Dominance (genetics) - Nomenclature


In genetics, the common convention is that dominant alleles are written as capital letters and recessive alleles as lower-case letters. In the pea example, once the dominance relationships of the two alleles are known, it is possible to designate the dominant allele that produces a round shape by a capital-letter symbol R, and the alternative recessive allele that produces a wrinkled shape by a lower-case symbol r. The homozygous dominant, heterozygous, and homozygous recessive genotypes are then written RR, Rr, and rr, respectively. It would also be possible to designate the two alleles as W and w, and the three genotypes WW, Ww, and ww, the first two of which produced round peas and the third wrinkled peas. Note that the choice or "R" or "W" as the symbol for the dominant allele does not pre-judge whether the allele causing the "round" or "wrinkled" phenotype when homozygous is the dominant one.

Another system of notation designates the gene involved in seed shape as the "Shp" gene, which exists in two allelic forms, ShpR and Shpw, the dominance relationships of the two being indicated by the case of the superscripts. This system is the standard system in Drosophila genetics.

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