2: Heredity, Prenatal Development, and Birth

Learning Objectives: Heredity

  • Define genes
  • Distinguish between mitosis and meiosis, genotype and phenotype, homozygous and heterozygous, and dominant and recessive
  • Describe some genetic disorders, due to a gene defect, and chromosomal disorders
  • Define polygenic and incomplete dominance
  • Describe the function of genetic counseling and why individuals may seek genetic counseling
  • Define behavioral genetics, describe genotype-environment correlations and genotype-environmental interactions, and define epigenetics

In this chapter, we will begin by examining some of the ways in which heredity helps to shape the way we are. We will look at what happens genetically during conception, and describe some known genetic and chromosomal disorders. Next we will consider what happens during prenatal development, including the impact of teratogens. We will also discuss the impact that both the mother and father have on the developing fetus. Next we will present the birth process and some of the complications that can occur during delivery. Before going into these topics, however, it is important to understand how genes and chromosomes affect development.


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Lifespan Development - A Psychological Perspective by Martha Lally and Suzanne Valentine-French is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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