Medical Definition of Genetics
Genetics: The scientific study of heredity. Genetics pertains to humans and all other organisms. So, for example, there is human genetics, mouse genetics, fruit fly genetics, etc.
Human genetics today comprises a number of overlapping fields, including:
- Classical or formal genetics -- the study of the transmission of single genes within families and the analysis of more complex types of inheritance.
- Clinical genetics -- the diagnosis, prognosis and, in some cases, the treatment of genetic diseases.
- Genetic counseling -- an important area within clinical genetics involving the diagnosis, risk assessment, and interpersonal communication.
- (Cancer genetics -- the study of genetic factors in inherited and sporadic cancer.
- Cytogenetics -- the study of chromosomes in health and disease.
- Biochemical genetics -- the biochemistry of nucleic acids and proteins including enzymes.
- Pharmacogenetics -- how genes govern the absorption, metabolism and disposal of drugs and untoward reactions to them.
- Molecular genetics -- the molecular study of genetics including particularly DNA and RNA.
- Immunogenetics -- the genetics of the immune system including blood groups, HLA, and the immunoglobulins.
- Behavioral genetics -- the study of genetic factors in behavior in health and disease including mental retardation and mental illness.
- Population genetics -- the study of genes within populations including gene frequencies, the gene pool, and evolution.
- Reproductive genetics -- the genetics of reproduction including genes and chromosomes in germ cells and the early embryo.
- Developmental genetics -- the genetics of normal and abnormal development including congenital malformations (birth defects). (Cancer genetics- The study of the genetic factors in inherited and sporadic cancer)
- Ecogenetics -- the interaction of genetics with the environment.
- Forensic genetics -- the application of genetic knowledge, including DNA, to legal matters.
Last Editorial Review: 5/13/2016