Difference Between Segregation and Independent Assortment

Segregation vs Independent Assortment

The characters of one generation should pass into the next through reproduction, and the inheritance mechanisms of traits were revealed with the work of Gregor Mendel who described those in two main laws. Segregation and Independent Assortment could be introduced as the two basic laws of inheritance described by Gregor Mendel after his extensive work in the mid-19th century. Although his findings were not fruitfully accepted, other scientists such as Thomas Morgan (in 1915) have utilized Mendel’s laws and segregation with independent assortment became the backbone of classical genetics.


Segregation is the first law of Mendel, and it states that there is a pair of alleles for each trait. This gives the first impression about the diploid status of the genetic background in organisms. Only one randomly selected allele for every trait (out of each pair of alleles) is passed into the offspring from parents. The law of segregation further states that the two alleles are separated during the production of gametes in an individual; therefore, each gamete has only one allele for a particular trait. It would be interesting to state that this is the first indication of gametes being haploid.

Haploid gametes are produced as a result of meiosis that has been observed by other scientists through their studies, which has proven the reliability of Mendel’s first law. When maternal and paternal genes being conceived, the isolated alleles are united to form a diploid individual organism. Usually, alleles are either dominant or recessive, and the dominant allele will be expressed in the offspring while the gene for that particular trait will have the recessive allele, as well.

Independent Assortment

Independent Assortment is the second law of Gregor Mendel that put forward after his work in studying the genetics. The law of independent assortment is also known as the Law of Inheritance. In this theory, Mendel further stated that the alleles are assorted independently to form a gamete. In other words, an allele of a particular trait has no any effect from other alleles during the formation of gametes. Independent assortment is an important process that contributes to the genetic diversity of individuals in a population or a species. The presence of dominant alleles and recessive alleles could be understood when Mendel observed a particular trait is expressed as either dominant or recessive phenotypes, and the dominant allele is expressed despite the other allele of the pair being either dominant or recessive (denoted as “AA” or “Aa” respectively). The recessive gene is expressed, only when, both pairs of alleles being recessive (denoted as “aa”). Additionally, when more than one trait is considered in breeding, the independent inheritance of genetic material from the parents to the next generation has been observed in Mendel’s experiments.

Segregation vs Independent assortment

• Both are laws of inheritance put forward by Gregor Mendel, where segregation being the first law while the independent assortment being the second law.

• Segregation describes that there are two alleles for a particular trait and those are separated during gametogenesis, to form haploid gametes. On the other hand, the law of independent assortment describes that those separated alleles (for different traits) can combine into the haploid chromosome in any combination.

• Segregation is a separation process while independent assortment is a bonding process.

• Both processes contribute for an increased biodiversity, but segregation lays the platform for genetic diversity, whereas independent assortment takes place as the first physical step to occur the genetic diversity.