phenotype definition

Phenotype is understood to be all those particular and genetically inherited traits of any organism that make it unique and unrepeatable in its class. The phenotype refers mainly to physical and morphological elements such as hair color, skin type, eye color, etc., but in addition to the features that make up physical development, it also includes those associated with behavior and certain attitudes. .

Influence of the environment in the determination of the phenotype

Then the phenotype is the sum of the visibly evident features of an organism and that allow us to classify it as an integral part of a certain species. For its part, the genotype, consists of the genetic code that makes an organism the way it is, and that at the time of reproduction it will transmit to its offspring, and by case that new organism will belong to its species.

Meanwhile, in the phenotype, the influence that the environment has on its delimitation cannot be ignored, that is, the environment to which the organism is exposed is crucial in the expression of the phenotype.

The genetic information that an organism has makes it part of a certain species, however, it is not a condition sine quanom to know exactly that information to be able to identify a living being and this is possible precisely because of the phenotype that is the visible manifestation of that quality, meanwhile, the genetic code may be expressed in more than one phenotype, that is, in more than one series of characteristics.

The explanation for this circumstance is found in the environment in which the living organism is exposed.

For example, two people who belong to the same gender, the human, may have a different skin color because of the food they eat, their exposure to the sun, among other issues.

This versatility proposed by the phenotype in terms of the action of the environment is formally known as phenotypic plasticity, which would be the ability of a genotype to express itself in different phenotypes, that is, with different physical appearances in relation to the exposure it has. in the environments. Of course, adaptation to the environment will imply an increase in the possibility of survival of the phenotype in question.

The phenotype is composed of all the genetic traits that make up an individual or an organism of any type

However, the phenotype is not something that is already pre-determined but can be modified by the relationships that the organism maintains with the environment that surrounds it and that they do, in the same way, the product of a complex number of links. In this sense, the phenotype can indicate that a person will have a certain skin color, but this may vary in a specific way if during the person's life it is exposed in quantity to the sun, while the skin of another person may not react in the same way. This is also visible in organisms that are exposed to the erosion of elements such as water or the sun and that, therefore, will change their morphological characteristics in a particular way in each case.

The differentiation that exists between the different genetic codes of organisms of the same type is related to the notion of evolution and adaptation since the disorders or alterations that some phenotypes may suffer in relation to the environment may be the necessary changes for that organism it can adapt to the conditions that surround it instead of ceasing to exist. Here it is important to note that the distinction with the genotype of an organism is that the latter is composed only of the genetically acquired traits, while the phenotype is what, added to these traits, also contains the possible changes and variations that this set Genetic observes from interactions with the environment.