Difference Between Gene and Allele

The difference between Gene and Allele is quite easy to comprehend once you understand the basics. Let’s take a closer look at them:

Genes are the most basic and functional unit of heredity. In other words, it means that genes make up our DNA and are responsible for all the genetic traits that we have. And in humans, everyone has two copies of each gene, one from each parent. Usually, these genes are same for all individuals, but less than 1% of the total differ between individuals and these are responsible for the variations and uniqueness of each individual. These changes or alternation in the genes are called an Allele.

Difference Between Gene and Allele

A gene, essentially is part of the DNA and it decides the genetic traits of all individuals. And alleles are the different variations of the same gene and they determine a single characteristic. The difference between Gene and Allele can be better understood with the help of this table:

Difference Between Gene and Allele



Genes do not occur in pairs

Alleles occurs in pairs

Genes are passed down from parents

Alleles decide how features are determined in a person

No generalization can be made for genes

A pair of alleles produces opposing phenotypes (a description of the actual physical characteristics)

All humans share the exact same genes

The expression of these genes are decided by alleles

In conclusion, everyone inherits a pair of genes from their parents, and these genes are identical for each other. Now, each individual has obvious and these changes are the result of alleles.

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