Genetics and Inheritance
In this lesson, we learn what genetics are, how genes work and explore genetic inheritance of various traits.
• Understand what a gene is and how it relates to genetics
• Explore basic genetic inheritance concepts
6th Grade - 7th Grade - 8th Grade - 9th Grade
Print the reading comprehension passage and questions (see below).
Students should read the passage silently, then answer the questions. Teachers may also use the text as part of a classroom lesson plan.
What is a gene?
A gene is a basic unit of inheritance in living things. The branch of science that studies genes is called genetics. In humans, genetics determine many of our characteristics such as eye color, hair color and even your height. From the moment that a person is an embryo to the moment they pass away, the genes are constantly at work. Although genes determine a major part of each characteristic, some are also influenced by environmental conditions such as nutrition and health.
Genes are made up of chemicals called deoxyribonucleic acids (DNA). There are four different DNA building blocks. Multiple genes are found on chromosomes that also contain various regulation elements for genes. A single chromosome can contain many genes and can have more than 200 million DNA building blocks.