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0 10 Meiosis and Sexual Life Cycles Overview: Variations on a Theme Living organisms are distinguished by their ability to reproduce their own kind Heredity is the transmission of traits from one generation to the next Variation is demonstrated by the differences in appearance that offspring show from parents and siblings Genetics is the scientific study of heredity and variation Figure 10.1 Concept 10.1: Offspring acquire genes from parents by inheriting chromosomes In a literal sense, children do not inherit particular physical traits from their parents Inheritance of Genes Genes are the units of heredity and are made up of segments of DNA Genes are passed to the next generation via reproductive cells called gametes (sperm and eggs) Most DNA is packaged into chromosomes

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