What is the definition of 'independent assortment'. I tried researching this term but came back with two results:

  1. alleles assort themselves independently of different alleles

  2. the alignment of homologous chromosomes is random along the metaphase plate; resulting in the daughter cell inheriting either maternal or paternal chromosome based on 50:50

Which is the correct term?


1 Answer 1


The term was pioneered by Mendel, who had no knowledge of chromosomes, so definition 1 would perhaps be the best answer. However, we now know that definition 1 arises from definition 2 (chromosomes are inherited independently of each other) and from the fact that chromosomes recombine (cross-over).

That said, independent assortment does not apply to linked genes, which tend to be inherited together. That is, they are not independently assorted.


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