Allele Definition for Kids

Allele Definition for Kids


When it comes to the allele, you are talking about one of the most fascinating elements to the larger subject of genetics. As time goes on, you are going to understand the relationship allele enjoys to that larger genetics topic. Within the same understanding, you will also be able to better understand the relationship genetics shares with our daily lives, and how all of that ties into allele. In terms of this subject, there are several things that you are going to want to note.

1. An Allele Is An Alternative Form

One of the first things you will want to note with allele is that it is an alternative form of a gene. To put it another way, it is 1 member of a pair. This is going to be the foundation for everything else we are going to cover about allele.

2. It Is Highly Specific

To be sure, you are not going to find an allele just anywhere. You are really only going to find it along a specific location, along a specific chromosome.

3. They Are Pretty Important

As you may have guessed at this point, allele are pretty important. These are DNA codings that are going to play a significant role in determining the distinctive traits that can be passed along from the parent to the offspring. Naturally, this passage of traits is going to occur through sexual reproduction.

4. They Were Discovered By Gregor Mendel

Largely considered the father of modern-day genetics, the concept of the allele was discovered and established by the scientist and Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel. These extraordinary ideas would eventually find their way into what is now known as Mendel’s law of segregation. There is a reason why Mendel is considered in the present to be the father of modern genetics!

5. Speaking Of Mendel And Genetics

In the end, you really can’t talk about allele and its role in the world of genetics, and not discuss Gregor Mendel at least a little bit more. Although much of Mendel’s fame would come to him posthumously, there is no question that the work he accomplished while alive would go on to play an indescribably important role in how we understand ourselves, our patterns, and the world around us. He wrote passionately on the subject, coined terms like “dominant” and “recessive”, and conducted a number of crucial experiments that would have a profound impact on the study of genetics later on.

6. Back To Allele

In most cases, an organism is going to have two alleles for one trait. If the alleles in the pair are heterozygous, your phenotype of 1 trait can be dominant, with the other one being recessive. In a situation like this, one is completely dominant, while the other one is going to be completely masked. Not surprisingly, this concept is known as complete dominance.

7. Co-Dominance

The above information represents the popular example, but it is not the only example by a long shot. An additional possibility that you are going to want to consider is the notion of two alleles sharing the dominance. In what is known as co-dominance, we are talking about a heterozygous relationship in which neither of the alleles are dominant, but both are nonetheless expressing themselves. While you wouldn’t exactly call this relationship the norm, there are nonetheless numerous examples of co-dominance that you can find throughout the world.

8. An Example Of Co-Dominance

As you are going to discover, if you are interested in examples of co-dominance, you really don’t have to go very far at all! A good example of co-dominance can be found in the form of AB blood. If you have AB blood, it naturally stands to reason that this was something that was passed down to you. Obviously, this is something you received from your parents. This is an example of co-dominance, or the concept of neither allele being dominant, but still expressing themselves nonetheless.

9. What About Multiple Alleles?

You can’t really get into the subject of alleles and genetics, without also mentioning something about the subject of multiple alleles. This is where things can become a little complex. It is true that most genes operate with the two-allele setup we have already discussed. However, there are also situations in which you can find multiple alleles for a particular trait. A good example of the multiple alleles concept can be found once again in the blood. This time, you’re going to want to look into ABO blood. Your blood type also tells you the type of antigens you have. For example, if you have B type blood, then you have B antigens. ABO blood in fact consists of three alleles.

10. A Little More About Multiple Alleles

Human ABO blood groupings offer 4 phenotypes, in addition to 6 potential genotypes. This is one more thing to keep in mind.