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A pedigree is a chart of the genetic history of family over several generations.

Scientists or a genetic counselor would find out about your family history and make this chart to analyze.

Gregor Mendel

Responsible for the Laws governing Inheritance of Traits


Genetic Terminology
Trait - any characteristic that can be passed from parent to offspring Heredity - passing of traits from parent to offspring Genetics - study of heredity

Alleles - two forms of a gene (dominant & recessive) Dominant - stronger of two genes expressed in the hybrid; represented by a capital letter (R) Recessive - gene that shows up less often in a cross; represented by a lowercase letter (r)

More Terminology
Genotype - gene combination for a trait (e.g. RR, Rr, rr) Phenotype - the physical feature resulting from a genotype (e.g. red, white)

Homozygous genotype When the two alleles are same (dominant or 2 recessive genes) e.g. TT or tt; also called pure Heterozygous genotype When the 2 alleles are different- one dominant & one recessive allele (e.g. Tt); also called hybrid

Types of Genetic Crosses

Monohybrid cross - cross involving a single trait e.g. flower color Dihybrid cross - cross involving two traits e.g. flower color & plant height


Determine whether the disorder is dominant or recessive. If the disorder is dominant, one of the parents must have the disorder. If the disorder is recessive, neither parent has to have the disorder.


Determine if the pedigree chart shows an autosomal or X linked disease.

If most of the males in the pedigree are affected, then the disorder is X-linked If it is a 50/50 ratio between men and women the disorder is autosomal.

Rules of Inheritance X-Linked Dominant Both males and females are affected; often more females than males are affected Does not skip generations. Affected sons must have an affected mother; affected daughters must have either an affected mother or an affected father Affected fathers will pass the trait on to all their daughters Affected mothers if heterozygous will pass the trait on to 1/2 of their sons and 1/2 of their daughters

Rules of Inheritance X-Linked Recessive More males than females are affected Affected sons are usually born to unaffected mothers, thus the trait skips generations Approximately 1/2 of carrier mothers sons are affected It is never passed from father to son All daughters of affected fathers are carriers

Rules of Inheritance Autosomal Dominant Appears in both sexes with equal frequency Both sexes transmit the trait to their offspring Does not skip generations Affected offspring must have an affected parent unless they posses a new mutation When one parent is affected (het.) and the other parent is unaffected, approx. 1/2 of the offspring will be affected Unaffected parents do not transmit the trait

Autosomal Dominant Equal in Males and Females:

Rules of Inheritance Autosomal Recessive Appears in both sexes with equal frequency Trait tend to skip generations Affected offspring are usually born to unaffected parents When both parents are hetrozygout, approx. 1/4 of the progeny will be affected Appears more frequently among the children of consanguine marriages

Y-Linked Dominant Only males are affected

It is passed from father to all sons It does not skip generations

Mitochondrial Inheritance Fathers dont transmit, just mothers All offspring at risk

Sickle Cell / Malaria Connection