Thomas Hunt Morgan’s Fruit Fly Experiments: Pioneering Discoveries in Chromosomal Inheritance and Genetics

Thomas Hunt Morgan’s fruit fly experiments

good choice – produce tons of offspring, able to breed every 2 weeks, and only 4 chromosomes- wildtype – normal in population (given+)- Mutant – alternate allele- red eyes vs. white eyes led to sex-linked inheritance

Thomas Hunt Morgan’s fruit fly experiments were a groundbreaking series of experiments conducted in the early 20th century that provided evidence for the theory of chromosomal inheritance and advanced the study of genetics.

Morgan started his research on fruit flies in 1908 with the goal of investigating the role of chromosomes in inheritance. At the time, chromosomes were known to exist but little was understood about their behavior during meiosis and fertilization.

Morgan began by breeding fruit flies that had different variations in their physical traits, such as eye color. He noticed that certain traits were inherited together, suggesting that they were linked on the same chromosome.

In 1910, one of Morgan’s students accidentally discovered a male fruit fly with white eyes instead of the typical red eyes. White eyes were a rare trait that was not observed in the wild. Morgan recognized that this variation presented an opportunity to make new genetic discoveries.

Morgan bred the white-eyed fly with normal red-eyed flies and found that all the offspring had red eyes. When he crossed offspring with each other, he observed some with white eyes. He concluded that the white eye trait was sex-linked, with females occasionally inheriting the recessive white eye gene from their mothers.

Further experiments by Morgan and his team confirmed this and demonstrated that sex-linked traits followed unique patterns of inheritance. The experiments also revealed that genes were located on specific chromosomes and were responsible for traits.

Morgan’s fruit fly experiments were instrumental in advancing the field of genetics and provided substantial evidence for the theory of chromosomal inheritance. They showed that genes were arranged on chromosomes, that chromosomes could undergo mutations, and how genetic recombination occurs during meiosis. These discoveries formed the groundwork for later studies on the genetic basis of disease and the development of genetic technologies.

More Answers:

Linkage: How Geneticists Determine the Inheritance of Two Different Genes on the Same Chromosome
Unlocking Genetic Diversity: A Look at the Importance and Process of Homologous Recombination in Evolution
Sex-Linked Inheritance: Exploring Inherited Traits Determined by X and Y Chromosomes.

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