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Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

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Last updated date: 22nd Mar 2024
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Dominant and Recessive: An Introduction

Imagine a family where the father has blue eyes and the mother has brown eyes. To their surprise, their first child is born with blue eyes, just like the father. However, when their second child is born, they notice something fascinating. The child has brown eyes, just like the mother. How is it possible? This intriguing incident highlights the concepts of dominant and recessive traits in biology.


In genetics, dominant and recessive are terms used to describe the expression of specific alleles, or alternative forms of a gene, within an individual's genetic makeup. These concepts help us understand how certain traits are inherited from our parents and passed down through generations. Let's delve deeper into the definitions, interesting facts, and characteristics of both dominant and recessive alleles to gain a better understanding of their role in genetics. So in this article, we will study the difference between dominant and recessive.

Dominant Traits: Unveiling the Powerhouses of Inheritance

Dominant: A dominant allele is an allele that is expressed phenotypically when present in either the heterozygous (one dominant and one recessive allele) or homozygous (two dominant alleles) state.

Recessive: A recessive allele is an allele that is expressed phenotypically only when present in the homozygous state (two recessive alleles).

Let's understand more about it by going through their facts and how they are important. In this way, I will be able to explain dominant and recessive in more detail.


Interesting Facts about Dominant and Recessive

Dominant traits are genetic characteristics that are visibly expressed in individuals even if they possess only one copy of the dominant allele. Recessive traits are genetic characteristics that are expressed only when an individual inherits two copies of the recessive allele. Let's learn some interesting facts about Dominant and Recessive.


Dominant alleles are not necessarily more common than recessive alleles. The prevalence of a specific allele in a population depends on various factors such as natural selection and genetic drift.


Some genetic disorders and diseases, such as cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia, are caused by recessive alleles. These conditions require the presence of two recessive alleles for the disease to manifest.


Traits controlled by dominant alleles tend to be more easily observed in offspring, while traits controlled by recessive alleles may be hidden in certain generations. This can lead to surprises when traits reappear in later generations.


Dominant and recessive traits are determined by the interaction of alleles at specific gene loci. Other factors, such as gene dosage and gene interactions, can also influence the expression of traits.


These facts guide us towards understanding the dominant and recessive difference.

Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

Below table explains the dominant and recessive difference in different categories:


S.No

Category

Dominant     

    Recessive

1.

Expression

Expressed in both heterozygous and homozygous states.

Expressed only in the homozygous state.

2.

Masking

Masks the expression of recessive alleles.

Can be masked by the presence of a dominant allele.

3.

Inheritance

Can be inherited from one parent.

Can be inherited from both parents.

4.

Phenotype

More likely to be expressed in the phenotype.

Less likely to be expressed in the phenotype unless in the homozygous state.

5.

Occurrence

Dominant traits can be more common in populations.

Recessive traits are typically less common in populations.

6.

Relationship to Disease

Dominant alleles can contribute to the development of certain genetic disorders.

Recessive alleles are more commonly associated with genetic disorders when two copies are present.


Characteristics of dominant and recessive

Dominant Traits are Visibly expressed, strong influence on phenotype, widespread distribution. Recessive Traits are hidden unless two copies inherited, sporadic distribution, delayed expression in homozygous individuals.


Dominant traits are characterised by their ability to be expressed in individuals who possess 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 observed in their phenotype. Dominant traits tend to be more easily observed in offspring due to their ability to mask the presence of recessive alleles. Examples of dominant traits include dark hair colour, attached earlobes, and the ability to roll the tongue.


Recessive traits, on the other hand, are only expressed when an individual carries two copies of the recessive allele. In the presence of a dominant allele, the recessive trait remains hidden in the phenotype. Recessive traits tend to be less common in populations compared to dominant traits, as they require both copies of the recessive allele for expression. Examples of recessive traits include blue eye colour, freckles, and the ability to taste a certain chemical compound called phenylthiocarbamide (PTC).


Summary 

Dominant alleles are expressed phenotypically in both the heterozygous and homozygous states, while recessive alleles are only expressed when present in the homozygous state. Dominant alleles mask the expression of recessive alleles. Dominant traits tend to be more easily observed in offspring, while recessive traits may be hidden in certain generations.

FAQs on Difference Between Dominant and Recessive

1. Can a recessive trait be passed on if only one parent carries the recessive allele?

Yes, it is possible for a recessive trait to be passed on if only one parent carries the recessive allele. In this case, the parent would be a carrier of the recessive allele, meaning they possess one copy of the allele but do not exhibit the trait themselves. If the other parent also carries the recessive allele or expresses the recessive trait, there is a chance that their offspring may inherit two copies of the recessive allele and express the trait.

2. Can two individuals with dominant traits have offspring with a recessive trait?

Yes, it is possible for two individuals with dominant traits to have offspring with a recessive trait. If both individuals are heterozygous carriers of the recessive allele, meaning they carry one copy of the dominant allele and one copy of the recessive allele, there is a chance that their offspring may inherit two copies of the recessive allele and express the recessive trait.

3. Why are dominant traits more easily observed in offspring?

Dominant traits are more easily observed in offspring because they only require one copy of the dominant allele to be expressed phenotypically. This means that if an individual carries even just one dominant allele, they will exhibit the dominant trait. In contrast, recessive traits require both copies of the recessive allele to be present for expression. Therefore, recessive traits may be masked by the presence of a dominant allele and only expressed when an individual inherits two copies of the recessive allele, one from each parent.