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Difference between Heredity and Inheritance

Last updated date: 27th Feb 2024
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Introduction: Heredity and Inheritance

Heredity, the amount of all biological processes which transmit particular characteristics from the parents to their offspring. The principle of heredity encompasses two apparently paradoxical statements concerning organisms: a species ' constancy from generation to generation, and the variance within a community between individuals. Constancy and variability are in fact two sides of the same coin, as is evident in genetics research. Both facets of inheritance can be clarified by chromosomes, the functional units of genetic material found in all living cells.


Inheritance, also called inheritance, on the death of the owner, the devolution of property on one successor or heirs. Also, the word inheritance means the land itself. In modern society, the law regulates the process in minute detail. The related section is usually called the law of succession in the Civil Law of continental European style. It was customary in Anglo - American common law to differentiate between immovable descent and personal land distribution. The rules applicable to the two types of property were fused, but no specific, general name has yet been universally accepted.


This article provides you with brief notes of the difference between heredity and inheritance for NEET preparation.


The cause of the difference between heredity and inheritance is the way the genetic traits are interpreted. Heredity is defined as the genetic characteristics that are passed on from parents to offsprings; it is often known as genetics. Inheritance is the walkway that the genetic traits take and their expression from one generation to another. Inheritance is the essence of the pattern of heredity whereas the variation is called heredity.



  • Asexual or sexual reproduction has the effect of transmitting characteristics from parents to offspring. Heredity is a phenomenon and also referred to as vertical transmission

  • Offsprings receive genetic data from parents

  • As a result, differences between entities will accumulate allowing species to adapt hence the evolution by selection

  • Father sperm and mother's egg fuse to form a zygote. It involves genetic data from both parents.

  • Traits might be hair colour, eye colour, intellect, skin complexion, height, something

  • In evolution, genetics is the study of heredity.



  • Inheritance is the transition of genetic information from parent to child

  • Information is passed on by the DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid) found in the sex cells in the form of chemical codes.

  • The value of chromosomal variability is descent.

  • Chromosomes, succession engines, pass on genetic material

  • Gamete of the opposite sex engages in sexual reproduction in the form of genetic material contributing attributes

  • The genetic diseases such as haemophilia are manifestations of inheritance

  • Traits manifest themselves in the offspring after which they are passed onto the next generation.


Types of Inheritance

There are four types of inheritance-

  1. Complete Dominance - In this inheritance pattern, the dominant allele makes sure to mask the expression of the recessive cell. 

  2. Incomplete Dominance - In this Inheritance, each genotype has its own phenotype reason being in this scenario the heterozygous offspring show intermediate traits. To say it in a simple way, the genotype is equal to the phenotype.

  3. Co-Dominance - In this Inheritance, both the a and b alleles are expressed. Both a and b are not able to mask or show their dominance. 

  4. Sex-linked - In this Ineretence the gene is present in the sex chromosome. The reason is x chromosome is large and contains much more genes as compared to the Y chromosome. 

Terms to Remember

  1. Genotype - The genes that are present in an organism

  1. Phenotype - This refers to the physical appearance of an organism

  2. Allele - This refers to the one or two different forms of the same gene

  3. Locus - A location in a chromosome where we can find the gene

  4. Heterozygote - An organism that has two different alleles present for a trait.

  5. Homozygote - An organism that has two similar alleles present for a trait.

  6. Homologous Chromosomes - The presence of genes for the same kind of characteristics in a chromosome. They pair during the process of meiosis.

FAQs on Difference between Heredity and Inheritance

1. What is Inheritance in biology?

Heritage is the mechanism through which genetic information is transmitted from parent to child. Inheritance explains how genetic material is passed from parent to child.

2. Is inheritance the same as Genetics?

"Inherited is a word used by everyone to identify characteristics which are transmitted through genetics from parent to child. Often, it's confused with the word "familial," which sometimes means the same to people.

3. What is the Best Definition of Heredity?

Heredity is the evolutionary process that is responsible for transferring physical traits from one generation to the next.

4. What are the 5 Patterns of Inheritance?

Single - gene disorders have five basic inheritance modes: autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive, X - linked dominant, X - linked recessive, and mitochondrial.

Genetic heterogeneity is a widespread phenomenon that involves both single-gene and complex multi-factor diseases.

5. What is a vertical transmission?

Vertical transmission refers to the passage of transmission. In Humans diseases cause agents to travel from mother to baby. This usually occurs in the period before and after the mother gives birth to the baby. The transmission is usually found occurring in the placenta. This can also transmit through the mother’s breast milk or through direct contact between mother and child during or after birth. Some examples of vertically transmitted diseases can be HIV. This transmission is also known as perinatal transmission. 

6. What are traits?

A trait is a quality of a human being that distinguishes them from others. Traits are genetically determined conditions. These are present in humans in different ways. Physical traits, behavioural traits, personality traits etc. These are most of the time a result of the genes. Although it's been said that personality traits can be moulded there is very little chance of having different physical traits apart from your parents. Even in terms of behavioural traits, we tend to follow the path of our parental genes. 

7. What is a zygote?

A fertilized egg cell that forms a result of the unification of a female egg or ovum with a male sperm is called Zygote. A zygote is the first stage in the formation of a genetically unique entity. The zygote is made of genes combined from both parents thus this is diploid. A diploid is something that is carrying two types of chromosomes. In the case of identical twins, the development is due to the zygote which separates into two. These separate zygote cells then go to form the embryo.

8. What do you mean by DNA?

DNA is known as Deoxyribonucleic acid. It is a molecule made of two polynucleotide chains that wrap around each other and form a double helix that carries genetic instructions. These instructions are linked to the development, growth, functioning and reproduction of all. DNA exists if pairs don't exist in a single strand, these paired strands are tightly clenched together. Every cell in a human body has the same DNA. The DNA has stored information in the type of code.

9. What are Genetic diseases?

Genetic diseases occur due to change in sequence in the DNA. This can happen in one part of the body or can lead to disorder in the whole body. As science is progressing it has been noted that all diseases have a genetic component.  Some of the problems occur due to the mutation that the body inherits from the mother or father, while some occur due to acquired gene mutations in one life. Down syndrome is one example.