Difference Between Dominant and Recessive Traits

Characteristics such as skin, hair or eye color are determined by genetics. Each gene has two alleles, one from the mother and one from the father. These alleles can be recessive or dominant.

Difference Between Dominant and Recessive Traits

In other words, traits are usually expressed when two alleles are dominant. If a certain trait is absent or not expressed, but is found in the parents, the allele is said to be recessive. Read on to learn more differences between dominant and recessive traits.

What is Dominant Traits?

Dominant traits are characterized by their ability to be expressed in individuals with at least one copy of the dominant allele.

This means that even if an individual carries one dominant allele and one recessive allele, the dominant trait will be seen in their development.

Dominant traits are often observed in offspring because of their ability to mask the presence of a degenerate allele. Examples of dominant traits include dark hair color, overlapping earlobes, and the ability to roll the tongue.

What is Recessive Traits?

On the other hand, recessive traits are shown when an individual carries a copy of the recessive allele. In the presence of the dominant allele, the recessive trait remains latent in the phenotype.

traits are rare in the population compared to most traits because they require two copies of the recessive allele to be expressed. Examples of recessive traits are blue eye color, tumors, and abilities when you taste a certain chemical compound called phenylthiourea (PTC).

Difference Between Dominant and Recessive Traits

Dominant Trait Recessive Trait

Expression in an Individual

Dominant traits are always expressed when the connected allele is dominant, even if only one copy exists Recessive traits are expressed only if both the connected alleles are recessive. If one of the alleles is dominant, then the associated characteristic is less likely to manifest

Representation in Literature

Dominant allele is denoted by a capital letter Recessive allele is denoted by a small letter

Examples in Humans

  • V-shaped hairline
  • Almond-shaped eyes
  • Right handedness
  • Detached earlobes
  • Dark hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Straight hairline
  • Round eyes
  • Left handedness
  • Attached earlobes
  • Blond hair, red hair
  • Blue eyes (can also be a polygenetic trait)


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