AP Biology : Understanding Mendel

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Biology

varsity tutors app store varsity tutors android store

Example Questions

← Previous 1

Example Question #1 : Understanding Mendel

What concept did Gregor Mendel contribute to biology?

Possible Answers:

Principle of Independent Assortment

Postulate of Inheritance of Acquired Traits

Theory of Evolution

Law of Population Genetics

Correct answer:

Principle of Independent Assortment

Explanation:

Mendel is considered the father of modern genetics and did extensive research on genetic heritability, alleles, and inheritance. His main research was performed on drosophila (flies) and pea plants. Mendel's discoveries helped shape our understanding of how genes are inherited and expressed. One of his theories outlines the idea that chromosomes do not align by paternal and maternal segregation during tetrad formation in meiosis, but are organized independent of their parental origin. This theory is known as the Principle of Independent Assortment.

The Law of Population Genetics was developed by Hardy and Weinberg. Charles Darwin created the Theory of Evolution. Lamarck created the Postulate of Inheritance of Acquired Traits.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Mendel

Mendel originally proposed the idea of a "factor" that controls phenotype and comes in a recessive and a dominant form. Which of the following modern terms most aptly describe Mendel's "factors"?

Possible Answers:

Centromere

Chromatin

Gene

Chromosome

Correct answer:

Gene

Explanation:

Mendel's "factors" are today's genes. From his limited knowledge of cell biology, Mendel was able to observe the effects of genes by observing phenotype. Genes come in multiple forms, known today as alleles, which control dominant and recessive inheritance.

Chromatin is the term used to describe DNA packaged by proteins. Centromeres are the area of chromosomes where sister chromatids are attached. Chromosomes would not be an acceptable description of a "factor" because it is the specific gene that controls the phenotype, not the entire chromosome.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the given disorders follows classical Mendelian inheritance?

Possible Answers:

Fragile X Syndrome

Cystic fibrosis

Type I diabetes

Down Syndrome

Correct answer:

Cystic fibrosis

Explanation:

Cystic fibrosis occurs in individuals who are homozygous recessive for a single gene, following Mendelian inheritance patterns.

Down Syndrome is caused by a trisomy and is not conferred via a specific allele. The disorder is the result of a nondisjunction event during meiosis. Fragile X Syndrome occurs when a portion of the X-chromosome in men is extended due to dozens or hundreds of repeats. The number of repeats changes between generations, making this non-Mendelian. Type I diabetes is most often caused by a poorly understood autoimmune condition, wherein the immune system attacks the cells in the pancreas responsible for insulin production. The underlying autoimmune response is thought to be partially genetic and partially environmental.

Example Question #4 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the following is NOT a reason that Gregor Mendel chose to work with pea plants?

Possible Answers:

Pea plants can be selectively cross-pollinated

Pea plants can be used to study both somatic and sex-linked traits

Pea plants have a relatively short intergenerational time

Pea plants produce a large number of offspring per generation

Correct answer:

Pea plants can be used to study both somatic and sex-linked traits

Explanation:

Pea plants reproduce quickly and in large numbers. They can self-pollinate within a single plant, they can be cross-pollinated by insection, and they can be selectively cross-pollinated using a tool such as a cotton swab. Pea plants contain separate male and female parts, but each plant contains both. Sex-linked traits cannot be studied in organisms that do not have clearly separate male and female members. Phenotypically, there are no male and female members of the pea plant species, making it impossible to track traits that follow sex-linked expression.

Example Question #5 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the following is the most accurate definition of an allele?

Possible Answers:

The gene coding for a wild type phenotype

The result of a recombination event

The dominant or recessive form of a gene

A variation of a given gene

Correct answer:

A variation of a given gene

Explanation:

Genes are determined by sequences of DNA that code for certain proteins. Sometimes, mutations to the gene can result in a modified protein that maintains the same or similar functions as the original. When this modified gene is passed down, it is known as an allele. Most accurately, an allele is a variation of a given gene.

Most alleles can be considered dominant or recessive, with respect to one another; however, instances of codominance and incomplete dominance mean that there is a spectrum of dominance. Defining all alleles by these parameters is not very accurate. Some alleles code for wild genotypes, while others code for mutated genotypes. Recombination is the transfer of genetic material between homologous chromosomes, and does not result in new alleles. New alleles require a mutation event in order to increase genetic diversity.

Example Question #6 : Understanding Mendel

If two heterozygous yellow plants are mated with one another, what percent of the offspring will be green?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Heterozygous organisms carry one dominant allele and one recessive allele. The dominant allele is expressed over the recessive allele, giving the organism the dominant phenotype. If the heterozygous plants in the question are yellow, then we can conclude that yellow is dominant to green.

The cross for these two plants would be:

Parents: Yy x Yy

Offspring: YY (yellow), Yy (yellow), Yy (yellow), yy (green)

Of four possible offspring, one will be green, leading to the answer: 25%.

Example Question #7 : Understanding Mendel

Two pea plants are heterozygous for the gene coding for seed color. If these plants are crossed, what percentage of the offspring will show the dominant phenotype?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

For this question we are not given any information about dominant and recessive phenotypes. We know only that we are working with two heterozygous plants. Using only this information, we can determine the genotypes of the offspring.

Parents: Hh (dominant) x Hh (dominant)

Offspring: HH (dominant), Hh (dominant), Hh (dominant), hh (recessive)

We do not know if the plants will be tall or short, but we know that three of the four offspring will show the dominant phenotype. This leads to the answer of 75%.

Example Question #8 : Understanding Mendel

A heterozygous plant with green peas is crossed with a plant with yellow peas. What percent of the offspring will be yellow?

Possible Answers:

We must know the genotype of the yellow plant to find the answer

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Heterozygous organisms carry one dominant allele and one recessive allele. The dominant allele is expressed over the recessive allele, giving the organism the dominant phenotype. If the heterozygous plant in the question has green peas, then we can conclude that green peas are dominant to yellow peas. The yellow pea plant must be homozygous recessive.

The cross for these two plants would be:

Parents: Pp (green) x pp (yellow)

Offspring: half Pp (green) and half pp (yellow)

Half of the offspring will be heterozygous, displaying the dominant green phenotype, and half will be homozygous recessive, displaying the recessive yellow phenotype.

Example Question #9 : Understanding Mendel

A student selects a random pea plant from Mendel's garden. She notes that the plant has red leaves, but all other plants in the garden have green leaves. She presents the plant to Mendel, who claims that he has never seen a plant with red leaves before. What phenomenon is most likely responsible for the red leaf phenotype?

Possible Answers:

A recessive allele

A recombination event, resulting in a new allele

A mutation, resulting in a new allele

Incomplete dominance

Correct answer:

A mutation, resulting in a new allele

Explanation:

The red leaf phenotype represents a new allele in the population. None of the other plants have this trait and there are no other known red-leaf plants in the region. Most likely, the new phenotype is the result of a mutation. All alleles start as mutations and spread as the mutation is inherited by more individuals in the population.

Recombination (crossing over) can result in new combinations of existing alleles, but cannot create new traits. Incomplete dominance can result in an unpredicted phenotype, but will be present in all organisms with a heterozygous phenotype. It would be highly unlikely that all other plants in the population were homozygotes. Though there is an extraordinarily small chance that the red leaves result from a recessive allele, this is not likely the case considering the sample size.

Example Question #10 : Understanding Mendel

Which of the following principles is credited to Mendel?

Possible Answers:

Law of Segregation

Law of Natural Selection

Law of Genomic Variability

Law of Diploidy

Correct answer:

Law of Segregation

Explanation:

Mendel's work focused heavily on identifying mechanisms and patterns in genetic inheritance. He is credited with three essential laws: the law of segregation, the law of independent assortment, and the law of dominance.

The law of segregation states that a parent organism will pass only one copy of each allele to its offspring. No parent will pass two copies of the same gene. The law of independent assortment states that the alleles to be passed down are not linked by past modes of inheritance, and will separate independent of one another. The law of dominance simply states that dominant traits will mask recessive traits.

The law of natural selection is credited to Charles Darwin for is work in evolution. The law of genetic variability and the law of diploidy are not recognized scientific principles.

← Previous 1
Learning Tools by Varsity Tutors

Incompatible Browser

Please upgrade or download one of the following browsers to use Instant Tutoring: