The Genetics of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer

The stable master in charge of Santa’s reindeer at the North Pole was taking a genetics course at the University of the North Pole. He would get extra credit if he could figure out the phenotypes and genotypes of the reindeer.

He found out that in reindeer, ability to fly is dominant over flightlessness, and that red noses were a recessive characteristic. As you may remember, one of the reindeer, Rudolph, can fly and also has a red nose.

Rudolph’s mother is red-nosed and flightless. Rudolph’s father is also red-nosed, and every year at the Reindeer Hall of Fame Annual Banquet, he boasts that everyone in his family has always been able to fly, and that it is impossible for any of his offspring to be flightless.

Help the stable master complete his assignment by completing Punnett squares, if necessary, for each trait and answering the questions below. Work in the small group assigned to you.

Use B as the symbol that indicates black nose is dominant, a b for red nose.

Use F for the dominant ability to fly, and f for inability to fly.

1. What is Rudolph’s phenotype? ______________________________________

2. What is Rudolph’s genotype? ______________________________________

3. What is the phenotype of Rudolph’s mother? ____________________________

4. What is the genotype of Rudolph’s mother? ______________________________

5. What is the phenotype of Rudolph’s father? _______________________________

6. What is the genotype of Rudolph’s father? ________________________________

7. If Rudolph mates with his favorite reindeer, Rhonda (who can’t fly, and has a typical black nose, although her mother has a red nose), can any of their children be like Rudolph’s mother? Show your answer using a Punnett Square.