Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype


Main Difference

The genotype of an individual is its genetical architecture and makeup. Genotype refers to the genes, their formation, recombination and all the inheritance characteristics falls in this term. How the genes of organisms are placed, how they are combined, what characters do they carry for inheritance, all these are the traits of genotype. On the other hand, the phenotype is the physical layout or observable characteristics and traits of an individual. How an organism look, what kind of color he has, all about the physical characters that can be seen are categorized in phenotype.

Comparison Chart

Genotype refers to the genetic makeup and architecture of the genes of an individual organism. It includes setup of genes and their formation.Phenotype refers to the physical layout and observable traits of individual organisms. Everything that can be seen of an individual is its phenotype.
Determined by
Genotype is determined by the genes, their formation and the inheritance character possessed by genes.The observable characters of the individual organism which include color, height, etc. These determine the phenotype of an individual.
Role of Inheritance
Genes are recombined containing inherited characteristics from the parents and pass down to the offspring.It is not directly involved in inheritance process. The genes inherit characters, and the traits are shown in offspring’s genotype and phenotype both.
Rely on
Genotype rely upon the hereditary characters passed by the parents.Phenotype relay on the genotype and other environmental factors as well.
All the dominant and recessive traits. All the genetic and hereditary information.Comprise of all the dominant traits of the genes.
Examples of traits
DNA identity, Hereditary disease, etc.Hair color, eye color, height, weight, skin color, etc.

What is Genotype?

Genotype is the genetic architecture, formation of genes, arrangement of genes and genetic makeup. Everything that relates and refers towards the genetic makeup of an individual organism is called its genotype. Often it is mixed with genes, and itself referred as genes, but it is not. Genotype is the layout of the genes the layout of the genes that how the genes are present, how they are combined, what kind of hereditary characters they possess, what alleles are combined from parents and much more other traits. All the information about the inheritance and characters that are to be passed from the parents to their offspring are present inside the genes. All the traits that are responsible for the genetic makeup of an individual organism fall into the category of genotype. All the information present on the alleles of the genes in the genotypic information that determines the hereditary characteristics and traits. After the genetic recombination, child DNA and genes are developed containing the inherited character from their parents. That formation and layout of the genes inside the child refer towards its genotype. Genotype is responsible for the phenotype as well. The characters present in the genotype which are passed down by the parents result into the observable characters termed as phenotype. In a nutshell, genotype referred towards the hereditary characters of possessed by an individual organism.


What is Phenotype?

The phenotype of an individual organism refers towards its all the physical characteristics and traits. We can also say that all the observable character present in an individual organism refers towards its phenotype. Everything which can be seen with our naked eyes regarding an individual organism that states its phenotype. Those physical characteristics and traits of an individual that are visible and observable fall in the category of the phenotype. The common phenotypical characteristics of an organism include its height, color of the eye, the color of skin, weight, the formation of the face, nose position, hair color, body posture, etc. In some cases, the behavioral characters and actions of an individual are also characterized by its phenotype as these are the observable characters and traits. The genotype determines the phenotype of an individual organism. The characters inherited from the parents in the genotype interacts and collaborate with the surrounding environment of an individual from its phenotype. Thus phenotype of any individual organism is formed and determined due to its genotype and the environmental factors influencing it. Sometimes it’s only surrounding environment and its factors that determine and make changes in the phenotype of an individual organism. In the rest cases, it is environment and genotype both that collectively determine the phenotype of an individual organism.

Genotype vs. Phenotype

  • Genotype is the genetic makeup of the genes of an individual organism.
  • Phenotype refers to all the physically observable characters and traits possessed by an individual organism.
  • Genotype contains hereditary information from parents.
  • The phenotype of an organism is determined by its genotype and other environmental factors.
  • Genotype is responsible for inheriting the characteristics from the parents to offspring.
  • Phenotype has no concern in inheritance phenomena as it is the result of inheritance itself.
  • Genotype with interactions with the environmental factors determines phenotypic characters of an individual organism.
Harlon Moss

Harlon currently works as a quality moderator and content writer for Difference Wiki. He graduated from the University of California in 2010 with a degree in Computer Science. Follow him on Twitter @HarlonMoss