Multiple Alleles

Most of the genetic systems that we have examined so far consist of two alleles. In Mendel's peas, for instance, one allele coded for round seeds and another for wrinkled seeds; in cats, one allele produced a black coat and another produced a gray coat. For some loci, more than two alleles are present within a group of individuals — the locus has multiple alleles. (Multiple alleles may also be referred to as an allelic series.) Although there may be more than two alleles present within a group, the genotype of each diploid individual still consists of only two alleles. The inheritance of characteristics encoded by multiple alleles is no different from the inheritance of characteristics encoded by two alle-les, except that a greater variety of genotypes and pheno-types are possible.

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