Share
Explore BrainMass

Genetic Material of Living Organisms

All living organisms contain genetic information that provides several functions inherent to the individual organism and the perpetuation of its species.

a) Describe how genetic material contributes to the regulation of physiological function and development

b) Discuss how the nature of genetic material both perpetuates the identity of an individual and provides for high biodiversity

Solution Preview

What is genetic material? Genetic material can be considered all forms of nucleic acids. These are large macromolecules that are made up of individual subunits called "nucleotides." There are different types of genetic material, but the main types are messenger RNA, transfer RNA, ribosomal RNA, and DNA. DNA is the source of all the RNA types.

Of course, most people think about DNA, when they think of "genetic material."

So, how does this genetic material contribute to the regulation of physiological functions and development? That's a big question. To answer that question, we must understand what is "in" the DNA. Cellular DNA is packaged into huge nuclear structures called chromosomes. On each chromosome are thousands and thousands of "genes." Genes are the individual units of information that are lined up on the chromosome like train cars on a long train.

What do these genes do? There are many different types, but the main thing to remember at this point is that genes encode and contain information. They're like blueprints that give information on what the cell needs to do. DNA isn't an end in and of itself. It's instructions and information so that the cell can do all it needs to do.

Genes encode information to tell the cell to make RNA molecules. Remember, RNA is another type of nucleic acid. These RNAs serve all kinds of functions, but the main function they serve is to assist in the synthesis of proteins. In this regard, there are ...

$2.19