Genetics Vocabulary

Term Definition
heredity the passing of traits from parents to offspring
offspring the new organism created through reproduction
trait a characteristic that an organism can pass on to its offspring through its genes
inherit to receive from one generation to the next
sexual reproduction creating offspring using genes from two different parent organisms
asexual reproduction creating offspring using genes from only one parent organism
purebred (homozygous) having two identical alleles for a trait
hybrid (heterozygous) having two different alleles for a trait
allele the different forms of a gene
dominant allele an allele whose trait always shows up in an organism when the allele is present
recessive allele an allele that is masked when a dominant allele is present
probability a number that describes how likely it is that an event will occur
genotype an organism's genetic makeup of allele combinations
phenotype an organism's physical appearance of visible traits
gene the set of information that controls a trait; a segment of DNA on a chromosome that codes for a specific trait
sex chromosome a pair of chromosomes carrying genes that determine whether a person is a male or female
carrier a person who has one recessive allele for a trait but does not have the trait
selective breeding the process of selecting a few organisms with desired traits to serve as parents of the next generation
genetic engineering the transfer of a gene from the DNA of one organism into another organism in order to produce an organism with desired traits

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