Genotype - Genotype and Mendelian Inheritance

Genotype and Mendelian Inheritance

The distinction between genotype and phenotype is commonly experienced when studying family patterns for certain hereditary diseases or conditions, for example, haemophilia. Due to the diploidy of humans (and most animals), there are two alleles for any given gene. These alleles can be the same (homozygous) or different (heterozygous), depending on the individual (see zygote). With a dominant allele, the offspring is guaranteed to inherit the trait in question irrespective of the second allele.

In the case of an albino with a recessive allele (aa), the phenotype depends upon the other allele (Aa, aa or AA). An affected person mating with a heterozygous individual (Aa or aA, also carrier) there is a 50-50 chance the offspring will be albino's phenotype. If a heterozygote mates with another heterozygote, there is 75% chance passing the gene on and only a 25% chance that the gene will be displayed. A homozygous dominant (AA) individual has a normal phenotype and no risk of abnormal offspring. A homozygous recessive individual has an abnormal phenotype and is guaranteed to pass the abnormal gene onto offspring.

In the case of haemophilia, it is sex-linked thus only carried on the X chromosome. Only females can be a carrier in which the abnormality is not displayed. This woman has a normal phenotype, but runs a 50-50 chance, with an unaffected partner, of passing her abnormal gene on to her offspring. If she mated with a man with haemophilia (another carrier) there would be a 75% chance of passing on the gene.

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