Example One: Flowers Have Different Colors
little plant has pink flowers.
The color of the flowers is determined
by a gene.
In this diagram, the chromosome that
carries the gene for flower color is green.
The gene that controls the flower color
makes the color pink, and is represented by a pink circle.
Notice that the plant has two chromosomes.
(Chromosomes in cells come in pairs.)
Each chromosome in this pair has a gene
for pink flowers.
This little plant is the same kind of plant
as the one above, but it has blue flowers.
color of the flower is determined by a gene in the same place
as the one for pink flowers, but this gene says make blue!
So this plant has blue flowers.
Notice, however, that the blue is patterned.
The gene for blue is recessive.
If you cross a blue flowered plant with a pink flowered plant,
the pink gene will be dominant over the blue one.
The new flower will have pink blossoms.
This is how it works:
Notice that each new plant has a gene for pink flowers
on one chromosome and a gene for blue flowers on the other one.
However, the color pink is dominant over blue, so
all the flowers are pink.
This new generation is called the F1 generation.
This is how scientists diagram what we have just done:
Here we see the genetic makeup of the parents for the flower
color that we are studying.
The plant that we have named the mother has two genes for
If both genes are the same, the organism is homozygous
for that quality.
Scientists put a symbol for that gene in the squares that
are under the symbol for the mother's chromosomes. See the chromosome
with a pink gene in each
The plant that we have named the father is homozygous
for blue flowers.
Scientists put the symbol for the
blue flower gene in the
boxes to the right of the
symbol for the father's
See the chromosome with a blue gene in each
yellow boxes represent the genetic makeup of the children.
None of these children are homozygous. They are all
heterozygous. Each one has a pink flower gene from the
mother and a blue flower gene from the father.
Here is a more formal way to present the same information.
We use a capital P to
represent the dominant gene for pink flowers.
We use a lower case p to represent the recessive gene for blue flowers.
Then we bring the symbols down into
the boxes just as we did in the first chart.
Again we see that the children are heterozygous.
They have a gene from each parent.
Now, let's do the next
Now look at the new plants!
Three have pink flowers and one has blue flowers.
However, only one of the pink flowered ones will "breed
This time we got:
one plant that is homozygous for pink flowers, just
like the pink grandparent.
one plant that is homozygous for blue flowers, just
like the blue grandparent.
two plants that are heterozygous: they look pink,
but also carry the recessive gene for blue.
This generation is called the F2 generation.
Let's use the Punnett Squares again. Do you remember
how they work?
These parents are members of the F1 generation.
You can see their flower color genes represented in the diagrams.
The children are diagramed in the colored boxes again.
Can you figure out which gene came from which parent?
Follow the mother's genes down.
Follow the father's genes across.
See? This is not so hard!
do it with letters.
The capital P represents
the dominant pink flower color.
The lower case p represents
the recessive blue flower color gene.
Here we see the ration: 1
: 2 : 1
One homozygous pink flowering plant
Two heterozygous plants that carry
copies of both genes
One homozygous blue flowering plant.
No matter how many plants are grown
from this cross, the ratios will always be 1:2:1.
This was discovered by Gregor Mendel,
a monk whose research in a monastery garden laid the foundation
for the modern science of genetics.
Check Your Understanding
at The Chromosome Kindergarten!
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