“Genetics is the science of studying how living things pass on certain characteristics to other generations.” Genetics is something we inherit from our previous generation and it is passed on for multiple generations. Is your hair curly or straight? Is your eye color brown or blue? Are you tall or short? The reason behind the answers to these questions is genetics! They have been passed on to you from your ancestors, which is why children in a family often look like one of the parents.
Although many people contributed to the discovery of DNA and starting the study of genetics, the first person credited with the discovery is Gregor Mendel. He conducted an experiment by crossing pea plants, short and tall to see what kind of children they would create to observe how their visible physical traits are passed down. At first, he guessed that by crossing a short and tall pea plant, he would get a blend of the two and would get the average height of the two plants. But, he discovered that two genes were given to the offspring and that the offspring were all, therefore establishing dominant and recessive genes.
Dominant genes are those that can mask another gene if paired with a recessive gene because they are “dominant.” Therefore, since the tall plants were dominant and the short plants were recessive, it made sense that all the offspring were dominant. The offspring created by the cross of these tall and short plants are called the F1 offspring or first-generation offspring.
Another cool fact about dominant genes is that even if they are paired with a recessive, an organisms’ physical and visible traits would be that of dominant genes. When a dominant gene is paired with a recessive gene, it is called heterozygous because it is a mix of two different genes. Contrastingly, if a dominant gene is paired with another dominant gene or a recessive gene is paired with another recessive gene then it is called homozygous because they are two of the same types of genes.
Interested in learning more about genetics and how passing on traits works? Check this out: https://www.neok12.com/Genetics.htm