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Bioscience in brief

An introduction to genes and crops

What is an allele?

Different forms of a gene are called alleles.

Sometimes different alleles can result in variation in the trait expressed, such as flower colour.

Each gene can have many different alleles in a plant species, but that typically an individual plant will have only one or two, from its male and female parent.

An individual with two copies of the same allele is called homozygous. An individual with two copies of different alleles is called heterozygous.

The interactions between the two alleles of a gene can be described as dominant or recessive. A dominant allele will mask the presence of a recessive allele.