Gregor Mendel and his Findings Related to Paternity Tests
Gregor Mendel is known as “the Father of Genetics.” In 1865, Mendel published results that he obtained through eight years of breeding pea plants. While breeding the pea plants he controlled which pea plant fertilized another pea plant and he kept a detailed record of the traits that were inherited. Mendel kept a record of the plant’s pea and pod color, pea shape and of the flower colors. Mendel kept a record of which traits were passed down through every generation and compared the results to other pea plant generations and their traits.
Mendel discovered the fundamental laws of inheritance. These laws state that genes come in pairs and they are randomly separated into sex cells; that is then randomly passed down to their offspring. Half of the genes of an offspring come from their mother and the other half come from their father. This discovery that Mendel made in the late 1800s, changed how paternity was determined.
Previously eye color was a trait that was used to determine paternity. If the baby did not have the same eye color as the mother or the father, then the woman was accused of having an affair. While eye color is inherited, due to dominant and recessive traits, a child may not have the same color eyes as their parents. That means that using eye color to determine paternity is highly inaccurate. A child with blue eyes can have parents that both have brown eyes if both of the parents have a recessive gene for the trait of having blue eyes.
In the modern day, paternity is determined by comparing alleles on the DNA of the father and of the child. Comparison of DNA involves comparing the size of DNA molecules, their arrangement, and their sequence. The results obtained from comparing DNA to determine paternity is 99.99% accurate. It is the most accurate way to determine paternity. It is also extremely easy and painless; a lab technician will take a buccal swab from both the father and the child. These swabs will then be sent off to a lab where the cheek cell’s DNA will be compared.
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