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Bioscience in brief

Plant genetics and crop breeding

How are genetic traits inherited?

Different forms of a gene are called alleles.

Sometimes different alleles can result in variation in the trait expressed, such as resistance to an insect pest.

The gene pool of a species can contain many alleles, of which each individual plant can have only two (at least in the majority of loci where there has been no duplication), one inherited from its father and one from its mother.

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. In this example, insect resistance is dominant over susceptibility. Also, both alleles are found in the same variety.