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  Section: Genetics » Genetics : An Overview
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Developmental genetics

Genetics : An Overview
Genetics : A study of heredity and variation
Sexuality : A source of hereditary variation
Ideas on heredity : A brief history
Ideas of Hippocrates and Aristotle
Preformation and epigenesist
Pangenes and acquired characters
Germplasm theory
Scope and significance of genetics
Transmission genetics or classical genetics
Behavioural genetics
Developmental genetics
Forward genetics vs. reverse genetics

The area of developmental genetics has also received major attention of geneticists in recent years to answer questions like the following. What are the relative roles of nucleus and cytoplasm in differentiation? How can mutations be used to probe into developmental processes? A unique example of the study of development is the embryonic development in Drosophila and sea urchin, where the initial cell divisions in the zygote are all similar and are controlled by the cytoplasm derived from the mother, but later, some cells divide slowly than the other, producing a pattern. How is it achieved? Is there a genetic control governing it? In plants also developmental mutants for flower development (e.g. stamens modified into petals) have been isolated and studied leading to the isolation of genes controlling development of floral organs in plants like Arabidopsis and Antirrhinum. The techniques for the study of developmental genetics are more difficult, but the area certainly rewarding and results much more exciting. For regulating the developmental process, temporal genes have been identified in several cases. These genes prepare a programme for the regulation of the expression of different genes in time and space leading to differentiation and pattern formation.
Impact of genetics on different areas of human endeavour (redrawn from Suzuki et at., 1986).
Fig. 1.4. Impact of genetics on different areas of human endeavour (redrawn from Suzuki et at., 1986).


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