Before Mendel, the theory of inheritance stated that the parents' traits would blend to form the child's traits, meaning that a tall and short parent would produce a child of medium height. The majority of outcomes supported this idea. The theory failed spectacularly when two brown-eyed parents had a child with blue eyes. It was Mendel who developed a framework of heredity upon which the true nature of the gene would be illucidated. All students of genetics are familiar with the Punnett squares, the simple calculational tool used to determine the genotypes and phenotypes of offspring given the genes of the parents for a particular set of traits.
If you have any doubts about the fact that all fields of knowledge are ultimately connected, including the fields of genetics and mathematics, take a look at the paper titled Game Theory Using Genetic Algorithms. The subject of game theory was discussed under math in the Subjects & Resources section of this website.
A good course in introductory genetics will involve study of the following topics:
- Genetics and the Organism
- The Structure of Genes and Genomes
- Gene Function
- The Inheritance of Genes
- Recombination of Genes
- Gene Interaction
- Gene Mutations
- Chromosome Mutations
- The Genetics of Bacteria and Phages
- Recombinant DNA Technology
- Applications of Recombinant DNA Technology
- Transposable Genetic Elements
- Regulation of Gene Transcription
- Regulation of Cell Number: Normal and Cancer Cells
- The Genetic Basis of Development
- Population and Evolutionary Genetics
- Quantitative Genetics
Students should follow the Journal of Genetics to stay up to date in this field. In addition, there is a Rutgers University genetics tutorial and a University of Utah genetics tutorial that are both worthy of a student's time. Good books on genetics can be found at Amazon.com and Google.
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