On Heredity and Gene Dominance

I spent my night with Wikipedia last night reading up on genetics and heredity. Aside from being excellent  research for this project, I find the machinery of DNA incredibly fascinating. It’s literally natural technology and to learn about all its intricate details is phenomenal. I now have the task of attempting to simplify this system into a cute, fun flash game in a matter of 7 to 8 weeks, and I’m entirely up to the challenge.

One of the major aspects of heredity is trait dominance. DNA essentially has 2 copies of each gene (pardon me if I confuse terminology anywhere in this explanation). One from each parent. One of these traits will be dominant to the other, causing that trait to be expressed in the individual. The DNA for that individual still contains the recessive trait which can potentially be passed on to its offspring.

Now comes the question of how to abstract this into my own virtual DNA (or VNA) system. I hesitate to simply declare certain genes dominant and others recessive, because it would seem like that would end up with all creatures eventually looking the same. The other question I found myself faced with was weither to replicate the two sets of traits for the possibility of recessive traits emerging in successive generations or if I should simplify it to one set and simply pick which traits are passed to the offspring at the time of (virtual) chromosomal crossover. One thing that’s clear: the crossover function will be the keystone to this whole VNA system. More on that as it develops.