Difference between Linked and Unlinked Genes

The genome has two types of genes, namely – linked and unlinked genes. Both genes are inherited during sexual reproduction. The unlinked genes are less likely to be inherited together. Whereas the linked genes are inherited together.

Linked Genes

Linked genes are carried on the same chromosome. They are inherited together, and thus got the name ‘linked genes’. These genes can be separated only by genetic recombination. Also, the genes on two separate chromosomes can never be linked genes.

The linked genes are inherited as a single unit, and they do not show independent assortment.

Unlinked Genes

Unlinked genes are present on separate chromosomes. They are inherited together and follow Mendel’s law of independent assortment. These genes can also be on the same chromosome, but far away from each other.

Also Read: Linkage and Recombination

Difference between Linked and Unlinked Genes

Linked Genes

Unlinked Genes

These genes are located on the same chromosome and are close to each other.

These genes are on separate chromosomes and are far away from each other.

They do not follow Mendel’s law of independent assortment.

They follow Mendel’s law of independent assortment.

Linked genes are inherited together.

Unlinked genes have feeble chances to be inherited together.

Also see: Law of Independent Assortment

Frequently Asked Questions


What is homologous recombination?

It is a recombination type in which genetic information is exchanged between two identical DNA strands. This exchange provides genetic variations in the progeny. Also, there are new combinations of DNA produced in this process. Thus, homologous recombination is used as a repair mechanism.

What is genetic mapping?

It is a method to locate the locus of a gene and also the distance between the genes. Thus, genetic mapping determines the position of a gene.
Extended Reading: Difference between Genetic and Physical Mapping


What are linked genes in humans?

The genes that are close to each other on the same chromosome are linked genes. In humans, the gene responsible for hair colour and the gene for eye colour are close together on the same chromosome. Thus, they are inherited together. For example, blue eyes and blonde hair are inherited together. A cross combination of eye and hair colour is rare but possible.

Keep exploring BYJU’S Biology for more exciting topics.


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