How To Solve Mendelian Genetics Homework Problems: Vital Advice


Mendelian genetics involves solving genetics problems. In order to deal with the task you should know Mendel’s rules and be very attentive while analyzing the data that is given in the homework. You will have to cross the parental genotypes and phenotypes and analyze the offspring’s potential genotypes and phenotypes. The task that lies on the student’s shoulders is finding the missing element of the assignment that will complete the genetic equation.

If you have difficulties in solving genetic homework problems, the following step-by-step algorithm will help you.

  • Get acquainted with the problem by being attentive.
  • When you start working on the genetics problem, read the task carefully; otherwise, you may miss some important points that can lead to mistakes in trying to solve the problem. Remember that all the information in the problem is vital and none of it can be ignored.

  • Discern the dominant and recessive traits.
  • This is the first step that is used in a typical genetic problem. Mind that this information is not always stated in the question, so you may have to find some additional information on the Internet.

  • Assign letters to the genes.
  • We usually assign the letters according to the first letter of the trait. A capital letter is used if the gene is dominant and a lowercase if the gene is recessive.

  • Find the parents’ genotypes.
  • Almost every problem provides this information in the question. If not, you can find it on your own by following Mendel’s laws. All the facts should be carefully noted, as it’s rather easy to forget and miss some vital data.

  • Determine the parents’ gametes.
  • It is necessary to find all of the parents’ gametes, but don’t forget that each gamete receives only one gene from each allele pair. At this stage, students usually make the most frequent mistakes as they often forget about the previously stated rule.

  • Create the diagram and fill in the blank spots.
  • After you have collected all the data, you should create a Punnett square, which is a standard genetic cross diagram. Question marks in empty spots will indicate missing information that you must find. If the previous steps were done correctly, you won’t find any difficulties creating the diagram.

  • Follow Mendel’s laws and fill in the chart.
  • For most of the homework assignments you will have enough data to find the answer. Analyze the data you have and apply the Mendel’s laws to find what is missing. After all the steps were completed, you will surely find the answer.