Genotype and phenotype: definitions, difference, explanations!

Have you always wanted to know the difference between genotype and phenotype? If you want to know more about these very different concepts in science, then you are in the right place. We take stock of these notions which can be confused but which in reality have nothing to do with it. We also give you tips to avoid deceiving yourself between genotype and phenotype.

Article plan

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  • Genotype: definition
  • Phenotype: definition
  • Difference between genotype and phenotype
  • Achieving a genotype and a phenotype
  • What is heredity?

Genotype: Definition

By definition, in natural sciences (biology), genotype corresponds to a genetic code . So understand that an organism’s genes set form an allelic composition that is this genetic code.

Every individual has a genetic composition, which will influence many criteria, such as physical traits. A genotype is invisible to the naked eye. It is directly related to the characteristic of the cell. A cell contains a quantity ofinformation that comes from both the father and the mother (2 alleles). These two alleles can then give a homozygous combination (identical alleles) or heterozygous (different alleles).

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Phenotype: Definition

A phenotype is a visible trait. This is actually what flows from the genotype. We see a phenotype: it can, for example, correspond to a hair color or a hair texture. A phenotype is seen on the body with the naked eye.

The phenotype therefore depends directly on the genotype. The phenotype can also be influenced by many influences, including environmental factors. A line can thus be observed on the body, such as the morphology of a particular part of the body, the shape of the nails, the color of the eyes, or a trait of character or behavior.

Difference between genotype and phenotype

A genotype is not a phenotype. It seems rather that it is the genotype that favors the turn that this or phenotype will take, but the reverse does not work.

It is important to remember that a genotype sequences at the cellular level, whereas a phenotype is indeed visible to the naked eye, with all the physical characteristics it implies.

Achieve a genotype and a phenotype

Genotype and phenotype are not realized in the same way. These two tables of information are both done by observation, but this observation is not done on the same scale .

The Genotyping is carried out following a biological test that identifies which genes correspond to which allele. All information of a hereditary nature is thus listed, some of which is expressed via the phenotype, or not expressed.

A characteristic example is the gene of blond hair present on either side of the family, but which has not expressed itself in physical trait in the child. A gene can thus be contained in an allele and skip one generation or more.

The phenotype is much simpler to realize than a genotype since it is based on all the characteristics visible to the naked eye or observable on the body and mind. These are only the expressed genes .

A phenotype can therefore evolve according to the age of the person, especially when a brown child gradually becomes blond by taking the gene of one or the other parent, present in his cellular information (genotype) since conception.

What is heredity?

Heredity corresponds to what can be transmitted from generation to generation in genes. An entire genome can pass through centuries without being modified by environmental factors, unlike phenotype.

For example, the environment can have an effect on the evolution of a particular physical trait. Phenotypes are therefore not hereditary since they are unique and evolve according to the person (weight, etc.). A genotype, in itself, is not sensitive to the environment: this information is immutable and confined to the cellular level .

It is also up to us that following a genotyping, can extract a quantity of phenotypes and their variants, which will correspond to the number of individuals (descendants) observed within the same family.

“ A genotype is partly hereditary, a phenotype is not hereditary.”

Now you have the basis to understand the differences between a genotype and a phenotype. For fun, you can observe your entourage and make parallels between the features you see. Variants of phenotypes are fascinating! You will not be able to carry out a genotype, unless you request it to a laboratory, in order to carry out a biological test.

For example, when a paternity test is performed to find out whether or not a child is the son of such a child, it is the genotype and DNA that we refer to. In a few words, to achieve a genotype, observation is made from within the body, at the scale of cells and alleles , whereas for a phenotype, the observation will only be done on the physical or moral traits observed in the person concerned. Surprising and exciting for all scientists!

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