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What is Genetics Genetics is usually defined as the transmission of traits from one generation to the next Although correct in its meaning the definition is rather vague Genetics not only involves the transmission of traits from generation to generation but it also involves every biological occurrence in an organism The history of genetics beginning with the ideas of Aristotle up till the rediscovery of Mendels work has gone through many changes both in theory and discovery The history of Genetics most often begins with the ideas of Aristotle and Hippocrates Their basic belief on Genetics included the determination of the sex and inheritance of disease based on the idea of Spontaneous Generation They believed that sex of the offspring depended on which part produced the sperm that fertilised the egg Through this Darwin Appendix 1 picture 4 later called the theory Pangenesis He believed that gemmules 1 were manufactured by every part of our body which then collected in the semen producing the basis of heredity Although Pangenesis was believed by most people Aristotle came to the conclusion that characteristics were not inherited but the ability of producing these characteristics were Sturtevant 1965 p2 Another theory that was proposed during this time was Preformation It stated that whole miniature individuals lived in the germ cells and matured in the womb of the female It was unknown during this time how traits were passed so scientists concluded that somehow aspects of the parents bodies were transferred in miniature individuals known as homunculus 2 As we entered the 18th and 19th century the improvement of the microscope helped to disprove the Theories of Spontaneous Generation and Preformation With this the question of how traits were inherited was still unknown Gregor Mendel Appendix 1 picture 1 better known as the Father of Genetics was the first scientist to
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