<Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game> is a board game where players conduct genetic experiments to study the genetic traits of pea plants. Each player crossbreeds pea plants with different genotypes to complete target genotypes and earn points. The game involves dice rolling, resource management, and strategic planning to determine the winner.

Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game

1-5 people | 45-90 minutes | Store 1: i2, Store 2: Not Available

Game Setup

1Game Board

Place the Game Board in the center of the play area. The major areas of the Board feature Punnett Squares and Dice Pool Areas in 4 colors, an Abacus for tracking Research Upgrade prices, and a display of available Pea Plant and Tool Cards.

2Offspring Dice and Gene Tiles

Place the 5 Offspring Dice and 2 Parent  Gene Tiles of each color next to the Punnett Square of the same color until they are needed.

3Coins and Trait Markers

Place the supply of Coins and Trait Markers () in reach of all players. (The supply of these is unlimited; use a substitute if they run out.)

4Starting Coins

Place 4 starting Coins on the Board, 1 on each spot next to the 4 Punnett Squares.

5Round Tracker

Start the Round Tracker on 1.

6Abacus Markers

Place the 4 Abacus Price Markers on the starting prices for each Research Upgrade (shown as darker beads).

7Research Upgrades

Place the New Plot Tiles, Dice Slots, and Assistant Cards next to the Research Upgrades area of the Board.

Draw 3 Assistant Cards face up as the starting options.

8Pea Plant and Tool Cards

Shuffle the Pea Plant Cards and Tool Cards, then place these decks face down next to the Nursery and Tool Shed, respectively. Draw face-up Cards to fill the Nursery with Pea Plant Cards and the Tool Shed with Tool Cards, based on player count, as shown in the table below. (3 player setup depicted.)

9Player Mats and Pieces

Give each player a Player Mat as well as 3 Action Markers ()and 3 Phenotype Research Markers () in their player color (9a). Place the 2 additional Action Markers for each player color with the Research Upgrades (9b)

Each player takes 1 Coin from the supply, then draws 3 Pea Plant Cards and 1 Tool Card from the corresponding decks (9c). Players must choose 1 of their Pea Plant Cards to place in a Garden Plot on their Player Mat, 1 to keep in their hand, and 1 to discard (next to the Pea Plant deck).

10First Player Marker

Give the First Player Marker to the Player who has most recently done any garden work. You're ready to begin!


Genotype can be played as a solo game against a simulated opponent. After learning
the standard game rules, see the solo rules.

For 2-5 Players

Gregor Mendel was a 19th Century Augustinian Friar, credited with the discovery of modern genetics through his work with pea plants. In Genotype: A Mendelian Genetics Game, players take the role of Research Scientists on the grounds of the monastery where Mendel conducted his experiments.

Players have a Garden of Pea Plants with different genetic Traits. The Traits are each shown as a pair of letters called a Genotype. The goal of the game is to Validate the Traits on your Plants by taking Dice that match the Traits. Validated Traits are covered with Trait Markers to track your research progress. When all the Traits on a Plant are covered, it has been completely researched, and will earn the Points shown in the corner.

A game of Genotype is played over 5 Rounds, made up of 3 main Phases:
the Working Phase, the Plant Breeding Phase, and the Research Upgrade Phase.

Phase 1

In the Working Phase, players will place their Action Markers to take actions that will prepare their gardens, acquire funding, and secure access to the Traits they need for their research.

Phase 2

The Plant Breeding Phase is the main way that players will find and Validate the Traits on their Pea Plants. Players will take turns picking from a pool of Offspring Dice that represent possible genetic combinations in the plants. The values of Dice are interpreted using Punnett Squares, scientific tools demonstrating how parent genes are passed to offspring.

TheDie represents Genotype, taken from its row () and column (). It may be used to Validate theTrait on the Pea Plant. (By the same process, theDice both mean, theis another, and theDie is).

Phase 3

In the Research Upgrade Phase, players may spend their Coins on powerful Upgrades to optimize their future turns.

After 5 Rounds, players total up their Pea Plant research and unspent Coins. The player with the most Points wins!

1. Working Phase

In the Working Phase, players take turns placing 1 of their available Action Markers () on an empty Action Space on the Game Board or on their Player Mat. They then immediately take the corresponding action (all the possible actions are described on the next few pages). Once an Action Space is covered by an Action Marker, it is occupied for the Round and cannot be chosen again by any player, though there may be additional Action Spaces for the same action.

Action Space

The player with the First Player Marker will have the first opportunity to place 1 Action Marker and take an action. In clockwise order, players will then continue taking turns placing 1 Action Marker and taking the corresponding action until every player has placed all of their available Action Markers. Players begin the game with 3 Action Markers in their player color, but may gain more through Research Upgrades.

The actions that players may take are as follows:


The Gardening action is used to manage your Pea Plant Cards. Throughout the game, you will draw new Pea Plants into your hand, and must Garden to move (Sow) them into the Plots on your Player Mat.

When taking the Gardening action, perform each of the following 3 steps, in order:

Draw 1 Pea Plant or Tool Card, either from the face-up options on the Board or from the deck.

Harvest any Pea Plant Cards that have Trait Markers covering all of their Traits. Return the Trait Markers to the supply and place the completed Pea Plant Cards face down next to your Player Mat for end game scoring. You may look at your completed Pea Plants at any time.

You may Sow new Pea Plant Cards from your hand, placing them into available Plots on your Player Mat. These Plant Cards are now available to have Trait Markers placed on them.

Marco has completed 1 of hos Pea Plants and takes the Gardening action with 2 Pea Plants in hand. First he draws a Graft Knife Tool Card from the Tool from the Tool Shed. He then Harvests his completed 5-Point Pea Plant, removing its Trait Markers and setting it aside to score later. (His 9-Point Plant still needs aTrait and cannot be Harvested yet.) Finally, he decides to Sow the 6-Point Pea Plant into his newly available Plot. He may place Trait Markers on this Pea Plant in future turns.


Place an Action Marker to unlock a Temporary Dice Slot on your Player Mat for the current Round. This action has no immediate effect, but in the Plant Breeding Phase, you will be able to take an additional Offspring Die and place it on this Dice Slot.


Take 1 of the 4 Set Parent Genes actions to modify the corresponding Punnett Square using Parent Gene Tiles. These Tiles are placed on top of the Parent Genes printed on the Game Board and change the Offspring Dice outcomes.

When taking this action, you may choose to add 1 Gene Tile to the Board with either side face up, or to remove 1 Gene Tile that had previously been placed, or to leave the Parent Gene Tile as it is. You may not flip a Tile already on the Board to its other side.

If there was a Coin next to the corresponding Punnett Square, take it.

⟶ Parent Gene Tiles will change the likely Offspring Traits during Plant Breeding.


The 1st Shift actions have no immediate effect, but grant the first pick among the Offspring Dice of the matching color during the Plant Breeding Phase.

If there was a Coin next to the corresponding Punnett Square, take it.


The 2nd Shift action has no immediate effect, but grants 1 earlier pick during the Plant Breeding Phase (after the 1st Shift picks).

The 2nd Shift area may hold any number of Action Markers, adding new Action Markers to the left, and players will receive their early picks in the same order, right to left. This is the only unlimited Action Space on the Board.


Set a Phenotype Research Goal to earn additional Points for specializing on particular Traits. To take this action, pay the cost shown on the Action Space (2 or 3 Coins), then place 1 of your Phenotype Research Markers on any 1 unoccupied Phenotype Research Goal ().

Each Phenotype Research Goal is located under the Dice Pool Area for 1 or 2 Genotypes. During end game scoring, the player who claimed each Goal will earn additional Points as shown for each of their completed Pea Plants containing the Genotype(s) shown above the Goal.

EXAMPLE: These 2 Phenotype Research Goals pertain to Seed Shape (the blue Dice). During end game scoring, Brandy will earn 2 Points for each of her completed Pea Plants with anorTrait (Round Seeds). The Goal on the right would earn 3 Poins for each completed Pea Plant with anTrait (Wrinkled Seeds).


The 4 Punnett Squares will each have 1 Coin next to them at the beginning of each Round. The first player to place an Action Marker at either the Set Parent Genes or 1st Shift Space for the Punnett Square of each color will gain the corresponding Coin in addition to taking the action on that Space.


Take the Treasury action to gain 2 Coins.


Take the University action and pay the cost shown on the Action Space (1 or 2 Coins) to immediately Validate any 1 Trait on 1 of your Pea Plant Cards.


Some actions have more than 1 Action Space that perform the same action but differ in cost or availability.

Some actions have Spaces with different costs and are cheaper for the first player to take that action each Round.

Some Action Spaces are only available in games with 4+ 4 or 5 players.


Take the Nursery action to draw 2 Pea Plant Cards from the face-up options or from the deck, in any combination. These Plants will go to your hand and can only be placed onto your Player Mat with the Gardening action.

Take the Tool Shed action to draw 1 Tool Card from the face-up options or from the deck.


Tool Cards provide one-time benefits. They are kept in your hand until played, then are discarded to the Tool discard pile. Tool Cards may normally be played at any time during your turn in the Working Phase, and do not replace your normal action. Tool Cards withthe left of the arrow is met (in any Phase).

Seed Bag - Draw 5 Pea Plant Cards from the deck, keep 2, and discard the rest.

Watering Funnel - Validate any 1 Trait. You must play this Card immediately when you receive it.

Dissertation - Pay 1 Coin to Set a Phenotype Research Goal.

Flower Pot - Play Flower Pot next to your Player Mat. Immediately take 1 Pea Plant Card (from the face-up options in the Nursery or from the
deck) and place it on the Flower Pot. Flower Pot is treated as a Plot in your Garden until the Plant is Harvested, then Flower Pot is discarded.

Graft Knife - Play when taking an Offspring Die to immediately take another Die, which does not use a Dice Slot (place it on Graft Knife).

Rake - Play when taking an Offspring Die to Validate any 1 Trait of that Dice color instead of using the Die normally.

Pollen Brush - Play when Validating a Trait to Validate every copy of the same Genotype on your Pea Plants.

Hand Lens, Pocket Watch, Garden Line - Play when taking the Parent Gene, 1st Shift, or 2nd Shift action (respectively) to gain 2 Coins.

Grant - Play when purchasing a Research Upgrade to discount the cost by 2 Coins.

2. Plant Breeding Phase

In the Plant Breeding Phase, players roll and then draft (take turns picking) the Offspring Dice, 1 at a time. As each player chooses and takes a Die, they must place it on 1 of their available Dice Slots to Validate a corresponding Trait on 1 of their Pea Plants. Players continue making selections until they run out of Dice Slots or usable Dice.


The Phase begins with Plant Breeding. The players collectively roll the 20 Offspring Dice and sort the results according to the Punnett Square matching the color of each Die:

* For Dice results of I-IV, locate the matching Die face on its Punnett Square, note the Gene letters shown in its row and column, and place the Die onto the Dice Pool Area with this pair of letters on the Game Board.
* A Die showing the mutationsymbol is re-rolled exactly once. If it now shows I-IV, move it to the appropriate Dice Pool Area. If it re-rolledagain, place it in the De Novo Mutations Area for its Dice color.

EXAMPLE: Alina gathers and rolls the 5 blue (Seed Shape) Dice, getting II, II, IV,, and. She checks the Punnett Square to find that II representsand IV represents. She places these Dice in their corresponding Dice Pool Areas and re-rolls the pair of.

One of the re-rolled Dice shows a I and is placed in theArea. The other Die showsagain, and is placed in the De Novo Mutation Area.

→ Changing the Parent Genes has made some combinations impossible and others (basically) guaranteed.


After rolling and sorting all the Offspring Dice, players will alternate Research Shifts (turns) picking Dice to Validate the Traits on their Pea Plants. Players who reserved earlier picks in the Working Phase will go first, then all players will continue picking Dice as follows:

* First, any players with Action Markers on 1st Shift Spots take 1 Offspring Die of that Dice color.
Next, any players with Action Markers in the 2nd Shift area select any 1 Die, in order (from right to left).
Finally, players continue to take Research Shifts in turn order, starting with the player with the First Player Marker until all players have passed. Some players may reserve earlier Shifts, but most Dice are picked in normal turn order.

During each player's Shift, they take 1 Die from the Game Board in order to Validate 1 matching Trait on 1 of their Pea Plants, covering it with a Trait Marker. The Die must then be placed in an available Dice Slot on their Player Mat.

In order to take a Die, a player must have an available Dice Slot on their Player Mat and must use the Die (it cannot be taken for no effect). If a player cannot take a Die on their Shift, they pass for the remainder of the Phase.

Some players may reserve earlier Shifts, but most Dice are picked in normal turn order.

EXAMPLE: Alina chooses theDieon the Punnett Square) and places it in the available Dice Slot on her Player Mat. She then adds a Trait Marker to her Pea Plant Card, covering theTrait.


Dice in the De Novo Mutations Slots can be chosen instead of a normal Research Shift pick, including during a 1st or 2nd Shift. They are used in one of 2 ways:

1 Gain 1 Coin and place theDie in a Dice Slot like normal.
2 "Mutate" another Offspring Die: Take theDie and another Die of the same Dice color and place them in 2 of your Dice Slots. You may then Validate any Trait of that Dice color.

Note that Mutating Dice allows players to Validate Traits for which there are no remaining Dice, or even Traits that would have been impossible with the current Parent Genotypes.

EXAMPLE: Marco is looking to Validate theTrait, but the Parent Genes have made this offspring Genotype impossible. Marco takes theDie in order to count theDie as anTrait. Both Dice are added to Marco's available Dice Slots.

Mutating Dice can overcome unlucky rolls or unfavorable Parent Genes, but it also provides a chance to frustrate your opponents' Research!

3. Research Upgrade Phase (Skip in Round 5)

In the Research Upgrade Phase, players have opportunities to use Coins they have acquired to purchase 1 or more permanent Upgrades. Turns are taken in the reverse player order in this Phase: the player to the right of the First Player Marker has the first chance to buy an Upgrade, then play proceeds counter clockwise until all players have passed.

There are 4 types of Research Upgrades that players can purchase:


Take a New Plot Tile and place it next to your Player Mat. You will now be able to have an extra Pea Plant Card in play.


Take a Dice Slot and place it next to your Player Mat. In the Plant Breeding Phase, you will now be able to draft an additional Die.


Take an additional Action Marker of your player color. In the Working Phase, you will now be able to take an additional action in subsequent Rounds. Players may have a maximum of 5 Action Markers.


Take 1 of the available face-up Assistant Cards and place it next to your Player Mat, gaining its ability. (Assistant Cards are not refilled until the end of the Round.)

On each player's turn, they may purchase 1 Research Upgrade by paying Coins equal to the current price of that Upgrade. Each Upgrade price is tracked by an Abacus Marker, and the prices change over the course of the game. Each time a player buys a Research Upgrade, its price increases by 1 (if already at the highest price for that Upgrade, it stays the same). All prices will decrease by 1 at the end of the Round.

Players proceed counter clockwise, purchasing 1 upgrade at a time. If a player cannot or decides not to buy an Upgrade, they pass, and may no longer purchase Upgrades this Round. When all players have passed, the Round is over.

EXAMPLE: Brandy spends 2 Coins to Hire an Assistant. She takes an Assistant Card, and increases the Hire Assistant price to 3. The player to her right gets the next turn.


Assistants provide powerful ongoing benefits, often enhancing or rewarding other actions. Using an Assistant does not replace your normal action. Assistants showingmay be used once per Round: turn the Card sideways to indicate that the Assistant has been used, and reset it at the End of the Round. Assistants showingmay be used when the condition to the left of the arrow is met.

Brother Alipius - When Gardening, draw an extra Card (face-up or from the deck).

Sister Elisabeth - Once per Working Phase you may Validate a Trait that matches 1 of the Phenotype Research Markers you have placed.
EXAMPLE: Earlier in the game, Alina set thePhenotype Research Goal. During this Working Phase, she uses Sister Elisabeth to Validate aon 1 of her Pea Plants.

Sister Anna - Once per Working Phase you may pay 1 Coin to Validate a Trait.

Father Omari - You may place an Action Marker on Father Omari's Card as your turn during the Working Phase to take a special action. Roll 1 Die of each color, and re-roll anyresults until they are not. Check the Genotype of each Die result on its corresponding Punnett Square. For each Die, you may Validate 1 matching Trait among your Pea Plants as though you had taken the Die during the Plant Breeding Phase, then return the Dice. (Only you may take this action.)

Father Anton - In the Plant Breeding Phase, you are considered to always be first in the 2nd Shift area (without placing an Action Marker). After 1st Shifts, you may select 1 of the Offspring Dice, then proceed through the Action Markers in the 2nd Shift area as normal.

Brother Franz - You have 2 additional Dice Slots during the Plant Breeding Phase, however, you must pay 1 Coin in order to use them for the Round. (Pay before you take the first Die that would be placed on either Slot. You only pay once for both Slots and must pay in any Round that you use them.)

Sister Maria - Once per Plant Breeding Phase, when taking a Die, you may Validate any Trait of that Dice color instead of using the Die normally.

Brother Leopold - Your Coin costs are all reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1 Coin.

Sister May - Whenever you Validate a Trait, you may Validate every copy of the same Genotype on your Pea Plants.

Brother Eduard - This Assistant acts as a permanent ∞ Extra Plot with its own Pea Plant that automatically refills. When the Assistant is Hired, immediately take 1 Pea Plant Card (from the face-up options in the Nursery or from the top of the deck) and place it on the Assistant. When the Pea Plant is Harvested, take another Pea Plant in the same way.

4. End of Round Reset

Once the main 3 Phases have been completed, the Round is over. Perform the following steps:

* Advance the Round Tracker.
The First Player Marker passes clockwise.
Move each Abacus Marker to the left by 1 (Upgrades at the lowest price stay the same).
Discard the remaining Pea Plant Cards, Tool Cards, and Assistants. Refill Tool and Pea Plant Cards based on player count (see p. 3) and refill 3 face-up Assistants. When any of these decks have run out, reshuffle the discard pile to continue drawing.
Refill 1 Coin next to each Punnett Square that doesn't already have a Coin.
Players recover all their Action Markers and return Offspring Dice to the side of the Game Board.
Do not remove or modify Parent Gene Tiles or any of the players' Phenotype Research Markers Pea Plants, Trait Markers, or Research Upgrades.

Players then proceed to the Working Phase of the next Round.

End of the Game

The game ends after the Plant Breeding Phase of Round 5. Each player may Harvest any completed Pea Plant Cards, then players tally up the Points they have accumulated from the following sources:

Completed Pea Plant Cards - Players score the Points printed on their completed Pea Plants.
Phenotype Research Goals - For each Phenotype Research Marker on the Game Board, the player who placed it scores the indicated Points for each instance of the matching Trait(s) among their completed Pea Plants.
Incomplete Research - Players score 1 Point per Trait Marker on their incomplete Pea Plants.
Unspent Coins - Players score 1 Point for each unspent Coin.

The player with the most Points wins! If there is a tie between 2 or more players, the player with the most completed Pea Plants wins. If there is still a tie, then the victory is shared.

EXAMPLE: At the end of the game, Alina completes her final Harvest and proceeds to end game scoring. She has 41 Points from completed Pea Plants, 6 Phenotype Research Points from her pair of completedPlants, 1 Point for the Trait Marker on her incomplete Plant, and 3 Points from Coins, for a Final Score of 51.

Rules Reminders and Clarifications

In the Working and Plant Breeding Phases, players must take a turn if they are able.

Players may not take an action that requires Coins if they cannot afford it, and they may not take the Set Research Goal action after placing all of their Phenotype Research Markers.

There is no hand limit for Tool or Pea Plant Cards. Cards may be kept secret.

Tool Cards and Pea Plant Cards are only refilled during the End of the Round Reset, not when taken. Players may draw Tool Cards or Pea Plant Cards from the deck instead of the face-up options. If a Card deck is ever empty, shuffle the discard pile as needed.

When Hiring an Assistant, only 1 of the 3 available face-up Assistants may be selected.

There is no limit to the number of Tool Cards that may be played or Assistant abilities that may be used during a player's turn.

Tool Card and Assistant abilities may be used immediately when drawn, even during Gardening. For example, a player might acquire and immediately use a Seed Bag during Gardening to draw new Pea Plants to Sow.

De Novo Mutation Dice may Mutate other De Novo Mutation Dice of the same color, taking both Dice to Validate any Trait of that Dice color.

Research Upgrades are limited to the provided quantities. If all of the available copies have been purchased, they are no longer available. Trait Markers and Coins are unlimited.


If a player is dealt the Watering Funnel in their starting hand, they must play it during their first turn.

Graft Knife may be played when taking a 1st or 2nd Shift. If played during a 1st Shift, the additional Die must be taken from the Dice of the same color as the 1st Shift pick.

Graft Knife grants 1 additional temporary Dice Slot. If it is used to take a pair of Dice using a De Novo Mutation, 1 of the Dice is placed on the Grant Knife and the other on a normal Dice Slot.

Pollen Brush may be used in combination with other Tool Cards, Assistant abilities, and actions. For example, a player may change anDie tousing a Rake Card, then play Pollen Brush to Validate multiple Ff Genotypes.

The Rake Card and Sister Maria's ability function like a "wild" De Novo Mutation Die: any 1 Die may be used to Validate any Trait for that Dice color, even Traits that would have been impossible with the current Parent Genotypes.

Genotype Solo Rules

Genotype can be played as a solo game against a simulated opponent named Brother Johann, an administrator at the monastery. Johann's actions are controlled by a deck of 9 Automa Cards that determine his actions, Dice picks, and Upgrades. Three double-sided Reference Cards outline the solo rules.

To set up a solo game, prepare the main Game Board and your player setup for a normal 2-player game. You will have the First Player Marker for the entire game.

Give Johann 3 Action Markers, the 3 Phenotype Research Markers of his player color, 1 Coin, and 2 Pea Plant Cards placed vertically to form his Garden. Shuffle the 9 Card Automa deck and place it face down. Johann does not need a Player Mat or starting Tool Card. You may choose to play an Easy, Standard, or Hard game, which will affect how Johann uses his resources to accelerate his research. For a Hard Game, Johann begins with an Assistant.

Johann's Cardinal Rules

Johann has 4 Cardinal Rules that apply at all times.

* Johann's Pea Plant Cards are kept in his Garden, arranged in a vertical column of Cards.

When he receives a new Pea Plant Card, it is always added to the top of Johann's Garden. Completed Pea Plant Cards (with all Traits Validated) are immediately Harvested and set aside for end game scoring (slide the remaining Cards down).

Johann's Garden holds a maximum of 4 Pea Plant Cards. If he already has 4 Pea Plants and would gain another, he Validates a Trait instead.

* When Johann would Validate a Trait (for any game dffect or instead of gaining a 5th Pea Plant), he Validates the bottom-most uncovered Trait in his Garden.

Working Phase

You will always be the Starting Player, and you and Johann will alternate turns in the Working Phase, until you both run out of Action Markers, like normal.

For Johann's turn in the Working Phase, draw 2 Automa Cards. The first is the Action Card, which will determine his action for the turn. The second card is the Support Card, which is used to make any decisions for that action based on the Gene Trait letter or pips shown on the bottom right (explained below). If there is an invalid action or choice on either Card, redraw that Card (for example, if Johann cannot afford to pay Coins to take an Action Space or would choose a Phenotype Research Goal that is taken).

The Action Card determines Johann's action and the Support Card makes Joann's decisions requiring a Gene Trait letter or Card position.

When Johann draws Automa Cards for his turn, the Action Card will indicate where to place his Action Marker, resulting in one of the following actions:

Treasury - Johann takes 2 Coins.

University - Johann takes the cheapest available Space and pays the indicated Coin(s) to Validate a Trait (as per his Cardinal Rules, he Validates the bottom-most uncovered Trait in his Garden).

Nursery - Johann will add 1 Pea Plant Card to his Garden and discard a second Pea Plant Card from the Nursery. The pips on the Support Card will show which Card to take from the 3 slots. If that Card is not available, he will take the next available Plant Card to the right (wrapping around to the left if needed). If there are no Plant Cards available, he will draw the top Card of the Pea Plant deck. After taking a Pea Plant, he will discard the next available Plant to the right of the one taken.

EXAMPLE: Johann draws the Nursery Action Card. The Support Card pips indicate which Plant Card Johann takes, then he discards the next Card to the right.

Tool Shed - Johann will discard 1 Tool Card from the Tool Shed and Validate a Trait. As with the Nursery action, the pips on the Support Card will show which Card to discard.

Set Parent Genes - Johann will change a Parent Gene Tile and take the corresponding Coin (if available). The Support Card Gene Trait letter will indicate which Action Space Johann takes. If there is already a Gene Tile on the corresponding spot (Top or Left, according to the Card), he will remove it. If there is not a Gene Tile in place, he will add it, on the side shown by the Support Card.

EXAMPLE: Johann draws the Left Parent Gene Action Card and theSupport Card. He will place his Action Marker next to the Flower Color () Punnett Square. If there is a Gene Tile on the Left spot, he will remove it. If there is not a Gene Tile there, he will add it on the "" side.

Claim 1st Shift - Johann will claim the 1st Shift Space matching the Gene Trait letter on the Support Card, taking the corresponding Coin (if available).

Set Research Goal - Johann takes the cheapest available Space and pays the indicated Coins to set a Phenotype Research Goal, indicated by the Gene Trait letter on the Support Card. A capital letter indicates the Dominant Phenotype and a lower-case letter indicates the Recessive Phenotype. For example, "" corresponds to theGoal, and "" corresponds to theGoal.

Gardening - Johann takes a Gardening action by Validating 1 Trait for each Assistant he has, then gaining a Pea Plant Card from the top of the deck. (Set 1 of his Action Markers on the Action Card Space to indicate that the Action Marker has been used.)

One Card has thesymbol instead of a Gene Trait Letter. If this is the Support Card, treatas the Gene Trait letter from the Action Card. In this example, Johann would set anPhenotype Research Goal.

Automa Phase

After all Action Markers have been placed, Johann has a special Automa Phase for maintaining his Garden. Note: Johann's Research Upgrades behave very differently than yours. Do the following:

1 If Johann had placed any Action Markers on 1st Shift Spaces, move them to the 2nd Shift area, in the back of the line.

2 Johann Validates 1 Trait for each of his Assistants.

3 Johann gains 1 Pea Plant Card (from the top of the deck), then gains 1 additional Pea Plant Card for each New Plot he has acquired as a Research Upgrade. All new Pea Plants are added to his Garden. As usual, if his Garden is full, he Validates Traits instead.

4 In a Standard or Hard difficulty game, Johann gains 3 Coins.

5 Finally, reshuffle the Automa Cards for the Plant Breeding Phase.

Johann's responsibilities at the monastery grant some extra perks, but he can't always focus on research like the other scientists.

Plant Breeding Phase

In the Plant Breeding Phase, Johann will compete with you for Offspring Dice to advance his research. Roll and sort the Offspring Dice like normal, then proceed in the regular Shift order.

Johann does not use Dice Slots to limit his picks. Instead, he draws 1 Automa Card on each Research Shift, regardless of the number of Dice he takes. He takes a total of 3 Research Shifts, plus 1 additional Shift for each Dice Slot Upgrade.

For each of Johann's Research Shifts, draw a Card from the Automa deck and place it to the right of the top-most Pea Plant in his Garden that has not been paired with an Automa Card. The Automa Card shows a single arrow and a double arrow, which may line up to Traits on the Pea Plant. For each arrow pointing to an uncovered Trait, check whether any corresponding Offspring Dice are in the Dice Pool. If at least 1 is found, Johann Validates the appropriate Trait and removes 1 Die for a single arrow and 2 Dice (if available) for a double arrow. Johann doesn't use Dice Slots, so the removed Dice are set aside until the next Round.

Additionally, if the Automa Card shows asection with aDice, Johann will check the De Novo Mutation Slot of the matching Dice color. If at least 1 Die is available, he will take 1 to Validate the bottom-most Trait for that characteristic in his Garden (check the bottom-most Plant first, proceeding up until a match is found). If there are no matching uncovered Genotypes, he takes a Coin.

Johann's effectiveness may vary: he may find no matches at all, or he may end up Validating 3 Traits on one turn!

EXAMPLE: On Johann's first Research Shift, he draws an Automa Card with arrows pointing to the F and T Traits on this Pea Plant Card. There is no F Genotype on this Pea Plant, but it does have a TT Genotype. Two available TT Dice are removed (for the double arrow), and Johann Validates the TT Trait, covering it with a Trait Marker.

On his second Research Shift, he draws an Automa Card pointing to the FF and Gg Genotypes, as well as an R De Novo Mutation. There are no remaining FF Dice, so Johann can't Validate that Trait, but he does remove a Die and cover that Genotype. Additionally,
he removes 1 of theDice to Validate the bottom-most RR, Rr, or rr Genotype in his Garden (in this case, on the top Plant).

Johann will continue drawing an Automa Card during his Research Shifts, placing it with the next- lowest Pea Plant Card and taking the corresponding Dice. As usual, his completed Pea Plants are immediately Harvested. If every Pea Plant has been paired with an Automa Card, discard all the Automa Cards and start back at the top.

Research Upgrade Phase

Johann may use his Coins to buy Research, if he can afford them. In each Upgrade Phase, he will take 1 turn to buy 1 Upgrade in an Easy Game or 2 turns to buy 2 total Upgrades in a Standard or Hard Game.

Since you are the Starting Player, Johann will have the first chance to buy a Research Upgrade. Draw an Automa Card and check the position of the double arrow against the list of Upgrades on the Abacus. If Johann has enough Coins, he will purchase the corresponding upgrade, paying the Coin cost and adjusting the price appropriately. If he can't afford that particular Upgrade, continue drawing until he finds an Upgrade he can buy.

The Research Upgrades grant Johann the following bonuses, some of which differ from their normal uses:
New Plot - Johann will receive an extra Pea Plant Card during each Automa Phase.
Dice Slot - Johann will take an extra Research Shift to draw another Automa Card during the Plant Breeding Phase.
Action Marker - Like normal, Johann will have an extra Action Marker to place.
Hire Assistant - Johann will Validate a Trait during the Automa Phase and any time he takes the Gardening action. When hiring an Assistant, draw a Support Card to decide which Assistant to hire.

If Johann acquires a New Plot, Dice Slot, or Assistant, place it next to his play area (Assistants are placed face down). Johann only uses Upgrades as described above; their normal rules are ignored.

Ending the Round and the Game

Follow the normal End of the Round instructions, except that you keep the First Player Marker. Reshuffle the Automa Cards for the next Working Phase.

End game scoring is the same as in the multiplayer game. If you have the most Points, you win! Perhaps you have a future in running the monastery instead of Johann...

Hard Mode Assistants

To play on the Hard difficulty, give Johann 1 of the following Assistants from the beginning of the game, with special rules. If he hires additional Assistants during the game, place them face down as normal.

Sister Elisabeth - During setup, draw a Support Card to place one of Johann's Phenotype Research Markers. In the Automa Phase, Johann will Validate the bottom-most Trait in his Garden matching any 1 of his Research Goals.
Father Omari - Johann's last Action Marker in each Working Phase will be placed on Father Omari's Card and resolved as normal, Validating the bottom-most matching Traits in Johann's Garden.
Brother Franz - Johann pays 1 Coin in each Plant Breeding Phase and takes 2 additional Shifts.
Sister Maria - When placing Automa Cards in the Plant Breeding Phase, if any arrows point to a Genotype with no matching Trait Dice, Johann Validates those Traits anyway, without removing any Dice.
Brother Leopold - Johann's Coin costs are reduced by 1 (to a minimum of 1) and he will purchase 3 Research Upgrades each Round, if he can afford them.
Sister May - Whenever Johann Validates a Trait, he will also Validate every matching Genotype among his Pea Plants.


1 Game Board 20 Offspring Dice
8 Parent Gene Tiles
1 Round Tracker
1 First Player Marker
34 Trait Markers
20 Coins
5 New Plot Tiles
8 Dice Slot Tiles
4 Abacus Markers
1 Rulebook
1 Science Behind Booklet

99 Cards:
50 Pea Plants
25 Tools
10 Assistants.
12 Solo Cards
2 Research Overlays

5 Sets of Player Pieces:
Player Mat
5 Action Markers
3 Research Goal Markers


In player order, players place 1 Action Marker on an available Action Space and take the corresponding action. Continue until all available Action Markers have been placed.
GARDENING: Draw 1 Tool or Plant, Harvest completed Plants, Sow Plants from hand.
PARENT GENES: Add or remove a Parent Gene Tile, but you may not flip a Tile on the Board.


Roll the Offspring Dice and sort them by Trait according to the corresponding Punnett Square.are rerolled once, then sorted normally or placed in the De Novo Mutations Area.

Beginning with 1st Shift, 2nd Shift, and then player order, players take turns selecting 1 Die to Validate the matching Trait on 1 of their Pea Plants, placing the Die in an available Dice Slot on their Player Mat.Dice may be taken with a second Die to Validate any Trait for that Dice color, or may be taken to gain 1 Coin. Continue until players run out of Dice Slots or valid picks.


In reverse player order, players may spend Coins to purchase Research Upgrades, then increase the price by 1, until all players have passed. (Rounds 1-4 only.)


Advance the Round Tracker, pass the First Player Marker, and reduce Abacus Marker prices. Refresh Plant and Tool Cards, Assistants, and the Coins next to the Punnett Squares. Players recover their Action Markers and return Offspring Dice.


Seed Bag - Draw 5 Plant Cards, keep 2
Watering Funnel - Immediately Validate 1 Trait
Dissertation - Pay 1 Coin to Set a Phenotype Research Goal
Flower Pot - Take a Plant Card; Flower Pot becomes a temporary Plot until Harvested
Graft Knife - When taking a Die, take another (no Dice Slot required)
Rake - When taking a Die, Mutate it
Pollen Brush - When Validating a Trait, Validate every copy of the same Genotype
Hand Lens / Pocket Watch / Garden Line - When taking the action, gain 2 Coins
Grant - When purchasing an Upgrade, discount 2 Coins


Alipius - When Gardening, draw an additional Card
Elisabeth - Validate a Trait matching your Phenotype Research Marker
Anna - Pay 1 Coin to Validate any Trait
Omari - Place an Action Marker to roll 1 of each Dice color, Validating the Traits
Anton - You always lead the 2nd Shifts
Franz - Pay 1 Coin in Plant Breeding for 2 Dice Slots
Maria - When taking a Die, Mutate it
Leopold - Your Coin costs are reduced by 1, to a minimum of 1
May - When Validating a Trait, Validate every copy of the same Genotype
Eduard - Take a Plant Card when empty; becomes a permanent New Plot

The Science Behind Genotype

Gregor Mendel and the Setting of Genotype


Gregor Johann Mendel (1822-1884) was born in Hynčice, a small village in the Austrian Empire (the modern-day Czech Republic). His family lived and worked on a farm, where young Johann soon gained valuable skills in gardening and beekeeping. Later, he attended the Institute of Philosophy of the University of Olomouc, where he studied mathematics, physics, philology, theoretical and practical philosophy, and ethics.

Mendel moved to Brno where he studied theology and agriculture, specifically the cultivation of apples and grapes. He became a monk at the Augustinian St. Thomas's Abbey, where he assumed the monastic name Gregor. He also began teaching, which would help fund his future studies and experiments. His studies at the University of Vienna included physics and mathematics, which taught him to see the world as an orderly place and led him to describe natural phenomena in mathematical terms.

In the garden of St. Thomas's Abbey, Mendel built a greenhouse, and in 1854, he began his experiments with pea plants (Pisum sativum). Although this work is the most widely known of his life, he also conducted extensive meteorological observations and breeding experiments with other plants and bees.

Mendel co-founded the Natural Science Society in Brno, where he lectured about his "Experiments in Plant Hybridisation" ("Versuche über Pflanzenhybriden") in 1865. The monograph containing his results was later published in the journal of the Natural Science Society. In 1872, Mendel was awarded the Cross of the Royal and Imperial Order of Franz Joseph, one of the most prestigious Austro-Hungarian awards of the time. Through his work on plant hybrids, he discovered the fundamental laws of inheritance: that genes come in pairs, that they are inherited in distinct units, and that one comes from each parent. While his work was not understood or widely accepted for almost 40 years, Mendel is now known as the Father of Genetics, a genius monk whose diligence and great talent for observation was truly ahead of his time.


The art and gameplay of Genotype immerse players in the atmosphere of Mendel's garden plot at St. Thomas's Abbey. Like Mendel, the players must balance time spent setting up experiments, recording results, hiring assistants, and managing resources. Players will need to strike a balance between their research and securing the necessary funds -- just like today's currencies, florins of the Austrian empire did not grow in gardens! The various phases of the game all include difficult trade-offs and scarcities, as players must choose what they value most. And finally, like Mendel's research, the Rounds of the game are punctuated by each new crop. Players who pace their actions correctly will best take advantage of the harvest schedule of the plants.

Mendel's Study of Pea Plants


The most widely-held views among Mendel's contemporaries were that the traits of offspring were a blend of their parents', that they were inherited only from the father, or that traits could be acquired after fertilization. But none of these theories could explain the observed complexities of inheritance, such as why certain physical features, such as hair color, skipped generations. To investigate, Mendel conducted careful genetic experiments.

His most successful work involved breeding pea plants, which were particularly well suited for the questions Mendel wanted to investigate. Pea plants self-pollinate, using their pollen to fertilize their own eggs and reproduce, which helped Mendel begin his work by cultivating pure-bred genetically identical lines of plants. Mendel then cross-pollinated these pure-bred plants to generate the hybrid plants that he would use to describe the inheritance patterns of specific traits. Pea plants also have several traits that exist in two distinct forms, crucial for tracking the nature of inheritance. Mendel studied seven such traits in approximately 30,000 pea plants over eight years.


Genotype uses Pea Plant Cards as the research goals that players are pursuing. The Cards show plants caught halfway between the theorizing of a dedicated scientist and the real plant that could be produced. Each Card contains several aspects of the plant's genetic makeup, and an image that reflects how the plant would look.

Over the course of the game, players will use experimental data to Validate the Traits on these Plant Cards, reflecting their success in understanding the plants they are working with. In the Plant Breeding Phase, parent plants (directed by the players) are bred through rolling the Offspring Dice.

Plants are bred and maintained in a Garden, a process that is, of course, aided by gardening tools. The game includes Tool Cards representing the tools used by Mendel in his experiments. Some of these allow players to take actions in their Garden that are directly related to techniques Mendel actually used in his experiments. For example, Mendel used a pollen brush to manually cross- pollinate plants. The Pollen Brush Card allows a player to place one Trait on multiple Pea Plant Cards.

The Foundations for Genetic Inheritance


When Mendel cross-pollinated pea plants, he discovered that their offspring were not a blend of their pure-bred parents, but predictably displayed each trait (such as height or flower color) from one parent or the other. For example, the offspring of pure-bred tall plants and pure-bred short plants were always tall. Mendel called such traits dominant, and the "hidden" ones (which could reappear in future generations) recessive. These traits together comprise the phenotype, or observable characteristics, of the organism.

Observing these patterns led Mendel to consider the nature of the plants' underlying genotypes, the genetic determinants of each trait. The genotype of each plant is made up of a unique set of alleles, or variant forms of genes, they have inherited from their parents. Pea plants (like humans) are diploid, meaning they have two alleles for each gene. Each particular parent plant passes one allele for each trait along to their offspring, so offspring always inherit one randomly determined allele from each of its parents for each trait. In genetic inheritance, the genetic basis for particular traits could be passed down, or lost, in each generation.

By statistically analyzing the phenotypic data from additional generations of plants, Mendel uncovered the probabilities of developing certain traits and created his famous principles of inheritance. He later developed methods to accurately predict hereditary information across generations, almost a century before scientists understood that genes are sequences of information encoded in an organism's DNA.

It is worth noting that Mendel was extremely lucky to have chosen peas for his studies. Most crop plants are not diploid, but have three, four, six, or even more copies of each gene inside their cells. If Mendel had chosen a non-diploid plant, such as wheat, he would not have been able to make the same discoveries.


In Genotype, players will monitor Traits of pea plant offspring, just like Mendel did in his experiments. Four of the key Traits that Mendel studied are used in Genotype:

Seed Shape (Round or Wrinkled)
Seed Pod Color (Green or Yellow)
Flower Color (Purple or White)
Plant Height (Tall or Short)

The other Traits studied by Mendel are shown in the game art but are not included in gameplay:
pea color (Yellow or Green), flower position (Axial or Terminal), and pod shape (Inflated or Constricted).

In the game, parent plants with known genotypes - represented by the Parent Gene Tiles - are crossbred and the genotypes and phenotypes of their offspring are tracked using Trait Markers.

Each trait has its own Dice color and is treated separately, so Pea Plant Cards, which represent offspring, "inherit" genes for each Trait from different Dice. For example, players can collect the genes for plant height from a yellow Die and the genes for seed pod color from a green one. The players do not pick up a single Die for multiple Traits.

Genotype and Phenotype


Each organism's phenotype, its identifiable characteristics, is determined by its genotype, the alleles it has inherited from each of its parents for each trait. We can study how flower color in peas is determined by looking at the relationship between a plant's genotype and phenotype. Flower color in peas is an example of a trait that is controlled by two alleles. The dominant allele, F, causes the production of purple pigments, while the recessive allele, f, is inactive, so no pigment is produced. Whenever the dominant allele is present in the genotype, the dominant trait of purple flowers will appear, so having one or two dominant alleles in the genotype of an individual plant results in a phenotype of purple flowers. On the other hand, white flowers only appear when both alleles are recessive.

Note that an observed phenotype can be the outcome of different genotypes. In the petal color example, plants with two dominant alleles (FF) and plants that have one dominant and one recessive allele (Ff) will both have purple petals.


The main goal in Genotype is for players to Validate the genotype of their Pea Plant Cards by collecting corresponding Dice. The genotype of parents are represented by the parent genes, and the Punnett squares (see below) determine what genotype each die represents. By modifying parent genotypes with the Parent Gene Tiles, the available offspring genotypes will change.

While validating traits is determined by genotypes, Phenotype Research Goals score additional Points based on the phenotypes present on completed Cards. Notably, the dominant phenotypes are more common (and score fewer points) than expressions of the recessive traits.

Mendelian Patterns


Mendel observed during his experiments that some traits would 'skip' a generation. He tracked several traits in pea plants, including seed shape, flower color, pod color, and plant height through controlled breeding. He started his experiments with pure-bred plants. These plants were homozygous for a given trait, meaning they had two identical alleles, such as FF or ff.

Using homozygous plants, Mendel conducted crosses and observed the offspring. For example, he crossed a tall plant and a short plant and found that all offspring of these crosses (heterozygous plants, with one of each allele) were tall. He never observed plants of a medium height. In these experiments, he determined that the tall trait is dominant, meaning that it is always visible in the offspring when inherited from the parent. We represent this with a capital letter, in this case T. He also determined that the short trait is recessive. Recessive alleles are hidden in the presence of a dominant allele and noted by lower case letters (t). Dominant and recessive traits do not mix to form an intermediate phenotype; instead, the dominant trait masks the presence of the recessive trait. Mendel carefully planned crosses and kept records of the offspring. He found that for each of the pairs of traits that he examined, one was dominant and the other recessive. Round seed shape is dominant over wrinkled; purple flowers are dominant and white recessive; green pods are dominant while yellow is recessive.


In Genotype, players observe how their pea plants inherit four different genetic traits from their parents determining the overall phenotype of the offspring plant. Each of these traits follow Mendelian patterns of dominant and recessive inheritance. The genotypes that lead to each phenotype are shown on the game board and below:

Punnett Squares and Nomenclature


A Punnett square is a tool commonly used to calculate the frequency of genotypes in the offspring from crossing two parents with known genotypes. They can also be used to deduce the genotype of the parents by counting the frequency of offspring with particular phenotypes.

The simplest Punnett square investigates the inheritance of one trait, and is easy to construct. The genotype of each parent is listed along the top or side of the Punnett Square. Then, the combination of parent genes that each offspring has the possibility of inheriting are filled in the squares.

Using the flower color trait, we can make a Punnett square using two parents with purple flowers who are heterozygous for the Trait. This cross is called a monohybrid cross because both parents are heterozygous for the same gene.

Because each parent is heterozygous for flower color, 50% of the offspring are heterozygous like their parents and have purple flowers. However, the other offspring are not heterozygous. 25% (one out of four) are homozygous dominant (FF) and also have purple flowers, and another 25% (one out of four) are homozygous recessive for flower color (ff) and have white flowers.


In Genotype, the game board has four Punnett squares representing four pea plant traits: seed shape, flower color, pod color, and plant height. The Set Parent Gene action in the game allows players to change one of the Parent Gene Tiles. This action will change the genotype of one of the parents, which will also change the offspring genotypes determined by the Punnett square for that trait and may make some offspring genotypes impossible. For example, the homozygous recessive genotype (e.g. ff) will never occur in the offspring if one of the parents is homozygous dominant (FF).

Because each of the outcomes within a Punnett square are equally likely to occur, using a Dice roll to determine offspring genotypes is a good model of probability. In the game, rolling the Dice is like producing offspring and those offspring are "genotyped" by matching the numbers rolled to the numbers on the Punnett square. When starting out with two heterozygous parents, a 4 must be rolled in order to get a recessive phenotype, whereas the dominant phenotype will occur more frequently as it is the outcome for a 1, 2, or 3. The genotypes outcomes are likely to fall in the 1:2:1 ratio predicted by Mendel (though individual results will surely vary). Tracking the frequency of the Dice rolls using a Punnett square allows players to appreciate how genetic information is or is not passed to offspring!

Test Crosses


A test cross involves experimentally crossing an organism with a dominant phenotype and unknown genotype with an organism that has the recessive phenotype. The outcome of the test cross will enable the genotype of the dominant phenotype to be determined.

If the dominant plant is homozygous, FF, all offspring from this cross will have purple petals, as they can only inherit an F allele from the dominant plant, which is dominant over the f allele from the recessive plant.

If the dominant plant is heterozygous, Ff, the offspring could inherit either an F or f allele
from the dominant plant. Only an f allele can be inherited from the recessive plant, so there will be a mix of purple and white offspring as their possible genotypes are Ff and ff.
Dominant phenotype, unknown genotype: FF or Ff.

Fertilization is random, so performing a small number of test crosses does not guarantee that all possible phenotypes are represented in the offspring. Many crosses therefore must be carried out to confirm the genotype of the unknown parent plant. Fortunately, technology and techniques in genetics have evolved since Mendel's time. Instead of relying solely on observing the physical attributes of the organism, genotypes can now be identified through techniques such as looking for specific gene sequences (molecular testing) or sequencing all of the DNA of an organism (whole genome sequencing).


In Genotype, Offspring Dice are chosen to match the trait genotypes shown on Pea Plant Cards, called "Validating a Trait." In the game, this is something like a test cross, confirming the genotype indicated by the physical appearance of the plant. In real life, while this would work easily for a recessive phenotype (all white-flowered plants must have the phenotype ff), it would not be possible to visually distinguish between a homozygous dominant (FF) and a heterozygous (Ff) purple flowered plant's genotype. For the sake of gameplay, players simply take the Dice they need without pausing to conduct a side experiment.

Inheritance with Multiple Genes


Organisms have tens of thousands of genes and will pass one allele of each to their offspring. Investigating all of the genes and their alleles in an organism at the same time is too complex for traditional breeding methods (Mendel typically studied two at a time). Mendel hypothesized that the inheritance of one trait would not affect the inheritance of the other trait. To test this, Mendel crossed a homozygous parent with round seeds and green pods with another one that had wrinkled seeds and yellow pods. From his previous work, Mendel knew round seeds and green pods were the dominant traits. The first generation of offspring all had round seeds with green pods as predicted. Mendel then crossed two of these offspring and recorded the phenotypes of a second generation of offspring. This second cross is called a dihybrid cross, as the crossed organisms are both heterozygous for two genes.

The phenotypes in the second generation had approximately a 9 (round, green pods): 3 (round, yellow): 3 (wrinkled, green): 1 (wrinkled, yellow) ratio. Mendel noticed the number of plants with round seeds and wrinkled seeds fit the pattern of a 3:1 inheritance, as did the number of plants with green or yellow pods. That is, the inheritance of individual traits did not change; the inheritance of pod color had no impact on the inheritance of seed shape. Similar ratios were observed for other pairs of traits. This led to the formulation of *Mendel's Law of Independent Assortment: the alleles of one trait are inherited separately from the alleles of another trait. Although Mendel only examined two traits at once, the same principle can be applied to any number of traits.
*These observations inspired the artwork on the cover of the box.

In 1910 Thomas Hunt Morgan discovered some genes in fruit flies were linked, that is, disproportionately inherited together, showing that there are exceptions to Mendel's law. Linked genes are so close together on a chromosome that they are inherited together. This discovery led to mapping various genes onto chromosomes in different species, and laid the groundwork for genome sequencing. Mendel was lucky the genes for the traits he examined were far apart from each other or on different chromosomes, and thus assorted independently!


In Genotype, there are four target Traits, each with two different alleles. To track all four traits at the same time would require a very large, 16x16 Punnett square. Because these traits follow Mendel's laws and assort independently, they can be tracked using separate Punnett squares. During each Round of the game, the parental alleles for each trait are manipulated separately through the Parent Gene action. A Dice roll determines the offspring genotype for each separate trait. Again, for the sake of gameplay, individual Traits of a Pea Plant are Validated one at a time, possibly over several Rounds. This means that the parents for one trait are not necessarily the parents for other Traits on the same Pea Plant Card.

Non-Mendelian Patterns


You might notice that the people, animals, and plants around you have a more complicated mix of traits than simply wrinkled versus round, tall versus short, etc. This is because not all traits follow the pattern Mendel observed: many traits are not simply controlled by one gene with one completely dominant allele and one completely recessive allele.

An example is the snapdragon flower and its petal color. A snapdragon flower has two alleles for petal color - red (R) and white (r), but when a plant with red flowers (RR) is crossed with a plant with white flowers (rr), all of the heterozygous (Rr) offspring are pink instead of red. This type of inheritance is called incomplete dominance, as one copy of the red allele is not sufficient to make the flowers fully red. Another example can be seen in dogs. Labradoodles usually have wavy hair. When a dog has two curly hair alleles (KK), it has a very curly coat like a poodle. A dog with two straight hair alleles (K+K+) has a straight coat. Dogs that are offspring of a curly-haired dog and a straight-haired dog (K+K) have an intermediate or wavy coat.

There are also traits where both alleles are expressed completely. A classic example of this is the A, B and O blood groups in humans (ignoring the + or - that is also part of your blood type). The alleles are written as I for A, I for B, and i for O. Both I and I are dominant to I. An individual with an I allele and an i allele has an A phenotype; likewise an I i genotype results in a B phenotype. However, when a person has both the 1 and I alleles (11 genotype) their phenotype is AB. This is called codominance; both alleles are dominant because both phenotypes (group A and group B) are equally present and not intermediate as in incomplete dominance.

There are also many instances where one phenotype is controlled by more than one gene. As an extreme example, one study has estimated that 700 different genes affect height in humans. These genes do not all have equal effects, and height is also significantly affected by environment and nutrition.


All of the Traits on the gameboard exhibit simple Mendelian inheritance with complete dominance. There are Promotional Card overlays that modify a trait to exhibit codominance or incomplete dominance. While not actually exhibited in peas, the particular inheritance patterns depicted in these overlays do exist in other plants. A heterozygous camellia flower will have a mixture of red and white petals (codominance), while a heterozygous snapdragon will have pink flowers (incomplete dominance). The incomplete dominance overlay tile for height shows a heterozygous plant with medium height, a pattern exhibited by many plants and animals, including humans. Because each genotype has a unique phenotype, when playing with these overlays, there is an additional Phenotype Research Goal for the trait, and there are no Research Goals for Traits that can be accomplished by multiple genotypes.

De Novo Mutations


All the patterns discussed above involve passing alleles/DNA sequences from parents to offspring without changing them. However, random genetic changes, known as mutations, can occur due to environmental conditions (such as UV rays), chemical exposure (mutagens), or errors when an organism replicates or copies its DNA. Mutations can occur in the DNA of any cell, and are typically repaired by the cellular machinery. Unrepaired mutations in most cells impact only that individual organism, and cannot be inherited by its offspring. On the other hand, when a mutation occurs in a cell that is part of an organism's reproductive system such as egg or sperm/pollen cells, it may be passed on to offspring. Sometimes the mutation may create a new allele. This is known as a de novo mutation.

Some de novo mutations cause a significant alteration in the function of the gene. Sometimes this leads to diseases, but most mutations have no effect, and some may actually be helpful, giving the offspring a selective advantage. De novo mutation rates vary from species to species. De novo mutations in pea plants or wheat are not very common (approximately 5 in 1000 per gene per year), while each human has approximately 100 genetic mutations that their parents do not have. The mutation rate in humans is approximately 1 in 1,000,000,000 sites per generation! Even then, most of those mutations are not significant and don't affect the overall phenotype.

Historically, plant breeders used techniques to introduce random mutations in the genome, drastically increasing de novo mutation rates with the goal of producing desired traits. They then performed selective breeding to propagate the desired phenotype. However, these techniques often also generated undesired phenotypes and made the breeding process time-consuming and expensive. In recent decades, the development of genetic engineering and gene editing technologies have allowed for the introduction of targeted mutations or entire genes into an organism's DNA, speeding up the process of generating plants with specific features since the mutations are no longer random and are much less likely to add undesired phenotypes.


In Genotype, for game purposes, there are several key liberties taken regarding mutations. When the offspring Dice are rolled, a Die that lands on the "mutation" side is rerolled once, then kept if it occurs on a reroll. This rate of mutation (a 1 in 9 chance per Die) is astronomically high compared to the mutation rates seen in the real world. When scientists use chemical mutagens, they try to keep the mutation rates around 1% or lower, because too many mutations in a plant can be harmful and ultimately make it harder to breed.

In the game, players get to choose what mutation best suits them; in reality, mutation is random. The player can then choose how to use the mutation Dice to their advantage: to Validate Traits, or create Traits which are impossible with the parental genotypes in play. For scientists using mutagens, the randomization of mutation means they often have to screen tens of thousands of plants (even in a mutagenized population) to get a single mutation of interest.

The player can change both alleles at once in the game; however, this is not how mutations work in the real world. Random natural mutations occur in peas, but they only affect one allele at a time. Chemically mutated populations may have a mutation that affects both alleles, but that is also rare, and often when that happens the two mutations are genetically different for each allele.


Allele The variant forms of a gene which are passed down, often denoted by capital or lowercase letters (or f).

De novo mutation Genetic mutation which creates a new allele.

Dominant An allele that is always physically expressed if it is present.

Gene Unit of heredity that is passed down from parent to offspring.

Genotype The set of alleles that an organism has for a gene which determines its physical characteristics (phenotype).

Heterozygous Possessing two different alleles for a gene (such as Ff).

Homozygous Possessing two of the same alleles for a gene (such as FF or ff).

Phenotype The set of an organism's observable traits which are determined by that portion of its genetic makeup (genotype).

Punnett square A tool for demonstrating the type and distribution of offspring for a crossbreeding.

Recessive An allele that is not physically expressed when paired with a dominant allele, but may reappear in future generations.

Test cross Methodically breeding a plant to determine its unknown genotype by the distribution of traits among offspring.