Genetics and Cellular Function

The Nucleic Acids 130

  • Organization of the Chromatin 130
  • DNA Structure and Function 130
  • RNA Structure and Function 133

Protein Synthesis and Secretion 134

  • Preview 134
  • The Genetic Code 134
  • Transcription 136
  • Translation 136
  • Chaperones and Protein Structure 137
  • Posttranslational Modification 138
  • Packaging and Secretion 139

DNA Replication and the Cell Cycle 139

  • DNA Replication 139
  • Errors and Mutations 142
  • The Cell Cycle 142
  • Mitosis 143
  • Timing of Cell Division 145

Chromosomes and Heredity 145

  • The Karyotype 146
  • Genes and Alleles 147
  • Multiple Alleles, Codominance, and Incomplete Dominance 148
  • Polygenic Inheritance and Pleiotropy 148
  • Sex Linkage 149
  • Penetrance and Environmental Effects 149
  • Dominant and Recessive Alleles at the Population Level 149

Chapter Review 152


  1. 1 Medical History: Miescher and the Discovery of DNA 130
  2. 2 Medical History: Discovery of the Double Helix 132
  3. 3 Clinical Application: Can We Replace Brain Cells? 143
  4. 4 Clinical Application: Cancer 151

Brushing Up

To understand this chapter, it is important that you understand or brush up on the following concepts:

  • Levels of protein structure (p. 80)
  • Functions of proteins (p. 80)
  • Exocytosis (p. 114)
  • Ribosomes, rough endoplasmic reticulum, and Golgi complex (pp. 116-119)
  • Centrioles and microtubules (pp. 120, 121)

Saladin: Anatomy & I 4. Genetics and Cellular I Text I © The McGraw-Hill

Physiology: The Unity of Function Companies, 2003 Form and Function, Third Edition

130 Part One Organization of the Body

Some of the basic ideas of heredity have been known since antiquity, but a scientific understanding of how traits are passed from parent to offspring began with the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel (1822-84) and his famous experiments on garden peas. In the early twentieth century, the importance of Mendel's work was realized and chromosomes were first seen with the microscope. Cytogenetics now uses techniques of cytology and microscopy to study chromosomes and their relationship to hereditary traits. Molecular genetics uses the techniques of biochemistry to study the structure and function of DNA. In this chapter, we bring together some of the findings of molecular genetics, cytogenetics, and mendelian heredity to explore what the genes are, how they regulate cellular function, and how they are passed on when cells divide and people reproduce. A few basic concepts of heredity are introduced as a foundation for understanding concepts ranging from color blindness to blood types in the chapters that follow.

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