Genetics

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Genetics

Genetics (from Ancient Greek γενετικός genetikos, "genitive" and that from γένεσις genesis, "origin"), a discipline of biology, is the science of genes, heredity, and variation in living organisms.

Genetics deals with the molecular structure and function of genes, with gene behavior in the context of a cell or organism (e.g. dominance and epigenetics), with patterns of inheritance from parent to offspring, and with gene distribution, variation and change in populations. Given that genes are universal to living organisms, genetics can be applied to the study of all living systems, from viruses and bacteria, through plants (especially crops) and domestic animals, to humans (as in medical genetics).

The fact that living things inherit traits from their parents has been used since prehistoric times to improve crop plants and animals through selective breeding. However, the modern science of genetics, which seeks to understand the process of inheritance, only began with the work of Gregor Mendel in the mid-19th century. Although he did not know the physical basis for heredity, Mendel observed that organisms inherit traits via discrete units of inheritance, which are now called genes.

Genes correspond to regions within DNA, a molecule composed of a chain of four different types of nucleotides—the sequence of these nucleotides is the genetic information organisms inherit. DNA naturally occurs in a double stranded form, with nucleotides on each strand complementary to each other. Each strand can act as a template for creating a new partner strand. This is the physical method for making copies of genes that can be inherited.

The sequence of nucleotides in a gene is translated by cells to produce a chain of amino acids, creating proteins—the order of amino acids in a protein corresponds to the order of nucleotides in the gene. This relationship between nucleotide sequence and amino acid sequence is known as the genetic code. The amino acids in a protein determine how it folds into a three-dimensional shape; this structure is, in turn, responsible for the protein's function. Proteins carry out almost all the functions needed for cells to live. A change to the DNA in a gene can change a protein's amino acids, changing its shape and function: this can have a dramatic effect in the cell and on the organism as a whole.

Although genetics plays a large role in the appearance and behavior of organisms, it is the combination of genetics with what an organism experiences that determines the ultimate outcome. For example, while genes play a role in determining an organism's size, the nutrition and health it experiences after inception also have a large effect.

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Matching Genetics Colleges

Name
University of California-Davis
Four or more years; Public; $34,098 average out-state tuition; $11,220 average in-state tuition
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Four or more years; Public; $24,342 average out-state tuition; $8,592 average in-state tuition
Iowa State University
Four or more years; Public; $18,280 average out-state tuition; $6,408 average in-state tuition
Washington State University
Four or more years; Public; $20,652 average out-state tuition; $9,374 average in-state tuition
University of Georgia
Four or more years; Public; $24,411 average out-state tuition; $6,676 average in-state tuition
University of Connecticut
Four or more years; Public; $25,152 average out-state tuition; $8,256 average in-state tuition
North Carolina State University at Raleigh
Four or more years; Public; $17,988 average out-state tuition; $5,153 average in-state tuition

Genetics Scholarships

Name Amount Deadline
Monsanto STEM Fellowship Up to $50,000 May 01, 2017
FIRST Scholarship - Tulane University $30,000 December 14, 2016
Monsanto Graduate Student Scholarship Up to $25,000 May 01, 2017
Ford Foundation Predoctoral Diversity Fellowship $24,000 January 10, 2017
Dr. Gary M. Moore Great Plan Scholarship $20,000 February 01, 2017
Swenson Family Foundation Scholarship $14,000 March 15, 2017
William R. Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship $10,000 January 31, 2017
Bart Kamen Memorial FIRST Scholarship $10,000 January 31, 2017
FIRST Scholarship - Merrimack College $10,000 February 28, 2017
FIRST Scholarship - University of Advancing Technology $10,000 May 24, 2017