Agroecology 3 min

Understanding the mechanism behind dominant and recessive gene expression

Report - Why are some genes dominant while others are recessive? After nearly a century of investigation, hypotheses and experiments, we finally understand the inner workings of this fundamental biological phenomenon. An article published in December 2014 in Science reveals the details. Read on to see how this scientific mystery was finally solved.

Published on 17 December 2014

illustration Understanding the mechanism behind dominant and recessive gene expression
© INRAE

The dominant and recessive relationship between alleles was one of the first observations made in the field of genetics by Gregor Mendel in the nineteenth century. Today, we know that various genetic traits, such as eye colour, blood types or certain genetic diseases, are either dominant or recessive.

Naturally, this fundamental biological phenomenon piqued the interest of scientists from the moment it was discovered. It even stirred up controversy in the 1930s among evolutionists.

Today, it stands as a rare example of a mechanism for which we can answer the age-old questions of why it exists and how it works.

 

The enormous progress made is the result of remarkable research, evolutionary hypotheses and experiments that draw from such fields as population genetics, physiology, bioinformatics, and molecular genetics.
This report tells the story of this discovery in three chapters.

See the complete folder:

Chou-220
Dominant and recessive gene expression, chapter One: evolutionary hypotheses

Fleur Brassica rapa-220
Dominant and recessive gene expression, chapter Two: the molecular mechanism for dominance

Fleur Arabidopsis thaliana-220
Dominant and recessive gene expression, chapter Three: back to evolution

Sylvain Billiard, Vincent Castric, Pascale Mollier Authors

Teri Jones-Villeneuve Translator

Contacts

William Marande, Elisa PratNational Centre for Plant Genetic Resources (CNRGV).

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