Difference Between Dominant and Recessive Traits

A trait is a phenotypic feature of an individual that results due to certain genetic factors. The trait that is expressed first in an individual and is identifiable is called the dominant trait. On the other hand, the trait that is present at the level of genes but is masked and does not express in the individual is called the recessive trait.

Traits can be determined by genes, environmental factors, or by a combination of both. Dominant and recessive traits exist when a trait has two different forms at the gene level. This is governed by the genetic phenomena of dominance. 

This article will help you understand the main concepts and key differences between Dominant and Recessive traits.

Will a Trait be Dominant or Recessive?

To understand the concept of dominant and recessive traits, it becomes important to know what an “allele” is. Genes are the carriers of information that determine an organism’s traits, and alleles are different copies of the same gene inherited from parents. 

Now, one of the copies can mask the effect of the other copy of the same gene, and as result, the former copy of the gene gets expressed. The expressed allele is dominant whereas the other allele is recessive. So, dominant alleles will give rise to dominant traits whereas recessive alleles will give rise to recessive traits.

What is a dominant trait?

The trait that is expressed in the phenotype of an organism is called the dominant trait. In the presence of a dominant and recessive allele, the dominant allele is always expressed.

What is a recessive trait?

The trait that is expressed only at the gene level, but is masked by the dominant trait is known as a recessive trait. In the presence of both recessive alleles, only the recessive trait can be seen in the phenotype of the organism. If only one of the alleles is recessive, then the associated trait is less likely to be expressed in the phenotype.

Differences between dominant and recessive traits

Now that we have understood what exactly dominant and recessive traits are, let’s look at this table which highlights all the key differences between them:

Dominant traitRecessive trait
A dominant trait is expressed in the F1 generation if even one dominant allele is present in the genotype.A recessive trait is not expressed in the F1 generation.
A dominant allele is able to express itself even in the presence of a recessive allele.The recessive allele is unable to express its effect in the presence of the dominant allele. 
It does not require another similar allele to produce its effect on the phenotype.It produces its phenotypic effect only in the presence of a similar allele.
More number of offsprings of F1 and F2 generations have dominant traits.Less number of offspring of F1 and F2 generations have recessive traits.


What is recessive in genetics?

The term recessive in genetics refers to a type of allele that gets masked in an individual unless both of the individual’s copies of that gene have that particular genotype. Due to this condition, the organism has a recessive phenotype.

What are some examples of dominant and recessive traits?

Some prominent examples of dominant traits and recessive traits are curly hair, baldness, free earlobes, and blue eyes, attached earlobes, red hair, dimples respectively.

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