We explain what the genotype is and what is its difference with the phenotype. Also, why is it important, what is the human genome and examples.

All the characteristics that make up the individual are found in the genotype.

What is the genotype?

By genotype we mean the whole of the Genetic information stored in the DNA of a particular organism, the totality of which in terms of species makes up the genome. Or put another way: each living being has a specific genotype, which is the total of the genetic information housed in its cells; but the genotype of the entire species constitutes the human genome.

In the information contained in the genotype are all the characteristics that constitute the individual, from their internal functioning, their physical appearance and their possible congenital diseases. The physical manifestation of such information, also influenced by the environment, is what is considered the phenotype. I mean:

Genotype + Environment = Phenotype.

The study of genes and inheritance has allowed us Humans understand much better than ever the ways in which biological information is transmitted from one generation to the next, which occurs through the replication of genes contained in the genotype.

Difference between genotype and phenotype

The phenotype is the physical manifestation of the genotype influenced by the environment.

The difference between genotype and phenotype is the difference between the template and the result. The genotype operates as a template or a pattern, that is, as a set of genetic information that determines each fundamental aspect of the constitution and functioning of the body of a living being.

On the other hand, the phenotype is the result of the materialization or expression of said template, which can occur more or less faithful to the guidelines, depending on the environment in which the individual develops.

Thus, the genotype allows the transmission of genetic information, even when said information is not expressed or materialized in the phenotype of the individual. That is the reason why it could instead manifest itself in a descendant of his, since he has received the genetic information in inheritance.

Importance of the genotype

The genotype is the set of genetic information, which contains the evolutionary successes and failures of a species, something fundamental for future generations that will perpetuate it. In that sense, it is the greatest biological treasure of each species of living being, and the damage it may suffer from sources such as ionizing radiation, certain diseases or some chemical substances, put in risk the durability of this information.

Human genome

Studies try to know which segments determine which phenotypes in each individual.

The genome of the human species has been the object of study during the second half of the 20th century, especially after the inauguration in 1990 of the Human Genome Project, aimed at determining the exact sequence of the chemical bases that make up the DNA of our species, and then identify and map them, in order to “translate” that genetic information and know which segments determine which phenotypes in the genome of each individual of the species. This task was completed in July 2016, although the exact function of each segment is not yet known, but there is a very good map of its entirety and its main content areas.

Thanks to this, many congenital diseases can be better understood and attacked in contemporary medicine, and the doors were opened to gene therapy, which is giving great results in the eradication of diseases until now considered incurable.

Genotype examples

It is difficult to properly give examples of a genotype, but we can give examples of information contained in the genotype of a species, such as:

  • Predispositions to suffer from certain diseases or to suffer from ailments derived from a specific condition in the metabolism or any other body system.
  • Visually identifiable physical features, such as color of hair and eyes, skin tone, facial features or hair density.
  • Body proportions, such as height, propensity for obesity, etc.
  • Certain behavioral tendencies that are linked in some way to the brain, nerve transmission, or assimilation of ingested substances through feeding.
!-- GDPR -->