Encyclopedia of Behavioral Medicine

2013 Edition
| Editors: Marc D. Gellman, J. Rick Turner

Inheritance, Genetic

  • J. Rick Turner
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4419-1005-9_705


Genetic inheritance addresses how traits are transmitted from one generation to another. While the word “inheritance” alone is typically used and taken to mean genetic inheritance, the term cultural inheritance is also a valid concept and deals with how cultural factors are transmitted.

The laws of inheritance (including dominant inheritance and recessive inheritance) were discovered by Mendel without knowledge of the actual molecular biological mechanism, and his research focused on plants and especially the common pea plant, Pisum sativum. Instead of trying to address the appearance of whole plants, and hence all of their characteristics, he focused on the inheritance of single, easily visible, and well-distinguished traits. These included round versus wrinkled seed, yellow versus green seed, and purple versus white flowers (Britannica, 2009). He also made exact counts of the number of plants bearing each trait. These quantitative data allowed him to formulate the rules...

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References and Readings

  1. Britannica. (2009). The Britannica guide to genetics (Introduction by Steve Jones). Philadelphia: Running Press.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Rick Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Cardiovascular SafetyQuintilesDurhamUSA