scientific study of the mechanism of heredity. While Gregor Mendel
first presented his findings on the statistical laws governing the transmission of certain traits from generation to generation in 1856, it was not until the discovery and detailed study of the chromosome
and the gene
in the 20th cent. that scientists found the physical basis of hereditary characteristics. A brief summary of the basic laws of heredity and the terms used follows.
Sections in this article:
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.