Genetics is the branch of biology that deals with the transmission and variation of inherited characteristics.

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Why can't we breed watermelons without any remaining seeds in the flesh?

Watermelon is just starting to come in season in the northeastern U.S., and having a seedless watermelon is convenient. The only downside is, the "seedless" almost always still have the immature, ...
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186 views

How can a three-base codon evolve from a two-base codon?

Inspired by this question among others. It's widely suggested that the current 3-base codon system of encoding protein sequences in DNA evolved from an earlier 2-base codon system. This makes sense ...
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340 views

What is the difference between copy number changes with and without allelic imbalance?

I require some clarification on copy number aberrations (structural gain and loss in chromosomes). From what I understand, gain/loss per se can be divided into two types. Consider two alleles, A and ...
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What kind of event would cause the current Mitochondrial Eve to be replaced by a new one?

Apparently all living humans are matrilineal descendants of a single woman who lived 200.000 years ago. She is called Mitochondrial Eve. But at the time she lived there was a different matrilineal ...
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258 views

Genetic Drift: Models, assumptions and empirical observations

There two main mathematical models to describe the process of genetic drift are Moran model and Wright-Fisher model. My questions concern the assumptions of these models, the existence of other ...
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666 views

Do butterflies pass over migration patterns to their offspring?

So, earlier, I read online (http://io9.com/butterflies-remember-a-mountain-that-hasnt-existed-for-509321799) that Monarch butterflies veer east during their southward migration to avoid a mountain ...
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107 views

Horizontal gene transfer from humans

It is known that some viruses embed themselves in the human genome. Is there a mechanism by which human genes can be transferred to other animals or plants by means of viruses shuttling them from ...
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124 views

Genotype to phenotype map and the G-matrix

Suppose I have a genotype-phenotype map defined by the matrix $\mathbf{Z}$:         The scalars $G,P$ represent the number of genotypes and traits, respectively. ...
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74 views

Is the number of legs in myriapoda determined entirely by the genome?

Myriapoda (comprising, among others, millipedes and centipedes) can have hundreds of legs (Illacme plenipes having up to 750 legs). Interestingly, the number of legs (or leg pairs) appears to differ ...
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731 views

Father with mutated mtDNA- why isn't his offspring at risk?

Mothers transmit their mitochondria (and therefore mtDNA) to their offspring and fathers don't. Lets assume that father had a mutation of the gene that encodes mtDNA, would then be his offspring at ...
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Altering the human genome

I recently had a conversation with a rather unusual gentleman who was, let's say, more than a little partial to conspiracy theories. He has this idea that governments are lowering "nanowires" from ...
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848 views

Why is an HIV infection considered “incurable”?

My biology teacher told me that if one caught HIV, they cannot be cured because it was near to impossible to be completely virus-free. She said this was because HIV keeps on changing its glycoprotein ...
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185 views

Can any species be bred selectively/engineered to become as diverse looking as dogs?

I've done some research and it appears that dogs are the most diverse looking single species of mammals. The questions that interest me is - are dogs special in respect to genes/gene activation ...
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142 views

How is genetic speciation defined?

What determines speciation at a molecular level? At what point does a scientist determine two lineages are different enough to be considered separate species? Does it have a margin of error?
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735 views

Why has grey hair evolved?

A vast majority of humans get at least some grey hair as they age. As far as I know this applies to both genders and all races. Presumably this means that at least some grey haired humans have ...
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401 views

does order of genes in a chromosome matter?

does the order of genes within a chromosome matter? or is the main thing that the genes are there. so for example, our DNA is very similar to that of apes not only by the genes themselves but also by ...
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what is the difference between “cistron” and “gene”

I'm asking after reading the cognate wikipedia.en article on "cistron". I still am not sure about the difference of the two terms. To me it seems valid to picture a "cistron" as the genome wide set ...
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The genetic and physiological origins of laughter?

This Wikipedia article defines laughter in many terms, such as... "a visual expression of happiness, or an inward feeling of joy" and "a part of human behavior regulated by the brain, ...
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213 views

Why does size decrease across the sequence of human chromosomes?

The following graph shows a decrease in the amount of base pairs per chromosome across the sequential set of human chromosomes: Is this because chromosomes were originally numbered by their size on ...
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87 views

Do DNA repressors exist?

I know about enhancers and the mechanism that lead them to increase the gene expression of their targets but I was wondering if similarly DNA repressors exist. I know about protein repressors but I am ...
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171 views

How much does a biological experiment to validate a gene function cost?

I am computer scientist working on machine learning methods applied to predicting missing Gene Ontology annotations. In many papers, I wrote that my computational methods are very useful to suggest ...
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2k views

What is Mendelian Randomization, and how is it used to infer causality in epidemiology?

Studies of human traits and diseases are inherently confined to observational studies, known as epidemiological studies. This can make it very hard to determine what actually causes a particular ...
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Is it possible to trace of the ancestry of a person by only using his/her genetic information?

Is it possible to trace the descent of a person only using his/her genome sequence?
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What are some (bioinformatic) methods to characterize potentially novel gene transcripts?

I am working with a few novel transcripts of genes- before I confirm their existence experimentally, I would like to perform some bioinformatic analysis. I have already considered coding potential, ...
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213 views

Why are males more likely than females to have autism spectrum disorder?

The male to female ratio in autism spectrum disorder is around 4:1. However it seems ASD is not a simple X-linked disorder. Then how is it possible males are more susceptible than females, if the ...
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407 views

What is the minimum population size that Hardy-Weinberg calculations can be applied to?

I'm trying to find out if a particular allele is in Hardy-Weinberg disequilibrium, but the data is poor. What's the minimum population number that you can use to get any sort of respectable conclusion?...
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837 views

Chromosomes are of different size but why do all chromosomes have similar GC percentage?

When I browsed NCBI I saw a pattern: even if the chromosome sizes, number of genes, and number of proteins are different, GC% in chromosomes tend to be similar. The examples are linked below. Yeast, ...
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of using beta-galactosidase compared to luciferase as a reporter gene?

In the University labs, we have used Beta-galactosidase as a reporter gene to quantify the expression initiated by the stress-response promoter in yeast. This was done by exposing one of the two ...
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A good textbook on GMO

I am interested in learning about GMO. The topic is so wrapped in controversy, that it's hard to find a good book that introduces the basic concepts involved. I went through various university ...
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Smallest unit on which selection can act

Traditionally, the individual was considered to be the smallest unit on which Natural Selection (NS) acts. Today, we usually consider the gene as being the unit of NS. Of course, we should also ...
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169 views

What causes XYY Syndrome?

It's obvious how a misdisjunction can result in klinefelter's syndrome (XXY) but I don't see how this can result in XYY syndrome. Your parents have a collective total of only one Y chromosome so how ...
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92 views

Do antisense transcripts have different names than their sense strand transcripts?

I want to find which genes in the human genome can potentially be complementary to a transcript that could act as antisense transcript inhibtion? Are cis-NATs (naturally occuring anti-sense ...
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What's the difference between shotgun sequencing and clone based sequencing?

In a lecture during my undergraduate degree we were introduced to the race to complete the human genome. Celera were competing with Sanger and collaborators to sequence the human genome. Celera ...
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108 views

How many, and how severe, are known single gene polymorphisms for obesity?

A fairly recent meta-analysis of studies examining the association between adult obesity and polymorphisms of the FTO gene (Peng et al., 2011). The paper looked at 59 studies and concluded that, "FTO ...
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318 views

Linkage and LD: quantitative or qualitative?

My understanding is that the concept "genetic linkage" can be expressed in quantitative form, like: A predisposing gene X was found in close genetic linkage to Y. ...
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116 views

How often does bacterial transformation happen?

I have been reading: M. Dröge, A. Pühler, W. Selbitschka, "Horizontal gene transfer among bacteria in terrestrial and aquatic habitats as assessed by microcosm and field studies", Biol. Fertil. ...
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111 views

How exactly can dsRNA be introduced to a cell?

Is it just by viruses or are there other means by which it gets into cells, such as plasmid uptake?
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97 views

Selection on linked loci in a diploid population

Let’s consider two linked loci $A$ and $B$ that are both bi-allelic. In consequence, we have four different possible haplotypes $A_1B_1$, $A_1B_2$, $A_2B_1$, $A_2B_2$, which frequencies are $X_1$, $...
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Within and Between Allelic Class Diversity

I am reading Charlesworth et al. 1997. They talk about diversity within and between allelic classes. Nucleotide diversities ($π$) at each neutral site were estimated from the mean of $2 \sum z_t (...
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203 views

Why do we still have genetic disorders that show anticipation?

Anticipation whereby symptoms of genetic disorders occur earlier and with more severity as it is passed from one generation to the next. So wouldn't these inherited diseases over a few hundred ...
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Are recessive, deleterious alleles less common on the X chromosome than the autosomes in humans?

As there is a potential for them to be more readily purged in hemizygous males (and in cell lineages in females with the deleterious-allele-bearing chromosome activated), I would expect the frequency ...
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How does plant grafting work?

Plant grafting is a process whereby a piece of one plant is inserted into another and results in a change of the original plant. For example, grafting a piece of a lemon tree into a bitter orange tree ...
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Which functional annotations could be useful?

Analyzing a genome, for a generic gene, which functional annotations (e.g from Gene Ontology) can help understanding its meaning/function or, at least, provide helpful informations? Annotations of ...
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What do the variants on the PolyT sequence mean?

My son has been diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis. I am not looking for medical advice regarding his condition, but I am very interested in understanding the genetic causes of his condition. In ...
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990 views

Fisher's Geometric Model for Dummies

Fisher's geometric model is still today one of the most important and fundamental model in evolutionary biology but it seems to me that most student in evolutionary biology don't really understand it (...
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684 views

How do I read a sequence logo?

I'm looking at a paper that uses several sequence logos to illustrate the consensus sequence of certain sites. Here is the most important of the sequence logos I'm interested in: The explanations ...
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Can an organism obtaining a part of its genome via horizontal gene transfer be called a “hybrid”?

Wikipedia definition of "hybrid" offers many competing definitions. But most seem to be centered on sexual-reproduction gene transfer. Is there an official (in a textbook or widely accepted peer ...
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Can a Turner syndrome patient develop male characteristics artificially?

From an answer to the question Can stem cells from male convert to cells of female-only organs, and vice versa? Y chromosome is the sex determining chromosome with SRY gene that determines testes ...
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72 views

Why does the proportion of transposable elements vary so much across species?

Intuitively, transposable elements (TEs) are harmful as they may cause genome instability. However, some people argue that TEs are also sources of variations, especially regulatory sequences[1]. If ...
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What determines the number of chromosomes an organism carries?

This is an extension of this question about What limits chromosomal length?. I am wondering what could be the specific reasons behind the number of chromosomes an organism carries. In other words, ...