Genotype vs Phenotype
Genotype vs. Phenotype

The main difference between genotype and phenotype is that genotype refers to those set of genes in our DNA that are responsible for a particular trait while phenotype is the physical characteristics or expression of that trait.

Comparison Chart

Basis of Distinction Genotype Phenotype
Definition Genotype is about the information within the genetic makeup of a specific organism Phenotype is the expression of gene information which is observable with the senses
Depends Upon The hereditary information that was given to an individual by their parents Genotype plus environment results in phenotype
Contains All the hereditary information of an individual, even if those genes are not expressed Expressed genes only
Inheritance Partly inherited by offspring, as one of the two alleles is passed on during reproduction Cannot be inherited
Can be Determined By Using a biological assay, such as PCR to find out what genes are on an allele Observation of the individual
Appearance Inside the body Outside the body
Examples DNA and susceptibility to diseases Eye color, hair color, weight, etc.

What is Genotype?

Genotype is a wider term that is used in multiple ways but its short meaning it stands for the genetic composition of an individual. Genotype can be referred to the particular SNP of an individual. It is the genotype at the SNP that determines earwax. The genotype is the important type of the DNA sequence of the genetic and involved in the makeup of cell and determines the particular characteristic of that individual, cell, and organism. It is one of the three factors that determine phenotype. The genotype of a person influences the way he looks and how he responds to the different medicines and how likely he develops certain conditions. Overall, the genotype is the complete heritable genetic identity of someone. It is the unique genome of a person that would be show off by personal genome sequencing. In a broad sense, it can refer just to a particular gene or set of genes carried by an individual. For example, if a person carries a mutation that can result in diabetes then he may refer to his genotype just on this mutation without consideration of all the other gene variants that he may carry.

Genotype vs Phenotype
Genotype vs. Phenotype

What is Phenotype?

The phenotype is the study of the behavioral and physical characteristics of an individual such as blood pressure, eye color, hair color, etc. The phenotype of an individual is affected by both environment and genes. In most of the traits examples like freckles, genes play a major role. In a nutshell, the phenotype of an individual is a description of his actual physical characteristics. This includes the visible physical characteristics already discussed. Do you like dogs? Are you calm or anxious? All these examples are the ways in which you introduce yourself to the word and as such are considered phenotypes. For the information of the readers, all phenotypes are not the direct result of the genotypes. Chances are there that the personal disposition of a person to cats is the result of their life’s experience with pets rather than a mutation in a hypothetical cat fancier gene. Normally, phenotypes are influenced by the both genotype and the unique environments of an individual in which he or she have lived his or her life, including all those things that have ever happened to him or her. These two inputs are often referred as nature and nurture.

Key Differences between Genotype and Phenotype

  1. Genotype tells about the alleles an organism carries for a particular characteristic while phenotype is the outward appearance of characteristics described in words.
  2. Genotype is about genes while phenotype is about structures.
  3. Phenotypes id dependent on the genotype as the genotype is the genetic programming that provides the phenotype.
  4. As compared to the phenotype, the study of evolution is largely based on the study of how genotypes shift in response to the interaction of phenotypes with the environment.
  5. Variation in phenotype inserts no effects on the genotype while variation to the genotype can result in potentially major alterations to the phenotype.
  6. The phenotype is about visible manifestations of characteristics and traits while sequencing of genes that dictate what physical and emotional traits will show.
  7. Genotype is studied and determined by observing DNA while phenotype is determined by observing the subject’s physical appearance.
  8. Genotype is affected by genes only while phenotype is affected by genotype, environment, and heredity.
  9. Phenotypes are related to those physical properties inside an organism which directly determine the chances of survival and reproductive output of that organism. On the other hand, genotypes refer to those inheritances of physical properties that occur only as a secondary consequence of the inheritance of genes.
  10. Genotype contributes to a trait, and the phenotype is the observable expression of the genes.
  11. The concept of genetic canalization addresses the extent to which an organism’s phenotype allows conclusions about its genotype while the phenotypic plasticity does not address this.
  12. According to evolutionary theory, traditional population genetic operates in the genotype space. According to biometric theory, plant and animal breeding operates in phenotype space.

Video Explanation