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Yellow coats are dominant to black coats in mice. However, when two yellow-coated mice breed their offspring die in utero. This particular allele is lethal. There is a nuance that is significant in this instance. In yellow coated mice the allele that produces a yellow coat is dominant. However, in terms of viability, it is recessive. This is an important principle that occurs in many other alleles. In the developmental genes, many that are mutations produce changes if one is present, but if two copies of the same allele are present, the outcome is lethal.

In some cases, semi-lethal genes are present.

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If a homozygote is present in a crossbreeding but is present in only reduced numbers, it is an alternation of the ratio established by Mendel. Because many genes have a large number of alleles, there are also possibilities of variants that are not fatal. The ideas developed by Mendel were developed in the first part of the 20th century. While the procedures have not been altered much since then, understanding DNA and the mapping of the human genome has created a huge number of polymorphic markers that enable useful genetic analysis.

DNA polymorphisms are grouped into different classes and can be used in forensic genetics. They can also be used of other purposes as well.

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The genetic code is universal. It applies to all organisms which use the same codons for the same amino acids. However, as ever in nature exceptions can be found. Genes are measures of the response of each individual to the environment. Genes are inherited from parents usually without any genetic accidents. However, in rare cases mutations occur. These are variations in the copying the genetic sequence s which serves as a code.

Some mutations are nonconsequential. Others are beneficial. Others are harmful or even fatal. Genetic defects can occur spontaneously, be chemically induced, or caused by excessive exposure to radiation. The vast numbers of individuals that are born without any genetic defects is an improbably high number. Medical genetics is field of study that deals with genetic defects which cause diseases through heredity. Diabetes and hemophilia are two such inherited diseases.

Genetic diseases are a diverse group of genetic disorders.

Encyclopedia of Genetics - Sydney Brenner, Jeffrey H. Miller (AP, 2001).pdf

They are caused by one or more genes. Among the disorders are neurofibromatosis, hemoglobinopathies, thalassemias, Charcot-Marie Tooth Disease, multifactorial disease, and other disease. To identify genetic diseases, genetic screening is used. Its use however, is surrounded with ethical issues. Recent research has indicated that cancer is genetically related. However, it also seems to be the case that there are DNA repair genes and tumor suppressor genes as well which use an in-activator gene. Because altered patterns of RNA are often found in tumors, it is currently thought that mutations in the introns or exon splice sites are responsible.

Genes that have been identified as cancer causing are termed oncogenes. Other areas of genetic research or applications of genetic knowledge include gene therapy with the introduction into cells copies of the necessary genetic code that will end or reawaken the appropriate genetic code. The biotechnology industry is also the product of modern genetic research. Plants and animals have been the subject of extensive research and now development from genetic engineering.

A major goal is the production of biologically useful proteins. Recombinant DNA is used to produce natural proteins. In addition, cloned genes are to produce proteins with modified amino acid sequences. Transgenic is the creation of useful plants and animals with altered genomes by the transfer of new genes. Cloning may be the ultimate act of genetic development.

However, genetic work is filled with ethical issues arising from a respect for life. There has been a literature of genetics ever since philosophers and scientists began considering the mechanisms of heredity by which physical The science of genetics has an increasingly powerful influence on contemporary ideas about the causes of disability and how impairment might be A branch of biology, genetics is concerned with the study of heredity and the variability of organisms. The twentieth century has been Genetics refers to that branch of biology that focuses on the mechanisms of heredity.

Scientific knowledge about those mechanisms is rapidly The study of inheritence and the units of inheritence genes. Inheritance is the derivation of genes from the entire series of a Genetics is the study of the life blueprint commonly referred to as DNA that makes up the genes the fundamental units of heredity , which are Despite the dramatic scenarios in Jurassic Park Crichton, , the concept of cloning dinosaurs from ancient DNA remains a fantasy and, The term was introduced by William Bateson in to Study of heredity. Geneticists study how the characteristics of an organism depend on its genes ; how these characteristics pass down to the The study of heredity and variation in living organisms.

The science of genetics is founded on the work of Gregor Mendel , who, in , Obesity and overweight have been shown to have a clear genetic determinant, although it is often a misunderstood and underestimated one in the The passing of biological information from parents to offspring occurs through the Behavioral genetics is the interdisciplinary research area concerned with determining if and how genetic factors influence any of the phenomena Strictly, denoting a trait in which the genetic component is contributed exclusively by one locus; in practice, any trait in which the contribution.

In genetics, the failure of one Allele of a gene to be expressed when it is paired with another allele of the same gene the dominant This site contains features which require JavaScript. Others may be the rapid identification of promising new drug targets against diseases ranging from high blood pressure to a variety of cancers, the epidemiology of alleles linked to susceptibility to various diseases and improved basic understanding of human physiology and pathology.

Agriculture offers the greatest scope for applied genetics, but distrust of genetically modified foods has blinded the public to its potential benefits and its vital importance for the avoidance of widespread famines later in this century. This outstanding success has been achieved by the introduction of crops improved by crossing and by intensive application of fertilizers, pesticides, and weed-killers.

Even so, there are million hungry people and million seriously malnourished pre-school children in the developing world. It is unlikely that the methods that have raised cereal yields hitherto will allow them to be raised again sufficiently to reduce these distressing numbers. Since most fertile land is already intensively cultivated, scientists are trying to introduce genes into crops that would allow them to be grown on poorer soils and in harsher climates, and to make existing crops more nutritious.

In the tropics, fungi, bacteria, and viruses still cause huge harvest losses. Scientists are trying to introduce genes that will confer resistance to some of these pests, enabling farmers to use fewer pesticides. Genetically modified plants offer our best hope of feeding a world population that is expected to double in the next 50 years. It will be tragic if the present outcry over genetically modified foods will discourage further research and development in this field.

If this Encyclopedia helps to promote better public understanding of genetics, this might be the best remedy against irrational fears. Max F. Introduction Genetics, the study of inheritance, is fundamental to all of biology. Living organisms are unique among all natural complex systems in that they contain within their genes an internal description encoded in the chemical text of DNA.

It is this description and not the organism itself which is handed down from generation to generation and understanding how the genes work to specify the organism constitutes the science of genetics. Furthermore, this constancy is embedded in a vast range of diversity, from bacteria to ourselves, all having arisen by changes in the genes. Understanding evolution is also part of genetics, and an area which will benefit from our increasing ability to determine the complete DNA sequences of genomes.

In some sense, these sequences contain a record of genome history and we have now learnt that many genes in our genomes can be found in other organisms, quite unlike us. Indeed some are much the same as those found in bacteria, and can be viewed as molecular fossils, preserved in our genomes. Charles Darwin put forward his theory of the origin of the species by natural selection but he lacked a credible theory of the mechanism of inheritance. He believed in blending inheritance which meant that variation would be continually removed and he was therefore compelled to introduce variation in each generation as an inherited acquired character.

Gregor Mendel, working at the same time, discovered the laws of inheritance and showed how the characteristics of the organism could be accounted for by factors which specified them. We came to understand the relation between genes and chromosomes, and the connection between recombination maps and the physical structure of chromosomes.

Brenner's Online Encyclopedia of Genetics

However, what the genes were made of and what they did remained a mystery until when Watson and Crick proposed the double helical structure of DNA, which at one blow unified genetics and biochemistry and ushered in the modern era of molecular biology. Genetics and especially the molecular approach to it is now a pervasive field covering all of biology. In the Encyclopedia of Genetics, we have tried to draw together the many strands of what is still a rapidly expanding field, to present a view of all of genetics. This has been a five year effort by over expert authors from all around the world.

We have tried to ensure that the breadth of the work has not compromised the depth of the articles, and we hope that readers will be able to find accurate and up-to-date information on all major topics of genetics. We have also included articles on the history of the field as well as the impact of the applications of genetics to medicine and agriculture. When we began this work, the sequencing of complete genomes was still in its infancy and the sequencing of the human genome was thought to be far in the future.

Technological advances and the concentration of resources have brought this to fruition this year, and genetics is a subject very much in the public eye. We hope that at least some of the articles will also be of value to those who are not professional biological or medical scientists, but want to discover more about this field.

Many of the articles contain lists for further reading, and the online version of the Encyclopedia also includes hypertext links to original articles, abstracts, source items, databases and useful websites, so that readers can seamlessly search other appropriate literature. We would like to acknowledge the efforts of the Associate Editors, who worked hard in commissioning individual contributors to prepare cutting-edge articles, and who reviewed and edited the manuscripts in a timely manner. Our thanks also go to the Publishers, Academic Press, and the outstanding staff for their commitment, resourcefulness and creative input; and in particular Tessa Picknett, Kate Handyside, Peronel Craddock and the production team, who helped to make this a reality.

Sydney Brenner, Jeffrey H. Miller Editors-in-Chief. World Health Organization Werner syndrome wild-type Wilm's tumor 1 X-inactivation center X-inactive specific transcript xeroderma pigmentosum yeast artificial chromosome zona pellucida. A transducing phage is one capable of packaging DNA which is not its own into phage capsids, usually at low frequency. Once injected into a recipient cell, the transduced DNA fragment has three possible fates: it can be degraded; it can recombine with the recipient chromosome or plasmid, resulting in a stable change in the bacterial genotype complete transduction ; or it can establish itself as a nonreplicating genetic element that is segregated to only one of the two daughter cells at each division abortive transduction.

Establishment of an abortive transducing fragment may involve protein-mediated circularization of the entering linear fragment. Abortive transduction was first described in the s by among others B. Stocker, J. Lederberg, and H. Particularly informative were Stocker's transductional analyses of motility mutants of Salmonella typhimurium using P Motile cells embedded in semisolid agar can swim away from a growing colony and multiply further, forming a large circular swarm of cells, but a nonmotile mutant strain e. A suitable abortively transduced wild-type DNA can complement the motility mutation, allowing the formerly nonmotile cell to swim.

However, nonmotile daughter cells are generated. This results in a compact colony descendants of the first daughter cell with a trail of cells emanating from it later descendants of the abortively transduced swimming cell. Nutritional markers for example, mutations abolishing the ability to synthesize an amino acid can also be abortively transduced, resulting in very small colonies on minimal media lacking the required nutrient.

Such markers have been used to study the process of abortive transduction, using P1 in Escherichia coli and P22 in S. The physical nature of abortive transduction has been studied by Sandri and Berger, by Schmeiger, and by others. One method uses infection of unlabeled cells with phage grown on bacteria with labeled DNA. The fate of the labeled DNA can be followed by separation according to density, for heavy non-radioactive isotopes such as 15N.

The remaining label is not degraded and can be quantitatively recovered for at least 5 h after introduction. This persistent state is consistent with the genetic observation that the DNA can complement defective chromosomal genes for many generations. Complete transduction occurs within the first hour of introduction. Physical protection of the abortive fragments from host nucleases appears to result from protein association with the DNA.

Abortive transducing DNA labeled with heavy isotopes displayed an accelerated sedimentation velocity consistent with a supercoiled circular form, when reisolated from recipient cells; sedimentation velocity was restored to normal by protease treatment. In the P22 system, a particular phage protein has been implicated in the protection process: P22 gene 16 mutants yield fewer abortive transductants, but normal numbers of complete transductants. It is thought that the protein is packaged with the DNA in the capsid and injected with the transducing fragment.

The biological impact of this process is hard to assess. Its frequency in nature is unknown. It could in principle have the effect of allowing escape from a stressful condition for enough time for the cell to acquire a new mutational adaptation or to find a new environment, without leaving a permanent genetic record of the event. See also: Transduction. An acentric fragment of a chromosome is a fragment resulting from breakage that lacks a centromere. It is lost at cell division. See also: Centromere; Chromosome. Achondroplasia is the most common form of disproportionate short stature dwarfism with an estimated incidence of 1 per 20 live births.

This type of dwarfism has been recognized for more than years, and can be seen depicted in many ancient statues and drawings. The molecular defects underlying achondroplasia have recently been elucidated, and comprise heterozygous mutations in the fibroblast growth factor receptor 3 FGFR3 gene located on the short arm of chromosome 4.

Diagnosis of achondroplasia is usually made at or around birth, based on the typical appearance of these infants comprising: disproportionate short stature with short limbs, especially the most proximal rhizomelic segments, redundant folds of skin overlying the. The clinical diagnosis is confirmed by the specific radiographic features of the condition, which include a large skull with relatively small cranial base, narrow foramen magnum, short, flat vertebral bodies, lack of normal increase in interpediculate distance from upper lumbar vertebrae caudally, short pedicles with narrow vertebral canal, square-shaped iliac wings, short, narrow sciatic notches, flat acetabular roof, short limbs with short thick tubular bones, broad and short metacarpals and phalanges, fibular overgrowth, and short ribs.

The diagnosis of achondroplasia can now be made before birth by molecular testing for the specific FGFR3 mutation in families with a prior history of the condition. Like many other skeletal dysplasias, the diagnosis of achondroplasia can be suspected by the use of prenatal ultrasonography, although it cannot be made until relatively late in pregnancy because shortening of the long bones becomes manifest only after 24 weeks of gestation. Hypochondroplasia and thanatophoric dysplasia are related conditions, also due to mutations in the FGFR3 gene; however achondroplasia can be readily distinguished from these, as the changes in hypochondroplasia are milder and those in thanatophoric dysplasia much more severe and almost invariably lethal.

The majority of individuals with achondroplasia are of normal intelligence, have a normal lifespan, and lead independent and productive lives. These individuals, however, face many potential medical, psychosocial, and architectural challenges secondary to their abnormal skeletal development and subsequent disproportionate short stature.

The mean final adult height in achondroplasia is cm for men and cm for women and specific growth charts have been developed to document and track linear growth, head circumference, and weight in these individuals. Human growth hormone and other drug therapies have not been effective in significantly increasing final adult stature in achondroplasia. Recently, surgical limb lengthening procedures have been employed successfully to increase leg length by up to 30 cm.

There are many potential medical problems that a person with achondroplasia may experience during his or her life. In early infancy the most potentially serious of these is compression of the cervicomedullary spinal cord secondary to a narrow foramen magnum, cervical spinal canal, or both. This complication may be manifest clinically by symptoms and signs of. A c ro s o m e 3 high cervical myelopathy, central apnea, or profound hypotonia and motor delay and may, in some instances, require decompressive neurosurgery.

From early childhood, and as the child begins to walk, several orthopedic manifestations may evolve including progressive bowing of the legs due to fibular overgrowth, development of lumbar lordosis, and hip flexion contractures. Recurrent ear infections with ensuing chronic serous otitis media are common complications at this time and may lead to conductive hearing loss with consequent delayed speech and language development.

The older child with achondroplasia commonly develops dental malocclusion secondary to a disproportionate cranial base with subsequent crowding of teeth and crossbite. The main potential medical complication of the adult with achondroplasia is lumbar spinal canal stenosis, with impingement on the spinal cord roots. This complication may be manifested by lower limb pain and parasthesiae, bladder or bowel dysfunction, and neurological signs and may require decompressive surgery. Throughout their lives, some people with achondroplasia may experience a variety of psychosocial challenges.

A group of polycyclic hydrocarbons, often used as dyes, that intercalate into the DNA, often resulting in the insertion or deletion of base pairs, generating frameshift mutations. An acrocentric chromosome possesses a centromere nearer to one end than the other. The acrosome is a vesicle overlying the nucleus of both invertebrate and vertebrate sperm composed of nonenzymatic and enzymatic proteins generally arranged as a matrix; these proteins have been demonstrated in some cases to play specific roles in the fertilization process. The contents of the acrosome are released prior to spermegg fusion in a regulated secretory event called the acrosome reaction.

The morphology of the acrosome varies between species and the mechanics of the acrosome reaction vary widely between invertebrates and vertebrates. This chapter will focusspecificallyontheacrosomeofmammaliansperm. The acrosome is a product of the Golgi complex, and is synthesized and assembled during spermiogenesis.

The contents of the acrosome include structural and nonstructural, nonenzymatic and enzymatic components, and this secretory vesicle is delimited by both inner and outer acrosomal membranes. These components appear to play important roles in the establishment and maintenance of the acrosomal matrix, in the dispersion of the acrosomal matrix, in the penetration of the egg's zona pellucida, and possibly in the interaction between the sperm and the egg plasma membranes.

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This vesicle is finally confined within the plasma membrane overlying the entire sperm surface. There remain several questions pertaining to the formation and maturation of this organelle. For example, although prominent biogenesis of the acrosome occurs during the Golgi and cap phases of spermiogenesis, it is not clear when it is during this developmental process that this organelle actually starts to develop. Furthermore, the acrosome is composed of multiple component proteins, but little is known regarding whether the synthesis of all of these components occurs at the same time or whether synthesis is ordered and coordinate.

Experimental evidence to date suggests the latter mechanism. The mechanisms by which these acrosomal components are targeted to this organelle during biogenesis are also not known. Finally, once these components are packaged into the acrosome, the functional significance of additional processing of these components i. In some species e. Answers to all of these questions will no doubt become apparent when a systematic evaluation of the proteins comprising the acrosome is undertaken with respect to transcription, translation, and posttranslational modifications.

An understanding of these processes may greatly further our knowledge of the role of the acrosome in fertilization since it is becoming apparent that this secretory vesicle may have multiple functions see below. It should also be noted that individuals whose sperm have poorly formed acrosomes or lack acrosomes altogether display infertility; this speaks to the importance of this organelle in the normal fertilization process. In any event, studies focused on the synthesis and processing of acrosomal components should be considered in the context of the acrosome functioning as a secretory granule and not a modified lysosome, as has been historically suggested.

Although the fusion of the plasma membrane overlying the acrosome and the outer acrosomal membrane constitutes the acrosome reaction, it must be emphasized that this process is very complex and likely involves many of the steps constituting regulated exocytotic processes in other cell types.

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Such steps might include membrane priming, docking, and fusion. Therefore, this process can also be referred to as acrosomal exocytosis. Recent data support the idea that sperm capacitation, an extratesticular maturational process that normally occurs in the female reproductive tract and confers fertilization competence to the sperm, may comprise signal transduction events that ready the plasma and outer acrosomal membranes for subsequent fusion during the process of acrosomal exocytosis.

Acrosomal exocytosis is. Specific components of the zona pellucida are responsible for species-specific binding of the sperm and subsequent acrosomal exocytosis. Resultant exocytosis involves the point fusion and vesiculation of the plasma membrane overlying the acrosome with the outer acrosomal membrane, thus creating hybrid membrane vesicles. The molecular mechanisms involved in this fusion and vesiculation process are not known.

The resultant fusion of these membranes leads to the subsequent exposure of the acrosomal contents to the extracellular environment. Both the exposed soluble and insoluble components of the acrosome may play important roles in the binding of the acrosome reacted sperm to the zona pellucida, as well as the subsequent penetration of the acrosome reacted sperm through the zona pellucida. Although this exocytotic event can be induced by both physiological stimuli and pharmacological agents, the molecular mechanisms by which these different stimuli and agents function to induce exocytosis may be dramatically different.

See also: Fertilization. An active site is the part or region of a protein to which a substrate binds. See also: Proteins and Protein Structure. Overview The genetic determination of fitness is complex, involving a large number of loci with numerous interactions. In Sewall Wright depicted this myriad of effects as a two-dimensional view of peaks and valleys that represented fitness levels of multilocus genotypes. In this version of an adaptive landscape a gene combination landscape , the horizontal and vertical axes represent genetic dimensions, and fitness selective value is indicated by contours lines representing elevation differences as found on a topographic map.

As envisioned by Wright, a gene combination landscape could consist of many thousands of peaks of various elevations separated by valleys and saddles. Individual genotypes are represented by single points, and populations as clouds of points that are typically found on or near an adaptive peak. Adaptive evolution translates into local hill climbing, and shifts to higher peaks can only occur through fitness reductions as populations traverse valleys or saddles.

The rugged genetic topography is due to the prevalence of genetic interactions such that many different gene combinations can produce high-fitness phenotypes. The paradigm of an adaptive landscape is a key element of Wright's Shifting Balance Theory of evolution, whereby species undergo shifts among fitness peaks.

Adaptive Landscapes as Described by Wright Early in his career, Wright's work with animal breeding programs led him to the conclusion that interactions among loci epistasis were common and that individual characters could be influenced by a number of genetic factors pleiotropy.

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He considered evolution to be a process of selection on networks of interdependent genetic factors rather than on single loci with independent effects, a view which was emphasized by R. With thousands of loci, the assumption of strong genetic interactions naturally leads to the conclusion that there must be multiple fitness optima, each of which represents a unique genetic combination.

Hence, epistasis produces a rugged adaptive landscape with multiple peaks and valleys, as opposed to a single fitness optimum, which would be expected if all combinations of loci acted in a purely additive fashion. While a two-dimensional projection is inadequate to represent such a complex multidimensional genotypic space, Wright's view of an adaptive landscape has served as an important heuristic tool for understanding evolutionary processes. Wright proposed that populations that were small enough to allow some drift but large enough to avoid severe inbreeding would occasionally shift far enough from the local optimum to come under the influence of a different adaptive peak.

In this way species could explore the fitness surface by continually making transitions to ever higher peaks. Wright argued that this process would be facilitated if a species were divided into a large number of small populations connected by low levels of gene flow, a concept which came to be knownastheShiftingBalanceTheory.

Theruggedtopography of the landscape is a consequence of epistasis as well as genotype-by-environment interaction. Hence, with changes in the environment, previously fit genetic combinations may be rendered maladaptive, and in fluctuating environments, populations will constantly be subjected to selection of variable intensity and direction. Gene Frequency Landscapes The gene combination adaptive landscape described above has been subject to criticism because the axes are difficult to define in a concise manner.

As a consequence, most evolutionary biologists have regarded this model of the fitness landscape as a metaphor with heuristic rather than analytical value. In his later years, Wright changed his depiction of an adaptive landscape to represent a fitness surface for combinations of two different loci Figure 1B.

In this version of the adaptive landscape, each axis is defined as the frequency of a single allele, and points on the surface represent the mean fitness of a population with a unique combination of gene frequencies.

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In effect, there are innumerable gene frequency landscapes in the original gene combination landscape, each of which represents a single pair of genes. Gene frequency surfaces have the advantage of being amendable to analytical methods and have been used to provide insights into conditions that promote peak shifts. Wright used depictions of adaptive landscapes to demonstrate several features of evolution. He pointed out that very large populations would be more likely to be found near the top of an adaptive peak because the influence of selection would be much greater than the effects of genetic drift random variations in population allele frequencies among generations.

Fitness surfaces that are based on genotypes often have limited utility because there may be few situations where the allelic states of fitness-determining loci can be determined. Quantitative phenotypic traits, on the other hand, are generally much more accessible for empirical studies, and a rich body of theory for the evolution of phenotypic characters has been.

The concept of an adaptive landscape as a combination of two phenotypic characters was first introduced by Karl Pearson in and elaborated by George Gaylord Simpson in In this case the axes represent quantitative trait values and points on the fitness surface can represent either individuals or population means Figure 1C. This version of the adaptive landscape has been used extensively in models of the evolution of quantitative traits Lande, ; Arnold and Wade, ; Wade and Goodnight, Holey Landscapes When Wright developed the fitness surface metaphor, his ability to characterize a genotypic space with a large number of dimensions was hampered by the availability of appropriate analytical tools.

In recent. Hence, through mutation, recombination and genetic drift, populations can diverge by traversing high fitness networks without opposing selection. With extensive divergence, populations will eventually come to occupy opposite sides of regions of low fitness a hole in the fitness landscape , in which case they are reproductively isolated because of hybrid inviability or incompatibility of the parental genotypes.

Like Wright's original fitness surface, the topography of holey landscapes is dependent on the prevalence of epistasis, but the existence of connecting ridges facilitates evolution. Figure 1 Adaptive landscapes. In each case increasing elevation on the three-dimensional surface is equivalent to higher fitness. The fitness contours on the floor of each graph represent two-dimensional projections of the adaptive surface. Four different versions of the adaptive landscape are depicted: A A portion of a gene combination landscape features a rugged topography and axes that correspond to a multidimensional genotype space.

B In the gene frequency landscape only two loci are considered. In this case there are two fitness peaks separated by a saddle. C An example of a phenotypic landscape displays a ridge of equal fitness produced by different combinations of values for two quantitative traits. D Holey adaptive landscapes are characterized by networks of equal fitness perforated by regions of low adaptive value holes. The actual genotype space consists of a large number of dimensions, so the graphical representation shown here is a rough approximation. A d d i t i ve Ge n e t i c Va r i a n c e 7 and divergence of populations by small steps without the necessity of crossing valleys or saddles.

Future Prospects As both metaphors and analytical constructs, adaptive landscapes will continue to be useful tools for understanding evolutionary processes from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. The theory associated with fitness surfaces has made substantial advances in recent years, but empirical evidence supporting the topographies proposed in these models is sparse. The recent development of multidimensional models of adaptive landscapes, with their more concise predictions concerning the genetic determination of mating barriers between divergent populations and taxa, provides new foci for empirical investigations and an opportunity to refine our understanding of evolutionary processes.

Evolution Pearson K Mathematical contributions to the theory of evolution. On the influence of selection on the variability and correlation of organs. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. New York: Columbia University Press. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics Wright S The roles of mutation, inbreeding, crossbreeding and selection in evolution.

Proceedings of the 6th International Congress of Genetics 1: Wright S Surfaces of selective value revisited. American Naturalist Gavrilets S Evolution and speciation on holey adaptive landscapes. Trends in Ecology and Evolution Lande R Natural selection and random genetic drift in phenotypic evolution. See also: Epistasis; Fisher, R. The adaptor hypothesis was first proposed by Francis Crick, originally in a privately circulated note in , and published later in He suggested that nucleic acids, which interact by base-pairing through hydrogen bonds, were unlikely to be able to distinguish between the different amino acids, especially those that differed by only one methyl group.

He therefore proposed that genetic messages would not read amino acids directly but that each amino acid would be linked to an adaptor molecule, probably a small nucleic acid, with 20 enzymes to perform the specific linkages. Thus, whereas nucleic acids could not easily differentiate between the 20 amino acids, a protein could, by recognizing both, specifically join the amino acid to its adaptor and the adaptor could then be recognized by the message by standard base-pairing rules.

Although very much later it was shown that nucleic acids could by themselves recognize a wide range of molecular configurations, by adopting threedimensional structures, the hypothesis was enormously prescient, predicting as it did the existence of transfer RNAs tRNAs and the tRNA aminoacylases.

At the time, however, its main impact was the realization that the degeneracy of the code need not follow logical rules but could simply be due to historical accidents which assigned the triplets to the different amino acids. The variation from individual to individual in most characters has both a genetic and an environmental component, and many attempts have been made to estimate the relative sizes of these two components. Within the genetic component of variation further subdivision is possible, roughly speaking into the additive, the dominance, and the epistatic components of this variance.

The additive genetic variance is, in effect, the component of the total genetic variance that can be explained by genes within genotypes. If some character is determined by the genes at a single locus, and has measurement 3 for A1A1 individuals, 4 for A1A2 individuals, and 5 for A2A2 individuals, then all the variation in the value of this character can be explained by genes, with an A2 gene contributing an additive component of 1 compared to an A1 gene.

Here the additive genetic variance comprises all the genetic variance. If the character has measurement 3 for A1A1 individuals, 4 for A1A2 individuals, and 3 for A2A2 individuals, and A1 and A2 are equally frequent, then none of the variation can be explained by genes, and the additive genetic variance is zero. Usually a situation intermediate between these extremes holds. Suppose that some character determined by the genes at a single locus, with individuals of genotypes A1A1, A1A2, and A2A2 having respective measurement values m11, m12, and m22 for this character.

When many alleles are possible at the locus in question, the additive genetic variance is found by a direct extension of the above procedure. In both the two- and many-allele cases, any variance not explained by fitting additive parameters, that is the difference between the total genetic variance and the additive component, is called the dominance variance. In both the two-and multiallele cases, the a quantities are called the average effects of the respective alleles. Because of their use. This implies that the breeding value of any heterozygote is always the average of the breeding values of the two corresponding homozygotes, even though, when dominance exists, this is not true of the corresponding phenotypic values.

The importance of the additive genetic variance can best be seen by considering the correlation in the measurement of interest between various types of relative. These correlations involve the additive genetic variance, but not the dominance variance, because a parent passes on a gene to an offspring, not a genotype, and the additive genetic variance is that component of the total genetic variance in the measurement due to genes within genotypes.

Since full sibs can share two genes in common from their parents, the correlation between full sibs contains also a component from the dominance variance. All these calculations apply in the case where an arbitrary number of alleles is possible at the gene locus controlling the character. For characters determined by the genes at several loci, an additive genetic variance can be calculated for each locus, together with a dominance variance.

Apart from these, additive-by-additive variances, additiveby-dominance variances, and other epistatic variances can also be calculated. The correlations between relatives now become far more complex and depend not only in a complicated way on all these components of variance, but also on the linkage arrangement between the loci controlling the character as well as the various coefficients of linkage disequilibrium between the genes at the loci involved.

Nevertheless the most important component in these correlations is usually the sum of the additive genetic variances at all the loci controlling the character, since in these correlations the coefficients of the epistatic components are usually small. The effect of natural selection over many generations is ultimately to reduce the additive genetic. A de no c a rc in om a s 9 variance to zero at any equilibrium point of the evolutionary process. Adenine Ade is one of the purine bases found in nucleic acids. When attached to ribose, it is the nucleoside adenosine A ; when attached to deoxyribose, it is the nucleoside deoxyadenosine dA Figure 1.

The phosphate esters of those nucleosides are the nucleotides adenylic acid adenosine phosphate; AMP and deoxyadenylic acid deoxyadenosine phosphate; dAMP. ATP is a ubiquitous, high-energy substrate see Mitochondria and, along with GTP, a cofactor in many cellular reactions. NH2 C N. Adenocarcinomas ADCs are defined as malignant epithelial tumors with glandular differentiation or mucin production by the tumor cells.

Their benign counterparts are known as adenomas. Carcinomas may arise in virtually any organ that contains glandular or secretory epithelium, and the most frequent sites include lung, kidney, gastrointestinal tract, breast, and prostate. In some organs, such as colorectum, breast, and kidney, almost all of the carcinomas are ADCs, while in other organs such as lung, only a portion of the carcinomas are ADCs.

As with other epithelial malignancies, ADCs are usually preceded by a series of histopathologically identifiable preneoplastic lesions. Molecular changes can usually be detected during the lengthy preneoplastic process, and may be present in histologically normal appearing epithelium. Because ADCs may arise from multiple diverse structures and organs, their molecular pathogenesis varies considerably.

In this section we will briefly discuss some aspects of the molecular genetics of ADCs arising in the common organ sites. One of the earliest changes in this sequence involves inactivation of the Adenomatous Polyposis Coli APC gene on chromosome 5q K-ras encodes a kDa protein involved in GTP. Additional genetic alterations in the adenomacarcinoma sequence are usually seen within the larger late-stage adenomas or only at the carcinoma stage. Microsatellites are short, simple repetitive DNA sequences of mono-, di-, tri-, or tetranucleotides dispersed throughout the human genome and are by nature highly polymorphic.

Inactivating mutations in the MMR genes facilitate further mutations in cancer causing genes or additional MMR genes, resulting in tremendous genetic instability and a fertile soil for. Macular degeneration age-related AMD is one of the most common causes of vision loss among adults over age 55 living in developed countries. It is caused by the breakdown of the macula, a small spot located in the back of the eye. The macula allows people to see objects directly in front of them called central vision , as well as fine visual details.

People with AMD usually have blurred central vision, difficulty seeing details and colors, and they may notice distortion of straight lines. In order to understand how the macula normally functions and how it is affected by AMD, it is important to first understand how the eye works. The eye is made up of many different types of cells and tissues that all work together to send images from the environment to the brain, similar to the way a camera records images. When light enters the eye, it passes through the lens and lands on the retina, which is a very thin tissue that lines the inside of the eye.

The retina is actually made up of 10 different layers of specialized cells, which allow the retina to function similarly to film in a camera, by recording images. The macula is a small, yellow-pigmented area located at the back of the eye, in the central part of the retina. The retina contains many specialized cells called photoreceptors that sense light coming into the eye and convert it into electrical messages that are then sent to the brain through the optic nerve.

The retina contains two types of photoreceptor cells: rod cells and cone cells. The rod cells are located primarily outside of the macula and they allow for peripheral side and night vision. Most of the photoreceptor cells inside of the macula, however, are the cone cells, which are responsible for perceiving color and for viewing objects directly in front of the eye central vision. If the macula is diseased, as in AMD, color vision and central vision are altered.

This condition is sometimes referred to as nonexudative, atrophic, or drusenoid macular degeneration. In this form of AMD, some of the layers of retinal cells called retinal pigment epithelium, or RPE cells near the macula begin to degenerate, or breakdown. These RPE cells normally help remove waste products from the cone and rod cells. The drusen formation can disrupt the cones and rods in the macula, causing them to degenerate or die atrophy. This usually leads to central and color vision problems for people with dry AMD. However, some people with drusen deposits have minimal or no vision loss, and although they may never develop AMD, they should have regular eye examinations to check for this possibility.

In some cases, dry AMD symptoms remain stable or worsen slowly. This form of AMD is also called subretinal neovascular-. Macular degeneration—age-related. Central vision —The ability to see objects located directly in front of the eye. Central vision is necessary for reading and other activities that require people to focus on objects directly in front of them. Choroid —A vascular membrane that covers the back of the eye between the retina and the sclera and serves to nourish the retina and absorb scattered light.

Drusen —Fatty deposits that can accumulate underneath the retina and macula, and sometimes lead to age-related macular degeneration AMD. Drusen formation can disrupt the photoreceptor cells, which causes central and color vision problems for people with dry AMD. Genetic heterogeneity —The occurrence of the same or similar disease, caused by different genes among different families.

Macula —A small spot located in the back of the eye that provides central vision and allows people to see colors and fine visual details. Multifactorial inheritance —A type of inheritance pattern where many factors, both genetic and environmental, contribute to the cause. Optic nerve —A bundle of nerve fibers that carries visual messages from the retina in the form of electrical signals to the brain. Peripheral vision —The ability to see objects that are not located directly in front of the eye. Peripheral vision allows people to see objects located on the side or edge of their field of vision.

Photoreceptors —Specialized cells lining the innermost layer of the eye that convert light into electrical messages so that the brain can perceive the environment. There are two types of photoreceptor cells: rod cells and cone cells. The rod cells allow for peripheral and night vision. Cone cells are responsible for perceiving color and for central vision. Retina —The light-sensitive layer of tissue in the back of the eye that receives and transmits visual signals to the brain through the optic nerve.

Visual acuity —The ability to distinguish details and shapes of objects. The choroid is located underneath the retina and the macula, and it normally supplies them with nutrients and oxygen. When new, delicate blood vessels form, blood and fluid can leak underneath the macula, causing vision loss and distortion as the macula is pushed away from nearby retinal cells. Eventually a scar called a disciform scar can develop underneath the macula, resulting in severe and irreversible vision loss.

AMD is considered to be a complex disorder, likely caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors. This type of disorder is caused by multifactorial inheritance , which means that many factors likely interact with one another and cause the condition to occur. A number of studies have suggested that genetic susceptibility also plays an important role in the development of AMD, and it has been estimated that the brothers and sisters of people with AMD are four times more likely to also develop AMD, compared to other individuals.

Determining the role that genetic factors play in the development of AMD is a complicated task for scientists. Since AMD is not diagnosed until late in life, it is difficult to locate and study large numbers of affected people in the same family. In addition, although AMD seems to run in families, there is no clear inheritance pattern such as dominant or recessive observed when examining families.

However, many studies have supported the observation that inheritance plays some role in the development of AMD. The process began after genetic research identified changes in the ABCR gene among people with an autosomal recessive macular disease called Stargardt macular dystrophy. This condition is phenotypically similar to AMD, which means that people with Stargardt macular dystrophy and AMD have similar symptoms, such as yellow deposits in the retina and decreased central vision.

The ABCR gene maps to chromosome 1p22, and people who have Stargardt macular dystrophy have mutations in each of their two alleles gene copies. Other scientists tried to repeat this type of genetic research among people with AMD in , and were not able to confirm that the ABCR gene is a strong genetic risk factor for this condition. However, it is possible that the differing research results may have been caused by different research methods, and further studies will be necessary to understand the importance of ABCR gene mutations in the development of susceptibility to AMD.

In , another genetic researcher reported a family in which a unique form of AMD was passed from one generation to the next. An affected person with an autosomal dominant condition thus has one allele with a mutation and one allele that functions properly. Genetic testing done on the family reported in showed that the dominant gene causing AMD in affected family members was likely located on chromosome 1qq Although the gene linked to AMD in this family and the ABCR gene are both on chromosome 1, they are located in different regions of the chromosome.

This indicates that there is genetic heterogeneity among different families with AMD, meaning that different genes can lead to the same or similar disease among different families. Some studies have shown that other medical conditions or certain physical characteristics may be associated with an increased risk for AMD. Some of these include:. However, not all studies have found a strong relationship between these factors and AMD.

Further research is needed to decipher the role that both genetic and environmental factors play in the development of this complex condition. Determining the role that environmental factors play in the development of AMD is an important goal for researchers. Unlike genetic factors that cannot be controlled, people can often find motivation to change their behaviors if they are informed about environmental risk factors that may be within their control.

Unfortunately, identifying environmental factors that clearly increase or decrease the risk for AMD is a challenging task. Several potential risk factors have been studied.

These include:. Although research has identified these possible risk factors, many of the studies have not consistently shown strong associations between these factors and the development of AMD. This makes it difficult to know the true significance of any of these risk factors. One exception, however, is the relationship between smoking and AMD. As of , at least seven studies consistently found that smoking is strongly associated with AMD. Further research is needed to clarify the significance of the factors listed above so people may be informed about lifestyle changes that may help decrease their risk for AMD.

Among adults aged 55 and older, AMD is the leading cause of vision loss in developed countries. The chance to develop AMD increases with age, and although it usually affects adults during their sixth and seventh decades of life, it has been seen in some people in their forties. It is estimated that among people living in developed countries, approximately one in 2, are affected by AMD.