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All too often when we teach genetics we limit ourselves to the "tried and true" single gene traits and "shy away" from more complex forms of genetic inheritance. After all, it is difficult enough to explain Mendelian Laws without the added complexity of quantitative variation. Ironically,understanding the relationship between genetic information and phenotypic expression at theorganismal level has more to do with the interaction of many genes than it does to any one gene in isolation. Dermal ridges are an example of a trait that shows quantitative variation, is inherited, and is easily analyzed in the teaching laboratory. Further, sophisticated mathematical treatments need not be applied to teach the relationship between polygenic inheritance and expression.
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