Difference Between Dominant and Recessive Traits

Traits, such as skin, hair or eye colour, are determined by genes. Each gene consists of two alleles, one from the mother and the other from the father. These alleles can either be recessive or dominant. In other words, traits are usually expressed when both the alleles are dominant. If some traits are absent or not expressed, but found in the parent, then the allele is said to be recessive. Read on to explore more differences between dominant and recessive traits.

Difference Between Recessive and Dominant Traits

Dominant Trait
Recessive Trait
Expression in an Individual
Dominant traits are always expressed when the connected allele is dominant, even if only one copy exists Recessive traits are expressed only if both the connected alleles are recessive. If one of the alleles is dominant, then the associated characteristic is less likely to manifest
Representation in Literature
Dominant allele is denoted by a capital letter Recessive allele is denoted by a small letter
Examples in Humans
  • V-shaped hairline
  • Almond-shaped eyes
  • Right handedness
  • Detached earlobes
  • Dark hair
  • Brown eyes
  • Straight hairline
  • Round eyes
  • Left handedness
  • Attached earlobes
  • Blond hair, red hair
  • Blue eyes (can also be a polygenetic trait)

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Frequently Asked Questions on Recessive and Dominant Traits

What is the difference between dominant and recessive traits?

Dominant traits are always expressed when the connected allele is dominant, even if only one copy of the dominant trait exists. Recessive traits are expressed only if both the connected alleles are recessive. If one of the alleles is dominant, then the associated characteristic is less likely to manifest.

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