Polymorphism vs Inheritance
When the two terms polymorphism and inheritance are punched in an internet search engine, all the returned results would be related to computer programming languages and programmes. However, when the two terms are punched separately in your internet browser, the biological terminology is most likely to return as at least one of the results. In fact, these are highly discussed, taught, and researched terms in biology. Genetics and Evolutionary biology have the closest relationship with these terms. Therefore, it would be interesting to perform a comparison between the meanings of polymorphism and inheritance.
Polymorphism is a phenomenon that features the presence of two or more conspicuously distinctive phenotypes or morphs inside one species. Humans have three clearly different phenotypes or morphs inside the species Homo sapiens known as Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid. Black Panther of big cats is another classic example for the polymorphism. Different morphs of polymorphic species occur in the same time and occupy the same niche with other normal individuals. Sexual dimorphism is highly prominent among mammalians, and that is another exemplary type of polymorphism. The adaptability, genetic diversity, and biodiversity become high with the presence of the polymorphism. Polymorphism is a result of the evolution, and it inherits from one generation to the next. The process of natural selection modifies the extent of inheritance for the polymorphism. It is interesting to know that genetic polymorphism allows an individual to choose the most appropriate phenotype depending on the environmental demands. Polymorphism is not a rare but it is a quite common phenomenon among species. In fact, the term does not respect the uncommon variations. It was only used to describe different phenotypes that were visible in the early days, but now the unseen or cryptic variations such as blood types are considered as clearly different morphs.
Inheritance is the passing of traits to the offspring from the parental generation. However, inheritance has been a very highly used term in many areas including computer science, law, taxation, and many other social and cultural aspects. Biological inheritance, however, gives the basic concept of the term. Through inheritance, organisms acquire characteristics from their parents. In case of sexual reproduction, only the gametes with strong characters or traits would pass through to the offspring population. Boys usually love to mate with the best possible girl while girls strictly follow the same, so that the young ones would have a high chance of being strong. Everything related to biology is designed to promote the best possible genetic inheritance. Evolution through natural selection also takes place to thrive the best-inherited individuals. The mechanisms of inheritance are sometimes complex and sometimes simple. Mendel’s laws of genetics describe the basic and common mechanisms of genetic inheritance. The expressions of the phenotypes are purely based on the genotypes inherited from the maternal and paternal gametes. However, the environmental demands also have an impact on the phenotype. This term got the linguistic meaning of ‘passing by default’ through the technical understanding of obtaining everything from parents. That may be the reason the term has been used in a vast number of fields.
What is the difference between Polymorphism and Inheritance?
• Polymorphism is the presence of contrastingly different phenotypes in one species at a time while inheritance is the passing of traits from parents to the offspring.
• Polymorphism takes place because of the inheritance but not the other way around.
• Polymorphism is directly related with the phenotype while inheritance has the direct link to genotype.
• Polymorphism divides males from females while inheritance occurs only if the two sexes get together.