Darrell J. Tomkins Genetics

genomic instability; genetic causes of carcinogenesis and mutagenesis; cytogenetic abnormalities

The Person

Professor; Director, Cytogenetics Laboratory
University of Alberta
  • BSc: McGill University
  • MSc: McGill University (Genetics)
  • PhD: McGill University (Biology)
Last Updated
September 26, 2001

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question #489

My mom and I are having an argument. She claims that the gene for blonde hair will be wiped out within the next four generations simply because it is a recessive trait. I told her that just because it is a recessive trait does not mean that it will be weeded out of the gene pool. Having different hair colors is an example of balanced polymorphism. I also mentioned that the gene for achondroplasia is dominant but only 1 in 10,000 babies are born with the syndrom. Clearly if the recessive genes were being eradicated simply because they are recessive genes, the entire population would be dwarfs! Can you please tell me if it is possible for blonde hair to be eradicated, especially in such a short amount of time?

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