NCERT Class 12 Biology Solutions: Chapter 5 - Principles of Inheritance and Variation

May 5, 2019

Mention the advantages of selecting a pea plant for the experiment by Mendel.

Solution: Mendel selected pea plants to carry out his study on the inheritance of characters from parents to offspring.  He selected a pea plant for the following features:

  • Pea plant has many visible contrasting characters such as tall/dwarf plants, purple/white flowers, etc.
  • Pea plant undergoes self-pollination easily. Thus, it produces offspring with the same traits generation after generation. It is easy to get pure breeds.
  • In pea plant, cross-pollination can be easily achieved by emasculation in which the stamen of the flower is removed without affecting the pistil.
  • Pea plant has a short life span and produces many seeds in one generation.

Differentiate between the following:

(a) Dominance and Recessive  

(b) Homozygous and Heterozygous

(c) Monohybrid and Dihybrid.


(a) Dominance and Recessive

(b) Homozygous and Heterozygous

(c) Monohybrid and Dihybrid

A diploid organism is heterozygous for 4 loci, how many types of gametes can be produced?

Solution: A diploid organism, which is heterozygous at four loci, will have four different contrasting characters at four different loci.  For example, if an organism is heterozygous at four loci with four characters, say Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, then during meiosis, it will segregate to form 16 separate gametes, if the genes are not linked

Number of gametes produced = 2n, where n= number of heterozygous pair

24= 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 16

However, if the genes are linked, the gametes will reduce their number as the genes might be linked and the linked genes will be inherited together during the process of meiosis.

Explain the law of dominance using a monohybrid cross.

Solution: Mendel’s law of dominance states that a dominant allele expresses itself in a monohybrid cross and suppresses the expression of the recessive allele.

For example, when pea plants with round seeds (RR) are crossed with plants with wrinkled seeds (rr), all seeds in F1 generation were found to be round (Rr). When these round seeds were self-fertilized, both the round and wrinkled seeds appeared in F2 generation in 3: 1 ratio. Hence, in the F1 generation, the dominant character (round seeds) appeared and the recessive character (wrinkled seeds) got suppressed, which reappeared in F2 generation.

Define and design a test − cross?

Solution: Test cross is a cross between an organism with unknown genotype and a recessive parent. It is used to determine whether the individual is homozygous or heterozygous for a trait.

If the progenies produced by a test cross show 1:1 ratio of a dominant-recessive trait, then the unknown individual is heterozygous for a trait. On the other hand, if the progeny produced shows a dominant trait, then the unknown individual is homozygous for a trait.

Using a Punnett square, work out the distribution of phenotypic features in the first filial generation after a cross between a homozygous female and a heterozygous male for a single locus.

Solution: In guinea pigs, heterozygous male with black coat color (Bb) is crossed with the female having white coat color (bb). The male will produce two types of gametes, B and b, while the female will produce only one kind of gamete, r. The genotypic and phenotypic ratio in the progenies of the F1 generation will be the same i.e., 1:1.

Related: NCERT Class 12 Biology solutions - Chapter 4 - Reproductive Health

When a cross is made between tall plants with yellow seeds (TtYy) and tall plant with a green seed (Ttyy), what proportions of phenotype in the offspring could be expected to be

(a) Tall and green.         (b) Dwarf and green.

Solution: A cross between a tall plant with yellow seeds and tall plant with green seeds will produce:

(a) three tall and green plants

(b) one dwarf and a green plant

This can be understood with the help of this punnet square

Two heterozygous parents are crossed. If the two loci are linked what would be the distribution of phenotypic features in F1 generation for a dihybrid cross?

Solution: Linkage is defined as the coexistence of two or more genes in the same chromosome. If the genes are situated on the same chromosome and lie close to each other, then they are inherited together and are said to be linked genes.  For example, a cross between yellow body and white eyes and wild type parent in a Drosophila will produce wild type and yellow-white progenies. It is because yellow bodied and white eyed genes are linked. Therefore, they are inherited together in progenies.

Briefly mention the contribution of T.H. Morgan in genetics.

Solution: Morgan worked on fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster). He formulated the chromosomal theory of linkage. He defined linkage as the co-existence of two or

more genes in the same chromosome and performed dihybrid crosses in Drosophila to show that linked genes are inherited together and are located on X-chromosome.

His also proved that tightly linked genes show very low recombination while loosely linked genes show higher recombination.

What is a pedigree analysis? Suggest how such an analysis, can be useful.

Solution: Pedigree analysis is a record of occurrence of a trait in several generations of a family. It is based on the fact that certain characteristic features are heritable in a family, for example, eye colour, skin colour, hair form and colour, and other facial characteristics.

It can be useful in following ways:

(i) By using pedigree analysis for the study of specific traits or disorders, generation after generation, it is possible to trace the pattern of inheritance.

(ii) Genetic counselors use pedigree chart for analysis of various traits and diseases in a family and predict their inheritance patterns.

(iii) It is useful in preventing hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, and other genetic disorders in the future generations.

How is sex determined in human beings?

Solution: Human beings exhibit male heterogamy. In humans, males (XY) produce two different types of gametes, it can either have X or Y chromosome. The human female (XX) produces only one type of gametes containing X chromosomes. The sex of the baby is determined by the type of male gamete that fuses with the female gamete. If the fertilizing sperm contains X chromosome, then the baby produced will be a girl and if the fertilizing sperm contains Y chromosome, then the baby produced will be a boy.

A child has blood group O. If the father has blood group A and mother blood group B, work out the genotypes of the parents and the possible genotypes of the other offsprings.

Solution:  If the father has blood group A and mother has blood group B, then the possible genotype of the parents will be





A cross between homozygous parents will produce progeny with AB blood group.

A cross between heterozygous parents will produce progenies with AB blood group (IAIB) and O blood group (IO IO  )

Explain the following terms with an example

(a) Co-dominance

(b) Incomplete dominance



Co-dominance is the phenomenon in which both the alleles of a contrasting character are expressed in heterozygous condition. ABO blood group in human beings is an example of codominance. The blood group character is controlled by three sets of alleles, namely, IA, IB, and i. The alleles, IA and IB, are equally dominant and are said to be co-dominant as they both are expressed in AB blood group. Hence, AB blood group is an example of co-dominance.

Incomplete dominance  

Incomplete dominance is a phenomenon in which one allele shows incomplete dominance over the other member of the allelic pair for a character. For example, a monohybrid cross between the plants having red flowers and white flowers in Antirrhinum species will result in all pink flower plants in F1 generation. The progeny obtained in F1 generation does not resemble either of the parents and exhibits intermediate characteristics. This is because the dominant allele, R, is not completely dominant over the other allele, r. Therefore, the recessive allele, r, also gets expressed in the F1 generation resulting in the production of intermediate pink flowering progenies with Rr genotype.

What is point mutation? Give one example.

Solution: Point mutation is a change in a single base pair of DNA by substitution, deletion, or insertion of a single nitrogenous base.

An example of point mutation is sickle cell anemia. It involves a mutation in a single base pair in the beta-globin chain of haemoglobin pigment of the blood. Glutamic acid in short arm of chromosome II gets replaced with valine at the sixth position due to change in GAG to GUG.

Who had proposed the chromosomal theory of inheritance?

Solution: Sutton and Boveri proposed the chromosomal theory of inheritance in 1902. They linked the inheritance of traits to the chromosomes.

Mention any two autosomal genetic disorders with their symptoms.

Solution: Two autosomal genetic disorders are as follows.

Sickle cell Anaemia: It is an autosomal linked recessive disorder, which is caused by a point mutation in the beta-globin chain of haemoglobin pigment of the blood. The disease is characterized by sickle-shaped red blood cells, which are formed due to the mutant haemoglobin molecule.

Symptoms: Rapid heart rate, breathlessness, delayed growth and puberty, jaundice, weakness, fever, excessive thirst, chest pain, and decreased fertility are the major symptoms of sickle cell anaemia disease.

Down’s syndrome:   It is an autosomal disorder that is caused by the trisomy of chromosome 21.

Symptoms: The individual is short statured with round head, open mouth, protruding tongue, short neck, slanting eyes, and broad short hands. The individual also shows retarded mental and physical growth.

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