A rational treatment of Mendelian genetics

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A rational treatment of Mendelian genetics

BioMed Central
Publication Date
Aug 31, 2004
  • Biology
  • Medicine


1742-4682-1-6.fm ral Theoretical Biology and Medical ss BioMed CentModelling Open AcceResearch A rational treatment of Mendelian genetics John W Porteous* Address: Department of Molecular and Cell Biology, Institute of Medical Sciences, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, Scotland, UK Email: John W Porteous* - [email protected] * Corresponding author Abstract Background: The key to a rational treatment of elementary Mendelian genetics, specifically to an understanding of the origin of dominant and recessive traits, lies in the facts that: (1) alleles of genes encode polypeptides; (2) most polypeptides are catalysts, i.e. enzymes or translocators; (3) the molecular components of all traits in all cells are the products of systems of enzymes, i.e. of fluxing metabolic pathways; (4) any flux to the molecular components of a trait responds non-linearly (non-additively) to graded mutations in the activity of any one of the enzymes at a catalytic locus in a metabolic system; (5) as the flux responds to graded changes in the activity of an enzyme, the concentrations of the molecular components of a trait also change. Conclusions: It is then possible to account rationally, and without misrepresenting Mendel, for: the origin of dominant and recessive traits; the occurrence of Mendel's 3(dominant):1(recessive) trait ratio; deviations from this ratio; the absence of dominant and recessive traits in some circumstances, the occurrence of a blending of traits in others; the frequent occurrence of pleiotropy and epistasis. 1. Background The currently favoured explanation for the origin of Men- del's dominant and recessive traits is untenable [1]. The primary error in this current attempted explanation is the assumption that there is a direct, proportional, relation- ship in a diploid cell between a series of allegedly domi- nant and recessive alleles written as (AA + 2Aa + aa) and the dominant, hybrid and recessive traits written as (AA + 2Aa + aa). This


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