Introduction to Inheritance and the Fish Model

The author and son
The author and son.
Notice the similarity of hairstyles.
Families tend to look alike. Children look like their parents, sisters like brothers and so on.

Why?

All down to inheritance. There are many characteristics that make up a living thing, and most of these can be inherited, that is, passed on from parents to offspring.

What is inherited is a recipe to make a new organism. This recipe is written in the genes.
Notice I say recipe, not blueprint. A recipe can come out in all sorts of different ways depending on how it is used. A blueprint should produce identical products. There is an ongoing debate in the scientific community about how much effect the genes (the recipe) have compared to the environment (the oven).

The rest of this site will use a computer model, known as the Fish Model, to illustrate inheritance and factors of inheritance which we can manipulate to our advantage.

As offspring are like their parents, a parent that is good at surviving in a situation is likely to have offspring that are also good at surviving in the same situation.
This is the engine underlying evolution.

These pages are intended to help teachers help students understand inheritance and selection. They could also serve as a general introduction for anyone interested in the topic.