The culture where I came from is rather a mix of cultures and not just a single one. Because of that it would sometimes occur, not only at my own instance, that my phenotype contains unusual characteristics; characteristics that are not usually seen on the description of the natives who came from our land. First, I would like to start by differentiating phenotype from genotype traits.
Though they have some correlations (they are both under a larger umbrella called genetics), they are two different things. Phenotype, according to Blamire (2000), involves the outward physical appearance of an individual organism. These would most likely include the shape of the eyes and any trait that could be seen by the naked eye. Genotype on the other hand pertains to the printed information called “genetic codes” in all living organisms (Blamire, 2000). For this paper, I will be focusing more on the phenotypic side of me.
Phenotype and Genotype Characteristics
I have a complex set of physical characteristics. In fact all humans do. The color of my eyes is black. My hair is painted with a natural brown color. The right side of my body is my dominant side—I use my right hand in writing. I have a fairly tall height which is 5’10”. Lastly, I do not have any congenital, chronic or any serious diseases that may have been passed down to me by any family member through heredity or from the people whom I interact with through the process called contamination—this is the mechanism how communicable diseases spread out.
Whenever I look at my face, I often think about whether I got most of my phenotypic traits from my father or from my mother. This process is explained by the relationship between alleles. One allele can be dominant and one could be recessive. Such process evaluates whether a genotypic trait could be more dominant than the other or not (Anonymous, n.d.).
This generally describes why some of the traits of an individual (me) could come from my mother or from my father. In some instances, the traits could also come from ancestors or more likely from my grandparents. The single explanation why specific genotypes are present in an individual is because of the model of dominance. There are a lot of things that could happen when we talk about dominance.
One allele could be recessive and one could be the dominant. Obviously, the trait from the more dominant allele will be more prominent than the recessive one. I’ll be using the color of my eyes as an example. Please note the same hypothetic principle could be applied to the rest of my traits because it would be redundant for me to repeat them one by one in genotypic means.
I got the color of my eyes from my mother. My hypothesis is that, the allele that carries the black eye color trait from my mother is the dominant one. Hence, it was the one that appeared on my genotype and as an effect; my phenotype demonstrated a brown eye color. Remember that genotype pertains to the structure which is most likely affected by the genetic code and phenotype pertains to the appearance and physicality.
I will also try to describe my phenotype in general. All of my phenotypic traits may have come from my mother, father, and everyone from my family tree. I got my black eyes from my mom, my height from my dad—he was a basketball player, my hair color from my grandfather and my body side dominance from my father too.
When you look at it, it looks as if these phenotypic traits came randomly. Well, it did not. Some may possible come from the genetic factors. Some may possibly come from environmental factors. In some cases, it may come from both. According to McClean (1998), at some extent, genetic factors and environmental factors can contribute to the outcome or the present phenotype an individual (me) currently has.
Now, how did I arrive at my hypothesis for both genotype and phenotype traits I have? First of all, there are a lot of variations that could happen in a specific individual. Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection supports this idea because it says that there are indeed forms of variations for every natural population and that these variations can be inherited and they have genetic bases. In my hypothesis, I figured that most of my traits are inherited, although there are variations that occurred.
I will try to use the color of my eyes as an example. Although I got it from my mom, the whole features of my eyes did not solely come from her. Part of it came from my dad like the shape of my eyes and the appearance of my eyebrows and eye lashes. In this case, there could be no dominance present in my genotype.
Instead, if my hypothesis is right, I got my eye (surrounding structures included) genotype trait from both of my parents and it may qualify to be an intermediate form of inheritance. This type of inheritance is characterized by having two extreme types of trait but can still be clearly distinguished (Anonymous, 2010).
Anonymous. (n.d.). Phenotype & Genotype. Accessed October 2011. Retrieved from
Anonymous. (2010). The Relationship of Genes to Traits. Accessed October 2011. Retrieved
Blamire, J. (2000). Genotype and Phenotype Definition. Science at a Distance. Accessed October
2011. Retrieved from http://www.brooklyn.cuny.edu/bc/ahp/BioInfo/GP/Definition.html.
McClean, P. (1998). Genetic and Environmental Effeccts on Quantitative Traits. Quantitative
Genetics. Accessed October 2011. Retrieved from http://www.ndsu.edu/pubweb/~mcclean/plsc431/quantgen/qgen2.htm.