10 Difference Between Genotype And Phenotype With Examples

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Genotype and phenotype are two fundamental terms in the science of genetics used to explicate the appearance, function and behavior of an organism. The two terms are often used at the same time to describe the same organism but there is a big difference between. The phenotype is the result of genetic factors, environmental influences and random genetic variations whereas genotype is the set of genes that when expressed determines the characteristic or traits of an organism.

What Is Genotype?

Genotype can be described as the genetic makeup of an organism or group of organism with reference to a single trait, set of traits or entire complex traits. The genotype is one of the three factors that determine phenotype, along with inherited epigenetic factors and non-inherited environmental factors. Not all organisms with the same genotype look or behave the same way because appearance and behavior are modified by environmental and growing conditions.

Genotype is determined by the makeup of alleles, pairs of genes responsible for particular traits. An allele can be made up of two dominant genes, a dominant and a recessive gene or two recessive genes. The combination of the two and which one is dominant, determines what trait the allele will express.

Genotype simply means what alleles are carried in a particular organism’s DNA. It can’t be determined by simple observation; it requires biological testing. Genotype is inherited from an organism’s parents and expresses all of the genetic information about it.

An example of a characteristic determined by a genotype is the petal color in a pea plant. The two alleles for petal color are purple and white.

What You Need To Know About Phenotype

  • Genotype is the hereditary information of the organism in the form of gene in the DNA and remains the same throughout the life.
  • Genotype cannot be studied through direct observation, it can be determined by genotyping or by studying ancestors, mating and offspring.
  • Genotype comprises genes which are transmitted from parents to offspring.
  • Same genotype produces same phenotype.
  • Examples include the different genes or sets of genes in a DNA which are responsible for different traits like eyes color, dark hair, fair complexion, genetic disease, blood group etc.
  • It remains the same throughout the life of an individual.
  • It is not influenced by phenotype.
  • It is partially inherited by offspring as one of the two alleles from one parent is passed on during reproduction.
  • Genotype is present inside the body as genetic material.

What Is Phenotype?

Phenotype can be described as all observable characteristics of an organism as a result of the interaction of the genes of the organism, environmental factors and random variation. The phenotype of an organism does not only involve the observable characteristics such as morphology but it will also include molecules and structures such as RNA and proteins produced as coded by the genes. This is commonly referred to as molecular phenotype.

Examples of observable characteristics include:

  • Eye color
  • Hair color
  • Height
  • Sound of your voice
  • Certain types of genetic diseases
  • Size of a bird’s beak
  • Length of a fox’s tail color of the stripes on a cat
  • Color of the stripes on a cat
  • Size and shape of the spots on a dog’s back
  • An individual’s shoe size.

Phenotype may change significantly throughout the life of an individual because of environmental changes and the physiological and morphological changes associated with aging. Environmental factors that may influence the phenotype include nutrition, temperature, humidity and stress.

What You Need To Know About Phenotype

  • Phenotype is the visible physical characteristics or morphology of an organism like skin color, height, eye color etc.
  • Phenotype can be determined through direct observation.
  • Phenotype is determined by genotype, environment influence on genotype and random variation.
  • Same phenotype may or may not belong to same genotype.
  • Examples include weight, physique, beak of birds etc.
  • It changes with time e.g infant, adult and old.
  • Genotype establishes the limits within which a phenotype can be expressed.
  • Phenotype cannot be inherited.
  • Phenotype is the expression of genes as the external appearance.

Also Read: Difference Between Autosomes And Sex Chromosomes

Difference Between Genotype And Phenotype In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON GENOTYPE PHENOTYPE
Description Genotype is the hereditary information of the organism in the form of gene in the DNA and remains the same throughout the life.   Phenotype is the visible physical characteristics or morphology of an organism like skin color, height, eye color etc.  
Study Genotype cannot be studied through direct observation, it can be determined by genotyping or by studying ancestors, mating and offspring.   Phenotype can be determined through direct observation.  
Influence Genotype comprises genes which are transmitted from parents to offspring.   Phenotype is determined by genotype, environment influence on genotype and random variation.  
Nature Same genotype produces same phenotype.   Same phenotype may or may not belong to same genotype.  
Examples Examples include the different genes or sets of genes in a DNA which are responsible for different traits like eyes color, dark hair, fair complexion, genetic disease, blood group etc.   Examples include weight, physique, beak of birds etc.  
Change Ability It remains the same throughout the life of an individual.   It changes with time e.g infant, adult and old.  
Limit It is not influenced by phenotype.     Genotype establishes the limits within which a phenotype can be expressed.  
Inheritance It is partially inherited by offspring as one of the two alleles from one parent is passed on during reproduction.   Phenotype cannot be inherited.  
Presence It is present inside the body as genetic material.   It is the expression of genes as the external appearance.  

Also Read: Difference Between Continuous And Discontinuous Variations

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