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Biological inheritance

Biological inheritance is the process by which a living organism produces a new organism with many of the same traits as itself. Variation in inheritance is a fundamental concept in Darwin's theory of evolution. The study of inheritance is genetics.

Mechanisms of biological inheritance

  1. Alterations in DNA sequence accounts for the vast majority of characterized heritable variation.
  2. Epigenetic inheritance results from reversible alterations in the activity of genes.
  3. Prions are protein folding variants that are able propagate by inducing other variants of the same protein to fold into the prion form.
  4. Structural inheritance[?] refers to the relative position of biomolecules and the need to use an existing structure as a template to produce a new copy of that structure. This is most apparent in the membrane systems of eukaryotic cells. While this type of inheritance is fundamental to the distinctions made among the various domains of life, new instances of heretible structural variation are rare.

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