Heredity is the passing on of characteristics or traits from one generation of living organisms to the next generation. It occurs among all living things, including plants, animals, bacteria, protozoa, and fungi. Heredity is the reason why blonde-haired parents tend to have blonde-haired children, and dark-haired parents will likely have dark-haired children. Many of these physical traits are noticed within the first year of the human lifespan. Yet more physical traits as well as personality traits may become evident only with greater age. The concept of heredity was first formally studied by Gregor Mendel, a 19th-century Czech scientist often honored as the father of modern genetics. Mendel demonstrated that certain characteristics of pea plants could predictably be passed onto subsequent generations. However, for centuries prior, ...

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