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1. Introduction to Genetics

Modern Genetics

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Hi in this video, we're gonna be talking about modern genetics. So this is going to be fairly short compared to, you know what modern genetics actually is. But this is just a brief overview. We'll talk more about some of the stuff that's happening um way, way, way down in the class. But this brief overview is just that genetics today is mainly used to study um you know, mutation and disease in order to improve um medicine. The next is very big in medicine and it's also very big in aggressive agri culture. So we hear, you know, GMOs or things are all the time in the news right now where gene therapies, all these things all have to do with genetics and medicine and agriculture. And this is really what genetics is used for today outside of just science and just studying more about the world works. But even then, most of that is for medicine. And so genetics today is really focused on understanding variation. And one major type of variation that geneticists study are things called single nucleotide polymorphisms or snips, for short. You may have heard of these before and some other classes, but I'm just going to review them. So what snips are is they're small variations. Usually one nucleotide single nucleotide. So an A. To A. T. Or C. To a G. Um in an individual's genome. So how common are they? Well, there was this one great study in Iceland. They studied a ton of families and 78 Children. And they found that in these 78 Children there were four, almost 5000 snips between them and their parents. So that means that there are nearly 5000 single nucleotide changes. Um in these 78 Children from their parents or their Children, so their parents don't have them, but they do. And so mostly they also found that these variations come from the father, not necessarily from the mother. So why is that? So, first, there's a huge amount of variation from your parents to yourself. You don't think about that. Generally. These are actual mutations. I mean, that's 5000 mutations and 78 Children. It's a huge amount of mutations that happened. Um and there's single nucleotide mutations. First, it's huge and second most of them come from the father. So you may ask why that happens. Well, mothers actually produce all of their eggs during development. So when they are growing in their mother's womb, all the eggs are created then. So throughout their lives they release eggs, but they don't actually create them anymore. They're all created by the time they're born, the father, on the other hand, creates continually create sperm throughout their life. Now, if you know anything about, as you get older, certain processes start to um, you know, not do so well. So, I mean, obviously aging, so our bodies don't work as well as we get older, this is true for sperm production. So for the father, they continually produce sperm. And so as they get older, they can introduce more and more mutations to their Children. Now, most of the times these are you know harmlessness. They either don't do anything or they may do something to help. But sometimes this can be actually fairly harmful to the child. So snips are a major source of variation in genetics and a major source of study. And so one example of a snip that I really like to talk about is lactose intolerance or lactose tolerance. And so lactose tolerant. So that's the ability to actually continually drink milk and eat dairy products, consume dairy products past infancy, lactose tolerant. So the ability to do that is actually from a snip. And so um adults with there are two snips in this certain region of the gene of the lactase gene. And like taste is just an enzyme that allows you to continually drink milk even though you're an adult. Um there's people with these mutations. So with the snips can digest lactose. That means they're lactose tolerant. The people without the mutations there, the lactose intolerant ones. And so um actually it you can digest milk. That means that you have a mutation that allows you to do that. Whereas the people who cannot digest milk past infancy, the lactose intolerant ones are actually the normal ones among us. So yay for lactose intolerance. Um And so here's just an example of a snip. So you have, you know, this is kind of what may be the father's gene would look like or the mother's uh sequence would look like and then in the offspring you can have these individual changes here and here and these are just single nucleotide snips um that change and yeah, so um there's been a modern genetics, has a lot to do with technology and the development of technology. Now, I'm not going to go through all the different types of technology that have been created to study genetics, but I am going to hit some of the few ones that you may see in your book versus biotechnology and that's gonna be manipulating biology or biological processes for industrial purposes. So a good example of this that you may read about is golden rice. So um rice normally doesn't really have that much vitamin A. Or beta keratin in it, which is a precursor vitamin A. But rice is consumed around the world in areas where people really need vitamin A. So scientists have sort of manipulated the rice's biological processes in order for it to produce beta keratin which when consumed by humans, especially in areas that need it. Um This will be converted by the body to produce vitamin A. So biotechnology has sort of manipulates um it can manipulate organisms and manipulates processes, but it manipulates these biological processes for some type of industrial purpose, whether that's adding vitamins to things that it needs to making bacteria make certain proteins that you can use them in the lab or in medicine, all of these things are examples of biotechnology. Gene therapy is when you clinically transfer genes um into individuals who have a mutation. So their genes aren't working they're mutated. So you can transfer those into the patient and then in hopes that that having that new gene will actually improve the patient's condition. You have proteomics and this is going to be the study of the proteins in a cell under certain conditions at a certain time. So every second that you're alive, your protein composition and every single one of your cells is changing and your protein composition and each one of your cells is different. Your skin cells have very different protein compositions than your brain cells. So proteomics attempts to take all of those cells that every time the point that they can and determine you know, what set of proteins make these skin cells, What are these proteins doing and how can we use that information for medicine or agriculture? Anything to make our lives better. Bioinformatics is great for the math people out here and this uses software. Some kind um to help analyze and store this large breadth of data that geneticists today have to deal with. So we have all of these proteomics that you know that's a huge amount of data to know what your proteins are doing and all of your cells in your body every second of every day. It's a huge amount of information and that's just the proteins that's not including the D. N. A. It's not including the RNA. It's not including all these things that are produced. It's just including the protein. So bioinformatics takes that information when the genes the RNA is the proteins, everything and they analyze it for information um so that we can use that and then we have model organisms. And these are organisms used to study the basic of genetics. These are things like fruit flies that you may hear about. You're going to hear about a lot in this class um which is address Amelia melon on a Gasser. Those are fruit flies, you have plants, you have work, you have mice. All of these organisms are used in laboratories to study these genetic basics to study medicine and genetics, agriculture and genetics. It's all super important. But this technology is super crucial in modern genetics today. So with that last time we've gone

Proteomics is the study of what?


True or False: 

Single nucleotide polymorphisms are common in the human population.


Bioinformatics is especially useful at what?