SUDC Insights

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SUDC Insights

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SUDC Insights is the official blog of the SUDC Foundation which shares and discusses issues important to the understanding and the ultimate prevention of SUDC. If you have questions or issues you would like to see addressed in SUDC Insights, please let us know at sudcinsights@sudc.org.

Understanding Genetics

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Genetics is defined as a branch of  biology concerned with the study of genes,  genetic variation, and  heredity  in organisms. 

What are Genetics? 

Genetics is defined as a branch of  biology  concerned with the study of  genes,  genetic variation, and  heredity  in  organisms. A gene is a unit of DNA that is usually located on a chromosome and that controls the development of one or more traits. It is the basic unit by which genetic information is passed from parent to offspring known as inheritance. Trait inheritance and  inheritance mechanisms of genes are the primary principles of genetics, but has also expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behavior of genes as well. Gene structure and function, variation, and distribution are studied within the context of the  cell, the organism, and within the a population. Molecular inheritance mechanisms of genes are the primary principles of genetics, but has also expanded beyond inheritance to studying the function and behavior of genes as well. Gene structure and function, variation, and distribution are studied within the context of the  cell, the organism, and within the a population. 

 

What are Genes? 

A gene is the basic physical and functional unit of heredity and is made up of DNA. Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is the unique genetic make-up of an individual. It’s a self-replicating material which is present in nearly all living organisms as the main constituent of chromosomes. It is the carrier of genetic information. Every person has two copies of each gene, one inherited from each parent packed tightly onto 46 chromosomes.  Chromosomes are threadlike structures of nucleic acids and protein found in the nucleus of most living cells, carrying genetic information in the form of genes. Most genes are the same in all people, but a small number of genes are slightly different between people. Alleles are forms of the same gene with small differences in their sequence of DNA bases. These small differences contribute to each person’s unique features known as genetic variation.  

 

Why is genetics important to SUDC? 

Many, if not most, diseases are caused or influenced by genetics. Genes, through the proteins they encode, determine how efficiently foods and chemicals are metabolized, how effectively toxins are detoxified, and how vigorously infections are targeted. It is well accepted that genetic variation in specific sections of the genome can cause or lead to increased risk of disease.  For this reason, identifying the types of genetic variation found in SUDC victims can be very important in determining what specific genetic variation may have contributed to their deaths and the identification of risk in others.     

 

Below is a link to a two minute video that explains genetics: 

https://youtu.be/RIYP3dJ0K-4 


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