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When Mendel considered two traits per cross (dihybrid, as opposed to single-trait-crosses, monohybrid), The resulting (F2) generation did not have 3:1 dominant:recessive phenotype ratios. The two traits, if considered to inherit independently, fit into the principle of segregation. Instead of 4 possible genotypes from a monohybrid cross, dihybrid crosses have as many as 16 possible genotypes.

Mendel realized the need to conduct his experiments on more complex situations. He performed experiments tracking two seed traits: shape and color. A cross concerning two traits is known as a dihybrid cross.

Crosses With Two Traits

Smooth seeds (S) are dominant over wrinkled (s) seeds.

Yellow seed color (Y) is dominant over green (g).

Mendel started with true-breeding plants that had smooth, yellow seeds and crossed them with true-breeding plants having green, wrinkled seeds. All seeds in the F1 had smooth yellow seeds. The F2 plants self-fertilized, and produced four phenotypes:

315 smooth yellow

108 smooth green

101 wrinkled yellow

32 wrinkled green

Mendel analyzed each trait for separate inheritance as if the other trait were not present.The 3:1 ratio was seen separately and was in accordance with the Principle of Segregation. The segregation of S and s alleles must have happened independently of the segregation of Y and y alleles. The chance of any gamete having a Y is 1/2; the chance of any one gamete having a S is 1/2.The chance of a gamete having both Y and S is the product of their individual chances (or 1/2 X 1/2 = 1/4). The chance of two gametes forming any given genotype is 1/4 X 1/4 (remember, the product of their individual chances). Thus, the Punnett Square has 16 boxes. Since there are more possible combinations to produce a smooth yellow phenotype (SSYY, SsYy, SsYY, and SSYy), that phenotype is more common in the F2.

Light BulbIf you're having trouble understanding this dihybrid Punnett Square, click here.Light Bulb

| Introduction to Mendel | | Monohybrid Cross | | Dihybrid Cross | | Punnett Squares |

| Mendel's Conclusions |