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Characteristic of Autosomal Recessive Traits

Heredity plays the major role in the inheritance of genes. A gene is unit of heredity that is made up of DNA. Every person has two copies of each gene one that is inherited from their mother and the other from their father. When a person receives 2 dysfunctional or recessive  genes during fertilization they have a autosomal recessive trait. There are five characteristics of these autosomal traits. The first characteristic of autosomal recessive traits is that both male and female offspring are equally likely to inherit the autosomal recessive trait. The chance of inheriting the dysfunctional genes is equal for both sexes because autosomal recessive traits are not X linked. A good example is the Stamos family from the Greek lab, because the anemia they can pass on is an autosomal recessive trait, and could be passed onto their next child regardless if it is a male or female. The second characteristic is affected individuals often have unaffected parents. This makes sense because in order for the child to have the recessive trait both parents must either have disorder or be a heterozygous carrier. Many autosomal traits will also limit the life of the person who is affected. If the life of the person is limited it would be less likely for them to be able to reproduce. This characteristic can be explained by the Greek lab where Nikoleta’s parents are both carriers that do not have the same anemia she does. The third characteristic is all offspring of a person with an autosomal recessive trait will be carriers of the trait. This works because if someone has 2 recessive alleles no matter what allele is passed on the offspring will atleast be a carrier. The Greek lab provides an example for this because if Nikoleta survives to adulthood and has a child, that child will be a carrier or have the same anemia. The fourth characteristic is that two carrier parents have a 25% chance with each conception to have a child with the autosomal recessive trait. The Greek lab, yet again, gives a good example because both Mr. and Mrs. Stamos are carriers of the disorder and have a 25% chance of having a child with the disorder. The fifth characteristic is that two carrier parents that are not affected by the disorder have a ⅔ chance that their child is a carrier. The Greek lab displays this because if the child is not affected it cannot have the autosomal recessive trait, and that eliminates the ¼ chance of it having the disorder. That leaves 3 chances and 2 of those are a chance that child will be carrier, hence the ⅔ chance.


Autosomal recessive conditions. (n.d.). Retrieved June 4, 2015, from
Autosomal recessive: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (2014, May 5). Retrieved June 17, 2015, from
Clark, H. (n.d.). University of Rochester Medical Center. Retrieved June 4, 2015, from

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