Main content

William Bateson and patterns of inheritance

William Bateson had read Gregor Mendel's paper on inheritance in pea plants and wanted to know if the ratios held true for other plants and animals. When his team crossed a black cockerel and a black hen, they found that some of the chicks were white. When this was repeated, they always had 3 black to 1 white offspring. Bateson had no knowledge of genes, but used logic to explain the inheritance patterns. Botanist Timothy Walker uses skittles to demonstrate the ideas of genes being in pairs and having dominant and recessive forms. Bateson went on to find the same pattern of inheritance in other plants and a wide variety of animals.

Release date:


6 minutes