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Independent Assortment

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Independent Assortment
Dihybrid Cross

(Figure A ) Results of a dihybrid cross in plants that are true-breeding for two different traits - pod color and seed color.

Steve Berg
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).
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