Worksheet: The History of Genetics

In this worksheet, we will practice describing how, and why, our understanding of genetics has changed over time.


Who successfully constructed an image of DNA using X-rays and had their work shared without their permission?

  • ARosalind Franklin
  • BGregor Mendel
  • CJames Watson
  • DFrancis Crick
  • EMaurice Wilkins


Who published the theory that the structure of DNA was a double helix?

  • AWatson and Holmes
  • BWatson and Crick
  • CDarwin and Franklin
  • DMendel and Darwin


Mendel carried out experiments to determine how characteristics were inherited. How did he do this?

  • AMendel crossed the flowers between plants and observed what happened.
  • BMendel took cuttings from different plants and grew them elsewhere.
  • CMendel planted different species of plants together to see if they would reproduce.
  • DMendel crossed male and female gametes between plants and grew the offspring.
  • EMendel crossed male and female gametes between rats and raised the offspring.


Who had their ideas published first, Mendel or Darwin?

  • ADarwin
  • BMendel


What piece of equipment was used by scientists to view chromosomes and provide evidence to support Mendel’s ideas?

  • AComputers
  • BLight microscopes
  • CTelescopes
  • DMagnifying glasses
  • EElectron microscopes


The structure of DNA had not yet been discovered when Mendel carried out his experiments. Mendel described gametes as having factors which could come in different versions, some of which were more powerful and were always seen in an organism whenever they were present. The key terms he used have now changed due to our improved understanding of genetics.

What term is most appropriate to give to factors today?

  • ADNA
  • BNucleotides
  • CGenes
  • DCharacteristics
  • EGenotype

What term now describes versions of a factor?

  • AAllele
  • BGenome
  • CGene
  • DChromosome
  • EPhenotype

What is the term given now to a factor that is more powerful and always expressed?

  • AMutated
  • BHeterozygous
  • CGene
  • DRecessive
  • EDominant


Gregor Mendel is known as the father of modern genetics. On what organisms did he carry out his experiments?

  • APotato plants
  • BBluebells
  • CRats
  • DPea plants
  • EMice


What is the relationship between alleles and genes?

  • AAlleles are different forms of the same gene.
  • BGenes and alleles are different words for the same thing.
  • CGenes are different forms of the same allele.

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