Common Terms in Genetics, Biology tutorial


It is a very common fact that after sexual reproduction, the resultant offspring tends to look similar to their parents in one or more manners. This similarity might be associated to the instant parents or even to a member in the lineage. This propensity of the offspring to look similar to their parents or a member of the lineage is a phenomenon that goes on from generation to generation. This is due to certain features or traits which the offspring have inherited from their parents therefore verifying one of the basic observations regarding heredity made by men some years ago.

The Genetics, might them be explained as the science which deals with questions and answer on inheritance. This is the inheritance of features or traits, like height and skin color which are passed on from parents to offspring throughout sexual reproduction. The ways and approaches by which such characters are inherited from parents are termed as heredity.

The learning of genetics dates back to some years in man out of curiosity to unravel the method for the transmission of characters from parent to offspring. A breeder named Kilreuter worked with tobacco plants around 1770. He made crosses with various varieties of plants and generated hybrids. He as well recognized that parental traits were transmitted through both the pollen and the ovule. Though, studies on heredity before year 1866 were not decisive. The outcomes obtained by prior investigations offered little description of the manner inheritance features were conveyed from one generation to the other. Work in genetics continued to pull the attention of natural scientists for countless years, till when they realized that Mendel won the pioneer in such investigations and provide him full credit for his work by naming two of the basic principles of heredity Mendel's Law. The whole work which has been done in genetics has made utilize of Mendel's fundamental discovery and so, nowadays, he is named as 'the father of modem genetics'.

Important terminology used in Genetics:

In order to comprehend better the language of genetics, it is much significant that the given terms have to be described.

1) Gene: The genes are hereditary units or fundamental units of inheritance. They are situated in chromosomes and are accountable for the transmission of characters from parents to the offspring.

2) Chromosomes: These are rod or thread-like bodies located in the nucleus of a cell. The chromosomes house includes the genes.

3) Characters or traits:  These are the inheritable attributes or characters possessed by an organism, example: seed size, seed color, height of plant and so on in plants.

4) Gamete: The gamete is a matured sex cell that takes part in the sexual reproduction. There are two kinds of gamete: Male gamete or spermatozoan (in animals) and pollen grains (in plants) and female gamete, ovum or egg (in animals) and ovules (in plants). Gametes are generally haploid.

5) Zygote: Zygote is a single cell shaped as an outcome of the union of a male gamete having a female gamete. The Gamete is generally diploid.

6) Allelomorphs: Allelomorphs are the pairs of genes of the place of a chromosome (that is, locus) which control contrasting features. A pair of Allelomorphs is termed as allelic pair whereas each member of the pair is the allele of the other.

7) Phenotype: The Phenotype is the total sum of all the observable characteristics of an organism that is, the physical, physiological and behavioral traits, example: weight, height, skin, color and so on.

8) Genotype: This word is employed to explain such traits or total sum of the genes inherited from both the parents. In another words, the genotype of an individual is his genetic make-up or establishment. Genotype comprises both the dominant and the recessive characteristics which form the genetic make-up of the individual.

9) Dominant character: This type of trait or character is expressed or stated in an offspring if two individuals having contrasting features or traits are crossed. On the other hand, Dominant genes are genes that control dominant characters. For example: in a very tall plant, there might be the gene for shortness however the genes have no affect on the gene for tallness.

10) Recessive character: This is the one of the character or trait from one parent that is masked or doesn't produce the consequence in the presence of dominant character. Shortness is the recessive character whereas tallness is the dominant character.  Recessive gene on the other hand is genes that control the recessive characters.

11) Homozygous: An individual is stated to be homozygous when it consists of two similar genes for the similar character, that is, it consists of two similar alleles at the similar position on a pair of chromosomes; the pair of genes controlling a given pair of contrasting features are similar example: (TT) for tallness or (tt) for shortness.

12) Heterozygous: An individual is stated to be heterozygous when the two members of a pair of genes controlling a pair of contrasting features are different, that is, it consists of two different or contrasting alleles situated on the similar position on a pair of chromosomes, example: (Tt) for tallness or a plant having Rr genetic composition consists of a heterozygous red flower plant.

13) Filial generation: The parent's offspring make up the filial generation. The first, second and third generations of offspring are identified as the first, second and third filial generation correspondingly, and are symbolized by the symbols, F1, F2, F3, correspondingly.

14) Hybrid: Hybrid is the offspring from a cross between parents which are genetically distinct however of the similar species.

15) Hybridization: Hybridization is the crossing of plants having contrasting features or characters.  Mono-hybridization comprises the crossing of two pure features whereas Dihybridization comprises the crossing of plants having two pairs of contrasting features.

16) Locus: Locus is the site for place of a gene in the chromosome.

17) Haploid: Haploid is if an organism consist of one set of chromosomes in the gamete. Gametes at particular phases in the life-cycle of plants are haploid. It is presented through small letter (n).

18) Diploid: Diploid is if an organism consists of two sets of chromosomes in the body cell. The bodies of plants and animals are diploids. The Diploid number is twice the haploid number of chromosomes and is symbolized by (2n).

19) Mutation: The Mutation is a modification in the genetic make-up of an organism resultant in a new characteristic which is inheritable.

  • Genetic: Genetics is stated as the scientific study of heredity and disparity in the living things.
  • Heredity: Inheritance or Heredity is stated as the transmission and expression of features or traits in an organism from parents to the offspring.

Variation: It is stated as the differences that exist among parents and offspring and also among the offspring.

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