Epistasis is the term applied when one gene interferes with the expression of another (as in the baldness/widow's peak mentioned earlier). Bateson reported a different phenotypic ratio in sweet pea than could be explained by simple Mendelian inheritance. This ratio is 9:7 instead of the 9:3:3:1 one would expect of a dihybrid cross between heterozygotes. Of the two genes (C and P), when either is homozygous recessive (cc or pp) that gene is epistatic to (or hides) the other. To get purple flowers one must have both C and P alleles present. Explanation:
In genetics, epistasis is a phenomenon in which the expression of one gene depends on the presence of one or more "modifier genes." A gene whose phenotype is expressed is called epistatic, while one whose phenotype is altered or suppressed is calledhypostatic. Epistasis can be contrasted with dominance, which is an interaction between alleles at the same gene locus. Epistasis is often studied in relation to Quantitative Trait Loci (QTL) and polygenic inheritance. In general, the expression of any one allele depends in a complicated way on many other alleles; but, because of the way that the science of population genetics was developed, evolutionary scientists tend to think of epistasis as the exception to the rule. In the first models of natural selection devised in the early 20th century, each gene was considered to make its own characteristic contribution to fitness, against an average background of other genes. Some introductory college courses still teach population genetics this way. Epistasis and genetic interaction refer to different aspects of the same phenomenon. The term epistasis is widely used in population genetics and refers especially to the statistical properties of the phenomenon, and does not necessarily imply biochemical interaction between gene products. However, in general epistasis is used to denote the departure from 'independence' of the effects of different genetic loci....
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