Monohybrid cross

Monohybrid cross

Monohybrid Cross is a method of determining the inheritance pattern of a trait between two single organisms. [1] A monohybrid cross is a cross between parents who are heterozygous at one locus; for example, Bb x Bb (see the Punnett). Example: B = brown. b = blue. BB = Dark Brown. Bb = Brown (not blue). bb = Blue.

Monohybrid inheritance is the inheritance of a single characteristic. The different forms of the characteristic are usually controlled by different alleles of the same gene. For example, a monohybrid cross between two pure-breeding plants (homozygous for their respective traits), one with yellow seeds (the dominant trait) and one with green seeds (the recessive trait), would be expected to produce an F1 (first) generation with only yellow seeds because the allele for yellow seeds is dominant to that of green. A monohybrid cross compares only one trait.

Figure 1 : Inheritance pattern of dominant (red) and recessive (white) phenotypes when each parent (1) is homozygous for either the dominant or recessive trait. All members of the F1 generation are heterozygous and share the same dominant phenotype (2), while the F2 generation exhibits a 3:1 ratio of dominant to recessive phenotypes (3).



Generally, the monohybrid cross is used to determine the F2 generation from a pair of homozygous grandparents (one grandparent dominant, the other recessive) which results in an F1 generation that are all heterozygous. Crossing two heterozygous parents from the F1 generation results in an F2 generation that produces a 75% chance for the appearance of the dominant phenotype, of which two-thirds are heterozygous, and a 25% chance for the appearance of the recessive phenotype. This cross was originally used by biologist, Gregor Mendel, who crossed two pea plants to obtain a hybrid variety, discovering the possible changes in phenotypes of various alleles.

Mendel's experiment

Gregor Mendel (1822–1884) was an Austrian monk who theorized basic rules of inheritance. From 1858 to 1866, he bred garden peas in his monastery garden and analyzed the offspring of these matings. The garden pea was good choice of experimental organism because: many varieties were available that bred true for clear-cut, qualitative traits like seed texture (round vs wrinkled) seed color (green vs yellow) flower color (white vs purple) tall vs dwarf growth habit and three others that also varied in a qualitative - rather than quantitative - way. peas are normally self-pollinated because the stamens and carpels are enclosed within the petals. By removing the stamens from unripe flowers, Mendel could brush pollen from another variety on the carpels when they ripened.

First cross

All the peas produced in the second or hybrid generation were round.

All the peas of this F1 generation have an Rr genotype. All the haploid sperm and eggs produced by meiosis received one chromosome 7. All the zygotes received one R allele (from the round parent) and one r allele (from the wrinkled parent). Because the round trait is dominant, the phenotype of all the seeds was round.

P gametes

(round parent)

P gametes

(wrinkled parent)

r Rr Rr
r Rr Rr

Second cross

Mendel then allowed his hybrid peas to self-pollinate. The wrinkled trait — which had disappeared in his hybrid generation — reappeared in 25% of the new crop of peas.

Random union of equal numbers of R and r gametes produced an F2 generation with 25% RR and 50% Rr - both with the round phenotype - and 25% rr with the wrinkled phenotype.

F1 gametes
R r
F1 gametes R RR Rr
r Rr rr

Third cross

Mendel then allowed some of each phenotype in the F2 generation to self-pollinate. His results: All the wrinkled seeds in the F2 generation produced only wrinkled seeds in the F3. One-third (193/565) of the round F1 seeds produced only round seeds in the F3 generation, but two-thirds (372/565) of them produced both types of seeds in the F3 and - once again - in a 3:1 ratio.

One-third of the round seeds and all of the wrinkled seeds in the F2 generation were homozygous and produced only seeds of the same phenotype.

But two thirds of the round seeds in the F2 were heterozygous and their self-pollination produced both phenotypes in the ratio of a typical F1 cross.

Phenotype ratios are approximate The union of sperm and eggs is random. As the size of the sample gets larger, however, chance deviations become minimized and the ratios approach the theoretical predictions more closely. The table shows the actual seed production by ten of Mendel's F1 plants. While his individual plants deviated widely from the expected 3:1 ratio, the group as a whole approached it quite closely.

Round Wrinkled
45 12
27 8
24 7
19 16
32 11
26 6
88 24
22 10
28 6
25 7
Total: 336 Total: 107

Mendel's Hypothesis

To explain his results, Mendel formulated a hypothesis that included the following: In the organism there is a pair of factors that controls the appearance of a given characteristic. (We call them genes.) The organism inherits these factors from its parents, one from each. Each is transmitted from generation to generation as a discrete, unchanging unit. (The wrinkled seeds in the F2 generation were no less wrinkled than those in the P generation although they had passed through the round-seeded F1 generation.) When the gametes are formed, the factors separate and are distributed as units to each gamete. This statement is often called Mendel's rule of segregation. If an organism has two unlike factors (we call them alleles) for a characteristic, one may be expressed to the total exclusion of the other (dominant vs recessive).

Test of the hypothesis

A good hypothesis meets several standards.

  • It should provide an adequate explanation of the observed facts. If two or more hypotheses meet this standard, the simpler one is preferred.
  • It should be able to predict new facts. So if a generalization is valid, then certain specific consequences can be deduced from it.

In order to test his hypothesis, Mendel predicted the outcome of a breeding experiment that he had not yet carried out. He crossed heterozygous round peas (Rr) with wrinkled (homozygous, rr) ones. He predicted that in this case one-half of the seeds produced would be round (Rr) and one-half wrinkled (rr).

F1 gametes
R r
P gametes r Rr rr
r Rr rr

To a casual observer in the monastery garden, the cross appeared no different from the P cross described above: round-seeded peas being crossed with wrinkled-seeded ones. But Mendel predicted that this time he would produce both round and wrinkled seeds and in a 50:50 ratio. He performed the cross and harvested 106 round peas and 101 wrinkled peas.

This kind of mating is called a testcross. It "tests" the genotype in those cases where two different genotypes (like RR and Rr) produce the same phenotype.

Mendel did not stop here. He went on to cross pea varieties that differed in six other qualitative traits. In every case, the results supported his hypothesis. He crossed peas that differed in two traits. He found that the inheritance of one trait was independent of that of the other and so framed his second rule: the rule of independent assortment. Today, we know this rule does not apply to some genes, due to genetic linkage.

See also

External links


  1. ^ (King, R. 2003)

King, Rita. M (2003). "Biology Made Simple", A Made Simple Book, Broadway Books, NY, page 42 ISBN 0-7679-1542-9

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