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Dig into Montana Before History: 11K Years of Hunter-Gatherers in the Rockies and Plains by D. H. MacDonald, Ph.D. See our online store book collection.

You Have Your Parentsí Genes!

Aunt Maggie says you have your father's eyes.
Grandma says you have your mother's smile.

Could you actually have the traits from these other people? If you are genetically related to them then yes, you could. Half of your genes are from your mother and half are from your father. But you might look more like one of them than the other. Why is that?

Tucked within chromosomes in each of the trillions of cells in your body are genes that you inherited from your parents. Your have two versions of each type of gene. One comes from your mother and the other comes from your father. Both genes of a pair deal with the same trait, but they might have different instructions. For instance, one gene for eye color might say blue while the other one says brown.

One of those genes wins out and its instructions are carried out. It's called the dominant gene. The other one is still there but your body doesn't listen to its instructions. It's called a recessive gene.

Last modified February 29, 2008 by Lisa Gardiner.

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The Spring 2010 issue of The Earth Scientist, focuses on the ocean, including articles on polar research, coral reefs, ocean acidification, and climate. Includes a gorgeous full color poster!

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