Heredity Facts

  • Your heredity is all the body characteristics you inherit from your parents, whether it is your mother’s black hair or your father’s knobbly knees.
  • Characteristics are passed on by the genes carried on your chromosomes.
  • The basic laws of heredity were discovered by the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel 150 years ago.
  • Your body characteristics are a mix of two sets of instructions — one from your mother’s chromosomes and the other from your father’s.
  • Each characteristic is the work of only one gene — either your mother’s or your father’s. This gene is said to be ‘expressed.
  • A gene that is not expressed does not vanish. Instead, it stays dormant (inactive) in your chromosomes, possibly to pass on to your children.
  • A gene that is always expressed is called a dominant gene.
  • A recessive gene is one that loses out to a dominant gene and stays dormant.
  • A recessive gene may be expressed when there is no competition — that is, when the genes from both of your parents arc recessive.