• Written By Sumana_C
  • Last Modified 25-01-2023

Genetics & Evolution: Detailed Explanation


Gene: Get introduced to a branch of science that studies genes, heredity in organisms, and genetic variations. This branch of science is known as genetics. We all know that genes are made of DNA, which works as genetic guidance. All these instructions are used to make molecules. They also work to regulate the chemical reactions of our life. We all have transferred from our parents to our offspring.

What is Known as Genetics?

Students have already studied the presence of DNA inside the nucleus of a cell in their early classes. After combining the DNA of female and male gametes, a new DNA forms. It happens during the gamete formation and fertilisation process. This DNA gets transferred to the offspring cells. It is also responsible for transferring biological information crucial for the growth of the organism. It is a substance known as a gene in both layman and biological language. DNA molecules form a gene. While forming a gene, these molecules are arranged in a helical structure. The combined study of these genes is popular as genetics. Humankind has been using this concept since prehistoric times for developing crops and species and for breeding. But the term has been found recently.

What is Known as Evolution?

Evolution is a gradual process of hereditary changes in the population of the organism. It happens over several generations. During the process of reproduction, the inherited traits or the expression of genes are copied and transmitted to the offspring. Students must understand that the harmful traits are uncommon, while the heritable traits that are actually useful for reproduction and survival are more common.

Evolution in Detail

Life originated on this Earth 3.6 billion years ago. Life started with prokaryotic bacteria or unicellular organisms; later, they became more structured cellular organisms. This structured cellular organism is known as a eukaryotic organism.

These eukaryotic organisms became multicellular and eventually larger and more complex organisms. But the diversity we observe today has nothing in common with the diversity present at the beginning of life as we know it on earth. With time, plants and animals have undergone significant changes compared to their extinct predators, and evolution is the name of this occurrence.

According to evolutionary biology, natural selection is the process by which organisms adapt to their constantly changing surroundings. Charles Darwin developed this notion. By analysing the similarities between two or more dissimilar species of animals or birds belonging to the same family, he came to this conclusion. He also made the discovery that the same species’ physical parts can change depending on their location or environment.

Genetic Evolution

Genetic changes that result from evolution are the subject of evolutionary genetics. It entails researching how the genome’s structure has changed over time. Population genetics and evolution are combined in this. The process of genome evolution is how the structure and size of the genome evolve through time. Horizontal gene transfer, transduction, and mutation all contribute to the evolution of the prokaryotic genome.

Evolutionary Genetics: What Is It?

Genetic variation’s role in evolutionary change is known as evolutionary genetics. It covers the genetic foundation of adaptation and speciation, the evolution of genome structure, and genetic adjustments brought on by population selection. Evolutionary genetics is the combination of the genetics and evolution of the population.

Evolution of Genome Structure

Genome evolution is the process by which the genome’s composition and size change over time. The prokaryotic genome evolves by a variety of processes, including transduction, horizontal gene transfer, and mutation. Any permanent alteration to the body’s nucleotide sequence is a mutation. A different approach to transferring genetic material from a donor to a receiver than vertical transfer is called horizontal gene transfer (from parent to offspring).

Bacteria transduction is another way that incorporates evolution into the genome’s structure and provides an example of genome evolution. It is described as the genetic material being transferred to the cell by the virus. Compared to prokaryotes, the eukaryotic genome is bigger and more complex, and they change sexually to evolve. As a result, eukaryotes now have a greater genetic diversity than prokaryotes.

How Genome Evolution Works

Let us discuss the workings of Genome Evolution in the section below:

1. Gene Duplication

An individual DNA region has been duplicated in this instance. Recombination, aneuploidy, transposition, polyploidy, and errors in DNA replication all contribute to its occurrence.

2. Transposable Components 

A DNA segment that can be put anywhere in the genome is referred to here. You can take the example of Ty elements in Drosophila. Sequence Alu is the most familiar transposable element found in humans. 

3. Mutation

Spontaneous mutations cause genome alterations. The frameshift mutation caused by the altered nucleotide sequence modifies the genome. Prokaryotes exhibit this most frequently.

4. The Exon Shuffle

Two exons from various genes join together at this time. New genes are responsible for this process. A new gene is consequently introduced into the DNA.

What Many Mechanisms do Genomes Evolve Through?

Let us discuss the mechanisms through which Genomes evolve:

Gene Duplication: Gene duplication is the process of duplicating a specific DNA region. Recombination, transposal, aneuploidy, polyploidy, and replication of the slippage are all ways that genes can duplicate themselves (DNA replication error). Recombination, or gene replication, happens when an abnormal crossover occurs during meiosis.

Transposable Components: Transposable elements are segments of DNA that can be added to the genome by “cutting and pasting” or “copying and pasting,” respectively. “Ty elements in Drosophila” as an illustration. The Alu sequence is the most prevalent transposable element in humans.

Mutation: Accidental mutations frequently result in changes to the genome. The nucleotide sequence that causes the frameshift mutation is altered by mutations, which also affect the genome. It is one of the methods by which the genome adapts, most typical among prokaryotes.

Exon Shuffling: This process involves the joining or repetition of the same exon by two exons from two separate genes. This is how new genes are made, according to science. As a result, the genome gains a new gene. This has a significant role in how the genome evolves.

Are Gorillas More Like Us Than Chimps?

Early human species were housed in the Hominidae family, whereas apes were housed in the Pongidae. This distinction was made in light of traits like the higher-developed human brain and bipedal mobility. But according to new research, gorillas and chimpanzees are the closest animals to humans. Humans and primates share a lot of the same genetic material. Chimpanzees and humans have a 1.2 percent genetic difference, while gorillas and humans have a 1.6 percent genetic difference. This distinction in genetic makeup demonstrates how much more similar to humans chimpanzees are than gorillas.

Terms to Remember

Let us look at the important terms that a student must remember:

  • Exon is a component of gene expression since it contains the gene’s coding. Exons are the only components of the mature RNA messenger, which are later translated into proteins.
  • Chromosome numbers can be altered through aneuploidy, resulting in either 45 or 47 chromosomes instead of the standard 46 found in humans.
  • More than two sets of chromosomes are present in polyploidy.
  • The process of transposition involves moving a chromosomal segment to a different location.

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