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Basic Concepts in Genetics References:

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Presentation on theme: "Basic Concepts in Genetics References:"— Presentation transcript:

1 Basic Concepts in Genetics References:
Kenneth Lange “Mathematical and Statistical Methods for Genetic Analysis” Jurg Ott “Analysis of Human Genetic Linkage”

2 Genetic Information Gene – basic unit of genetic information. Genes determine the inherited characters. Genome – the collection of genetic information. Chromosomes – storage units of genes. DNA - is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions specifying the biological development of all cellular forms of life Image from

3 Chromosome Logical Structure
Locus – location of a gene/marker on the chromosome. Allele – one variant form of a gene/marker at a particular locus. Locus1 Possible Alleles: A1,A2 Locus2 Possible Alleles: B1,B2,B3

4 Human Genome Most human cells contain 46 chromosomes:
2 sex chromosomes (X,Y): XY – in males. XX – in females. 22 pairs of chromosomes named autosomes. Image from

5 Genotypes Phenotypes At each locus (except for sex chromosomes) there are 2 genes. These constitute the individual’s genotype at the locus. The expression of a genotype is termed a phenotype. For example, hair color, weight, or the presence or absence of a disease.

6 Genotypes Phenotypes (example)
Eb- dominant allele. Ew- recessive allele.

7 Dominant vs. Recessive A dominant allele is expressed even if it is paired with a recessive allele. A recessive allele is only visible when paired with another recessive allele.

8 One Locus Inheritance A | A a | a A | a 4 A | a 6 Female Male
2 1 A | A a | a A | a 3 4 A | a 5 6 Male Female heterozygote homozygote

9 Mendel’s 1st Law Two members of a gene pair segregate from each other into the gametes, so half the gametes carry one member of the pair and the other half carry the other member of the pair. Y / y y / y ½ y/y ½ Y/y ½ y ½ Y all y Gamete production

10 Calculating Probabilities
We want to predict patterns of inheritance of traits and diseases in pedigrees. E.g., we want to know the likelihood that a dog chosen at random from the study population will have blue eyes.

11 X-linked Inheritance Different results obtained from reciprocal crosses between red-eyed and white-eyed Drosophila. Explanation: The gene responsible for eye-color is X-linked. Females have 2 X-chromosomes, while males have 1 X-chromosome and 1 Y-chromosome.

12 Mendel’s 2nd Law This “law” is true only in some cases.
Different gene pairs assort independently in gamete formation. This “law” is true only in some cases. Gene pairs on SEPARATE CHROMOSOMES assort independently at meiosis.

13 Medical Genetics When studying rare disorders, 6 general patterns of inheritance are observed: Autosomal recessive Autosomal dominant X-linked recessive X-linked dominant Codominant Mitochondrial

14 Medical Genetics (cont.)
Autosomal recessive The disease appears in male and female children of unaffected parents. e.g., cystic fibrosis

15 Medical Genetics (cont.)
Autosomal dominant Affected males and females appear in each generation of the pedigree. Affected mothers and fathers transmit the phenotype to both sons and daughters. e.g., Huntington disease.

16 Medical Genetics (cont.)
X-linked recessive Many more males than females show the disorder. All the daughters of an affected male are “carriers”. None of the sons of an affected male show the disorder or are carriers. e.g., hemophilia

17 Medical Genetics (cont.)
X-linked dominant Affected males pass the disorder to all daughters but to none of their sons. Affected heterozygous females married to unaffected males pass the condition to half their sons and daughters e.g. fragile X syndrome

18 Medical Genetics (cont.)
Codominant inheritance Two different versions (alleles) of a gene can be expressed, and each version makes a slightly different protein Both alleles influence the genetic trait or determine the characteristics of the genetic condition. E.g. ABO locus

19 Medical Genetics (cont.)
Mitochondrial inheritance This type of inheritance applies to genes in mitochondrial DNA Mitochondrial disorders can appear in every generation of a family and can affect both males and females, but fathers do not pass mitochondrial traits to their children. E.g. Leber's hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON)

20 Notes DNA - a pair of molecules joined by hydrogen bonds: it is organized as two complementary strands, head-to-toe, with the hydrogen bonds between them. Each strand of DNA is a chain of chemical "building blocks", called nucleotides, of which there are four types:adenide (abbreviated A), cytozyne (C), guanine (G) and thymine (T). Mitochondria, which are structures in each cell that convert molecules into energy, each contain a small amount of DNA. A chromatid forms one part of a chromosome after it has coalesced for the process of mitosis or meiosis. During either process, the word "chromosome" indicates a pair of two exactly identical ("sister") chromatids joined at the central point of each chromatid, called the centromere.

21 Notes -cont Mitosis is the process by which a cell separates its duplicated genome into two identical halves Meiosis is the process that transforms one diploid into four haploid cells. Reciprocal cross a cross, with the phenotype of each sex reversed as compared with the original cross, to test the role of parental sex on inheritance pattern. A pair of crosses of the type genotype A(female) X genotype B(male) and genotype B(female) X genotype A(male).

22 Question #1 Write the genotypes in every possible place.
2 Write the genotypes in every possible place. If individuals 1 and 2 marry, what is the probability that their first child will be sick?

23 Question #2 PKU is a human hereditary disease resulting from inability of the body to process the chemical phenylalanine (contained in protein that we eat). It is caused by a recessive allele with simple Mendelian inheritance. Some couple wants to have children. The man has a sister with PKU and the woman has a brother with PKU. There are no other known cases in their families. What is the probability that their first child will have PKU ?

24 Question #2-Solution Highlights
P/p p/p P/- P – the normal allele p – the mutant allele

25 Question #3 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 The disease is rare.
What is the most likely mode of inheritance ? What would be the outcomes of the cousin marriages 1 x 9, 1 x 4, 2 x 3, and 2 x 8 ?

26 Question #3-Solution Highlights
Observations: After the disease is introduced into the family in generation #2, it appears in every generation  dominant! Fathers do not transmit the phenotype to their sons  X-linked! The outcomes: 1 x 9: 1 must be A/a 9 must be A/Y 1 x 4: 1 must be A/a 4 must be a/Y 2 x 3: 2 must be a/Y 3 must be A/a 2 x 8: 2 must be a/Y 8 must be a/a Same All normal


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