Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 21, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963855 | Print ISBN: 9781412941860 | Online ISBN: 9781412963855| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Andrew J. Waskey
Genetics is the branch of biology that studies heredity. The passing of biological information from parents to offspring occurs through the combination of genes that are unique to each individual person, animal or plant that reproduces through living cells. As a field of study, it is concerned with the origin of individual characteristics and the way that these are transmitted to offspring. Genetics has developed over the centuries from the view of Aristotle and others that the species are fixed. One ancient idea being that inside of the seed of a man was another tiny little man. Inside of his seed was another tiny little man and so on through the generations. Charles Darwin's ideas on evolution sparked controversy in part over how it was possible for species to develop into different animals from “lesser” species. The prevailing view in his time was that of Jean-Bap-tiste Lamarck (1744–1829) who had ...