dihybrid cross A genetic cross between parents that differ in two characteristics, controlled by genes at different loci. Mendel performed a dihybrid cross using pea plants and the characteristics of seed colour and texture: the parental plants had either smooth yellow seeds (SSYY) – the dominant characteristics – or wrinkled green seeds (ssyy) – the recessive characteristics. All the offspring had smooth yellow seeds, being heterozygous (SsYy) for the two alleles. Crossing between these offspring produced an F2 generation of plants with smooth yellow, smooth green, wrinkled yellow, and wrinkled green seeds in the ratio 9:3:3:1 (see illustration). Mendel used these results as the basis for his Law of Independent Assortment (see Mendel's laws). Compare monohybrid cross.
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