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Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype (With Table)

Genotype vs Phenotype

Both the terms, Genotype, and Phenotype, sound absolutely similar. But, they have quite a difference between them. Both the terms may be related to the same organism, even then, there is a huge difference between the terms as a whole.

Genotype is a part of the genetic area of a cell. In other words, it is a set of genes which are considered to be responsible for the unique and varying traits or characteristics of an organism.

Phenotype, on the other hand, is a term which is used to refer to the observable characteristics of an organism. In simple words, phenotype is the physical appearance of any organism or how it looks from the outside.

Both the terms are closely interlinked. This is mainly because genotype is one of the three ways to determine the phenotype of an organism. That is why, it is not necessary that organisms with same or similar genotype would appear similar physically.


Comparison Table Between Genotype and Phenotype (in Tabular Form)

Parameter of ComparisonGenotypePhenotype
MeaningGenotype refers to the set of genes which are responsible for unique characteristics of an organism.Phenotype refers to the physical appearance or characteristics of an organism.
PresenceIt is present inside the body in the form of genetic material.It expresses the genes in the form of external appearance.
DeterminationScientifics methods like polymerase chain reaction etc. are used to determine Genotype.Phenotype can be determined by simple observation of an organism.
InherenceGenotype is inherent, which means that it is inherited by an offspring from its parents.Phenotype, as a whole, cannot be inherited from a parent.
AffectIt is only affected by the genes inherited form the parent.It is affected not only by the genotype but also other things such as environmental conditions etc.
ExampleExamples of Genotype can be Blood Group, Eye colour, height, or genetic diseases.Phenotype could be weight or physique.


What is Genotype?

Genotype, in technical terms, is a part of the genetic make up or outlook of a cell. In simple words, it is the hereditary information of an organism in the form of DNA.

Genotype is something which remains constant throughout the life of an organism and cannot be changed by physical factors. This is because it is inherited by an offspring from its parents.

Genotype can only be identified through biological tests or scientific methods like polymerase chain reaction. It cannot be identified through mere observation, mainly because it is present in the cells inside the body.

Genotype is a major component of forming Phenotype. This means that the same kind of genotype will produce the same kind of Phenotype. Moreover, it is only affected by the genes and not any other factor as environmental conditions.

There are different types of Genotypes such as homozygous recessive, homozygous dominant or heterozygous. To better understand, genotypes are the set of genes which are responsible for certain biological traits of an organism, inherited from both the parents in case of sexual reproduction.

Genotypes can determine various characteristic such as the blood group of an organism, it’s color of the eye, the height of the organism etc. it is also responsible for carrying off any genetic disease from the parents to the offspring.


What is Phenotype?

Phenotype refers to the characteristics of an organism which are easily observable. In simple words, the physical appearance or characteristics of an organism are referred to as the phenotype.

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Phenotype is determined by three factors which are the genotype, inherited epigenetic factor along with non-inherited environmental factors. This means that all the organisms having the same or similar genotype will not appear or look exactly the same because of the difference in the other two factors determining the phenotype.

It also signifies that the same phenotype may or may not belong to the same genotype, again because of the other two factors. Apart from that, they aren’t wholly inherited from the parents by the offspring. Only the genotype part of a phenotype is inherited from the parents.

To determine a phenotype, it is not necessary to perform biological or scientific tests because it can be simply determined by careful observation of the organism under question.

To understand it better, phenotype are all the observable characteristics which are produced from the interaction of the genotype with the environment. This also suggests that phenotype can undergo numerous changes throughout the life of an organism.

Phenotypes also determine several characteristics of an organism such as the weight or physique of an organism etc.


Main Differences Between Genotype and Phenotype

Genotype and phenotype, even if belonging to the same person, are interlinked yet largely distinct things.

  1. The first and the foremost difference between a Genotype and a Phenotype is that genotype is present inside the cell as genetic material, within the body whereas phenotype mostly refers to the easily observable physical characteristics.
  2. Furthermore, biological and scientific tests or techniques are necessary to be performed to determine the genotype since it is present within the body. On the contrary, phenotype can be easily determined by carefully observing an organism.
  3. Another important distinction is that genotype is inherited by the offspring from the parent/s but phenotype, as a whole, is not inherited from the parent/s.
  4. A same genotype will necessarily produce the same phenotype but it is not mandatory for the same phenotype to belong to the same genotype.
  5. Genotype, since present as genetic material, is only affected by the genes. Phenotype, on the opposite side, is affected by factors other than genotype too, like non-inherited environmental factors.



It is not complicated to understand the difference between genotype and phenotype. These are just two complex looking medical terms that aren’t that complex to distinguish between.

To summarise, genotype is just the genetic material present inside the cells which is inherited by the offspring from its parents while phenotype is the observable characteristics of an organism which are a result of three factors including genotype and hence is not wholly inherited.


Word Cloud for Difference Between Genotype and Phenotype

The following is a collection of the most used terms in this article on Genotype and Phenotype. This should help in recalling related terms as used in this article at a later stage for you.

Word Cloud for Genotype and Phenotype



  1. https://www.karger.com/Article/Abstract/29497
  2. https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/nejm199310283291804
  3. https://science.sciencemag.org/content/328/5977/469.short
  4. https://www.bmj.com/content/308/6934/942.short