Genetics and Child Development

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Genetics and Child Development
PSY104
Instructor:
February 12, 2013

Genetics and Child Development
Genetics play a vital role in our development and that of our children. Our genetic make-up, or traits, directly affects our children’s development, from the moment of conception and the beginnings of a new person, throughout his or her life. The child’s developmental fate is all in the deoxyribonucleic acid, (DNA). Deoxyribonucleic acid, is fashioned in the shape of a double helix; a twisted ladder of genetic code, which along with various proteins, which are essential to aid the DNA in proper cell division, are found in chromosomes. These are the microscopic structures that contain all an individual’s genetic information which are found in every cell of the human body except red blood cells, which have no nuclei (TGC, 2013). Half our chromosomes (23) come from our father, and the other half from our mother, for a total of 46. Together, this set of 23 pairs of chromosomes is responsible for giving us our hair color, eye color, height, the shape of our earlobes, our facial features, our shape, and the color of our skin; our genotype, or inherited traits from both parents’ genes (Mossler, 2011). Child development is dependent on genetics and the compatibility and health of the combined parental sets of chromosomes (GSLC, n.d). Things can go wrong, and parts of essential chromosomes may be deformed, rearranged, abnormal or missing; this can wreak havoc on the well-being of the developing fetus, resulting in deformities, mental retardation, and birth defects (GTC, 2013, para.1, sub sect. 2). Risk factors for a higher incidence of these chromosomal abnormalities include maternal age, and sometimes paternal age, and/or they may be due

Genetics and Child Development
to a glitch in meiosis; the process where gametes or sex cells are formed; the egg (ovum), and the sperm, each containing 23 chromosomes (GSLC, n.d). Genetic counselors talk to...
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