Some new gene combinations make little difference, some can produce organisms with new and perhaps enhanced capabilities, and some can be deleterious.
Learning Goal 2
The sorting and recombination of genes in sexual reproduction results in a great variety of possible gene combinations in the offspring of any two parents.
Learning Goal 3
The information passed from parents to offspring is coded in DNA molecules, long chains linking just four kinds of smaller molecules, whose precise sequence encodes genetic information.
Learning Goal 4
Genes are segments of DNA molecules. Inserting, deleting, or substituting segments of DNA molecules can alter genes. An altered gene may be passed on to every cell that develops from it. The resulting features may help, harm, or have little or no effect on the offspring's success in its environment.
Learning Goal 5
Gene mutations can be caused by such things as radiation and chemicals. When they occur in sex cells, they can be passed on to offspring; if they occur in other cells, they can be passed on to descendant cells only. The experiences an organism has during its lifetime can affect its offspring only if the genes in its own sex cells are changed by the experience.
Learning Goal 6a
The many body cells in an individual can be very different from one another, even though they are all descended from a single cell and thus have essentially identical genetic instructions.
Learning Goal 6b
Different parts of the genetic instructions are used in different types of cells, influenced by the cell's environment and past history.
Learning Goal 7
Heritable characteristics can include details of biochemistry and anatomical features that are ultimately produced in the development of the organism. By biochemical or anatomical means, heritable characteristics may also influence behavior.