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What Is The Difference Between Genotype And Phenotype? In Detail

We explain that what is the difference between genotype and phenotype? Definition of both and how to identify genotype and phenotype with relationship of genotype and phenotype. In addition: comparison table to better understand the difference between genotype and phenotype.

Genotype and phenotype are two concepts belonging to genetics. Genetics is the branch of biology that studies the way in which biological inheritance is transmitted between generations. Its main object of study are genes, which are molecular units of information of this genetic inheritance. Within genes, is the genotype. Once the genotype has been manifested, the phenotype is then spoken of.

GeneThe genotype is made up of the genetic makeup of a cell. The genotype of an individual includes all the genes that may or may not be expressed, that is, that produce a certain protein.
Most genes have at least two alternative forms, called alleles . When the alleles are the same, the individual is homozygous; when the alleles are different, the individual is heterozygous.

For example, in pea plants, the gene for flower color has two alleles: the white allele and the purple allele. If the pea plant has two purple alleles, it is homozygous; if the plant has a purple and a white allele, the plant is heterozygous.

The phenotype refers to a trait that can be observed as physical or behavioral characteristics. In the case of pea plants, the phenotype of a plant with two purple alleles will be purple flowers, the phenotype of a plant with two white alleles will be white flowers. In the case of plants with a purple allele and a white allele, the phenotype will be purple flowers, because the purple allele is dominant.

See Also: What Is The Difference Between Genome And Genotype?

The Difference Between Genotype And Phenotype

Many times doctors and scientists talk about genotype and phenotype, but what is the difference between the two?

Genotype and phenotype are two concepts belonging to genetics.

alt=”genotype” width=”564″ height=”312″ />The genotype is the genetic code of the cells of an organism, which determines the characteristics of an individual.

The phenotype is the trait that we can observe, either as a physical characteristic or as a behavior.

The phenotype depends on the genotype, and can additionally be influenced by environmental and nutritional factors.

what is the difference between genotype and phenotype

Since the Austrian monk Gregor Mendel made breeding experiments by artificial selection with pea plants, understand how traits are transmitted from one generation to the next has been an important field of biology. Genetics is often used as a way to explain evolution , even if Charles Darwin didn’t know how it worked when he came up with the original Theory of Evolution. Over time, as society developed more technology, the marriage of evolution and genetics became apparent. Now, the field of Genetics is a very important part of the Modern Synthesis of the Theory of Evolution.

The Terms “Genotype” And “Phenotype”

To understand how genetics play a role in evolution, it is important to know the correct definitions of basic genetic terminology. Two of those terms that will be used repeatedly are genotype and phenotype . Although both terms have to do with the traits that individuals show, there are differences in their meanings.

It can serve you: What is genetics?

What Is A Genotype?

The word genotype comes from the Greek words “genos” which means “birth” and “typos” which means “mark”. While the whole word “genotype” does not exactly mean “birthmark” as we think of the phrase, it does have to do with the genetics that an individual is born with. A genotype is the actual genetic makeup or makeup of an organism.

Most genes are made up of two or more different alleles or forms of a trait. Two of those alleles join together to form the gene. That gene then expresses any dominant traits in the pair. It could also show a combination of those traits or show both traits equally, depending on the trait you are encoding. The combination of the two alleles is the genotype of an organism.

The genotype is often symbolized by two letters. A dominant allele would be symbolized by a capital letter, while the recessive allele would be represented by the same letter, but only in lowercase. For example, when Gregor Mendel did his experiments with pea plants, he saw that the flowers would be purple (the dominant trait) or white (the recessive trait). A purple-flowered pea plant may have the PP or Pp genotype. A white-flowered pea plant would have the pp genotype.

What Is A Phenotype?

The trait that is displayed due to coding in the genotype is called the phenotype . The phenotype is the actual physical characteristics that the organism displays. In pea plants, as in the example above, if the dominant allele for purple flowers is present in the genotype, then the phenotype would be purple. Even if the genotype had a purple allele and a recessive white allele, the phenotype would still be a purple flower. The dominant purple allele would mask the recessive white allele in this case.

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Identification Of Genotype And Phenotype

The genotype can be identified through various chemical tests that mainly consist of determining the genetic makeup of the individual. These tests include DNA analysis tests, paternity tests, and polymerase chain reaction (PCR), among others.

Relationship Between Genotype And Phenotype


The genotype of an individual comprises his entire genetic makeup. This includes dominant or recessive genes, regulatory sequences and what is known as junk DNA, which is DNA that is not yet known for what it is for.

The phenotype is the result of the genes that can be expressed and of the external factors that affect their expression: environmental, nutritional and chemical factors.

If we make the analogy of genotype and phenotype with a book, the genotype is the whole book: the leaves and what is written on them. The phenotype, on the other hand, is what we read in the book.

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Genetic Heritage

In organisms with sexual reproduction, sex cells or gametes have half the genetic load of the species. By combining a female gamete with a male one, they complete the individual’s genetic makeup. So, the genotype of this individual is the result of the combination of the genotypes of its procreators.

Although the phenotype is determined by the genotype, and this by heredity, there are other factors that affect phenotypic manifestations. For example, if a baby does not receive adequate nutrition during his first stage of life, he may not reach the height that was determined in his genes.

An individual’s phenotype can change during their lifetime, depending on which genes are expressed and how external conditions affect them. For example, a young child with green eyes may turn blue after a while.

what is the difference between genotype and phenotype

Comparative Chart

Genotype Phenotype
Definition The genotype is the set of genes and genetic information that make up an individual of any species.

The genotype is passed from generation to generation.

On the other hand, the phenotype is the expression in physical form of the characteristics of an individual of any species.
Can you see it with the naked eye? No.

The genotype is found on the chromosomes, which cannot be seen with the naked eye or interpreted by anyone. For this, molecular or cytogenetic procedures must be carried out.

Yes. The phenotype is the representation of the genotype. It is about the physical interpretation of the genetic material of an individual.
Etymology From the Greek genos = birth and ty pos = mark: birthmarks. From the Greek phainein = show and typos = mark: the marks that are shown.
Depends on Hereditary information that was given to an individual by his parents. Genotype


The nutrition

Heritage Hereditarily transmitted from parents to their offspring. Heredity plays a part.
Contains All the hereditary information of an individual. Observable features.
Measurement Biological tests and genetic sequencing. Through the senses, such as vision or touch.
Examples Sequence of recessive and dominant genes for blood groups.

The genotype is found in DNA, in the genetic information of each individual.

Blood groups A, B, AB, and O that are expressed in human red blood cells.

The color and shape of the eyes, the color and shape of the hair, the physical complexion, the height, the patterns in skin and hair (in animals, spots, curly hair, straight, long, short, etc).


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