Putting It Together: Trait Inheritance


In this competency you learned about these topics:

  • Mendel’s experiments leading to the law of segregation and the law of independent assortment
  • How pedigrees can be used to predict simple inheritance patterns such as autosomal dominant or recessive
  • Genetic alternatives to simple inheritance such as incomplete dominance, codominance, sex-linkage, and multiple alleles
  • How genetics is further complicated by epistasis, pleiotropy, and environmental influences


Now that you understand more about genetic inheritance, you can appreciate better the complications associated with predicting traits—including disease and mutations—in children. There are over 6,000 monogenetic disorders and thousands more polygenetic disorders. All of this is in addition to the complications brought about by environmental influences and random genetic mutations or damage. Despite this complexity, we continually learn new things about the genetic root of human diseases. This knowledge can be used not only to predict occurrence, as a genetic counselor does, but also to develop treatments, cures, or preventatives as clinicians and researchers do. Visit this site to learn more about the complexities of human genetic diseases.