Genetics Info & Tutorial: Links & Glossary
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Thanks for reading this tutorial. It may take a few times of going through it to become more comfortable with everything mentioned here. The Cornsnake Morph Guide offers another short presentation of genetics, along with plenty of other information about morphology. My other book Genetics For Herpers goes through all of the concepts with many illustrations, and also shows where these types of things apply. They are all now free to download in PDF format!

If you have comments regarding the accuracy of anything, or a certain area in the tutorial where it seemed to suddenly jump way too far ahead and you got lost, I'd appreciate any feedback. Email any comments to


A-what-istic??? - a very quick & easy explanation of the names given to color mutations.

VMS Herp Learning Center - This site has a very nice "Learning Center" that walks through some neat genetics stuff, and has interesting in-depth info on the nature of color mutations. Go see for yourself.


Amino acid - the main building blocks of proteins, which are chained together in many different ways to create many different proteins.

Allele - Any of the different versions of a gene that may occur at a certain locus. Examples are the wild-type, striped, and motley gene for that one locus.

Base pair - A pair of complementary bases which are some of the building blocks of DNA.

Chromosome - A large string or clump of DNA. These are paired in animals, and humans have 23 pairs of chromosomes.

Codominant - Genes that, when present together, will both influence the appearances of the same trait.

Codon - A sequence of 3 base pairs that codes for either a specific amino acid, or the end of a protein, known as a "stop codon."

DNA - The substance that the genetic code is built with, and is a component of codons, genes, and chromosomes.

Dominant - A gene that will keep other genes in the same locus from affecting the appearance of a trait in the animal.

Enzyme - Proteins that catalyze certain chemical processes in living cells.

Gene - A string of base pairs (DNA) that is the smallest unit of genetic inheritance.

Genotype - The genetic makeup of an animal, usually referring to the absence or presence of specific genes of interest.

Heterozygous - When both corresponding genes for one locus are different versions.

Homozygous - When both corresponding genes for one locus are the same version.

Locus - A specific "slot" on a chromosome which corresponds to a certain location, kind of like an address to a certain house. Different genes in the same locus can control one or more traits. A locus is generally referred to as the gene "for" a certain trait.

Mutation - An alteration of one or more genes. Generally these are interesting when they cause a change in the phenotype of an animal.

Phenotype - The appearance of an animal, which is generally dependent on its genotype.

Protein - A chain of amino acids. There are many different proteins which can perform many different functions in the body.

Punnett Square - Named after Reginald C. Punnett, a method of predicting the outcome of a mating by determining what possible outcomes there can be, and how likely each one is.

Recessive - A gene that must be present in the homozygous state in order for its corresponding trait to appear.

Trait - a characteristic, such as a certain distinct appearance, that can be inherited

Get more details with the book Genetics For Herpers!
It's 84 pages of illustrated genetics fun!
Now Free in PDF format!
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