Difference Between Genotype vs Phenotype

Difference Between Genotype vs Phenotype

Have you ever come across a person with facial dimples? They are usually cute and all, but why is this feature limited to certain people? The monosyllabic answer to that question is “genes.” This is a unit of hereditary that is responsible for the replication of certain traits in individuals who are biologically related. This is known as “genetic makeup.”

In this post, we will take a look at the difference between genotype and phenotype including their definitions, unique features, and how they can be used to differentiate between the genetic makeup of an individual.

Definition of Genotype

A genotype is defined as the complete set of gene carried by a particular organism that can be inherited by their offspring in their DNA. You may want to take note of the term “inherited” because that is the only way that genetic properties can be transferred from one person to another. This transfer is only possible through reproduction. This term was coined by Wilhelm Johannsen, a renowned expert in botany and genetics.

While there is a high chance that a trait can be expressed in the next generation of an organism, there is also a low chance that the trait will not be expressed. In other words, it is partly inherited. Scientists also believe that the expressions may not be exactly the same. According to history, there is a tendency of modification, mostly as a result of the environment and other biologically-related factors.

One fact to take note of in the genotype vs phenotype is that the former appears mostly inside the body as genetic material while the latter appears on the outside as seen in physical appearance. Some of the traits that can be expressed in this manner include blood group, certain diseases, height, eye color, and so on.

Definition of Phenotype

Phenotype is defined as an expression of the gene or an organism’s physical attributes, which may change with age. It can also be defined as the physical appearance of an organism. Such traits are observable and are not necessarily inherited, which means that the same phenotype may or may not belong to the same genotype.

Every expression of this form is physical, so they can be expressed in the shape or body physique of a person, for instance, the weight, hair color, and so on.

One way to show the variation in the phenotype vs genotype is in how they are determined. The latter is determined by using scientific methods like polymerase chain reaction (PCR) to find out the kind of genes on the allele while the former is determined by simply observing the organism.

In the other case, an organism is mostly influenced by the gene, but in this case, it is more than that, namely – genotype, environment, lifestyle, aging, etc. A good example is in the case of a feline litter. The kittens have the same parents, but they may have different physical features. This does not negate the fact that they have the same genetic makeup even though they have different phenotypes.

Main Differences Between Genotype vs Phenotype

Here are some of the key features that distinguish between these two terms.

Basis of ComparisonGenotypePhenotype
DefinitionThe complete set of gene carried by a particular organism which can be inherited by their offspring in their DNAAn expression of the gene or an organism’s physical attributes, which may change with age
ExpressionsExpressed as genetic materialsExpressed in physical appearances
InheritancePartly inheritedNot inherited
InfluencedAffected by the genetic makeup of the parent organismAffected by genotype and other environmental conditions
ProductionSame genotype produces same phenotypeSame phenotype does not produce same genotype

Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype: Conclusion

The difference between phenotype and genotype is not confusing at all. The former is concerned with the physical appearance of an organism as influenced by genetics and other factors while the latter is concerned with both observable and non-observable traits that are influenced by genes alone.

This explains how two siblings may have the same eye color but different body weight. To determine the latter, you would need to employ certain scientific procedures, unlike in the case of the former where observation is enough.