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Genetic drift, human migrations, and evolutionary mutations have all produced change within a given population. Most of the time, those changes are fine, producing healthy offspring with a nice admixture of genetic material. Occasionally though, something goes awry, as you discovered during our look at mitosis and meiosis. The expression of anomalous traits can often be tracked through families, some going back many generations, while others occur as singularities. Genetic malformations often create a multitude of related health problems, some resulting in impairment or early death. For families affected by such conditions, medical breakthroughs sometimes offer hope.

Inheritance determines a diversity of traits, some which are visible and some which are not. When we look at the fossil evidence for evolution we are seeing the results of inheritance. Understanding how heredity and traits are passed along means making sense out of a lot of cellular biology, and we aren’t all science majors…so, in order to simplify this content, view these two slideshows (they’re each about 10 slides):

What is Heredity?
(… (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

What is a Trait?
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Some of the traits we inherit from our parents are called phenotypic traits and are observable. The traits we can’t see are called genotypic traits. You can see examples of both types at the following websites:

Phenotypic Traits
(… (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.)

Genotypic Traits
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Study the samples of eight common Mendelian traits and then determine which of those recessive or dominant traits you express. Compare your results with the rest of your family and post your observations about this experiment.


  1. Summarize your findings in a paragraph or two and post with your list. (5 points)
  2. Your post should be a minimum of 100+ words – please cite any resources used. (5 points)
  3. Leave substantive* comments on THREE (3) other student posts – select ones who wrote about different examples than you selected. Use this as an opportunity to learn what they have to share. (5 points each)

student 1:

Gregory Mendel’s principles of inheritance explain the way in which some traits are transmitted to
the next generation and why they sometimes miss it. Mendelian traits can be transmitted through
the recessive or dominant pattern of inheritance. To pass the recessive pattern (recessive traits)
offspring should inherit the genes from both parents while inheritance of dominant pattern needs
only one copy of genes.
I have three elder siblings and I can easily see that when it comes to physical appearance we are
share many traits but at the same time we are different. Recessive traits I express are: attached
earlobes (like my mother and brother) and curved thumb (only me among my closest family). Some
dominant traits which I observe: widow’s peak (like my mother and one sister), the ability of tongue
rolling (all my family can do this), curly hair (my mother), freckles (my brother and one sister). The
interesting thing is only I have red hair.

student 2:From my findings I found that I have a lot of dominant traits as well as recessive ones. I also discovered that a recessive trait doesn’t necessarily mean that it is less common. I found that me, my mom and my dad are able to roll our tongues, however my sister is unable to. This must mean that both my parents carry a recessive gene for the trait I didn’t know that some people aren’t able to roll their tongue and it is a genetic trait that may be passed down before reading about it in the article. I also hadn’t noticed that different people had a different appearance to their earlobes. All the members in my family have unattached earlobes, brown eyes, and are righthanded.

student 3

I have brown eyes which is my eye color inherited from my mother, I have black hair which is my hair color inherited from my mother, I also have really pale skin which is my skin color inherited from my mother, I have small feet which is inherited from my mother. my nose is similarly shaped to my father’s, I also have curly hair like my mother. However I speak more languages than my parents. I speak English Chinese and French. Unlike the previous traits, this is environmental. I think that I have combined traits from both my mother and my father. These traits prove that I am the daughter of my parents.

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