Genes, the Oldest Writing in the World, Part 2
By Jeanne Dennis
How Children Inherit Traits
Feet and faces, toes and noses – they look like they do because of genes.
Adam and Eve probably started with the same set of genes, because God made Eve from Adam’s rib. The Bible tells us that they had other sons and daughters besides Cain, Abel, and Seth, so there were many possible ways that Adam’s and Eve’s traits could have been passed on to their children.
Where Did Skin Color Come From?
Let’s take skin color, for example. Science shows us that all people have the same color. It comes from a pigment called melanin. We just have more or less of it, depending on our genes, so there is really only one race, the human race.
So-called “white” people have very little melanin, so the blood shows through the light skin, giving it a pinkish tone. Dark-skinned people have more of the pigment, so the blood doesn’t show through the skin.
Adam and Eve probably had a medium amount of melanin in their skin. That would allow them to have both dark-skinned and light skinned children and everything in between.
Let’s Try an Experiment
Let me show you a little bit about how it works. Let’s say that each colored box in the diagrams below represents a gene for a characteristic or trait that the parent passes down to a child. It could be for skin color, eye color, height, or any of a number of things. We will start with a trait that requires four genes to be passed down to produce the trait.
For instance, one child might receive a yellow and a blue gene from the father and a red and a yellow gene from the mother. That would give the child 2 yellows, one blue, and one red. There would be no green gene in that child at all. So when that child becomes a parent, he or she could not pass on a green gene to a child, because it is not there.
Adam and Eve’s Children and Some Possible Traits
In the chart below are all the possible combinations of the four colors. These are the only ones that can be passed down from Adam and Eve to their children. We will not worry about the order of the colors. Or which parent the genes came from. If we did, several combinations would be repeated. But in a different order. For now, let’s just look at the possibilities. Not how often they might show up.
There are sixteen possible ways the children can inherit two of the four genes from each parent. The parents can also have more than one child with the same combination of these particular genes.
If two of these children were to marry and have children of their own, the children would only be able to inherit the traits that their parents inherited from Adam and Eve.
Let’s take Child A and Child C, for example. Together, they have only red, blue and green traits. There is no way for their children to inherit the yellow trait, because neither parent inherited the yellow trait.
Adam and Eve’s Grandchildren and Some of Their Traits
Now let’s look at all the possibilities for Child A and Child C’s children (Adam and Eve’s grandchildren from those parents):
As you can see, some of the grandchildren will not inherit all the genes their parents had. For example, look at Grandchild F and Grandchild G. Grandchild F has only the red genes. Grandchild G has no red genes at all.
So in only two generations, much of the original parents’ genetic information can be lost in some of their grandchildren. This loss of information might mean they have more or less melanin in their skin or blue eyes instead of brown or blonde hair instead of another color.
So Much More to Know!
Genetics is much more complicated than this. There are so many genes and traits that even a computer couldn’t find all the combinations.
Lost Information Brings Changes
We can see that lost genetic information is what causes so many differences in people. It’s not new information, as evolution teaches. God placed all the genetic information needed to bring about the differences in people into His original Creation.
Our Amazing Creator God
Isn’t God amazing? He made us all in His own image from two parents. And He created the perfect code language to tell our bodies how to grow and how each person should look. He made us all unique – one of a kind. – even identical twins! And He loves every one of us just as we are.
Genetics Activity for You to Do
Try putting some of Adam’s and Eve’s imaginary children and grandchildren together and see what combinations of colors you discover. Just remember to take two colors from each parent.
This is Part 2. If you would like to read Genes, the Oldest Writing in the World, Part 1, click here.
Jeanne Gowen Dennis