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Genes are units of inheritance that contribute to a person's behaviour and health. In this free course, Inheritance of characters, you will learn what genes, DNA and chromosomes are and how they combine to make the human genome. You will also learn how the principles of inheritance work, the effect that our genetic make-up has on health, and how genetic material is passed on from generation to generation.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- understand that genes are the units of inheritance for individual characteristics and also may contribute to susceptibility to certain diseases
- understand the number of chromosomes that make up the human genome and where they are located within the cell
- understand something of the immense scale of the human genome project
- understand how gametes are produced by the process of meiosis and how the full complement of 46 chromosomes is restored at fertilisation
- understand the role of the X and Y chromosomes in determining sex and how they are inherited.
- Current section: Introduction
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- 1 Overview
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Inheritance of characters
Genes are units of inheritance that contribute to a person’s behaviour and health. In this course you will learn what genes, DNA and chromosomes are and how they combine to make the human genome. You will also learn how the principles of inheritance work, the effect that our genetic make-up has on health, and how genetic material is passed on from generation to generation.
This OpenLearn course provides a sample of Level 1 study in.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Biology courses or view the range of currently available OU Biology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 24th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
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