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  • Writer's pictureDr Edin Hamzić

👪 What Does Hereditary Mean?

Updated: Jan 18

What Does Hereditary Mean?

  • Hereditary means that, for example, a disease or a trait is biologically inherited due to the genetic constitution of the family. It means that given trait or characteristic like eye color, blood type or certain diseases can be passed from parents to offspring.

What is Heredity?

  • Following the above writen, heredity is the process of passing on genetic characteristics from our biological parents to us. This is the reason we share similarities with them.

  • This involves the transfer of various traits from parents to offspring. These traits may be physical, like eye color, blood type, or certain diseases, or they can be behavioral, such as the instinct of honeybees to remove ill larvae from their hive, which is an inherited behavior.

About Traits

  • Traits are governed by genes, and each gene can exist in multiple forms called alleles. We typically have two versions of each gene in our cells, one from each parent (except for genes on sex chromosomes).

About Alleles

  • These two versions, or alleles, may or may not be the same. An individual with identical alleles for a gene is described as homozygous for that gene, while different alleles make the gene heterozygous.

About Dominance & Recessiveness

  • Alleles can be dominant or recessive in their interaction. In cases where an individual has two different alleles (heterozygous) and one is dominant, it's the dominant allele that manifests in the individual.

  • On the other hand, a recessive allele (non-dominant) is not expressed if both inherited alleles are the same (homozygous). Thus, even if a recessive allele is part of the genotype (the genetic makeup), it won't be visible in the phenotype (the observable characteristics) if accompanied by a dominant allele.

  • During reproduction, the mixing of genes from parents leads to the creation of a unique individual, accounting for our individual differences.


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