particulate inheritance

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particulate inheritance The transmission from parent to offspring of separate units that determine characteristics. Gregor Mendel observed that recessive characteristics, absent in the offspring of a cross in which only one parent possessed them, reappeared repeatedly in the progeny of subsequent crosses. This led him to formulate his theory of inherited `factors' (now called alleles) that retain their identity through succeeding generations (see Mendel's laws). Compare blending inheritance.