Section 1

Mendel's Legacy

• The study of how characteristics are transmitted from parents to offspring is called genetics.

• Mendel observed seven characteristics of pea plants. Each characteristic occurred in two contrasting traits.

• Self-pollination, in which pollen is transferred from the anthers of a flower to either the stigma of the same flower or the stigma of another flower on the same plant, normally occurs in pea plants. Cross-pollination occurs when pollen is transferred between flowers of two different plants.

• Mendel concluded that inherited characteristics are controlled by factors that occur in pairs. In his experiments on pea plants, one factor in a pair masked the other. The trait that masked the other was called the dominant trait. The trait that was masked was called the

The law of segregation states that a pair of factors is segregated, or separated, during the formation of gametes. Two factors for a characteristic are then combined when fertilization occurs and a new offspring is produced.

The law of independent assortment states that factors for individual characteristics are distributed to gametes independently. The law of independent assortment is observed only for genes that are located on separate chromosomes or are far apart on the same chromosome.

1 We now know that the factors that Mendel studied are alleles, or alternative forms of a gene. Each of two or more alternative forms of a gene is called an allele. One allele for each trait is passed from each parent to the offspring.

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