A basic understanding of genetics is becoming more and more important in many different areas, including medicine, law, agriculture, statistics, sociology, psychology, and many others. This section is intended to provide a simple introduction to genetics and its application in the world.
Why should everyone know a little about genetics?
(courtesy of the American Society of Human Genetics)
Most of your physical traits, such as eye color, hair color, and height, are inherited. So, too, are risks for health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and some cancers. In fact, all diseases or medical conditions have a genetic component (except trauma).
By knowing a little about genetics, you will understand how variations in your DNA may affect your health. You may also learn what health problems you may be at increased risk for in the future and how to reduce your risks.
Useful resources for basic information on genetics:
Genes and Disease is a collection of articles that discuss genes and the diseases that they cause. The genetic disorders are organized by the parts of the body that they affect. With each genetic disorder, the underlying mutation(s) is discussed, along with clinical features and links to key websites.
Information on different genetic disorders from the Genetic Sciences Learning Center at the University of Utah. Graphics and pictures make this information understandable and useful.
Genetics Education Center is a resource for educators with an interest in human genetics and the human genome project.
Genetics Home Reference is the National Library of Medicine's web site for consumer information about genetic conditions and the genes or chromosomes related to those conditions. Information is provided on genetic conditions, genes, chromosomes, and a glossary of medical and genetic definitions.
This organization is an independent, non-profit organization committed to providing objective and up-to-date information about genetics. The website contains some basic information about key issues in health and genetics.