9.4 Coupling and Repulsion (cis and trans) Configuration

Just by looking at an organism that is heterozygous at two loci, you cannot tell how the mutant and wild type alleles are arranged. Both mutant alleles could be on one homologous chromosome, and both wild type alleles could be on the other (e.g., ab / A+B+). This is known as a coupling (or cis) configuration. When one wild type allele and one mutant allele are on one homologous chromosome, and the opposite is on the other, this is known as a repulsion (or trans) configuration (e.g., A+b / aB+). The way to determine the orientation is to look at the parents (or P generation) of that cross if you know the genotypes of them. If the parents are homozygous for both genes, and one shows both dominant phenotypes and the other shows both recessive phenotypes, then you know that the individual you are looking at is in coupling configuration. If one parent has one dominant and one recessive phenotype, and the other has the opposite, then you know the individual is in repulsion configuration.

Two cells - one with alleles in coupling configuration (left) and the other with repulsion configuration (right).
Figure 9.4.1 Alleles in Coupling Configuration (left) or Repulsion Configuration (right).

The following video, Genetics! coupling (cis) vs Repulsion (trans), by Medaphysics Repository (2015) on YouTube, discusses the difference between cis and trans genes.

The video, Coupling vs Repulsion, by Genetics Rocks (2019) on YouTube, looks at a worked example involving observed frequencies in a text cross and genes in coupling/repulsion.


Media Attributions


Deyholos, M. (2017). Figure 5. Alleles in coupling configuration…[digital image]. In Locke, J., Harrington, M., Canham, L. and Min Ku Kang (Eds.), Open Genetics Lectures, Fall 2017 (Chapter 18, p. 4). Dataverse/ BCcampus. http://solr.bccampus.ca:8001/bcc/file/7a7b00f9-fb56-4c49-81a9-cfa3ad80e6d8/1/OpenGeneticsLectures_Fall2017.pdf

Genetics Rocks. (2019, September 14). Coupling vs repulsion (video file). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=llNZP1Wmgok

Medaphysics Repository. (2015, February 24). Genetics! coupling (cis) vs Repulsion (trans) (video file). YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4y5vjhMq6iY


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Open Genetics by Natasha Ramroop Singh, Thompson Rivers University is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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