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Question Video: Identifying Acquired Traits Science

A student is asked to describe themselves. They write “I have blue eyes and naturally brown hair. When I was younger, I tripped over and hurt myself, and now I have a scar on my arm.” Which of the characteristics described above did this student not inherit from their parents?

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Video Transcript

A student is asked to describe themselves. They write “I have blue eyes and naturally brown hair. When I was younger, I tripped over and hurt myself, and now I have a scar on my arm.” Which of the characteristics described above did this student not inherit from their parents? (A) Blue eyes, (B) brown hair, (C) blue eyes and brown hair, or (D) the scar on their arm.

DNA is a very long molecule that stores our genetic information. DNA has different sections that give instructions for different characteristics, like the color of our eyes or how tall we are. We call these genes, and different genes can give different characteristics.

Humans reproduce by sexual reproduction. This is where the male sperm cell, which contains his DNA, fertilizes the female’s egg cell, which contains her DNA. This makes an embryo; that’s a combination of both their DNA. This embryo can then develop into a baby and grow up. This child can only inherit the genes that their parents had. In this example, blue eyes and brown hair are both inherited genetic traits.

If we look back at the question, the scar on the student is a characteristic that they developed due to something that happened after they were born. This scar wasn’t given to the child by their parents’ DNA. Therefore, this is not an inherited trait. So the correct answer is (D) the scar on their arm.

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