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Genetic Recombination

Random assortment of the different alleles of genes on different chromosomes depends upon the
segregation and independent assortment of the chromosomes during meiosis I.
Crossing-over of the chromosomes during meiosis I leads to genetic recombination of different
alleles of genes on the SAME chromosome.
When genes are located near each other on a chromosome, they act as if they are linked and
parental allele combinations are more often than not inherited together by the grandchildren.
Genetic variability is produced by genetic recombination through the process of crossing over
when the chromosomes pair during meiotic prophase.
Parental homologous chromosomes exchange segments during crossing over to produce
recombinant chromosomes.
Genetic mapping based upon the measurement of recombination frequencies is used to map gene
locations.
Mendel’s law of segregation

Cross of a purple-flowered and a white-flowered strain of peas. R stands for the gene for purple
flowers and r for the gene for white flowers.

When Mendel performed cross-pollination between a true-breeding yellow pod plant


and a true-breeding green pod plant, he noticed that all of the resulting offspring,
F1 generation, were green

He then allowed all of the green F1 plants to self-pollinate. He referred to these


offspring as the F2 generation. Mendel noticed a 3:1 ratio in pod color. About 3/4 of
the F2 plants had green pods and about 1/4 had yellow pods. From these
experiments Mendel formulated what is now known as Mendel's law of segregation.

Mendel's Law of Segregation

Mendel's law of segregation states that allele pairs separate or segregate during
gamete formation, and randomly unite at fertilization. There are four main concepts
involved in this idea. They are:

1. There are alternative forms for genes. This means that a gene can exist in
more than one form. For example, the gene that determines pod color can either be
(G) for green pod color or (g) for yellow pod color.

2. For each characteristic or trait organisms inherit two alternative forms


of that gene, one from each parent. These alternative forms of a gene are
called alleles. The F1 plants in Mendel's experiment each received one allele from
the green pod parent plant and one allele from the yellow pod parent plant. True-
breeding green pod plants have (GG) alleles for pod color, true-breeding yellow pod
plants have (gg) alleles, and the resulting F1 plants have (Gg) alleles.

3. When gametes (sex cells) are produced, allele pairs separate or


segregate leaving them with a single allele for each trait. This means that
sex cells contain only half the compliment of genes. When gametes join during
fertilization the resulting offspring contain two sets of alleles, one allele from each
parent. For example, the sex cell for the green pod plant had a single (G) allele and
the sex cell for the yellow pod plant had a single (g) allele. After fertilization the
resulting F1 plants had two alleles (Gg).

4. When the two alleles of a pair are different, one is dominant and the
other is recessive. This means that one trait is expressed or shown, while the
other is hidden. For example, the F1 plants (Gg) were all green because the allele
for green pod color (G) was dominant over the allele for yellow pod color (g). When
the F1 plants were allowed to self-pollinate, 1/4 of the F2 generation plant pods
were yellow. This trait had been masked because it is recessive. The alleles for
green pod color are (GG) and (Gg). The alleles for yellow pod color are (gg)

Genotype and Phenotype


From Mendel's law of segregation we see that the alleles for a trait separate when
gametes are formed (through a type of cell division called meiosis). These allele
pairs are then randomly united at fertilization. If a pair of alleles for a trait are the
same they are called homozygous. If they are different they are called
heterozygous. In the first example (Figure A), the F1 plants were all heterozygous
for the pod color trait. Their genetic makeup or genotype was (Gg). Their
phenotype or expressed physical trait was green pod color.

The F2 generation pea plants (Figure B) showed two different phenotypes (green or
yellow) and three different genotypes (GG, Gg, or gg). The genotype determines the
phenotype that is expressed. The F2 plants that had a genotype of either (GG) or
(Gg) were green. The F2 plants that had a genotype of (gg) were yellow.

The phenotypic ratio that Mendel observed was 3:1, 3/4 green plants to 1/4 yellow
plants. The genotypic ratio however was 1:2:1. The genotypes for the F2 plants
were 1/4 homozygous (GG), 2/4 heterozygous (Gg), and 1/4 homozygous (gg).

Dihybrid Cross - A Genetics Definition

Definition: A dihybrid cross is a breeding experiment between P generation


(parental generation) organisms that differ in two traits.

In this dihybrid cross, a plant with the dominant traits of green pod color and yellow
seed color is cross-pollinated with a plant with the recessive traits of yellow pod
color and green seed color.

If a true-breeding plant with green pod color (GG) and yellow seed color (YY) is
cross-pollinated with a true-breeding plant with yellow pod color (gg) and green
seeds (yy), the resulting offspring will all be heterozygous for green pod color and
yellow seeds (GgYy).
Independent assortment is a basic principle of genetics developed by a monk
named Gregor Mendel in the 1860's. Mendel formulated this principle after
discovering another principle now known as Mendel's law of segregation. This
principle states that the alleles for a trait separate when gametes are formed.
These allele pairs are then randomly united at fertilization. Mendel arrived at this
conclusion by performing monohybrid crosses. These were cross-pollination
experiments with pea plants that differed in one trait, for example pod color.

Mendel began to wonder what would happen if he studied plants that differed in
two traits. Would both traits be transmitted to the offspring together or would one
trait be transmitted independently of the other? From his experiments Mendel
developed the principle now known as the law of independent assortment.

Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment

Mendel performed dihybrid crosses in plants that were true-breeding for two traits.
For example, a plant that had green pod color and yellow seed color was cross-
pollinated with a plant that had yellow pod color and green seeds. In this cross, the
traits for green pod color (GG) and yellow seed color (YY) are dominant. Yellow pod
color (gg) and green seed color (yy) are recessive. The resulting offspring (Figure
A) or F1 generation were all heterozygous for green pod color and yellow seeds
(GgYy).
Independent Assortment

After observing the results of the dihybrid cross, Mendel allowed all of the F1 plants
to self-pollinate. He referred to these offspring as the F2 generation. Mendel noticed
a 9:3:3:1 ratio (Figure B). About 9 of the F2 plants had green pods and yellow
seeds, 3 had green pods and green seeds, 3 had yellow pods and yellow seeds and
1 had a yellow pod and green seeds.

Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment

Mendel performed similar experiments focusing on several other traits like seed
color and seed shape, pod color and pod shape, and flower position and stem
length. He noticed the same ratios in each case. From these experiments Mendel
formulated what is now known as Mendel's law of independent assortment. This law
states that allele pairs separate independently during the formation of gametes.
Therefore, traits are transmitted to offspring independently of one another.

Genotype and Phenotype

In Mendel's experiment with pod color and seed color (Figure A) we see that the
genotype or genetic makeup of the F1 plants is GgYy. The phenotypes or expressed
physical traits are green pod color and yellow seed color. Both of these traits are
dominant.

The F2 generation pea plants (Figure B) show two different phenotypes for each
trait. Pod color is either green or yellow and seed color is either yellow or green.
There are nine different genotypes that result from this type of experiment. The F2
generation genotypes and phenotypes can be seen in the image above.

Gene - unit of inheritance


Allele - Alternate form of a gene, symbolized by letters

Homozygous - having two of the same allele (AA or aa); true-breeding


Heterozygous - having two different alleles (Aa)

Monohybrid cross - involves 1 trait (AA x aa)


Dihybrid cross - involves 2 traits (AABB x aabb)

Dominant - Allele that masks the other allele


Recessive - Allele that is covered up

By convention - Dominant alleles are represented by capital letters, recessive by lowercase - always using the same letter

Genotype - the organisms alleles, represented by letters


Phenotype - the physical appearance of the organism