A Punnett sq. simulates two organisms reproducing sexually, inspecting merely one of the most many genes that get surpassed on. The completed sq. shows each and every that you can imagine approach a child could inherit this gene, and what the probabilities are for each consequence. Making Punnett squares is a good way to get started out figuring out the fundamental concepts of genetics.
Making a Punnett Sq.
- Draw a 2 x 2 grid. Draw a box and divide it into four smaller squares. Go away room above the sphere and to its left, so which which you could label it.
- Review the background information below if you have trouble understanding any of the steps that follow.
- Name the alleles involved. Each Punnett square describes how variations of a gene (alleles) could be inherited if two organisms sexually reproduce. Choose a letter to represent the gene. Write the dominant allele with any capital letter, and the recessive allele with the same letter in lowercase. It doesn’t matter which letter you choose.
- For example, call the dominant gene for black fur “F,’ and the recessive gene for yellow fur “f.”
- If you don’t know which gene is dominant, use different letters for the two alleles.
- Check the parents’ genotypes. Next, we need to know the genotype each parent has for that trait. Each parent has two genes for the trait, just like every sexual organism, so their genotype will be two letters long. Sometimes, you’ll already know exactly what this genotype is. Other times, you’ll have to work it out from other information:
- “Heterozygous” means it has two different alleles (Ff).
- “Homozygous dominant” means it has two copies of the dominant allele (FF).
- “Homozygous recessive” means two copies of the recessive allele (ff). Any parent that shows the recessive trait (has yellow fur) belongs to this category.
- Label the rows with one parent’s genotype. Pick one parent – traditionally the female (mother), but either will work. Label the first row of the grid with one of that parent’s allele. Label the second row of the grid with the second allele.
- For example, the female bear is heterozygous for fur color (Ff). Write an F to the left of the first row, and an f to the left of the second row.
- Label the columns with the other parent’s genotype. Write the second parent’s genotype for the same trait as labels for the columns. This is typically the male’s, or father’s.
- For example, the male bear is homozygous recessive (ff). Write an f above each of the two columns.
- Have each box inherit letters from its row and column. The rest of the Punnett square is easy. Start in the first box. Look at the letter to its left, and the letter above it. Write both these letters in the empty box. Repeat for the remaining three boxes. If you end up with both type of allele, it’s customary to write the dominant allele first (write Ff, not fF).
- In our example, the top left box inherits f from the mother and F from the father, to make Ff.
- The top right box inherits an f from both parents, to make ff.
- The bottom left box inherits an f from the mother and an F from the father, to make Ff.
- the bottom right box inherits and f from both parents, to make ff.
- Interpret the Punnett square. The Punnett square shows us the likelihood of creating children with certain genes. There are four different ways the parents’ genes can combine, and all four are equally likely. This means that the combination in each box has a 25% chance to occur. If more than one box has the same result, add up these 25% chances together to get the total chance.
- In our example, we have two boxes with Ff (heterozygous). 25% + 25% = 50%, so each child has a 50% chance of inheriting Ff genes.
- The other two boxes are each ff (homozygous recessive). Each child has a 50% chance of inheriting ff genes.
- Describe the phenotype. Often, you’re more interested in the children’s actual traits, not just what their genes are. This is easy to find in the most basic situation, which is what Punnett squares are usually used for. Add up the chance of each square with one or more dominant alleles to get the chance that the child expresses the dominant trait. Add up the chance of each square with two recessive alleles to get the chance that the child expresses the recessive trait.
- In our example, there are two squares with at least one F, so each child has a 50% chance to have black fur. There are two squares with ff, so each child has a 50% chance to have yellow fur.
- Read the problem carefully for more information about the phenotype. Many genes are more complex than this example. For example, a flower species might be red when it has the RR alleles, white when it has rr, or pink when it has Rr.
- Review genes, alleles, and traits. A gene is a piece of “genetic code” that determines a trait in a living organism – for example, eye color. But eye color can be blue, or brown, or various other colors. These variations of the same gene are called alleles.
- Understand genotype and phenotype. All your genes together make up your genotype: the entire length of DNA that describes how to build you. Your actual body and behavior are your phenotype: how you ended up, partly because of genes but also because of diet, injury, and other life experiences.
- Learn about gene inheritance. In sexually reproducing organisms, including humans, each parent passes on one gene for each trait. The child keeps the genes from both parents. For each trait, the child might have two copies of the same allele, or two different alleles.
- An organism with two copies of the same allele is homozygous for that gene.
- An organism with two different alleles is heterozygous for that gene.
- Understand dominant and recessive genes. The simplest genes have two alleles: one dominant and one recessive. The dominant variation shows up even if a recessive allele is also present. A biologist would say that the dominant allele is “expressed in the phenotype.”
- An organism with one dominant allele and one recessive allele is heterozygous dominant. These organism are also called carriers of the recessive allele, since they have the allele but don’t show the trait.
- An organism with two dominant alleles is homozygous dominant.
- An organism with two recessive alleles is homozygous recessive.
- Find out why Punnett squares are useful. The end result of a Punnett square is a probability. A 25% chance at red hair doesn’t mean that exactly 25% of the children will have red hair; it’s just an estimate. However, even a rough prediction can be informative in some situations:
- Someone running a breeding project (usually developing new plant strains) wants to know which breeding pair gives the best chance at good results, or whether a certain breeding pair is worth the effort.
- Someone with a serious genetic disorder, or a carrier of an allele for a genetic disorder, wants to know the risk that he’ll pass it on to his children.
- You can use any letter you want- it doesn’t have to be B or b.
- There’s no special part of the genetic code that makes one gene dominant. We just see see which trait shows up, then call the gene that caused that trait “dominant.”
- You can study the inheritance of two genes at once by using a 4×4 grid, and a four-letter code for each parent. You can scale this up to any number of genes (or genes with more than two alleles), but the square quickly becomes huge.
- How to Construct a Square
- How to Use a Punnett Square to Do a Monohybrid Cross
- How to Work With Punnett Squares
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- How to Model Alcoholic Fermentation
- How to Extract Your DNA
- How to Grow Mold
- How to Write a Biology Lab Report
Sources and Citations
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