The distinction between dominant and recessive alleles seems to be due to loss or gain of function in the proteins they code for. Alleles have been observed exhibiting incomplete and hierarchical dominance.

Another type is "circular dominance," which is modeled in some computer programs but it isn't clear whether this occurs in nature. In this case, the dominance of alleles works similarly to rock-paper-scissors.

Would circular dominance exist in nature? How would alleles determine circular dominance?

  • $\begingroup$ Thomas Lenormand did some work on the subject if I am not mistaken. If I am not mistaken empirical evidence of such type of dominance suggest specific sequence of the expressed protein that will directly bind to the other allele causing reduction of its expression. It is therefore easy to imagine such circular dominance. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Apr 7 '17 at 17:46
  • $\begingroup$ @Remi.b: So the proteins interact like a literal game of rock-paper-scissors? Do I understand that right? $\endgroup$ – Anonymous Apr 7 '17 at 19:51
  • $\begingroup$ Yes, exactly. I did not post my comment as an answer because I don't know much and failed to provide a reference for my claim. So you should wait for a good referenced answer and not just take my word for granted. $\endgroup$ – Remi.b Apr 7 '17 at 20:34

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