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What results did Mendel find in his crosses for flower color? First, Mendel confirmed that he had plants that bred true for white or violet flower color. Regardless of how many generations Mendel examined, all self-crossed offspring of parents with white flowers had white flowers, and all self-crossed offspring of parents with violet flowers had violet flowers. In addition, Mendel confirmed that, other than flower color, the pea plants were physically identical.

Once these validations were complete, Mendel applied the pollen from a plant with violet flowers to the stigma of a plant with white flowers. After gathering and sowing the seeds that resulted from this cross, Mendel found that 100 percent of the F 1 hybrid generation had violet flowers. Conventional wisdom at that time would have predicted the hybrid flowers to be pale violet or for hybrid plants to have equal numbers of white and violet flowers. In other words, the contrasting parental traits were expected to blend in the offspring. Instead, Mendel’s results demonstrated that the white flower trait in the F 1 generation had completely disappeared.

Importantly, Mendel did not stop his experimentation there. He allowed the F 1 plants to self-fertilize and found that, of F 2 -generation plants, 705 had violet flowers and 224 had white flowers. This was a ratio of 3.15 violet flowers per one white flower, or approximately 3:1. When Mendel transferred pollen from a plant with violet flowers to the stigma of a plant with white flowers and vice versa, he obtained about the same ratio regardless of which parent, male or female, contributed which trait. This is called a reciprocal cross    —a paired cross in which the respective traits of the male and female in one cross become the respective traits of the female and male in the other cross. For the other six characteristics Mendel examined, the F 1 and F 2 generations behaved in the same way as they had for flower color. One of the two traits would disappear completely from the F 1 generation only to reappear in the F 2 generation at a ratio of approximately 3:1 ( [link] ).

The Results of Mendel’s Garden Pea Hybridizations
Characteristic Contrasting P 0 Traits F 1 Offspring Traits F 2 Offspring Traits F 2 Trait Ratios
Flower color Violet vs. white 100 percent violet
  • 705 violet
  • 224 white
3.15:1
Flower position Axial vs. terminal 100 percent axial
  • 651 axial
  • 207 terminal
3.14:1
Plant height Tall vs. dwarf 100 percent tall
  • 787 tall
  • 277 dwarf
2.84:1
Seed texture Round vs. wrinkled 100 percent round
  • 5,474 round
  • 1,850 wrinkled
2.96:1
Seed color Yellow vs. green 100 percent yellow
  • 6,022 yellow
  • 2,001 green
3.01:1
Pea pod texture Inflated vs. constricted 100 percent inflated
  • 882 inflated
  • 299 constricted
2.95:1
Pea pod color Green vs. yellow 100 percent green
  • 428 green
  • 152 yellow
2.82:1

Upon compiling his results for many thousands of plants, Mendel concluded that the characteristics could be divided into expressed and latent traits. He called these, respectively, dominant and recessive traits. Dominant traits are those that are inherited unchanged in a hybridization. Recessive traits become latent, or disappear, in the offspring of a hybridization. The recessive trait does, however, reappear in the progeny of the hybrid offspring. An example of a dominant trait is the violet-flower trait. For this same characteristic (flower color), white-colored flowers are a recessive trait. The fact that the recessive trait reappeared in the F 2 generation meant that the traits remained separate (not blended) in the plants of the F 1 generation. Mendel also proposed that plants possessed two copies of the trait for the flower-color characteristic, and that each parent transmitted one of its two copies to its offspring, where they came together. Moreover, the physical observation of a dominant trait could mean that the genetic composition of the organism included two dominant versions of the characteristic or that it included one dominant and one recessive version. Conversely, the observation of a recessive trait meant that the organism lacked any dominant versions of this characteristic.

Questions & Answers

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Chloe is the green pigment found in green plants while photosynthesis is the process by which plant produce their own food
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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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