Genetic vs Hereditary: Difference and Comparison

Genetic is a term that is used interchangeably with the term hereditary due to its common features. However, both words have different implications. The generic disease occurs due to abnormal changes in a person’s genome. Hereditary diseases also have some noticeable characteristics and are caused by a gene mutation.

Key Takeaways

  1. Genetic refers to the information contained within genes, while hereditary pertains to traits passed down through generations.
  2. Genetic factors include mutations, while hereditary factors encompass genetic and epigenetic influences.
  3. Genetic research focuses on individual genes, whereas hereditary studies consider the transmission of traits from parents to offspring.

Genetic vs Hereditary

The difference between genetic and hereditary is that genetic disease always has a mutational change in the genome. It can either be hereditary or not. On the other hand, hereditary diseases can be carried by the gene’s mutation from generation to generation. While genetic diseases are not always carried from one generation to another.

Genetic vs Hereditary

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Genetics deals with inheritable traits passed along in the DNA molecule. A genome abnormality can cause a genetic disease. If any changes happen with our DNA structure, it can cause abnormal function of a cell. This is called a generic condition. Genetics is similar to heredity, but both have functional differences. All genetic things are not transmitted to the next generation.

Hereditary is co-related to something that is passed from one generation to another, from parents to children. It is specifically the study of diseases that are transmitted from generation to generation. The term Hereditary is an old term that refers to specific mechanisms of biological inheritance.

Comparison Table

Parameters of Comparison  Genetic  Hereditary  
Definition  Genetic is the broad concept of biological inheritance where a genome mutation appears.  Hereditary is a concept of transforming genetic information from one generation to another.  
Generation transmission  Genetic diseases are always not transmittable from generation to generation.  Hereditary diseases pass from generation to generation.  
Disease  Diabetes, down syndrome, cancer, thalassemia, etc.  Down syndrome, spherocytosis, achondroplasia, hemophilia, sickle cell anemia, etc.  
Mutational Changes  Due to abnormality of a genome condition.  Due to mutation of a gene.  
What is it  Genetics is a broader concept of theories and tools.  It is a sub-branch of genetic.  

What is Genetic?

Genetics is the scientific study of genes, heredity, and genetic variations. It is a branch of biology that studies how traits are passed from one generation to another. Not only that but also it studies the DNA of organisms. An unusual change in the genetic makeup can cause genetic disease.

Genetic disease occurs due to an unnatural mutation of a genome, and it can either be hereditary or not. Some genetic diseases include cancer, diabetes, and down syndrome, and all of them are the results of a gene mutation. Moreover, the study of hereditary is known as genetics.

Our genetic materials are stored in our DNA, mainly resulting from inheritance from our parents. Sometimes it is a particular coding that exists in our genes, but it is very important to note that all genetic diseases or disorders are not passed from generation to generation. Moreover, genetics is a broader concept. It is completely related to our biological inheritance.

genetic drift

What is Hereditary?

Hereditary is the concept of a biological inheritance of the characteristics that we get from our parents. It is the transmission of genetic characteristics from our parents to the next generation. The concept of hereditary can be described from parents to offspring.

Hereditary diseases are something that runs in the family. It passes from one generation to another generation. Genetic mutations or gene mutations cause these types of diseases. Sometimes some environmental factors are responsible for these genetic mutations. Some researches show that some cancers are hereditary.

Everyone doesn’t get diseases that inherit a gene mutation, but development is possible. As a result, you can also get a hereditary disease that your parents never had. Diseases like sickle cell anaemia, cystic fibrosis, and Down syndrome are the effect of a gene mutation. Some other examples of hereditary diseases include haemophilia, Turner syndrome, albinism, galactosemia, etc.


Main Differences Between Genetic and Hereditary

  1. We can call a disease genetic when it causes a change in the genome structure. On the other hand, we can call a disease hereditary only when a genetic mutation takes place and transmits from generation to generation.
  2. Genetics is not only a concept but also an understanding of the tools and theories of heredity. On the other hand, hereditary is a concept that is not as broad as genetics. It is a sub-branch of genetics.
  3. Genetic is a specific term related to biological inheritance. On the other hand, hereditary is an older term and related to anything passed from one generation to another.
  4. Diabetes, down syndrome, thalassemia, and cystic fibrosis are some common examples of genetic disorders. On the other hand, haemophilia, sickle cell anaemia, muscular dystrophy, cystic fibrosis, etc., are some common examples of hereditary diseases.
  5. In the case of genetic disease, it doesn’t pass from one generation to another unless there is a hereditary transmittable potential. Hereditary diseases always are transmittable.
Difference Between Genetic and Hereditary

Last Updated : June 11th, 2023

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