Genes are present in pairs. One comes from the mother and one from the father. Because the mother and father’s genes are also pairs, only half of their pair wil be passed down to their child. Which half is up to chance with four different variations of a gene that can be passed down.
Take, for example, the recessive gene for blond hair. In order for a child to have blond hair, both genes in his or her pair, must be for blond hair. So it is possible for the mother and father to both have one gene for blond hair and one for brown hair- giving them brown hair- and still each pass down a blond gene to their child- who will now be blond.
neisam discussed dominant and recessive genes earlier, but I’d like to add my thoughts on homologous recombination. During meiosis, the chromosomes in the egg and sperm cells cross over each other and exchange genetic material before splitting apart and forming a healthy human via cell reproduction. The crossover process is often very random, resulting in a large variety of possible “recombined” genes depending on the location and frequency of the crossover.
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