The key difference between genotype and phenotype is that the genotype is the set of genes in the DNA that are responsible for a trait while the phenotype is the physical expression of a particular trait.
Human Genetics and Molecular Biology are currently at the forefront, and the days of gene therapy are not that far away. Genetics and Hereditary Science had its foundation in the experimentations by the Augustinian priest Gregor Mendel. Heredity and genetics are founded on the premise that the genetic material of a person, the chromosomes, come from the mother and father. Usually, there is an equal distribution of quantities of genetic material. These chromosomes contain discrete areas called genes that have specific nucleotide sequences encoding for proteins. Specifically, genes contain coding information to produce polypeptides/proteins to carry out specific tasks in the human body. In genetic studies, we encounter two terms; genotype and phenotype frequently. Genotype represents the genetic composition of a particular trait while the phenotype is the physical expression of the trait.
What is Genotype?
Genotype is the full genetic makeup of a cell or an organism or an animal. Genotypes are famously different in individuals. Hence, no two persons carry the same genotype. So even if one locus is different between two individuals, then also we consider them as two separate genotypes. Moreover, the genotype is one of the actual factors which decide on the external, observable characteristics of a person.
Furthermore, the genotype is a determinant in the survival of that person and the reproductive potential. Thus, it is an intricate part of the evolutionary process. But the genotype does not determine all the factors, which are observable. Also, this is visible in monozygotic twins with the identical genetic makeup, but having different fingerprints. Besides, all the genetic information does not predict all the external characteristics of an individual.
What is Phenotype?
The phenotype is the above mentioned observable characteristics of a person or an organism. These include the morphology, biochemical properties, the physiology and the behaviour patterns.
Moreover, the phenotype is dependent on the genotype and the environment with the environmental interactions with the genotype. The ratio of this balancing act is known as the phenotypic plasticity. Thus, greater the phenotypic plasticity, then greater the influence of the environment to affect the phenotype. Also, the concept of genetic canalization is present. This concept addresses the ability to predict the genotype based on the phenotype.
What are the Similarities Between Genotype and Phenotype?
- Genotype and phenotype are two terms used in genetics.
- Both genotype and phenotype are related to each other.
- Environmental factors affect both of them.
What is the Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype?
Genotype is the genetic information of a gene that codes for a particular trait or an organism. On the other hand, the phenotype is the visible or observable expression of a particular trait. Therefore, this is the key difference between genotype and phenotype. As an example, the characteristic ‘height”, TT, Tt, tt are the genotypes while tall or short are the phenotypes.
Furthermore, the genotype is not observable to the naked eye. However, a genetic test can show it. On the other hand, the phenotype is visible to our naked eye. Thus, this is another difference between genotype and phenotype. Moreover, another difference between genotype and phenotype is that the influence of the environmental factors on genotype is less compared to the influence of environmental factors on phenotype.
Summary – Genotype vs Phenotype
In summary, the genotype is what we cannot see, but can be quantified with scientific means and still beyond the point of manipulation. It is the genetic information of a particular trait. On the other hand, the phenotype is the observable effect of the genotype that is visible to us. But phenotype is not wholly dependent on the genotype. It also depends on the environmental factors as well. Furthermore, genotype does not change with time while phenotype may change with time. Thus, this summarizes the difference between genotype and phenotype.
1. YourDictionary. “Examples of Genotype & Phenotype.” YourDictionary, 28 June 2016. Available here