What are Multiple Alleles? Definition, Example, Blood

Hello, guys, In today’s this article we will study about Multiple alleles. Like – Multiple Alleles’ Definition of Biology? Characteristics of multiple alleles. We will know the answers to many such questions today, so let’s start.

Multiple alleles’ definition of biology

These are members of the same gene pair located on the same locus and all of them control the same character, but each allele affects it somewhat differently.

What are multiple alleles?

The existence of genes is inferred from the observation of segregation and recombination of bodily characters. Only those genes are known which have mutated to give rise to at least two distinguishable different alleles.

Mendel dealt only with a pair of alleles, i.e. one normal and the other its mutant. But the normal gene can mutate in more than one way, giving rise to several alternative states. Cases are known where sets of alleles contain three, four, or even more members. Such sets are known as multiple alleles.

Characteristics of multiple alleles.

  1. Multiple alleles arise through mutations of the same gene at different times and to different extent.
  2. Multiple alleles occupy the same locus within the chromosomes.
  3. As there are only two chromosomes of each kind in a cell, there are only two genes of a series at a given locus in a diploid cell, but only one in the gamete.
  4. Multiple alleles affect the same trait, but each has a different manifestation. Strurtevant had described them as carrying the same function, but with varying degrees of efficiency. These act in some way to control the various steps in a chemical reaction.

Differences Between Multiple Alleles and Multiple Factors –

Multiple alleles are totally different from the multiple factors, because the multiple alleles refer to genes at a given locus, whereas the multiple factors refer to genes present at different loci that interact to produce a specific trait.

1. Multiple Alleles in Rabbit –

In rabbits, the coat color genes of the multiple series are related to each other as follows : 

Must Read -  What is Immunity? Definition, Types, Example, Know A-Z

The C or full color is dominant over other alternatives. Chinchilla (C ch) is recessive to full color, but dominant to others (Himalayan and albino). Himalayan (Ch) is recessive to chinchilla and full color, but is dominant over albino. Any of these allelomorphic pairs, if homozygous, will breed true and if heterozygous will result in the familiar 3 : 1 ratio.

S. No.GenotypePhenotypeCharacteristics
1.CC or ++Full colour or AgoutiDark brown and uniform color
2.Cch Cch
(i) Cch1
(ii) Cch2
(iii) Cch3

Silvery gray, uniform color
Dark Chinchilla
Light gray
3.ChHimalayanWhite fur, pink eyes but feet, nose, ears and tail are brown or black.
4.cAlbinoNo pigment

Segregation and Recombination of Multiple Alleles –

As we know that a normal gamete carries only one member out of the multiple series, so union of two brings the two genes of an allelic series together. The two memes may be in any possible combination.

Whenever, the two members of an allelic series are crossed, it is found that their F2 generation always contains homozygous dominant, heterozygous and homozygous recessive in the ratio of 1 : 2 : 1 for example :

Multiple alleles, what are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

A cross between a fully colored rabbit and an albino rabbit results in 1CC : 2Cc : 1 cc in F2 generation. These genes in rabbits are related as dominant and recessive, hence colored and albino rabbits are produced in the ratio of 3 : 1.

The principle underlying the segregation and recombination is applicable to crosses between any other two genes of that series, e.g., If chinchilla and albino are crossed, they will produce chinchilla (Homo), Chinchilla (hetero) and albino in a 1 : 2 : 1 ratio.

The appearance of F1 and F2 individuals will depend upon the degree of dominance of the genes involved. The alleles are not always related as dominant and recessive. Sometimes blending occurs between them.

What are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

2. Multiple Allelic Series in Drosophila –

In Drosophila Melanogaster, a number of multiple alleles are known, such as.

1. Wing character 

  1. Long wings : ++ or Vg+ Vg+ (wild type)
  2. Vestigial wings : vg vg
  3. Antlered wings : vga vga
  4. Nicked wings : vg ni vg ni
  5. Notched wings : vg no vg no
  6. Strapped wings : vg st vg st

All mutant alleles are recessive to long wing alleles, but all the mutants are codominant.

2. Eye color in Drosophila is determined by a series of about one dozen alleles of the eye color gene, black.

Must Read -  Phylum Chordata | Classification, Class, Characteristics, Examples

Define multiple allomorphism. Discuss various theories to explain multiple allelomorphism.

  1. Theories of Multiple Allelomorphism -Theory of point mutation – It Means that a given gene at a given locus mutates, producing different effects.
  2. Close linkage of pseudoallelism – Drosophila has normal red eye color. Mutation Occurred from red to white and to various other light shades of red. Recently, Lewis found that flies hybrid for apricot and white, produce some red offspring when crossing over is greatly increased. These red hybrids always crossovers. Lewis, therefore, concluded that apricot and white are not actually alleles, but they occupy adjacent loci and are pseudoalleles
  3. Heterochromatin theory of allelism – Chromosomal breakage and rearrangement sometimes brings the heterochromatin next to genes, which suppresses the expression of genes in question. In maize, there is evidence that position effects are sometimes due to the transposition of very minute fragments of heterochromatin too small to be visible under microscope.
What are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

It is often difficult to tell which of these theories explains a particular case of allelism and, in fact, it is possible that all three apply in different cases.

4. Suballeles and iso-alleles – In maize, the ‘R’ series for the purple aleurone and purple plant color behave as though it was a compound gene. Stander has found that these genes from different strains are not exactly alike, in that they result in different distributions of the pigment. These alleles are known as suballeles.

Alleles which produce the same phenotypic effect in homozygous condition, but nevertheless differ, are referred to as iso-alleles. In Drosophila, White of different origins are not alike. For, when separate strains of whites are crossed to flies which carry one of the intermediate alleles (as eosin), the hybrids are not alike, some might show more dilution of eosin than others.

Define multiple allelism and explain its role in the inheritance of ABO blood group in man.

Blood Groups in Man –

Human blood groups are an example of multiple alleles. The human population has 4 blood groups A, B, AB and O. These are determined by the presence of a specific mucopolysaccharide, the carbohydrate groups that are bound to lipid molecules of the membrane of red blood corpuscles. This substance is called antigen.

  1. Persons with blood group A have antigen A
  2. Persons with blood group B have antigen B
  3. Persons with blood group A and B have antigen A and B
  4. Persons with blood group O do not have any antigen.
Must Read -  Animal Kingdom | Classification, Phylum, Characteristics, Examples

The synthesis of these antigens is controlled by three alleles – IA, IB and IO. Blood group O phenotype is wild type and recessive. It is controlled by gene IO IO Thus IO is the wild gene and LA and LB are its two mutant alleles which exhibit codominance. Thus –

  1. The genotype of persons with blood group O is – IO IO (homozygous recessive). 
  2. The Genotype of persons with blood group A is – LA IO or LA LA (heterozygous or homozygous dominant).
  3. The genotype of persons with blood group B is – LB IO or LB LB (heterozygous or homozygous dominant).
  4. The genotype of persons with blood groups AB is – LA LB (Dominant).

The gene A and B are dominant to gene IO but are codominant to each other and both are expressed when present together.

Blood GroupGenotypeAntigen PresentNature
OIo IoNoneRecessive
ALA LA or LB IOADominant
LA LA or LB IOBDominant
ABLB LBABCodominant

Inheritance of blood group –

The genes A and B are dominant over gene IO, but are codominant to each other and both are expressed when present together.

If a person homozygous for blood group A marries a woman with blood group O or vice versa, all her children will have blood group A.

What are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

If a person homozygous for blood group B marries a woman with blood group O or vice versa, all her children will have blood group B.

What are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?
S. No.Blood group of parentsPossibilities of blood group in childrenImpossibilities in children
1.A × AA and OB and AB
2.A × BA, B, AB, O
3.A × ABA, B, ABO
4.A × OA, OB and AB
5.B × BB and OA and AB
6.B × ABA, B and ABO
7.B × OB and OA and AB
8.AB × ABA, B, ABO
9.AB × OA, BO and AB
10.O × OOA, B and AB
Showing Possible blood groups of children for known blood groups of parents.

If a man homozygous for blood group A marries a woman homozygous for blood group B, all their children will have blood group AB.

What are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

If a man heterozygous for blood group A marries a woman heterozygous for blood group B, their children are of the following four types.

what are multiple alleles
What are multiple alleles?

If a man with blood group AB is married to a woman with blood group AB.

What are multiple alleles

Medico-legal aspects of ABO series –

Knowledge of the ABO blood group is very much helpful in solving cases of disputed parentage and settling the cases of illegitimacy.

  1. Solution of disputed parentage – Although cases of mixed up parentage are rare in the hospitals, these may happen in certain cases and have occurred in the past. Once, two sets of parents took their babies home to a particular hospital at about the same time. Both the families discovered it, but family 2 was not ready for the exchange. Blood tests in that case demonstrated the possibility of exchange, and the exchange there upon satisfied both the families.
  2. Solution of cases of illegitimacy – A widely known movie star in California was accused by a farmer starlet protégé of being the father of her young daughter. The physicians made blood tests of the alleged father, the mother and the baby with these results.
Blood Group
Alleged father

The blood test showed that the defendant could not be the father. The real father can have either blood group B or AB.

3. Disputed cases of claimants – Blood tests can help in solving cases of claimants to estates. These can also help in some criminal proceedings.

FAQs of Multiple Alleles –

How do multiple alleles arise?

Multiple alleles arise by mutation at the same locus but to different extent.

Define the term pseudoalleles.

Pseudoalleles are functionally related or functionally allelic closely linked genes. These are structurally nonallelic but are inherited together.

What are isoalleles?

Alleles which produce the same phenotype effect in a homozygous state, but are otherwise different.

Conclusion –

So friends, in today’s article we have studied what are multiple alleles. Friends, if you did not like this article, then please comment and tell your suggestions and our mistakes.


Leave a Comment