-An undergraduate from Bangladesh
April 23, 2015
Whoa, that sounds like a pretty complicated family! Or maybe it isn’t…
Let’s break this down to make it a little easier to understand: There’s a husband and a wife, named A and B. They have a child named C (I know, not a very creative family).
But then you clone A and B to make A’ and B’, who have exactly the same DNA as A and B. They then go on to have their own baby, C’. Here’s a little family tree to (hopefully) make it a bit clearer:
DNA Gets “Mixed and Matched” Before You’re Even Born
Each person is created from a unique combination of DNA from their mother’s egg and their father’s sperm. Each sperm and egg donates half of the parent’s DNA to the child. The child then ends up with two different copies of a complete set of DNA (or a genome) – one from their mother, and one from their father.
The parents also each have 2 copies of the genome – one from each of their parents. But how does the body decide which copy to pass on to the next generation?
DNA is Not Everything
Let’s go back to the cloning part for a bit. Earlier, I said that A and B are exactly like their clones, A’ and B’. But is that strictly true? Yes, they have the same DNA, but it turns out that genetics is not as straightforward as that.
Which, of course, if you’ve ever met identical twins, you already kind of know. They do look an awful lot alike, but not exactly. There are differences that you can see once you look for them.