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By Jeffrey H. Miller

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We have already examined two methods for doing so — Punnett squares and branch diagrams. Punnett squares can be used to show hereditary patterns based on one gene pair, two gene pairs (as in Figure 2-11), or more. Such grids are a good graphic device for representing progeny, but drawing them is time-consuming. Even the 16-compartment Punnett square in Figure 2-11 takes a long time to write out, but, for a trihybrid, there are 23, or 8, different gamete types, and the Punnett square has 64 compartments.

Halving of gene pairs in gametes. Each gamete carries only one member of each gene pair. In order to be expressed in later generations, obviously the alleles must find their way into the gametes — the eggs and sperm. However, to prevent the number of genes from doubling every time gametes fused, he had to propose that during gamete formation the gene pair halved. 4. Equal segregation. The members of the gene pairs segregate (separate) equally into the gametes. The key word “equal” means that 50% of the gametes will carry one member of a gene pair, and 50% will carry the other.

The lines in the table represent different values of degrees of freedom (df ). The number of degrees of freedom is the number of independent variables in the data. In the present context this is simply the number of phenotypic classes minus 1. In this case df ϭ 2 Ϫ 1 ϭ 1. So we look only at the 1 df line. 1, in other words between 50 percent and 10 percent. This probability value is much greater than the cutoff value of 5 percent, so we would accept the observed results as being compatible with the hypothesis.

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