Role of Genetics
PSY 104 Child and Adolescent Development
Instructor Andrew Fletcher
April 16, 2012
There are billions of people on this planet. Everyone is different. Even our closest siblings can look, behave and have different abilities than we do. Do you ever wonder how this happens? Environmental and biological factors work together in a lifelong process to determine how a child will develop into an adult. In this paper, I will discuss how the biological factors contribute to a child’s development. First, we will examine the basic foundation of genetics, how they are formed and transferred. Then, we will see what traits can be attributed to genes. Finally, we will look at what can happen when a gene mutates. By examining these three things, we can begin to explain why some people are so different than others.
The very beginning of a child’s development starts with their mother and father. The mother contributes what is called the ovum, or egg, and the father supplies what is called sperm. While a female is born with a certain number of eggs that she will carry through her lifetime, the male reproductive system has the ability to produce millions of sperm. “The one cell that is formed after the sperm and egg unite contains instructions on replication that will eventually turn one cell into trillions—each of which contains the identical genetic code of the original” (Mossler, 2011). The sperm and ovum also contain what are called chromosomes. “A chromosome is a long strand of DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) that has bundled itself together in order to replicate” (Chromosomes, 2006). Within the nucleus of a human cell there are 46 chromosomes, or 23 pair. This means there are 23 chromosomes within the egg and another 23 within the sperm. One pair out of the 23 is called the sex chromosome, the rest are called autosomes. The sex chromosome determines whether an individual is male or female. So far, we have chromosomes that...
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