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CH 3 Sigelman &Rider

Life-Span Human Development, 9th edition

TermDefinition
species heredity The genetic endowment that members of a particular species have in common; a contributor to universal species traits and patterns of maturation.
natural selection The evolutionary principle that individuals who have characteristics advantageous for survival in a particular environment are most likely to survive and reproduce. Over many generations, this process of “survival of the fittest” will lead to changes in a species and the development of new species.
evolutionary psychology The application of evolutionary theory and its concept of natural selection to understanding why humans think and behave as they do.
cultural evolution Change in a species achieved not through biological evolution but through learning and passing on from one generation to the next new ways of adapting to the environment.
conception The moment of fertilization, when a sperm penetrates an ovum, forming a zygote.
zygote A single cell formed at conception from the union of a sperm and an ovum.
chromosome A threadlike structure made up of genes; in humans, there are 46 chromosomes in the nucleus of each cell.
meiosis The process in which a germ cell divides, producing sperm or ova, each containing half of the parent cell’s original complement of chromosomes; in humans, the products of meiosis normally contain 23 chromosomes.
mitosis The process in which a cell duplicates its chromosomes and then divides into two genetically identical daughter cells.
DNA Deoxyribonucleic acid, the double helix molecule whose chemical code makes up chromosomes and serves as our genetic endowment; it is made up of sequences of the chemicals A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), and T (thymine).
Human Genome Project The massive, government-sponsored effort to decipher the human genetic code.
crossing over A process in which genetic material is exchanged between pairs of chromosomes during meiosis.
identical twins Monozygotic twins who develop from a single zygote that later divides to form two genetically identical individuals.
fraternal twins Twins who are not identical and who result when a mother releases two ova at roughly the same time and each is fertilized by a different sperm.
X chromosome The longer of the two sex chromosomes; normal females have two X chromosomes, whereas normal males have only one.
Y chromosome The shorter of the two sex chromosomes; normal males have one Y chromosome, whereas females have none.
genotype The genetic endowment that an individual inherits. Contrast with phenotype.
phenotype The way in which a person’s genotype is expressed in observable or measurable characteristics.
gene expression The activation of particular genes in particular cells of the body at particular times in life.
single gene-pair inheritance The genetic mechanism through which a characteristic is influenced by only one pair of genes, one gene from the mother and its partner from the father.
dominant gene A relatively powerful gene that is expressed phenotypically and masks the effect of a less-powerful recessive gene.
recessive gene A less powerful gene that is not expressed phenotypically when paired with a dominant gene.
sex-linked inheritance Mechanism of inheritance in which a characteristic is influenced by single genes located on the sex chromosomes (usually the X chromosome).
hemophilia A deficiency in the blood’s ability to clot. It is more common among males than females because it is associated with a sex-linked gene on the X chromosome.
polygenic inheritance Mechanism of inheritance in which multiple gene pairs interact with environmental factors to influence a trait.
mutation A change in the structure or arrangement of one or more genes that produces a new phenotype.
copy number variation (CNV) Instances in which a person receives too many or too few copies of a stretch of DNA; like gene mutations, they can either be inherited from a parent or arise spontaneously and can contribute to diseases and disorders.
chromosome abnormalities Conditions in which a child has too few, too many, or incomplete chromosomes because of errors in the formation of sperm or ova.
Down syndrome A chromosomal abnormality in which the child has inherited an extra 21st chromosome and is, as a result, intellectually disabled; also called trisomy 21.
sex chromosome abnormality A chromosome abnormality in which a child receives too many or too few sex chromosomes (X or Y).
sickle-cell disease A genetic blood disease in which red blood cells assume an unusual sickle shape and become inefficient at distributing oxygen throughout the body.
carrier In genetics, individuals who possesses a recessive gene associated with a disease and who, although they do not have the disease, can transmit the gene for it to offspring.
Huntington’s disease A genetic disease caused by a single, dominant gene that strikes in middle age to produce a deterioration of physical and mental abilities and premature death.
Phenylketonuria (PKU) A genetic disease in which the child is unable to metabolize phenylalanine; if left untreated, it soon causes hyperactivity and mental retardation.
ultrasound Method of examining physical organs by scanning them with sound waves—for example, scanning the womb and thereby producing a visual outline of the fetus to detect gross abnormalities.
amniocentesis A method of extracting amniotic fluid from a pregnant woman so that fetal body cells within the fluid can be tested for chromosomal abnormalities and other genetic defects.
chorionic villus sampling (CVS) An alternative to amniocentesis in which a catheter is inserted through the cervix to withdraw fetal cells from the chorion for prenatal testing to detect genetic defects.
maternal blood sampling A noninvasive method of prenatal diagnosis involving testing for substances in maternal blood; more recently, analysis of fetal cells that have slipped through the placenta into the mother’s blood.
preimplantation genetic diagnosis Prenatal diagnostic procedure in which a mother’s eggs are fertilized in the laboratory using in vitro fertilization techniques, DNA tests are conducted on the first cells that result from mitosis of each fertilized egg, and only eggs that do not have chromosome abnormalities or genes associated with disorders are implanted in the uterus.
behavioral genetics The scientific study of the extent to which genetic and environmental differences among individuals are responsible for differences among them in traits such as intelligence and personality.
heritability The amount of variability in a population on some trait dimension that is attributable to genetic differences among those individuals.
twin study Method of studying genetic and environmental influence in which the similarity of identical twins is compared to that of (less genetically similar) fraternal twins, often in studies involving both twins reared together and twins reared apart.
adoption study Method of studying genetic and environmental influence that involves determining whether adopted children are more similar to their biological parents (whose genes they share) or adoptive parents (who shaped their environment).
family study Method of studying genetic and environmental influence that examines similarities in traits between pairs of siblings who have different degrees of genetic similarity—for example, identical twins, full biological siblings, half siblings, and unrelated stepsiblings who live together in stepfamilies.
concordance rate The percentage of cases in which a particular attribute is present for both members of a pair of people (for example, twins) if it is present for one member.
shared environmental influences Experiences that individuals living in the same home environment share and that work to make them similar. Contrast with nonshared environmental influences.
nonshared environmental influences Experiences unique to the individual that are not shared by other members of the family and that tend to make members of the same family different. Contrast with shared environmental influences.
molecular genetics The analysis of particular genes and their effects, including the identification of specific genes that influence particular traits and the comparison of animals or humans who have these specific genes and those who do not.
temperament A genetically based pattern of tendencies to respond in predictable ways; building blocks of personality.
schizophrenia A serious form of mental illness characterized by disturbances in logical thinking, emotional expression, and interpersonal behavior.
gene–environment interaction The phenomenon in which the effects of people’s genes depend on the kind of environment they experience and in which the effects of the environment depend on their genetic endowment.
diathesis-stress model The view that psychopathology results from the interaction of a person’s predisposition to psychological problems and the experience of stressful events.
differential susceptibility hypothesis The concept that some people’s genetic makeup makes them more reactive than other people to both good and bad environmental influences.
gene–environment correlation A systematic interrelationship between an individual’s genes and that individual’s environment; ways in which genes influence the kind of home environment provided by parents (passive gene–environment correlation), the social reactions to the individual (evocative gene–environment correlation), and the types of experiences the individual seeks (active gene–environment correlation).
passive gene–environment correlation Phenomenon in which, because parents provide children with both their genes and a home environment compatible with those genes, the home environments to which children are exposed are correlated with (and typically reinforce) their genotypes. Contrast with active gene–environment correlation and evocative gene–environment correlation.
evocative gene–environment correlation Phenomenon in which children’s genotypes evoke certain kinds of reactions from other people so that their genetic makeup and experiences are correlated. Contrast with active gene–environment correlation and passive gene–environment correlation.
active gene-environment correlation Phenomenon in which children’s genotypes influence the kinds of environments they seek out and therefore experience. Contrast with evocative gene–environment correlation and passive gene–environment correlation.
genetically informed study A study designed to determine whether there are genetic explanations for apparent environmental effects and establish more firmly whether environment matters (for example, by seeing whether the influence of a parenting behavior is as powerful for adopted children as for biological children).
epigenesis The process through which nature and nurture, genes and environment, jointly bring forth development in ways that are difficult to predict at the outset.
epigenetic effects Ways in which environmental influences alter the expression of genes (whether genes are turned on or off) and therefore the influence of genes on traits.
gene therapy Interventions that involve substituting normal genes for the genes associated with a disease or disorder; otherwise altering a person’s genetic makeup.
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