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zygote: diploid cell formed when a sperm fertilizes an egg

trait: characteristic that is inherited; can be either dominant or recessive

sperm: haploid male sex cells produced by meiosis

sexual reproduction: pattern of reproduction that involves the production and subsequent fusion of haploid sex cells

recessive: trait of an organism that can be masked by the dominant form of a trait

pollination: from male reproductive organs to female reproductive organs of plants, usually within the same species

phenotype: outward appearance of an organism, regardless of its genes

nondisjunction: failure of homologous chromosomes to separate properly during meiosis; results in gametes with too many or too few chromosomes

meiosis: type of cell division where one body cell produces four gametes, each containing half the number of chromosomes as a parent's body cell

law of segregation: Mendelian principle explaining that because each plant has two different alleles, it can produce two different types of gametes. During fertilization, male and female gametes randomly pair to produce four combination of alleles

law of independent assortment: Mendelian principle stating that genes for different traits are inherited independently of each other

hybrid: offspring formed by parents having different forms of a trait

homozygous: when there are two identical alleles for a trait

homologous chromosome: paired chromosomes with genes for the same traits arranged in the same order

heterozygous: when there are two different alleles for a trait

heredity: passing on of characteristics from parents to offspring

haploid: cell with one of each kind of chromosome; is said to contain a haploid, or n, number of chromosomes

genotype: combination of genes in an organism

genetics: branch of biology that studies heredity

genetic recombination: major source of genetic variation among organisms caused by reassortment or crossing over during meiosis

gamete: male and female sex cells; sperm and eggs

fertilization: fusion of male and female gametes

egg: haploid female sex cell produced by meiosis

dominant: observed trait of an organism that masks the recessive form of a trait

diploid: cell with two of each kind of chromosome; is said to contain a diploid, or 2n, number of chromosomes

crossing over: exchange of genetic material between nonsister chromatids from homologous chromosomes during prophase I of meiosis; results in new allele combinations

allele: alternative forms of a gene for each variation of a trait of an organism

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