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Heritable Traits: Stem Length and Number in Orchid Plants

An orchid breeder is interested in increasing the number of stems and the length of stems that can be produced by an orchid plant. She finds a segregating population that contains a wide range of both stem number (Ranging from 2 to15 stems per plant) and stem length (Ranging from 2 to 7 inches in length). She selected plants from this population that either had the most stems per plant or the longest stems per plant (Shown as striped regions in the diagrams below). She then intermated the plants with the most stems (Or the longest stems) and grew the resulting populations of orchids. Following an additional round of selection and breeding, the breeder drew graphs to look at the distribution of plants in each generation. Attached are the graphs representing the distribution of plants in each generation in terms of stem number and stem length (In inches). For each trait, determine whether or not the trait is heritable. Justify your answers.

Please see the attached document for the graphs.


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Let's firstly consider what the breeder is hoping to achieve.

The breeder is selecting plants which either have relatively longer stems or relatively more stems and mating these select plants with each other. In theory, if all the plants within this small population have somatic genes which can be passed down to future generations which affect either ...

Solution Summary

The stem lengths and numbers in orchid plants are examined as heritable traits.