Mendel on Patterns of Inheritance

Mendel’s approach was different from that of his contemporaries in that he answered scientific questions of heredity differently. Mendel studied scientific questions thoroughly in order not to miss anything and then he documented his findings in order that future researchers might build on it. His study was entirely focused on the garden pea as opposed to work by other researchers that used many different plants and species. Since he focused only on the garden pea and particular traits he was able to give better answers to issues of heredity and traits (Pruitt, Underwood, & Jacobs, 2006). His work was able to show through scientific analysis that no offspring possessed exactly similar traits to the parent since they also derive traits from previous generations. Mendel is also responsible for the identification of what he called an allele. Lastly Mendel used Mathematical analysis ion coming up with his conclusions.

Mendel’s novel approach contributed to a great extent to the overall success of his experiments for a number of reasons. The approach taken by Mendel enabled him to study a large number of plants at one instance. Since he was analyzing only seven characteristics as compared to his contemporaries, he was able to establish distinct breeding stocks before he began his experiments of character analysis and cross pollination. Since he expressed the characteristics of his plants in scientific terms of phenotype, he was able to analyze the genes in action. This enabled him to make observations of the expression of the different characteristics and make inferences from these (Pruitt, Underwood, & Jacobs, 2006). Mendel’s approach also called for documentation and quantification of observations and inferences from the experiments which enabled for development of concepts from previous experiments. The identification and documentation of traits also enabled Mendel to observe the recurrence of phenotypes and therefore he came up with the concept of parents passing dominant genes from generation to generation.

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Peas offered several advantages to Mendel’s study including: peas grow relatively fast making it easier to observe phenotype in a reasonable amount of time. Peas may be cross fertilized by the researcher or they can self fertilize, even as they do not have pollen or any such mechanism that may allow for forces such as wind to accidentally cross fertilize leading to confusion and muddling of the traits for the observing researcher. Peas reproduce exponentially allowing for better statistical analysis since there are hundreds of offspring offering several data points. Peas can be kept pure from cross fertilization hence allowing for isolation of genotype. Since the breeding lines can be kept pure it is easier to observe and distinguish from among the different types of phenotypic traits (Pruitt, Underwood, & Jacobs, 2006). Lastly peas are cheap which allowed Mendel to acquire, grow and maintain a large sample of peas for his experiments.

The principle of segregation states that every trait in the parents the pair of alleles usually separate so that only one allele is transmitted to the offspring. The transmission of specific alleles is simply a matter of chance and probability that occurs during meiosis. The principle of independent assortment asserts that different pairs of alleles are transmitted to the offspring independently. This leads to a combination of genes which are impossible in either parent. The principle thus explains why the transmission of a certain color does not increase the disposition for having six fingers since the transmission genes for different traits are to be found on different chromosomes (Pruitt, Underwood, & Jacobs, 2006). The principle of dominance explains that in instances of recessive and dominant genes in an organism, the dominant one will be the one observable. For instance if a person has both the blue and brown eye color gene, the brown is dominant in that it will always mask the blue eye color.

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