of Natural Selection proposed by Darwin)

  1. Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium
  2. Evolution
  3. Speciation
  4. Population genetics

The next step in a genetic experiment is to obtain the correct experimental material for the experiments you which to perform. Each of the three areas of genetics has its own requirements for experimentation. For Classical Genetics, genetic stocks that contain the alternate alleles that you will be studying are required. When performing an experiment in molecular genetics, you will need a genetic stock containing the specific allele that you want to study at the molecular level, and a probe to identify and analyze the specific allele. For many studies, the allele to be studied is the wild type allele. Finally, a population with varying gene frequencies is necessary for a successful experiment in the field of evolutionary genetics. To determine what type of genetic stock or population is best for your specific experiments, it is necessary to understand the advantages and disadvantages of the different biological species that are used as test organisms.

Copyright © 2000. Phillip McClean