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Introduction to

Genetics

Weve all heard of it, but What


is genetics?

Genetics:

the study of gene structure and


action and the patterns of inheritance of traits
from parent to offspring.

Ancient ideas about genetics


Selective breeding of plants and
animals

Ancient ideas about genetics


Theories why offspring resemble
parents
Spontaneous generation?
Miniature pre-formed organisms?
Blending of vital fluids?

Then, in 1860
Gregor Mendel
successfully
discovered
genetic
principles

Pea Characteristics
Mendel studied traits of pea plants one at a time

Mendel and Plant Breeding

Mendel
examined
thousands of
crosses and
offspring
Mendel analyzed
his results
mathematicallysaw patterns no
one else saw

Mendels
experiments

Mendels Principle Findings

Dominant and Recessive


Certain characteristics are dominant to others
The dominant trait will mask another
(recessive) trait, preventing its expression
The recessive trait disappears for a
generation

Mendels Principle Findings

Law of Segregation
For each trait, organisms have 2 genes
(which may be different versions or forms of the
genes, these are called alleles)

Each pea plant got one gene from each parent


Genes are segregated from each other during
egg or sperm formation (meiosis)

Remember
Meiosis?!?
The Law of
Segregation is
the SAME
THING!
Mendel just
theorized
about it
before it was
actually
discovered.

Segregation of Genes during Meiosis


B
sperm

Bb
haploid (n)

b
diploid (2n)

b
meiosis I

meiosis II

Mendels Principle Findings

Independent
Assortment
Factors for different traits are
distributed to reproductive cells
independently
Later it was seen that orientation of
homologous pair to poles during
meiosis is random.
So, for example, genes from the
individuals mother don't all stay
together

Click here for an animation!

Some terms

Trait:

characteristics of an
organism passed from generation
to generation.

Eye color
Skin color
Hair color and type
Height
Temperament
Symptoms for genetic diseases

Not all traits are easy to predict


For example: polygenic inheritance.
(Where have we seen the prefix poly before?)

Genotype
Tells you the genetic makeup of the organism
The genes the organism carries

Genotype
Written using symbols
Each allele is represented by a letter
Tall = T dominant
Short = t recessive
Capital letter designates the dominant
trait and lower case letter designates the
recessive trait.
Capital letter is always written first.

Homozygous
An individual which contains one
allele for a genetic trait
TT-- homozygous dominant
tt -- homozygous recessive

Heterozygous
An individual which contains
different alleles for a genetic
trait
Tt heterozygote

Phenotype
What the
organism looks
like
Controlled by
the genotype
TT---------- tall
Tt----------- tall
tt------------ short

TT

Tt

tt

Remember:

Example
eye color gene
Allele b
(blue eyes)

eye color gene


Allele B
(brown eyes)

Phenotype
Genotype
Paternal Maternal
This person would have

brown eyes (Bb)