All living things inherit their traits from their parents, whether it’s a person’s height, a dog’s coat type, or a flower’s petal color. Traits aren’t copied with 100% accuracy from parent to offspring, though. Since traits are inherited from both parents, all sorts of mixing and matching can occur on the genetic level. The environment can play a big role as well. There are many complex factors that determine the variation between parents and offspring, but we’ll take a look at more simple traits that are affected by Mendelian inheritance.
In the nineteenth century, Gregor Mendel conducted a wide array of experiments using pea plants in the garden of his monastery. Over the course of eight years, he looked at how the plants developed as he cross-fertilized them with each other. His observations and theories, though not appreciated during his lifetime, were rediscovered in the early 20th century and were critical in the development of modern evolutionary biology
Mendelian inheritance explained with dogs
Instead of pea plants, let’s look at simple traits in dogs. One litter of puppies can see a wide range of different traits between coat color, pattern, puppy size, and etc. Some puppies can even end up looking completely different from their parents. This can be explained in part by Mendelian inheritance.