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artificial selection

Procedure that differentially mates organisms to produce offspring with specific characteristics

natural selection

Process whereby the environment differentially favors organisms with characteristics that affect survival and production of offspring


Unit of heredity, inferred from Mendel's experiments

biological evolution

Changes in characteristics over successive generations due to natural selection and mutation


First component of evolution: individual members of a species differ from one another


Second component of evolution, provides direction to the process


Third component of evolution: the favored variations are retained through heredity


Explanation of complex outcomes as the cumulative effect of the three component process identified by Darwin


Remains of an animal or plant found in the Earth


Deoxyribonucleic acid. Molecule resembling a twisted ladder whose sides are connected by rungs of paired nucleotides (adenine, thymine, guanine, and cytosine)


Habitually walking upright on two legs

carbon dating

Method to determine the age at which an organism lived by measuring the amount of radioactive carbon (C14)

regulatory genes

Genes that govern genes that code for proteins


The genus of bipedal apes ancestral to humans


Study of the hereditary structures of organisms (genes)


Sum of the traits inherited from one's parents


Single-stranded nucleic acid that is involved in several functions within the cell


Total set of genetic material of an organism


Proteins that regulate processes that occur within cells - organic catalysts


Paired rod-like structures in the nucleus of a cell; contain genes


The 22 pairs of chromosomes that are not sex chromosomes

sex chromosomes

X or Y chromosomes that contain genes affecting sexual development

sexual reproduction

Production of offspring by combining the germ cells of a male and female

germ cells

Reproductive cells, a collective term for the sperm and ovum taken together; have only one member of each pair of chromosome


Process of cell division by which germ cells are produced


Alternative forms of the same gene for a trait

dominant allele

A trait that is exhibited when only one allele is present, a trait expressed in heterozygous cells


The appearance or behavior of an organism; outward expression of the genotype

recessive allele

A trait that is expressed only when both alleles of a gene are the same, a trait expressed homozygous cells


The genetic makeup of an organism

polygenic control

Characteristic affected by more than one gene, as with most behavior

Mendelian traits

Traits showing a dominant, recessive, or sex-linked pattern of inheritance. Mendelian traits are not polygenic

sex-linked traits

Traits affected by genes located on the sex chromosomes


Alterations in the nucleotides within a single gene. Can occur spontaneously or from experimental manipulation

chromosomal aberration

Displacement or deletion of genes within chromosomes, or change in the number of chromosomes

Down's syndrome

Chromosomal aberration consisting of an extra 21st chromosome. Produces varying physical and behavioral impairment

Huntington's disease

Genetic disorder caused bu a dominant lethal gene that produces progressive mental and physical deterioration after adulthood (also known as Huntington's chorea)

phenylketonuria (PKU)

Genetic disorder caused by recessive genes that impair ability to break down phenylalanine; can cause mental retardation if untreated


Variation in a trait due to genetic factors, varies from 0.0 to 1.0

behavior genetics

The study of how genes affect behavior

nonmendelian trait

Characteristic when alleles do not have a dominant-recessive relation

molecular genetics

The study of genetics at the level of the DNA molecule

knockout mutations

Experimentally induced genetic sequence preventing gene expression

genetic marker

A known nucleotide sequence that occurs at a particular location on a chromosome

concordance research

Studies the similarity of traits between twins, especially identical twins. Twins are concordant if they exhibit the same phenotype

segregation analysis

Correlational method to identify sections of chromosomes that are the same for individuals expressing a common trait

evolutionary psychology

Branch of psychology studying how human behavior is affected by evolution


The study of genetic influences on social behavior, especially in animals

reproductive strategies

Evolutionary effects on systems of mating and rearing offspring; these need not be conscious strategies


Mating strategy of one female with one male


Mating strategy of one male with more than one female

parental investment

Resources that parents expend in procreating and nurturing offspring

sexual selection

Preference for traits that are differentially expressed in the two sexes, for example, body size

altruistic behavior

Behavior benefiting another organism at an apparent cost to the individual who executed the action

inclusive fitness

Total reproductive success of those with whom the individual has genes in common e.g., siblings

kin selection

Selection that favors altruistic acts toward individuals with whom one has genes in common

reciprocal altruism

Altruism in which one individual benefits another when it is likely that the other will return the benefit at a later time

genetic engineering

Procedures intended to alter an organism's genes to produce a more favorable phenotype


Socially transmitted knowledge, customs, and behavior of a group of people

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