## by: Calvin B. (Calvin Blackman) Bridges

Publisher: DigiLibraries.com
ISBN: N/A
Language: English
Published: 2 months ago

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Excerpt

Although the ratio of 3 to 1 in which contrasted characters reappear in the second or F generation is sometimes referred to as Mendel's Law of Heredity, the really significant discovery of Mendel was not the 3 to 1 ratio, but the segregation of the characters (or rather, of the germinal representatives of the characters) which is the underlying cause of the appearance of the ratio. Mendel saw that the characters with which he worked must be represented in the germ-cells by specific producers (which we may call factors), and that in the fertilization of an individual showing one member of a pair of contrasting characters by an individual showing the other member, the factors for the two characters meet in the hybrid, and that when the hybrid forms germ-cells the factors segregate from each other without having been contaminated one by the other. In consequence, half the germ-cells contain one member of the pair and the other half the other member. When two such hybrid individuals are bred together the combinations of the pure germ-cells give three classes of offspring, namely, two hybrids to one of each of the pure forms. Since the hybrids usually can not be distinguished from one of the pure forms, the observed ratio is 3 of one kind (the dominant) to 1 of the other kind (the recessive).

There is another discovery that is generally included as a part of Mendel's Law. We may refer to this as the assortment in the germ-cells of the products of the segregation of two or more pairs of factors. If assortment takes place according to chance, then definite F ratios result, such as 9:3:3:1 (for two pairs) and 27:9:9:9:3:3:3:1 (for three pairs), etc. Mendel obtained such ratios in peas, and until quite recently it has been generally supposed that free assortment is the rule when several pairs of characters are involved. But, as we shall try to show, the emphasis that has been laid on these ratios has obscured the really important part of Mendel's discovery, namely, segregation; for with the discovery in 1906 of the fact of linkage the ratios based on free assortment were seen to hold only for combinations of certain pairs of characters, not for other combinations. But the principle of segregation still holds for each pair of characters. Hence segregation remains the cardinal point of Mendelism. Segregation is to-day Mendel's Law.