The blueprint for what every one of us will be like appears at the instant in which the gametes of our father and mother merge to form a single whole, called the zygote or the fertilized egg. The entire message is encapsulated in the nucleus of this single cell — more precisely, in its DNA molecule. This molecule carries information about the color of our eyes and hair, about our stature, the form of our nose, whether or not we will be a virtuoso musician, and many other things. Of course, our future depends not only on DNA but also on the unpredictable vicissitudes of life. However, many, many thing in our individual destiny will be determined by the qualities built into us at birth by our genes — that is, by the sequence of nucleotides in our DNA molecules. (Frank-Kamenetskii, 1997, p. 27)
This pairing, will determine the nature of the final being, which will then be affected by its environment to some degree with the inclusion of predisposition of the genetic forms. Gametes, or reproductive cells contain the given and donated DNA. Once the DNA structure creates a reproductive event the gametes then translate this information into a complete being with characteristics of both donors.
There are two categories of cells in multicellular organisms based on their chromosomes: Somatic (another word for “body” cells) and Gametes (reproductive cells). In human gametes, each sperm cell has 23 chromosomes, and each egg cell has 23 chromosomes through the process of Meiosis.
This is called the haploid number and is represented by the letter n. When these two gametes get together, they form a complete human whose somatic cells have 46 chromosomes. This is the diploid number and is represented by 2n. (Petty, 2005, NP)
Gregor Mendel, commonly thought of as the father of modern Genetics did meticulous experiments on known parented non-hybridized pea plans to determine a set of rules for genetic determination. He determined that certain traits were dominant and therefore recurred more often then others, which later became connected to the process of genome meioses pairing. His basic conclusions were as follows:
pair of factors controls each trait one of these factors can mask or dominate the other factor paired factors separate during the formation of reproductive cells each offspring randomly receives one factor for a given trait from each parent factors for different traits are frequently independent of one another
From these conclusions one can easily see how his laws and set of basic patterns of inheritance were constructed, and how they relate to the structure and function of DNA, meiosis and gamete division.
Frank-Kamenetskii, M.D. (1997). Unraveling DNA: The Most Important Molecule of Life (Liapin, L., Trans.) (Revised ed.). Reading, MA: Perseus Publishing.
Carter, J.S. (2004) “DNA Structure and Function http://biology.clc.uc.edu/courses/bio104/dna.htm
Holt, Reinhardt & Winston, (ND) “Mendels Conclusions” http://www.boiseschools.org/schools/north/hunicke/Bio/Review/Mendels_conclusions.htm
Petty, Y. (2005) “DNA Chromosomes and Genes. http://www.dnatutorial.com/DNAChromosomes.shtml.