Family Relations and Inheritance | Learning Concepts Science
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Inheritance and Heredity

Concept : Family and Relations

What is a Family ?

  • A family comprises a group of people who are related to each other. It can be a nuclear or joint family. A family consists of members of different ages and gender.
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Nuclear family :

  • A nuclear family has only two generations living together.
  • It comprises parents and their children living together. There is no elderly member in the family living together.
  • Many families are becoming nuclear due to several reasons—shifting to cities for jobs or education and change in the lifestyle of present generations.

Joint family :

  • A joint family has members of two to three generations living together.
  • Grandparents, uncles, aunts and cousins all reside together in a joint family

Benefits of living in a family :

  • The members of our family help us live a meaningful life by guiding us at every step.
  • Our family gives us an identity.
  • The family ensures mutual support from the members of different generations. For example, grandparents are of great help at every step.
  • A family gives a feeling of security and belongingness.
  • A family helps us learn about our culture, festivals, rituals, customs and values, which are passed on for generations.
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Members of a family :

Members of a family can be divided into generations—

  • The first generation comprises grandparents.
  • The second generation comprises parents.
  • The third generation comprises children.

Relations in a family :

Members of a family are related to each other by birth, marriage and adoption.

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Husband A man married to a woman.
Wife A woman married to a man.
Sister-in-law Wife of brother
Brother-in-law Brother of husband
Sibling Your brother and sister by birth.
Cousin Child of your uncle or aunt.
Maternal grandparents Parents of your mother
Paternal grandparents Parents of your father

Family Tree :

  • The diagrammatical representation of generations in a family is called a family tree.
  • The family tree may include pictures of family members, their birth dates, dates of marriages etc.
  • A family tree enables us to learn about—
    1. Descendants of the family.
    2. The number of members in the family and the relation between them.
    3. To learn about the genealogy of the family.
  • The data in a family tree shows older generations at the top and the younger and present generations at the bottom.

Symbols used in a family tree :

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  • Pictures are also used instead of symbols in a family tree.
  • An example of a family tree is given below—
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Resemblance among family members :

  • We often look like our parents or grandparents.
  • Sometimes our eye colour matches our mother’s whereas the skin colour matches our father’s.
  • We have habits, walking styles, and sleeping postures that resemble either of our parents.
  • This resemblance is due to the transfer of hereditary material from one generation to another.

Traits in the family :

  • The specific features that prevail in the family over generations are called the traits of the family.
  • These traits are passed on across generations.
  • You may have traits matching your parents, grandparents or paternal/maternal uncle/aunt.
  • Some uncommon family traits are dimples on the cheek, rolling off the tongue, freckles, etc.
  • Some commonly visible family traits are given below—
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New Words

Genealogy: The study of family origins and their history.

Generation: : All the people born and living at about the same time.

Adoption: The act of taking another’s child and bringing them as one’s own.


Did You Know ?

  • The longest complete family tree in the world is that of Confucius, a famous Chinese philosopher. It comprises 2 million members.
  • People have made family trees for a long time. It is believed that the Old Testament of the Bible includes a family tree that shows the descendants of Adam and Eve.
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