Why didn't Mendel discover autosomal linkage in peas?

Doug Eernisse Doug_Ee at um.cc.umich.edu
Tue Mar 15 16:34:59 EST 1994


I've been reading the very interesting newish book entitled 
"Gregor Mendel's Experiments on Plant Hybrids: A Guided Study"
by Alain F. Corcos and Floyd V. Monaghan (Rutgers Univ. Press,
1992). At one point the authors mention that peas have seven
pairs of chromosomes. It sounds like Mendel chose 22 varieties
of peas, from which he further selected seven pairs of varieties
which each differed for a single trait, with one variety
"dominating." It is truly impressive to read the account of
how Mendel worked out his conclusions from monohybrid crosses.
Then he did a bunch of di- and trihybrid crosses, which led
him to what we call today, his law of independent assortment. These 
left me wondering why he never found a pair of these traits that
were linked, i.e., on the same chromosome, particularly if
peas only have seven pairs of chromosomes. Am I missing something?
Also, can anyone explain how a simple dominant pattern of
inheritance is explained at the level of gene expression?

Doug



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